Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Teaser Tuesday - Festive Fun!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
Share the title & author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!





As it's Christmas, I thought it would be fun to do a rather festive themed teaser. And because I'm feeling particularly giving, you're going to get TWO. My quotes for the week have been taken from my favourite series of books of all time - Harry Potter! These magical books are perfect to read over the Christmas holidays; just imagine curling up on the sofa, in front of the fireplace, a steaming mug of hot chocolate in one hand and a magical book in the other...


“One can never have enough socks," said Dumbledore. "Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn't get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.” 

- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone



“Mistletoe," said Luna dreamily, pointing at a large clump of white berries placed almost over Harry's head. He jumped out from under it. "Good thinking," said Luna seriously. "It's often infested with nargles.”

- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Merry Christmas Everyone! 

Monday, 23 December 2013

S1x10 - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Bridge

Oh, S.H.I.E.L.D., you were doing so well. You had a strong pilot and sure, you lagged for a few episodes, but you picked yourself back up and brushed off the proverbial dust to resemble a half decent show. You were shaping up to be one to watch. That was effectively ruined by this episode.

The word that comes up when thinking about ‘The Bridge’ is cheese. The dialogue was cheesy, the story was cheesy - everything was cheesy. The main problem was the return of Gunn (technically Mike Peterson but he will always be Gunn in relation to Whedon). We last saw him in the pilot where he went super soldier thanks to Centipede and went on a rampage before getting shot by FitzSimmons so he didn’t explode. Turns out that what they shot him with froze his state of body so that he could still use his extra ability without going boom.


This is exactly what Centipede are trying to do and they’ve halfway succeeded as they used a bunch of super soldiers to break out that guy that the lady in the flower dress went to visit in jail (it’s probably best you refresh your memory now as this episode ties in a lot of storylines from previous ones). The lady, Raina, showed him that they had managed to use the platelets they stole from fire bearer Scorch to stop the exploding part of the serum, but they were still having issues keeping up the energy of the soldiers. All of this is being headed by The Clairvoyant, the person they spoke about before, and the jail guy is an ex-marine who communicates with them. Finding them was the main focus of S.H.I.E.L.D.

For this they recruited Mike, who had spent his time between the pilot and now training in a government facility. Judging by his character in the pilot, it should have been a welcome return but 90% of his exchanges with other people in this episode were just pure cheese, especially with Coulson. The terrible dialogue kept pulling me out of the episode from the God awfulness of it, and they really didn’t do his character any justice. Maybe they realised this though as they went and killed him.

While he had been training he hadn’t seen his son for fear of him thinking he was a monster. Just as he had his breakthrough thanks to one of Coulson’s heartfelt speeches, he called his son only to find Raina had him. They proposed a deal to exchange his son for him, and so with no back up, the team went to the meeting point on a bridge. It was then revealed that the deal wasn’t in exchange for Mike, but it was actually Coulson they wanted. So they carted him off while the rest of the team slowly began to figure out what was happening, but Mike decided he needed to make things right and be a hero who fixes his mistakes. He handed his son off to Skye and ran back to try and save Coulson, when the petrol tanker next to him exploded and engulfed him in flames. A helicopter flew off with Coulson, shooting Ward a few times and Raina revealed that they only wanted Coulson to tell them about the day after he died. And that was the end of the mid-season finale.


I guess it was kind of an ok-ish ending, but Coulson’s state of being has been hinted at so many times with no information given that it feels like it’s been dragged out too long. Same with the Centipede storyline: it was nice that episodes were starting to be linked and form an over-arching plot, but again, we’ve had next to no information, only names we can’t put a face too and people that don’t seem to be massive players in the organisation. For it to be truly effective there needed to be more details given. As it stands, I’m only a little bit curious about Coulson’s answer and I couldn’t give two monkeys about Centipede.

Other little bits in the episode were the revelation that Centipede were behind the eye cameras as well, May basically told Skye to suck it up about the mystery of her parents and Ward kind of brushed off his relationship with May as no big deal. Not riveting stuff, but when paired alongside the cheesy Mike Peterson dialogue, they were welcome reliefs, and that sums up how much improvement this show needs to have when it comes back after winter break. We can only hope.

