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Thursday, May 14, 2015

In Need of a Hand, An Inhuman Plan, And Don’t Take the Fish Oil, Dude! #AgentsofSHIELD #AgentsofSHIELDSeasonFinale

In Need of a Hand, An Inhuman Plan, And Don’t Take the Fish Oil, Dude! #AgentsofSHIELD #AgentsofSHIELDSeasonFinale
  All pictures courtesy of ABC

Wow! Like... totes-ma-goats wow! Wowzereenie, Mr. Feenie! Those are a few ways in which I’m trying to show you wa-how I feels about this season finale. All joking aside (don’t roll your eyes at me. You know your inner-child got at least a chuckle from one of those silly things), I really loved the finale. Maybe it is because I just saw #AgeOfUltron earlier and had some interesting feelings about that movie or maybe it was just because it was a kick-butt finale. I don’t know but let’s find out together.

There was so much going on in this two-hour season finale, but first I must stop and thank God and the inventors that blessed us all with the power of the DVR. I was watching both the Cavs/Bulls game (#NBAplayoffs, #gocavsgo) and this at the same time. I had to rewind after to catch Agents from the beginning but it was worth it.

We began with a pretty good fight between May and Skye/Daisy. At first May Mr. Miogi’d/Bruce Lee’d Skye by blocking her every move without much of a muscle-twitch. I nearly thought she was going to turn into Neo and start seeing green numbers scrolling through the matrix, but “Quake” quickly got her act together and actually moved May with a few strikes and kicks. She ended the short battle by using her powers (total cop out) and going off with her family. Meanwhile Jaiying implemented her plan to make it look like SHIELD attacked the Inhumans by instructing her goons to take over one of the quinjets and fire on the compound. After the dust settled, the Inhumans escaped to another secret hideaway with Daisy and Raina in-tow, while Coulson’s brood got away with minimal casualties and Mr. Hyde.

For much of the show we switched back and forth between Daisy slowly learning that her mother was evil (courtesy of Jaiying killing Raina right in front of Skye by accident, something that made old flowers seem like a sacrificial rose), Coulson questioning Mr. Hyde about his wife’s plan against SHIELD, and Ward and Agent 33 trying to get Bobbi to confess to her transgressions against 33. Honestly, the third story was a bit of an add-on that I could take or leave and served little importance accept but to show that Ward is still trying to be an evil mastermind (of which he is not) and to show Bobbi getting shot in the back of the head/shoulder? I wasn’t quite sure where the bullet actually went but I know it wasn’t a nice place. They telegraphed the play of Agent 33 dying as soon as May said she wanted to go and kill Ward. That was probably the most obvious part of the story but again I let it go because it wasn’t very important at all. After Bobbi got back to SHIELD near to death, she did her best Tony Stark impression and said how she couldn’t do this anymore, though she’ll probably be back for next season (hopefully, they actually explain that return). Moving on!

The two important story-lines of the night came from Mr. Hyde and from Skye. Their ability to track white nightcrawler—I mean, the inhuman with no eyes now gone, SHIELD had no advanced warning when he transported a few Inhumans onto their ship and took it over from the inside. Jaiying imprisoned her own daughter, saying that it was for her own good and that this was a war started by Agent Peggy Carter’s people when SHIELD first came to fruition. While she may have a point, she is also ruthless and bloodthirsty and kills a few high-ranking agents with the use of a crystal. With the help of Mac, Skye breaks out and seeks to try to stop the complete spread of the mist through the entire ship as there are plenty of agents still unaffected by the mist and the takeover. Jaiying’s goal is to put the mist into the fan/ventilation system, as well as to lure as many agents to the ship as possible to have them breathe the mist. Skye plays directly into this plan, sending out a help beacon to all of the agency and attracting Coulson’s attention.

Meanwhile, Coulson interrogates Daisy/Skye’s father about his wife’s intentions. He discovers that the man wants to kill as many agents as he can while there and will use a transforming elixir of his own creation to do it. He morphs into Quasimodo—I mean, Mr. Hyde and runs around like a monster destroying various rooms but not really killing anyone (#NotTheBestDayEver). He and Coulson have a heart-to-heart when he’s pinned against the wall. It is revealed that he only became a monster and only killed all of these people because it fulfilled Jaiying’s desires. He only wanted his family back. He only wanted to be loved. He only wanted her to be... her again. But now that Daisy is in his life and is so benevolent, Coulson convinces him that his wife’s actions will destroy the girl. He agrees to help SHIELD for Daisy’s sake.

It all culminates in one epic battle after the next while on the SHIELD ship. Daisy/Skye/Quake fights with a few different Inhumans until finally meeting her mother and nearly dying at her hands (her mother tries sucking the life out of her which is how she stays alive and youthful). She halfway ruins her mother’s plan by sending the ship with all the crystals into the ocean. In possibly the saddest family reunion, Mr. Hyde manages to stop his wife from killing his daughter only to bearhug Jaiying to death. After all was said and done, he’d have to serve his punishment as a vet living with no memory of his family after a mindsweep courtesy of the MIB... or the Tahiti program, whichever.

Coulson, Fitz and Mac all got into a fight with the no-eyes man and managed to trap him in the ventilation room. It was Fitz who accidentally killed him as the man ghosted into the end of a pipe he was holding. In dramatic fashion, upon dying the man dropped a crystal, hoping to break it on the floor and kill them all. In a second of harrowing heroism, Coulson dove forward and caught the crystal. His arm began to turn a blackened ash, causing me to almost completely lose my sh! Then Mac made me jump up and yell, “what,” as he axed the man’s arm off before the blackness could spread, Ultron-Klaue-ing off his left arm. Wow!

At the end, everything was settled. Coulson would survive having one arm. Ward is trying to become the new head of Hydra—good luck with that. Skye has been put in charge of a new secret division of powered people. And even Fitz and Simmons flirted with going out to dinner. And then I lost my crap again! First, they showed that the crystals that were on the quinjet that sank into the ocean mixed with the water, was taken in by the fish which were caught and pressed into fish oil supplements. That could kill or transform millions of people, though to be fair probably not that many Americans as we are not nearly health conscious enough to be taking fish oil. Seriously, no matter where I go I always see the same dusty fish oil supplement bottles in stock. When was the last time you bought and used some? But the second and most depressing part of the show was the fate of Simmons. Gasp! Sigh! I’ve already said how cute and all-around charming I think that Simmons and Elizabeth Henstridge is, so when it happened, I wanted to throw something at the TV. Messing with the secret rock/liquid thing that was previously in the SHIELD ship, she went to close its door back when it turned into a liquid washed over her, then sucked her back into the solid rock-like form. The question: What the hell just happened to her? Please don’t be dead!

So, what did you all think about the season finale of Agents of SHIELD? What do you expect from season 3? While I still believe that Spider-man is going to be the catalyst for the civil war events (you can read that article here), they could use this newly formed team led by Quake to sub in for the New Warriors also. Do you think it will serve a big role in continuing to set up the events of civil war or do you think they should try to do their own thing? As always, let me know in the comments section below.

As always leave your comments below (click the no comments button if no one has commented yet). I look forward to reading your opinions. Follow me here and on Twitter. Join me on Goodreads in the group Books Similar To Breaking Bad, Scandal and other Popular TV Shows and check out my books on Amazon. #BrandNewHome is on Amazon for just $1.00 until Monday (check recent posts for a better description). #Darker is coming in June and so is #TheWriter. Also, look for the short story #ThePowerOfTen also out now for $1.49 or check out the books I already have up there.

Until next time, If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.

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Dig Three Graves #Revenge Series Finale

Dig Three Graves #Revenge Series Finale
All photos courtesy of ABC

I know this is a few days late, but I just had to write it. Maybe this one will be a little shorter. Anyway, on the series finale of Revenge we actually got a proper series finale. Everything wrapped up in a pretty little bow for we viewers who stayed with and enjoyed the show from its inception. There was so much going on in that one hour that it felt like it was two or at least should have been. As always, I don’t really know where to begin.

Let’s start with the fact that Evil Queen Victoria was alive. Yes, we discovered this in the previous episode but we as an audience felt an empathetic shock when Louise was confronted by the living Victoria who wanted help in carrying out her ultimate plan of revenge against Amanda/Emily. We also found out last week that the body of the woman who blew up was an unclaimed cadaver from somewhere upstate but had the added reveal of it being Victoria’s own mother who had just recently died after somebody threw a bucket of water on her and she mel—I mean, she died of some disease. One curious thing, they said that the two hadn’t talked in eight years when I could have sworn that the woman had appeared on the show before (sometime last season). Maybe I’m wrong on that. Feeling more betrayed and used than ever, Louise actually didn’t side with her play-mother’s plan, opting instead to run back to Nolan. While this might not have sat well with some viewers, at least Nolan had showed some sense of caring for her at some point by marrying her and getting her from under her mother’s thumb.

But before Louise could converge with Nolan, thereby joining Amanda’s side, Amanda had to do some trickery and sleuthing of her own. First, she and Nolan broke her out of jail after she confessed to killing Victoria Grayson—a move she only did to get her into a higher security jail that was easier to prisonbreak. Go figure! A little detective work led her and Jack to what appeared to be a safe house of some sort where we last saw Victoria killing Jack’s old partner the week before, or rather the female goon that was hired to protect Victoria doing the deed (side note: Courtney Love is making a comeback? That’s so crazy. I would have never thought that of all the people that she would pop up in show after show). She happened to scoop some uncleaned blood from under the baseboard that clearly belonged to the dead cop. With enough evidence to convince herself of Victoria’s evilness, she was on a mission to do nothing more than kill the old bat finally.

Unfortunately, the group wouldn’t escape unscathed as Jack went back to the house (for reasons I’m still not too clear on) and ran into the assassin who stabbed him through. He’d survive but that would only strengthen Nolan and Amanda’s resolve. Knowing that it was nearly over, Nolan started to freak about what his identity going forward would be. I have a very interesting idea about that as I enjoyed his character—more on that later.

Finally reconnecting with Louise, she led Amanda to Victoria’s new hideout where they could have it out in one last battle. Admittedly, I was a little disappointed that they didn’t throwdown Dynasty style and Amanda seek her revenge through her bare hands. But after being assured that the room was wired to send out a video stream of whatever happened, Amanda put on her blinders and still raised the gun to shoot the Evil Queen only to have her dad David come behind her and take the shot himself, sparring her from sinking to the lowest level. While some fans disagree with even this twist, I found it actually more poetic than anything because of the connection between David and Victoria. If she had only dared to truly love him in the first place, then none of this might have happened. And if he had only dared to never love her, again there would probably have been no show. So, the fact that he is the one that kills her even after spending a good part of the season in her arms, to me is poetic. But she doesn’t die without getting in a shot herself, sending Amanda tumbling into her father’s arms just before the commercial break.

Picture courtesy of TVLines
Upon return from the advertisements, it is revealed that some time has passed since Victoria died. She didn’t lie about the room being set for filming and David was tried and convicted of her murder. Luckily, because he was already deathly ill, the judge granted him a stay of compassion so he could spend his last few days at home with Amanda. In a tearful goodbye on a cold wintry day, he told her to look back at the double infinity carving on the porch one last time and professed his love for his only daughter before taking his last breath.