Sarah

Friday, 20 December 2013

Frozen

Fearless optimist Anna teams up with Kristoff in an epic journey, encountering Everest-like conditions and a hilarious snowman named Olaf, in a race to find Anna's sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom in an eternal winter.

Directed and Written by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, featuring the voices of Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad and Santino Fontana.

Approx Run Time: 1 Hour 40 mins


Frozen is Disney's latest Princess adventure, loosely based on Hans Christian Anderson's The Snow Queen, and follows the story of Elsa, who has the power to create ice and snow. This is a secret she keeps from her younger sister Anna in an effort to protect her from the potential dangers her magic could bring. 

A family-fun movie and a definite must-watch this Christmas, Frozen is filled with magic, music, love and laughs, beautifully emphasised in 3D. The characters are wonderfully likable and there's humour for both adults and children to enjoy - particularly from the living snowman Olaf, voiced by Josh Gad, with his dry wit and knack for stating the obvious with a touch of sarcasm. 

It's a musical, so of course there are songs galore which I have now been humming continuously since I left the cinema a week ago. Idina Menzel's Let It Go is the highlight of the show and I can imagine it being performed on a west-end stage in a few years time (this song is also covered by Demi Lovato which you can hear during the end credits). The opening half hour perhaps has a song too many and they probably could have dropped at least one and used the time for some better exposition; my one complaint of the movie was the lack of explanation into Elsa's powers and how and why she had them in the first place. The opening of Tangled did an amazing job with explaining how Rapunzel came to be in her tower with her glowing, magic hair, but Frozen skimmed over the finer details which is why, if I had to choose between the two movies, I'd pick Tangled. 

That being said, Frozen is still a brilliantly moving film and where it lacks in exposition it makes up for in its themes and concluding climax. While romance is explored to a certain extent, a Princess falling in love is not at the centre of the plot. Don't expect any damsels in distress here; instead this is about women supporting women and the real relationship to root for isn't between a Princess and a Prince, but two sisters, a Princess and a Queen. The climax is a combination of shock, grief and beauty and wholly fitting for the sisters, symbolising the power of the sisterly bond. 

Charming, beautiful and fiercely strong, Anna and Elsa encapsulate the perfection that has become the modern Disney era. 

Rating: ****


Amber

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Teaser Tuesday: Veronica Roth - Insurgent

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:


Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
Share the title & author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!





I'm currently in the middle of re-reading the Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth so that I can finally make a start on Allegiant! So this week I thought I'd share a snippet from book two. Enjoy!



"I love Tris the Divergent, who makes decisions apart from faction loyalty, who isn’t some faction archetype. But the Tris who’s trying as hard as she can to destroy herself … I can’t love her.”

I want to scream. But not because I’m angry, because I’m afraid he’s right. My hands shake and I grab the hem of my shirt to steady them.

He touches his forehead to mine and closes his eyes. “I believe you’re still in there,” he says against my mouth. “Come back."




Friday, 6 December 2013

S1x9 - The Originals: Reigning Pain in New Orleans

Aired 03/12/13 on The CW

So as mid-season finales go, this one wasn't particularly jaw-dropping, but the episode still did enough to keep me keen and interested to watch again in January. The plot wasn't overly eventful like it has been for the past few weeks. Instead it was very character-driven and set things up nicely for when the show resumes next year. 

The episode's opening was both amusing and grotesque - a combination the show's writers seem to pull off very well. Klaus was hosting a formal dinner to celebrate his new role as King of New Orleans, while Marcel and his cohorts grimaced through their smiles. The wait staff were amazing - it was like Downton Abbey with Vampires or something; they all slit their wrists and poured their blood onto the plates like it was nothing. It was possibly the smoothest dining operation I've ever seen. Klaus made a speech about how awesome he was and how things as a vampire on Bourbon Street would be so fun - unless of course you crossed him because then you'd be maimed, tortured and killed Klaus-style. Hayley was also there of course, and as she's protected by the fact that she's carrying Klaus' baby, she was able to get away with the scowls, smirks and sarcasm. 




Elijah wasn't happy with Hayley's living arrangements and wanted to whisk her away before anything bad happened to her (again), but instead she begged him and Rebekah to save her newly discovered werewolf family who were about to be slaughtered. As a peace offering, Klaus had gifted his new minions with the task of killing all of the wolves as proof that he wasn't planning to create a super army. Elijah and Rebekah playing heroes for a wolf pack was really entertaining to watch; she moaned about smelling like a bog and Elijah casually threatened any vamps who touched a wolf. They make a really good team and managed to get the job done with a great balance of menace and humour. 

Klaus and Marcel also teamed up; at first it was Marcel simply following Rebekah's advice and going through the motions, giving the illusion of loyalty, but then their friendship became more defined and real. Things really heated up when the human leaders of New Orleans (the mayor and so on) met with Klaus to discuss the arrangements between the vampire population and the human population. Klaus made it clear that he would not bow to the demands of poxy humans and ignored Marcel's suggestion to take them seriously. The faction retaliated by smashing in the windows of the vampire's hangout/lair/bar/gentleman's club/whatever it was, and set fire to the vamps who weren't wearing daylight rings. A whole bunch of them died and they were Marcel's boys so he was pretty pissed and made his feelings clear to King Klaus. Klaus, feeling rather disgruntled too, encouraged revenge and the pair then murdered the mayor and the rest of the faction with the exception of Cami's uncle. It was kind of like a vampire version of that scene where the Joker stabs a guy in the eye with a pencil when he meets up with the mob in The Dark Knight but bloodier. It's terrible but this show actually makes me enjoy mass murder!

The comic team was made up of Davina, Josh and Hayley who decided to do their planning from a garage. Josh was hiding from the sun, Hayley was obviously bored and Davina was feeling lonely. They made a great gang! Hayley informed Davina that Agnes, the witch who was supposed to be trying to kill her, was dead but Davina didn't believe her. Surely Marcel would have told her that she was actually safe and didn't have to hide anymore? Right?! Umm... no dear, sorry but he definitely conveniently forgot to tell you that the coast was clear. So of course, Davina was annoyed and ranted to her bestie, Josh. I love that these two randomly became friends! Hayley scored points because she was pretty straight with Davina when she said that she wanted her help to lift the reverse werewolf curse from her family. Honesty clearly is the best policy! Eventually Davina came to the conclusion that she needed to move out and the only place she could think of to go was Cami's, who is apparently her only other friend in the whole entire world - except that Cami couldn't even remember her because she's been compelled a lot lately. How tragic. The episode ended with Davina casually telling her friend not to worry cos she could sort it out and left Cami screaming as her brain got scrambled or something. Ouch. 




Other important moments included Elijah finally apologizing to Klaus for thinking that he only wanted his baby so that he could make more hybrids - though in Elijah's defense it is definitely a Klaus-esque plan. Klaus, after having many heartfelt moments with Marcel, decided to extend an olive branch to his estranged brother and sister and asked them if they'd like to move in with him. After all the betrayal and anger of the previous episode, it was a fairly quick resolution but I'm glad because I much prefer when the Original family are scheming together than apart. Klaus and Marcel became besties too and Marcel even broke things off with Rebekah, who is literally so unlucky in love its unreal - I wonder if Matt even thinks about her over of TVD? 

So new alliances were formed, old hatches were buried and now the show will be able to move forward swiftly after the mid-season break. Again, while not exactly a cliff-hanging thriller of an episode, it was enjoyable and successfully tied up lose ends while creating a few new ones at the same time. I can't wait until January! Here is a little something to keep you going until then...



Amber

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

S4x8 - The Walking Dead: Too Far Gone

Aired 01/12/13 on AMC

I don’t really know how to feel about this episode. There was a battle, people died and now we have to wait until February to find out the fates of the rest of the characters. Said like that, it seems like the perfect mid-season finale to make you go stir crazy while you wait to find out what happens next. But the actual episode was a bit… meh. I was looking forward to getting back to our regular scheduled viewing after two weeks of watching the Governor strive for humanity, but unfortunately it was still more speeches and less action for two thirds of the episode.