If you missed it, that’s right, Amanda was still alive. She recovered from her gunshot and got with Jack, marrying him and literally sailing off into the sunset to get her happy ending. In what was supposed to be another twist that would be left open for viewer debate, a scene where her younger half-sister Charlotte stood in the hospital and donated her mother’s heart to Amanda was shown in a different color to signify Amanda dreaming. What is in question is whether this was just a nightmare or if it actually happened and she is living with the heart of her sworn enemy. I tend to go the inception route and say that it didn’t happen and it was all just a dream, but to each their own theory. Also, some fans have been down on the fact that Amanda didn’t die with Victoria. I actually enjoyed that she didn’t. While she did embark on a journey of revenge that led to people’s deaths, it must be noted that she never really killed anyone herself. She just wanted them to suffer and they did and she did. I think that having her die would have felt too much like the sins of the father visited upon the daughter without cause. Victoria was truly evil. She actually killed people or had them killed. David was even a killer. Amanda, after all was said and done, was still nothing more than a hurt little daddy’s girl who tried sticking up for her dad even while being lied too and manipulated. She’s Louise in five years. I thought it just that she survive and end up with Jack, because she wasn’t the one who threw her life off the path that would have ended in his arms anyway. Sure, she could have not gone for revenge at all, but then she might have never known the truth about her life.

With Amanda’s story come to an end, the last few seconds were spent on Nolan. In my opinion, he had the saddest end of all. Though he had a new beau or beauty to “wrestle” with each season, he ended up with no one in the end. He devoted years of his life to Emily’s quest for vengeance and what does he have now... outside of being a genius, playboy, billionaire, philanthropist? As great as the wrap-up was, his (and to a lesser extent Louise’s) story felt the most unfinished, like it could continue. And with some young man coming to him and telling Nolan that one of his family member’s was accused of a crime they didn’t do, it seemed like the billionaire might have found his calling. This leads me to my theory/half-want/desire. I would like to see a long-defunct ABC show get revived with Nolan as the eccentric head of a team of elites. The show was entitled Vengeance Unlimited and it starred Michael Madsen. In it, he helped people to get vengeance against criminals that had done them wrong. It was a weekly revenge, essentially. With the right cast around him and some good writers, I think now is the perfect environment for this on ABC as it could be a quirkier mix between Scandal and Revenge and I really want more Nolan. Here’s hoping for a Revenge, Inc. spin-off.

Check it out here on IMDb

So, what do you think Revenge fans out there. Are you sad to see it go? Did you like the happy ending for our dear Amanda? Did you like the end for Victoria or should she have lived? What about Nolan? Do you think my idea for him is any good or should the show and all of its characters completely die?

As always leave your comments below (click the no comments button if no one has commented yet). I look forward to reading your opinions. Follow me here and on Twitter. Join me on Goodreads in the group Books Similar To Breaking Bad, Scandal and other Popular TV Shows and check out my books on Amazon. #BrandNewHome is on sale for just $1.00. #Darker is coming in June and so is #TheWriter. Also, look for the short story #ThePowerOfTen out now for $1.49 or check out the books I already have up there.
Until next time, Might sound crazy, but it ain’t no lie. Baby, bye bye bye!

P.S. OK, so that was N’Sync. And...? I liked N’Sync and young Justin Timberlake’s crazy curl. It might not be good for my sign-off but it works here.

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Good, The Bad, The Crazy, The Author, The Magic, The Dragon, The Finale #OnceUponATime

The Good, The Bad, The Crazy, The Author, The Magic, The Dragon, The Finale #OnceUponATime
All pictures courtesy of ABC
So much to talk about! I really don’t know where to begin. I just finished watching the two hour season finale of ABC’s Once Upon A Time and my jaw was nearly to the floor.

First, pretty much everything changed because of the author (side note: look for my episodic novel series #TheWriter this June) re-scripting the happy endings for everyone. In what was possibly the craziest part of the episode, the author wrote a different story for everyone going forward from that point in time (a very important fact to remember). Suddenly, everyone was gone from the town and back in the fairy tale realm, leaving Henry the lone survivor(?) in amidst the chaos.
Waking to the empty town, Henry ventured off to find everyone by hopping into a car with no license mind you, and zooming down to the nearest diner/restaurant/information place. OK, I don’t really know what that place was but the woman working there didn’t seem to bright as she thought he was a runaway even though he was looking for his parents—don’t think a runaway would do that. He happened to see a copy of a new book by the author and somehow managed to get to the man’s book signing. A little arguing, some threatening to use a key on a paper door and poof! They’re in his book.
Inside the book everyone is supposedly different. Mr. Gold/Rumple is a knight in shining gold armor; Regina is a forest bandit ala Snow White when she was on the lamb from Regina in the original version; Snow and Charming are the Evil Queen and her head knight/guard with the seven dwarves only being six, which dwindled to five before the end of the night (unless we’re counting granny as one now?) And Robin Hood was still a thief... but he was also getting married to Selena and would wed at the toll of Wedding bells in the morrowmorn (new word! Aww snap!). The author being as evil as he is, immediately tried to get Henry killed to preserve the sanctity of the story and maintain his fandom like every writer wants (yes, I want that).

Lo and behold, the Gold Knight saved him from the monstrous ogre before galavanting off to another harrowing adventure (tangent: I cannot believe that #Galavant got renewed. Who saw that comin’? Seriously?) With his life in hand, Henry found Regina and blew her mind by telling her he was her son. He led her to Robin Hood who introduced his soon-to-be wife Selena which made Regina all frowny-faced when she fell in love with him at first sight but couldn’t have him. Henry asked about his real mom and was told that she was locked up out on a tiny island at sea, one he’d need Hook to take him to.