We stayed with the Governor at the beginning as he rallied the new group into trying to take the prison. His speech was very convincing but I was still a bit surprised that this group, who have been pretty passive until now, were okay with the fact that he had captured Hershel and Michonne and tied them up to use as hostages. They were willing to go and take the prison, even if it meant killing everyone inside to do it. It appears the Governor’s magical speeches still worked, even if they were about 80% bull.





Hershel asked him how he was okay with killing people’s daughters when he had one of his own and knew what it was like, and the Governor replied ‘because they’re not mine.’ Woah, okay - looks like you haven’t quite mastered the idea of compassion yet, Gov. I get it: it’s a dog eat dog world where you do what you can to survive, but there is still a line and it was further evidence that he had not changed as he was very willing to cross it to get the prison. It sort of made the last two episodes about him pointless. Yes, it was enlightening to see him as an actual human being with guilt, but we’re right back with a Governor who can charm a group into doing his bidding and killing people for his own needs. We didn’t really need two episodes to show how he went from A to B and then back to A again.

Back in the prison the sickness seems to have been contained and they were all breathing sighs of relief. We finally saw Daryl confronting Rick about banishing Carol and he actually took it pretty well. They went to tell Tyreese who was still on the manhunt for Karen’s murderer and found him looking at a dead animal that had been pinned open for Walkers to feast on. He was busy ranting about how a psycho was loose when they were rudely interrupted by a tank blowing up part of the building.

The Governor’s group were situated outside the fence with Hershel and Michonne tied up in front of them and a whole load of guns pointing towards the prison. He shouted for Rick to come and talk and it pretty much consisted of the Governor saying how he wanted things to go peacefully and gave Rick’s group until sundown to leave. Rick was like ‘umm, no’ and gave a desperate speech about how they can all live at the prison as there was plenty of room. It looked like it was working and as the Governor seemed to think about it, the music swelled with hopeful sounds and Hershel had a proud look on his face, until the Governor took Michonne’s sword and hacked Hershel’s head off. What a bastard.

This understandably pissed off the prison group, people who were already on edge due to the Governor’s last attempt to take them out, and they opened fire. The Governor’s group seemed to have no problem returning bullets except for Tara whose bravado went out the window at the prospect of killing. Despite the fact that the Governor wanted to live in the prison, tank guy drove his tank through the fence and started to blow up buildings like there was no tomorrow. Well, they weren’t going to have a tank just to sit there and look pretty, were they?

The fight was fairly standard but after two and a half episodes of speeches, it was a welcome relief. As a good mid-season finale must, a bunch of people died along with poor beheaded Hershel. I’m a bit gutted he’s gone; he was awesome this season and was on my list to be with in a zombie apocalypse. Another person who died was Megan and I honestly couldn’t care less. She and Lilly were left behind with the caravans and Megan was playing in the mud when a Walker rose up from the ground and bit her in the shoulder. Not gonna lie – I was cheering it on as Megan was so annoying.

The most notable death was definitely the Governor who was finally defeated. He was busy beating Rick into a bloody pulp when a sword suddenly stabbed him through the chest as Michonne got her revenge at last. Instead of finishing the job, she left him on the ground choking on his own blood. I’ve spoken to a few people who were mad about this as she spent the whole season searching for him to exact revenge but I liked it. He had caused Michonne so much pain and stabbing him in the head would have been too quick for her. This way, he was a tasty treat for the Walkers closing in, unable to move as he watched his fate come towards him. But then Lilly appeared, covered in Megan’s blood and looked him in the eye as she raised her gun and took the final shot. It was the ultimate symbol that he had failed in his supposed effort to change; even the woman he was supposedly in love with saw through him and shot him dead.

The outcome of the battle left us with the prison as a wreck and the group split up. The bus they had prepared for this occasion left with a few survivors and Glenn on board. Daryl was a badass and blew up the tank while Maggie had gone searching for Beth who in turn, had gone searching for Judith. Lizzy and Mika were also MIA as Lizzy decided that now was the best time to help out, and ended up saving a cornered Tyreese when she shot someone in the head. That was a quick turnaround for a girl who used to think of the Walkers as pets and wouldn’t shoot a dead man.

We saw them with baby Judith earlier on, but now who knows what happened to her. Rick and Carl found her baby carrier empty and covered in blood and assumed the worst, but I don’t think she’s dead. No body, no death. It was still kind of heart breaking to see Rick and Carl break down though. Props to Andrew Lincoln who once again killed it with his acting throughout the episode; that guy constantly makes my feels hurt.

So now we have a three month wait until we find out what happens to our separated group. I’m quite excited for this actually as this type of mix up usually produces some interesting storylines and gives us a chance to focus on different characters. The show has been lagging for the last few episodes since it’s strong opening this season, but this mid-season finale hasn’t got me anxiously biting my nails over the long wait, it’s more of an ‘I’m intrigued to see what happens’ kind of wait. Hopefully this change will get the show back on track – I will see you in February to find out.

Sarah

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem. Under orders of evil President Snow, Katniss must convince the districts that her actions in the arena were intended only to save the boy that she loves. As the pair try to come to terms with the bloody events in the Hunger Games and their roles as victors, the Capitol has more to throw at them, what with the Quarter Quell coming up for the games' 75th year...

Directed by Francis Lawrence, based on the novel by Suzanne Collins, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz and Sam Claflin. 


Approx Run Time: 2 hours 25 mins 




The last time we saw Katniss Everdeen she'd defied the odds and saved herself and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark from death in the Hunger Games - a kill or be killed, kids killing kids reality TV contest. As victor of the games, you acquire wealth, fame and most importantly, exemption from all future games. Unfortunately, what with the Quarter Quell coming up and a dictator who's still feeling sour about the way the last games ended, Katniss and Peeta aren't quite so lucky. The second movie installment of the popular trilogy written by Suzanne Collins is everything you'd expect; intense, heated, gut-wrenching and bosom-heaving. The Hunger Games was amazing and Catching Fire is even better.

Jennifer Lawrence carries the film with gutsy determination and there's no doubt that she is the star of this franchise. The Oscar-winner's portrayal of the hardened girl from District 12 is so intensely real, that you really do forget that it's a movie. Every shout, every scream of horror and every word is delivered so perfectly, that even the most cold-hearted person in the world is sure to be engulfed in a storm of emotional intensity. Lawrence's facial expressions and her emotional reactions are a perfect substitute to portray the first-person inner monologues of Katniss from the book - it would have been so easy for the writers to do Katniss voiceovers but instead they really allowed Lawrence to show off her terrific acting ability. Katniss' anger, her confusion about her feelings for Gale and Peeta, her grim determination to keep Peeta alive and her turmoil at having to choose where her loyalties lie are brought to life on screen; examples (without giving away too many spoilers) include Katniss' desperate attempts to protect Gale from torture, her grief when she thinks she's failed and her stunned reaction when she discovers what being a victor really means. Lawrence has some truly amazing scenes that, personally, made me a complete nervous wreck and rather teary-eyed. Her reaction to the big reveal as the movie draws to a close is so shockingly, tragically beautiful that I didn't know whether to burst into tears or clap - I'd give another Oscar to J.Law for the ending alone. 






Tears aside, the film manages a few laughs too. The subject matter is a serious one so it felt refreshing to have a few soft quips and gags. Finnick, played by Sam Claflin, brings a ray of sunshine to the dark and grittiness of the plot. He's warm and flirty, with just the right amount of playfulness so that it doesn't come across as tacky or cheesy. Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson, who play Gale and Peeta respectively, have shared most of the limelight with Lawrence in the promotional work for this movie, but I have to say that I think Claflin outshone the both of them as the witty, lovable Finnick - Finnick isn't a fully central character but his presence is of some importance and its a real credit to the actor that he manages to outshine the two main male leads. FYI I'm never going to be able to look at sugar cubes without blushing ever again.


For fans of the book, you'll be happy to know that it's very loyal and there are only a few minor tweaks and changes that are required in order to successfully translate it to the screen. Katniss Everdeen is a really strong, female character though occasionally in the book her narrative annoyed me slightly because she'd sometimes take ages to work something out - especially when it came to Peeta and Gale where she was pretty clueless. What I especially love about the film is that they've managed to keep her strong, heroic traits and make her more likable; she doesn't seem as clueless but she still keeps that essence of naivety surrounding her confused feelings for the two men in her life. 