After helping a wimpy Hook steal the Jolly Roger from Black Beard, they found Emma locked in a tower guarded by one Queen’s guard who was easily subdued by the butt of a sword to the forehead. Amazingly, Emma knew who Henry was unlike everyone else, and escaped with him, narrowly avoiding the flame when it turned out that the guard was actually Lily who did her dragon thing at the boat and failed.

Returning to land, the three ran into Snow and Charming where Hook was stabbed and killed by Charming (very important in a confusing way). Henry and his mom escaped and managed to get to the chapel along with Regina to stop the wedding but all she could do was stand at the door and stare at Robin Hood, instead of pulling off an epic The Graduate scene (did I mention my epic novel #Unrequited will be out later this year). Rumple came and twisted swords with Emma in order to keep his happy ending and would have slashed Henry’s throat had it not been for Regina jumping in the way and taking the blade.

With all the hubbub, the bells rang, Robin got married and Regina laid dying when the happy couple emerged from the chapel. Selena grew green when Regina dared bleed on her dress, and Robin gave her that “did I seriously just marry this chick” look. Thankfully the writers didn’t use the true love’s kiss trope again as it had become a little worn, opting to make Henry pick up the pen and become the author. That’s right, the other author was around to laugh and point at Regina’s non-happy ending and still had the pen which he said had been rendered powerless on account of him breaking the rules to not write your own happy ending. #HenryIsTheAuthor.

Henry wrote the magic right out of the book, returning everyone to Storybrooke just as before. The author tried to flee upon re-arrival but was quickly caught. Henry broke the pen because with great penmanship comes great responsibility... or something like that. Still, the one thing left to solve was the riddle of Rumple’s impending succumbing to the darkness. For that, they needed to get back the sorcerer’s apprentice.

Finally being useful, the apprentice tried sucking the darkness out of Gold’s heart and trapping it in the magic hat. While he succeeded at taking out the darkness, he failed in trapping it. In the biggest and best twist of all, the apprentice said that they needed to find the sorcerer who was, drumroll... Merlin! Yeah, it was Merlin the whole time like some of us guessed. Other’s thought it might be Yen Sid, but that would have been too much subliminal Disneyisms. Merlin battled the darkness and could only trap it onto the soul of a single person. This led to... Emma becoming the dark one. What? Did you just read that right? Yes. Yes, you did. #EmmaTheDarkOne . She sucked up the evil energy knowing that her people would find a way to cure her and get her back somehow. The final shot of the season was seeing the name Emma Swan on the dagger. The question: where the heck did she disappear too? Not only did she take on the darkness, it looked like it consumed her. Strange.
Another strange thing was Lily’s small mention setting up another plot for next season, her looking for her father. Maleficent (a character mysteriously absent with everything changing completely) said she didn’t know who her baby daddy was because... well, it happened in dragon form. So she clearly couldn’t tell who she was sleeping with because, you know, there’s all those dragons flying around and having unprotected adult fun (though we’ve only seen two).
Hook was mysteriously alive again even though it was said that the author couldn’t bring people back to life. In one of the most confusing explanations to me, Baelfire (the other person they wanted back) couldn’t be resurrected because he died in the real world, but Hook could because he died in the fake world which actually wasn’t the same as the fairy tale world they originally came from? I don’t know.
With all of that, I was still flipping my lid. I loved every minute of it. I am more jazzed by this finale than I was last season at the introduction of Frozen characters.
So, what did you think of the finale? Did you enjoy it? Did you think that the villains getting happy endings was as good as the author’s fans thought it was? Who do you think is Lily’s father (my money is on Mushu from Mulan)? What do you think about Emma becoming the dark one?

Mulan picture courtesy of Disney

As always leave your comments below (click the no comments button if no one has commented yet). I look forward to reading your opinions. Follow me here and on Twitter. Join me on Goodreads in the group Books Similar To Breaking Bad, Scandal and other Popular TV Shows and check out my books on Amazon. Oh yes, my two new stories #BrandNewHome and #ThePowerOfTen are out now. You can look into some of my earlier posts to read more about them and visit my Amazon page to purchase your copy. Get Brand New Home in the next week before it goes up from $1.00 to 3.49. 

Until next time, Welcome To The Jungle!

P.S. OK, so maybe that was a quote from Guns and Roses, but man did that song seem to fit at the time I wrote this. I now see that I was wrong. Hmm.

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New Novella: The Power of TEN

Hello again people out there in the blogosphere. Yes, I have not one, but two good reads that have come out in the last few days. The first I already told you about below, Brand New Home (#Brand New Home. The second is a short story/novella entitled: The Power of TEN. Read below for a synopsis and a brief description of how I tackled the story.

“Though you may never know, not from the story at least,
 His name is Tennessee, and he comes in peace.”

The sudden and unexpected death of a man’s fiancee attracts a strange behavior from a mysterious man. When the perpetrator finds more and more ways to thrust himself into the life of the grieving fiance, tensions build between the two of them as the distraught mourner is unable to understand the actions from this strange and vicious fellow. Though not her killer, what role does the mysterious man have to play in the woman’s death? More importantly, why would he do the heinous act he did to her before her body even chilled? Does he want to kill the fiance? Who is this mysterious man?

A taut and fast-paced horror thriller novella, The Power Of TEN invites you down a rabbit hole that grows more and more curious with each day passed as the grieving man pursues this mysterious man through a dwindling count of ten. What you both may find is stranger and more hopeful than anything one would expect. In time, even you’ll know The Power Of TEN.