There's only one flaw with the movie in relation to the book that involves Peeta. Josh Hutcherson doesn't really seem to have much to do as Jennifer Lawrence pretty much does everything for him. His lines aren't mind-blowing and he just seems very average - this is not necessarily the actor's fault (I saw him in Bridge to Terebithia so I know that he has the talent) but the writers' fault. While they have done a marvelous job in translating Katniss' character to the screen, they seem to have forgotten about Peeta. In the book he seems a lot more charismatic and is a master with his words (a point often pointed out by Katniss), but in the movie he loses his charisma and his charm while his dialogue is nothing spectacular. Movie Peeta fell somewhat flat, though his role in the third book takes a huge twist so I'm hopeful that the writers will give the actor more to do in Mockingjay. 

Peeta aside, from the acting of Jennifer Lawrence to the special and visual effects, the movie is spectacular. It is hard for this kind of movie to live up to such high expectations; there's always a risk that it will be compared unfavourably with the book. However, in this case I think Catching Fire might just be even better thank its book. It was so good I went to watch it twice. And there's still time for me to go again... 

Rating: *****

Amber

Teaser Tuesday - The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:


Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
Share the title & author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!




As you probably all know, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie is now in cinemas everywhere. You've probably already seen it. I've seen it twice! I have been rereading the book over the past couple of days and I wanted to offer a teaser that emphasised the heroism of Peeta Mellark. I will be reviewing the film soon, so I'll go into more detail then, but at the moment I feel like Peeta needs some championing. Here's a snippet of why he's such a great character:  


"If you die, and I live, there's no life for me at all back in District Twelve. You're my whole life." Peeta says. "I would never be happy again. It's different for you. I'm not saying it wouldn't be hard. But there are other people who'd make your life worth living."

"No one really needs me," he says, and there's no selfpity in his voice. It's true his family doesn't need him. They will mourn him, as will a handfull of friends. But they will get on.... I realise only one person will be damaged beyond repair if Peeta dies. Me.

"I do," I say. "I need you.”



Sunday, 1 December 2013

S1x9 - Agents of S.H.I.E.LD.: Repairs

Aired 26/11/13 on ABC

Creepy ghosts, a badass woman and some genuinely spooky scenes – this is definitely a Joss Whedon show. This week there was finally more focus on May and we ventured into the idea of other worlds. The main story focused on a safety inspector, who was being haunted by a guy who had died in an explosion she was blamed for, and was making everyone think she had telekinetic powers. While this was all right, I want to start off by talking about something that’s not all right and that’s Ward and May having sexy time.

Turns out that the suggestive scene at the end of last week led to exactly what it suggested and Ward and May had some dark and twisty sexy time in a hotel room. I understand that people want to relieve a bit of stress, get a load off (I’m sorry), but this pairing is just plain weird. Sure, Ward is easy on the eyes but he’s basically a robot and granted May is sometimes a bit of a robot as well, she still has this presence that makes her awesome and so much better than him. It clearly wasn’t the first time either as they have techniques to make sure no one finds out, so this may happen again and while I guess it’s okay for them to relieve some tension, it still makes me say urgh!



So now I’ve got that off my chest, the rest of the episode was pretty good. The group went and got the haunted woman, Hannah, before an angry mob pelted her with some eggs. May was very no nonsense by shooting her with a tranquiliser and Skye wasn’t very appreciative of this fact. She spent the whole episode needling May about her emotionless ways, which was pretty brave seeing as it’s May, but Skye was actually okay when she finally got to talk to Hannah. Hannah was convinced she was being punished by God for not doing her job properly and inadvertently killing four workers, but they eventually worked out that the explosion was caused by Tobias, one of the workers.

The workers were trying to create portals to other worlds and had so far failed, but Tobias loosened some parts of it in an effort to get safety inspector Hannah to come down and see them, and the resulting explosion caused a portal to open. Unfortunately, Tobias was then trapped between the two worlds and the explosion was blamed on Hannah. He tried to protect her from everyone but it resulted in them thinking she had telekinetic powers, while she thought she was haunted by demons.