Featuring real e-book pages as a testing experiment. This book was formatted to have real e-book pages. Not to be confused with real book pages, e-book page number has been formatted to perfectly fit the Kindle Fire HD page display, displaying each page with a number at the top and keeping the entire page on the screen all at the same time. Note that this only reads as a single page to the screen when the Fire is held upright like a book and is set on the lowest font size setting, Georgia-style.
This novella centers around a strange man with an even stranger power. Showing up usually after an unexpected accidental death, this man does the unthinkable and mutilates the body of a fresh corpse. But his job is not done there. He must busy himself with ten full days of tasks before his job is complete. A haunting and bizarre story with an inspiring end, you won't want to miss this one.
You can buy The Power of TEN here: AMAZON  for the low price of $1.49. Get it now!

As always follow me on Goodreads, join the group and tweet #PowerOfTen. And stay tuned for more posts later on tonight and through this season finale TV week.

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New Book: Brand New Home

Hello out there!

As promised, I wanted to bring you all a brief synopsis about my new book entitled: Brand New Home, currently availabale on Amazon Kindle.

Everything has a past. Sometimes the past is far more brutal, devastating, and unnerving than we ever thought it could be. A creak of the floorboards. A breath from the furnace. Suddenly, you realize something might be watching you in your own home.

When good fortunes lead to a promotion for the patriarch of the family, the Johnsons must pick up and move to a suburban home in Ohio. Financially gifted, they find themselves living the great American dream when they are not only able to afford another house to call their own, but a brand new home still in the late stages of completion.

Trouble arises when an eerie aura begins pulsating through the very structure of the house. Seeking to destroy the family, this malignant force seems to grow more powerful with each day passed. No ancient burial grounds, no poltergeist and no past lives lost within the house, what could be haunting the Johnsons' Brand New Home?

A sneaking and thought-provoking supernatural horror, Brand New Home takes you on a journey around the world and through time, urging the reader to connect the dots about the real roots of evil as it brings horror back home. Not all houses are haunted by ghosts and demons!
For me, Brand New Home is another foray into the horror genre (my favorite genre in which to write). When first I came up with this book, I wanted to try to take the old paradigms of a haunted house and tweak them a bit in hopes of giving you readers something slightly different to fear. The more paranoid of our society think that they're safe if they move into a house where no one has died or even lived before and the area didn't have a spooky past. But what if they weren't? What if they were in just as much danger as anyone else? What if you lived with an incurable evil? And what if you couldn't escape it?
Join me on this hot and haunting trial of one family. And if you're a religious person, pray that the Johnsons make it out alive.

Purchase your digital copy of Brand New Home here: AMAZON Get it this week because next Monday, May 18, 2015, the price goes from $1.00, up to $3.49.

As always, follow me on Goodreads, Tweet about the book #BrandNewHome on Twitter, and join the Goodreads group. Until next time.
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Friday, May 8, 2015

It’s Death Season Everybody #GreysAnatomy #Scandal

It’s Death Season Everybody #GreysAnatomy #Scandal

All pictures courtesy of ABC unless otherwise stated.

OK, so it seems as if every show this season has taken a turn to start killing off characters (or in Scandal’s case, giving us every reason to believe that a main character is dead, even saying he is dead only to bring him miraculously back; how the hell is Jake walking around so calmly after one week?) drawing from #HBO’s #GOT or Game of Thrones for those that are uninitiated. Two months ago Sleepy Hollow killed the black guy, Crane’s son and his wife. The Flash killed Cisco but then brought him back through time travel because Kyle Reese hadn’t impregnated him yet with the savior of the human race from the future robot takeover. Wait, why does that sound like a plot to a completely different movie or TV show (#Genisys). Revenge killed of Victoria Grayson, then ABC killed off #Revenge and CBS seems to be doing the same thing for #Stalker. #Empire killed off Vernon and killed in the ratings, but now contract disputes are trying to kill its second season. I feel like somebody is about to die on Nashville, and one of the CSI incarnations should die if only to prevent further world domination.

Of course, the two most shocking deaths came from #Shondaland, both of which I must say disappointed me. The first was Jake’s non-death death. That guy got stabbed more than Caesar and was left on a table to die, which, mind you, should have killed him with the moving of his body alone, right? His would-be killer, from what I remember of the previous episode started stabbing him while he was lying on the floor. He would have had to move his body onto the table after the guy was unconscious.

But did they let him die? No! No, they didn’t. And why not? Maybe for a big May sweeps blowout where everyone dies, I don’t know. But what they did do to me was a bit of a cop-out. Instead of killing Jake they killed some old spy, her grandchildren and her handler—people who we could hardly give much of a damn about. There was some Mellie stuff going on which I still haven’t figured out how I feel about it. If I’m going off on a tangent, it seems like they’re going to try to make Mellie president so they can extend the show longer with there still being a power/romance triangle (Liv and Fitz getting together after his presidency and him not being anything more than a mere citizen doesn’t seem as appealing but who knows). But for the most part, everything around B6-13 is now dead, as in not being pursued... of course, until the end of the episode in which Liv finally figures out who it was that tried killing Jake and leaked about the spy and her grandchildren. Outside of Jake struggling to survive in a dingy, filthy makeshift emergency surgical suite, it didn’t seem as eventful as it should have.

The authentic and most disappointing death to me was on Grey’s. SPOILERS! Derek died. Yeah. Yep. So that happened. If you’re not reading my feelings (and I know you are, you’re probably pretty smart), I hated this departure from Grey’s. When I wrote “Derek died” I realized that that was exactly how it felt watching it. It was so simple, so brief, such a flippant add-on to the season to me that it felt devoid of something. It honestly felt less like one of the two stalwart main characters of the show died, and was more akin to someone’s fat lazy hamster dying. You still feel sad about your friend’s hamster, but... they didn’t really care about that hamster; why should you? Whereas so many others that left Grey’s that might not have been as deserving of their exits were showered with the presence of others, Derek was left alone to mentally monologue his way toward a brain injury that would ultimately prove too severe for him to recover from.

This came after he saved the lives of four people on a mountain highway (after the Callie car crash why the heck are they still traveling those seemingly deserted scenic mountain roads?) after two vehicles got into a crash. Then, while he was busting a U-eey (that’s how the cool kids say it), a semi-truck T-boned his vehicle. He can’t even say his name but the doctors at the nearest hospital don’t do a CT scan and that is when he dies because they ignore the brain bleed.

It wasn’t the fact that he didn’t get to say goodbye to Meredith or that she came and quickly shut the machine off giving up hope in a matter of hours, but it was how the entire episode made it feel like there was drama going on behind-the-scenes with Patrick Dempsey. Yang got a long drawn-out goodbye that took essentially the entire season, Lexie and Sloan got a nice sendoff and at least got to say stuff to their loved ones. George got his 007 signature and a dream sequence where he showed up in uniform. Teddy got a strange declaration of love where Owen loved her enough to let her go. But Derek didn’t get any of that. To me, his death was about as bad as Webber’s wife passing away and him mentioning how she died. Maybe he’ll do a Denny and come back to have some hot ghost sex with Meredith one last time, but outside of that, I didn’t care for this “tentpole” character, the original McDreamy, the one that girls were going crazy for in the first season—I didn’t care for his departure. I know he wanted off, but it was better ways to send him off than that.

If that weren't bad enough, the next couple of episodes deal with his death in a strange way to me. First, I didn't appreciate the full one-year jump in time over the two-hour special. Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed these jumps in time in the past on other shows and even on Grey's, but those were generally made at the very end of the season/beginning of the next season. I watched this week's episode and had to constantly stop and remind myself that it had been a year since Derek died and apparently Mere had a baby. What? This didn't even come after a long hiatus, just a big "we're skipping nuanced character development because we don't wanna continue mourning Derek, so here you go fans!"

Then they introduced this young new guy which, let's be honest, looks like a younger Dempsey clone. Luckily, he's only an intern right now, but I can't fathom any turn where they didn't bring him in to be a new guy for the female fandom to obsess over. I don't mind that at all, but the entire episode felt strange. Did anybody else notice the music? Remember those many years ago when Grey's first came on and was partially made famous by the soundtrack of up and coming artists like The Fray and others that brought a soothing calm, emotionally tethering us to the characters, that voice-over and the situations in the show? Well, last night didn't really have that. I know, some episodes have it and others don't, but it didn't feel good like the old Grey's did. It felt like ER which is not what I ever wanted from Grey's.

Finally, there is Derek's sister. Between her and Meredith, they seem to be the only two still reacting to his death, but for some reason I just can't bring myself to like her character. I never watched Private Practice. I tried, I didn't like it, I didn't go back. One of the reasons was because I didn't like the characters all that much. Now that Derek's sister is on here, it seems like the entire season has been about her. While I'm sure she has her own fans, I am not one, nor do I really like the other "black" Grey/Webber.

For me, with the killing off of Derek, the news that Ellen Pompeo wants to leave too, and the changes to the show, focusing on characters I just can't seem to care about, I might finally have to walk away from the show after this season or next. I know, diehard fans will hate me, but it just isn't the same and that is the real shame.

What do you all think, readers? Did you enjoy the ending of Derek (#RIPMcDreamy; #EndofMere-Der)? Or did you think that it wasn’t as good as some of the other notable departures from the show? What do you think about all the deaths in shows this season? Is it keeping your favorite show interesting, or is it starting to get a little overdone? And most importantly, are you still sticking with Grey's? Is it better than ever or do you also hear the death bell tolling for your viewership? Let me know in the comments below (click the no comments button if no one has left a comment yet).

As always, check out my books on Amazon (out now: The Provocateur, The White Cockatoo, A Dangerous Low, A Negotiation of Wounds) and soon to come (#BrandNewHome, #ThePowerOfTen, #Darker, and #TheWriter). Join us on Goodreads to talk about books and TV. Subscribe to my blog and leave your comments below.

Until next time, It was the Best of times. It was the Worst of Times.

P.S. OK, so I kinda went literary with my signoff. I’m still working on it, gosh! Get off my back about it people. It’ll come naturally and when it does, it will be a spectacular signoff. Anyways, Books!
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Because Penguins Eat Fish And All Barbs Are Wired #GothamFinale #Gotham

Because Penguins Eat Fish And All Barbs Are Wired #GothamFinale #Gotham

 All pictures courtesy of FOX, unless otherwise stated.
Whoa! I just finished watching the season finale of #Gotham and... Whoa! I know, I'm very behind on my DVRing but it has been a busy week. There were people dying, people flying (to their doom), to people retiring and people discovering secrets. There was so much stuff packed into this one episode that it felt almost like more of a summation of the season, rather than an end to it. Where do I begin.

How cute!
I guess we should first talk about the return of Fish Mooney. Seeing as how the episode was so packed with tying up loose ends and setting up the future of this world of deceptive cops and honorless crooks, the majority of viewers were left to surmise and assume that whatever misadventures, secret hospital visits and underground surgeries that she underwent were successful. If you remember, the last time anyone saw her, she had just been shot in the stomach while escaping The Doll Maker’s island; she returned to Gotham much like The Dark Knight did in that movie where he rose and everything (remember? That guy Bane was in it. Bruce was Batman, but he wasn’t Batman and nobody thought to ask where this billionaire guy went for half a year. There was fire, too. They even had an ugly Batman statue. Remember? I’m getting off topic). She returned by boat and was greeted by Selina Kyle who clearly saw the black woman with crazy hair and mismatch eyes as a role model, immediately joining her gang because it’s a great gig and thus starting the legend of #CatFish. Lucky for her, she returned in the middle of a gang war that would see one or both of the current city crime bosses crumbling.

First up to crumble: Falcone. He might have crumbled had his would-be assassins not aimed their rocket launcher at his car instead of at him as he held a chicken. Suffering a little residual pain and anguish from the attack, he winds up in some rather dingy looking hospital somewhere in the city with Maroni’s goons slowly making their way toward him. Penguin stopped by to gloat as he is wanton to do, and proved that he still had a lot to learn if he was going to truly be the crime boss of the city (I suppose now we know why every villain ever has always saw the need to profess their plan before it’s completed—it’s arousing). Of course, their encounter where Penguin confesses that it was he who tangentially started the war, he then proceeded to take out a scalpel and try killing his old boss. In hindsight, I think that defeated the purpose in starting the war in the first place. If you always planned on doing the killing yourself, why not just do it to both bosses and claim your throne?

Unfortunately like nearly all good plans Cobblepot had this season, it went awry as Gordon came in and white knighted the entire situation. Gordon only saved Falcone out of a belief that the old man could stop the anarchy in the city. He’d have to shoot his way out of the hospital as it had been abandoned due to a notice about the hit on Falcone put out by his squad. Bullock to the rescue to come and shoot the last guy before his partner got killed.

With Cobblepot, Falcone and Penguin’s right hand guy (formerly Mooney’s right hand man) all in custody, the two cops took the men to what Falcone thought would be a safe house. Surprise! Surprise (Gomer Pyle voice)! Lo and behold, Fish Mooney was already there with Selina Kyle in-tow with her other new cobbled together group of goons. She was happy to not only tie the five men up, but turn them over to Maroni in favor of respect and her own piece of the kingdom. Why the hell did she think she would get either of those things? Especially from Maroni? Forget the fact that he still saw her as nothing more than a minion, a bossable peon to give directions (yes, I said bossable. It’s a word... maybe), he didn’t even respect her as a woman. She wasn’t really even a woman scorned, just really pissed off. She shot him in his head and started a shootout with his guys.

Somehow, during this shootout, the five guys all got loose from their shackles and either ran away or gladly participated. Penguin being a member of the latter stayed and killed as many people as he could, clawing and shooting and beaking his way to the top in hopes of taking the crown of the city. He managed to get into one last fight with Fish on the rooftop of the harbor side of the warehouse. After a brief Sophie’s choice interlude with his new second hand (remember, Fish’s old right hand guy), they managed to fight through the bullet wounds left in both of them and scrap it out to the death. Penguin finally succeeded by tossing Fish over the roof into the icy waters below. In an unexpected move, he climbed atop the ledge of the roof and went complete DiCaprio Titanic, proclaiming how he was the King of the world Gotham. At that point, I completely expected for the right hand man to whisper, “I’ll never let go, Fish. I’ll never let go!” But he didn’t. Disappointing.

To round things out, E. Nygma went crazy or crazier than what he already was when that girl he had a crush on all season discovered his clue in the letter he forged for the cop he killed. Falcone escaped the bloodshed with Gordon and gave him a knife, the same one that Gordon’s father gifted to Falcone years ago. Like all good gangsters, he graciously retired, leaving the city for warmer pastures. Barbara also went crazy, confessing that it was she who killed her parents, not the Ogre, and that they were soulmates of some kind. She and Gordon’s current girlfriend got into a heck of a fight where Dr. Thompkins bashed her head on the hard floor. Gordon walked in and immediately believed that his ex was crazy, because who’s ex isn’t?

But the most intriguing cliffhanger/question came during the last few minutes when Bruce showed off his genius and figured out what Lucius meant went he said Thomas Wayne was a Stoic. He discovered a small remote that turned on music an revealed a secret passage behind a fireplace that led down some stairs. We know that will become the batcave in the future, but the question is what exactly is down there now? Could this be a mix of one of those other new comic story lines from the past quarter century where Thomas Wayne was some form of the Batman character or at the very least a vigilante himself?

This question along with others will plague us all off-season. For instance, is Fish Mooney really dead? Sure, Jada said about two months ago that she wouldn’t be returning for a second season but I honestly thought this was her second best role after Set It Off. She only fell into the water and in the comics Batman is always tossing or letting someone fall into the water and they magically re-appear. Plus, water is a fish's natural habitat. I can understand if she doesn’t want to reprise the role or if they don’t want her back for whatever reason, but if she did want to come back, I’m sure that could be worked out. What will happen to the show going forward? Who will be the main villain? Will we return to a city still in a gang war with no real leader, or will Penguin have officially claimed his throne? What is going to happen with crazy Barbara? What’s going to happen to crazy Nygma? Will Gordon get his own official non-Batman villain to be his nemesis or will the show continue as it is? Personally, I think an interesting and creative thing for them to do is to skip ahead a full year or two and pick-up there; if they didnt’ do this next season, then maybe the season after that.

What do you think readers and viewers out there? Were you satisfied with the finale? To you comic book fans out there, did you enjoy the show more at the end of the season? What would you like to see for next season?

As always, leave your comments below (click the no comments button if no one has commented yet). I look forward to reading your opinions. Follow me here and on Twitter. Join me on Goodreads in the group Books Similar To Breaking Bad, Scandal and other Popular TV Shows and check out my books on Amazon. #BrandNewHome is coming May 8th. #Darker is coming in June and so is #TheWriter. Also, look for the short story #ThePowerOfTen or check out the books I already have up there.

Until next time, If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.

P.S. OK, so maybe that was a quote from dodgeball. Classic Ben Stiller. Classic Vince Vaughn. Classic Frat Pack humor. I like the movie. So what? I’ll do better next time.

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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Why Has No One Said Anything About A Black Film Making A Billion Dollars? #Furious7

Why Has No One Said Anything About A Black Film Making A Billion Dollars? #Furious7

All pictures courtesy of their films and studios

Let me first start by saying that I am not at all trying to troll the internet. This little blog entry is not to race-bait nor inflame, but is a legitimate question. Why has no one said anything about Furious 7 making a billion dollars... and being a black film? OK, back up. Let me explain.

I would first thank #Furious7 for a kick-butt April and seeing as how #AvengersAgeofUltron is going to dominate the box office, this seems like the perfect time to look at the success of this film. Also, it is Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's birthday (wish him a happy 43 @TheRock ; #ThingsBetterInRockForm #ThingsBetterWithTheRock ; checkout his new movie this month, San Andreas). As I sat there in the theater two things occurred to me. The first was how much I would actually miss Paul Walker. During some of the clearly CGI’d scenes of his I thought back about all the films that I have scene of his and actually realized that I had seen a great deal more films of his than I thought I had. It’s that moment when you realize that you’re actually a bigger fan of someone than you thought you were. I actually enjoyed Hours a lot more than I thought I would (if you haven’t seen it, you should. It is some of Paul’s finest dramatic work). And outside of the fact that I thought that ending was a very... interesting way to give him a sendoff, I did think it was admirable that they tried to do something respectful for him and usher him out of the franchise. It also made a clear definition that they would definitely continued with the films.

All of this led to the second realization that I had. Furious 7, for all intents and purposes, was a definable black film, unlike any of the other iterations in the franchise. Think about this: The Rock, Ludacris, Tyrese, Djimon Hounsou, Nathalie Emmanuel and Vin Diesel (yes, Vin Diesel actually does have some black blood in him). Granted, while the movie does have Paul Walker, Kurt Russell and Jason Statham, you’ve pretty much reached Negro Critical Mass (NCM for short) when your main cast surpasses 4 blacks. Then add in the fact that Hounsou is in the movie almost as much as Statham and Russell, and you have a great majority of the film filled with black people the entire time. “OK, Michael. That’s great. You can count! Two claps for you,” you say. Well, this is important for a few reasons.

Let’s not focus on the whole racial profiling and tensions going on throughout the great USA for a moment. Let us also give some credit where it is due concerning Walker. As we saw seven years ago, the death of a popular actor still in his prime can skyrocket a box office for a good movie or even decent movie (I liked both Furious 7 and The Dark Knight; miss you, Heath Ledger). But even if Paul walker alone can account for 400 million dollars that still means that six black people, two white guys and one Latina (haven’t forgotten about you, Michelle Rodriguez) made 600 million dollars worldwide, and in the fastest time ever for a studio (Universal) that had never seen a billion dollar film. That is a lot of money for such an ethnic cast to have made, even for today’s standards. But again, why is this important.

It is important for a very simple fact: Hollywood still thinks that this is nearly impossible. For one, most people (I’m sure a few of you readers are included) would not immediately think that Furious 7 is a black film. Some still wouldn’t categorize it as such even after reading this post. But again, when you consider the fact that the majority of “Black films” for the past 20+ years have always included white or other ethnic cast members, you can include this film in that category. Also, it is another safe route to point out that “black films” have not and are not always directed or written or produced by “Black filmmakers.” Granted, this is a somewhat contentious fact in itself as movies like Ray, The Help, Get On Up, Dreamgirls and the list goes on were not directed by black or minority directors (from what I know). Yet, for years films that had reached NCM were labeled either by Hollywood or by the movie-going public as Black films. Only every so often was there a crossover success that tons of people wanted to see (ex. Bad Boys), but never have people come out in such overwhelming masses across the world to see a film with so much... color. I was nearly overwhelmed by the blackness just from Tyrese and Hounsou. Lord only knows how the Danish felt.

This success is coming off the heels of a leaked Sony email in which an executive and producer talked about the lack of worth in casting Denzel Washington (maybe you know of him) in the film the Equalizer because international audiences essentially weren’t turning out to see the old black guy. Their thought was basically who wants to see black people? Don’t nobody care about yo feelin’s, Tyrone! This film—the franchise as a whole, really—seems to have proved that wrong. This has led to the greenlight of the Equalizer 2, as well as Furious 8. Now whether people will still come back to see a Fast and Furious movie without Walker is still to be seen (coming April 14, 2017). It does present an interesting turn for me.

As an author and gearing up to release my book Darker (#Darker) in June on the Amazon Kindle store, I am often faced with the question of if a book has a certain amount of ethnic characters does that automatically classify it as a certain kind of book in the reader’s mind? Darker is most certainly a book that halfway tackles race; however, it is a horror book that is an ode to Stephen King’s debut novel Carrie. It has both a broad theme and a very specific theme to it that I believe could appeal to everyone. But even with that, I never write in one specific genre nor to one specific ethnicity. Another one of my books, Brand New Home (#BrandNewHome) out May 7th is about a white family.

So, to my readers and the viewers out there, those who enjoyed Furious 7 and those who would rather read a book, what do you still share in some of the same thoughts that Hollywood does. I’m not judging you if you see a particular book or film as still being an ethnic film for this particular race or whatever, but what preconceived notions do you bring to your entertainment.

Are you excited for the sequels to Furious 7 or The Equalizer? Did you not even notice or care about the ethnicity of the cast? What other books, TV shows and movies do you enjoy that have large ethnic casts? Leave your comments below, join me on my Goodreads group, follow me on Twitter and checkout some of my books on Amazon.

Until next time, “50. Stay above 50.”

P.S. OK, admittedly, all of this talk about action movies got me thinking about Speed. And then I thought about Keanu Reeves and I thought that maybe Paul Walker looked like Keanu Reeves married Christopher Reeves and they had a blond baby they named Paul Walker. RIP.
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