There were some genuinely creepy scenes as he caused the plane to lose power and then ‘haunt’ the group on board, but the main focus was really on May. She took Hannah away from the plane to draw Tobias out and they fought until she realised that he was just trying to protect her. She told him that he wasn’t being dragged to hell, but that clinging on to the person he used to be is hell, the person who hadn’t killed his co-workers or hurt people who threatened Hannah. If he wanted to make it better than he needed to let that person go and accept who he had become. Turns out those are the same words that Coulson told her once before.

Throughout the episode we heard different versions of how she got the name Cavalry as FitzSimmons told Skye an elaborate tale involving a horse when they decided to keep up the tradition of pranking new agents, and Ward altered the story to something more believable, but it was Coulson who eventually told the truth. May had gone into a building to take down a group of people who followed a gifted individual with no gun and no help. She never said what she did in there but when she walked out she was a different person. She used to pull pranks and have a little fun, but that event changed her into who she is now.

Honestly, it didn’t really make that much difference to me; the impact the story was meant to have didn’t change or alter how awesome she is, it just gave us a bit of context. Plus, it was kind of an obvious scenario to guess, it’s just the specific details we don’t know. Of course, we’re still in the beginnings of the series and there are still a lot of unanswered questions about all of the characters, so maybe as details keep getting gradually revealed it might make more of an impression.


The episode ended with May convincing Tobias to let go and everything was hunky dory again. Skye had a bit more respect for May and it’s possible that May had a bit more respect for her too when she overheard her conversation with Hannah. Coulson also has some respect for Skye as she proved her empathy is helpful when solving cases, saying she will one day be the best at it. Hopefully that won’t be any time soon, as she is still annoyingly in the way the majority of the time, but she is improving slowly, as is the whole show. As long as it keeps moving in this direction, I may even forgive the terribleness that came before, but I think we still have a while before that happens.

Sarah

Thursday, 28 November 2013

S1x8 - The Originals: A River in Reverse

Aired 26/11/13 on The CW

'A River in Reverse' was pretty decent considering everyone spent most of the episode being upset about something. I didn't know who to feel most sorry for. Klaus for having his family betray him? Rebekah for feeling torn between loyalty and her big bro's evil-doing? Marcel for being an epic-fail? Or Elijah who was having nightmares while writhing in pain from his Klaus bite? Let's face it, life sucks for these people... and they're immortal so that's a lot of suckiness! 

Klaus basically spent the majority of his time accusing everyone of betraying him and performing monologues about his feelings. He had Cami write up his life story like Brad Pitt in Interview with a Vampire, but then she got fed up and psychoanalysed him instead. But if this episode proved anything, it was that we now know for certain that Klaus really does care. He was worried enough about Cami getting caught in the crossfire of a vampire war that he wanted her to leave town - and he also believed that she had the right to make the choice herself rather than be compelled as usual. How thoughtful

Of course he did get rather tied up when Rebekah, Marcel and his vampire posse decided to stage some sort of violent intervention. The plan was to dagger him and leave him in the garden for 52 years or something... Obviously Klaus is a lot more powerful than all of the other little vamps, but what they lacked in strength they made up for in numbers. Not that it mattered much though - didn't anyone ever teach them that it's QUALITY NOT QUANTITY?! For a while it looked like he was finally beaten. They chained him and beat him and stabbed him and anything else you can think of that involves pain, but then Klaus' eyes went like this:

When a guy's eyes light up like that, you know he means business. He broke free and started killing loads of vamps. Rebekah, realising that the plan was a complete bust, begged Marcel to retrieve the golden coin that Klaus had thrown earlier, during another of his monologues, for someone to pick up as a show of loyalty. The battle (or should I probably say slaughter?) ended quickly and Marcel conceded defeat. The Kingdom belongs to Klaus now - and he even kicked Marcel out of his house! But all of it came with a sting in the tail as Marcel pointed out that Klaus couldn't buy true loyalty; loyalty has to be earned and Klaus' bullying and threats will only go so far - Rebekah's attitude towards her brother is a perfect example.

Klaus then finished things up by, wait for it... CRYING. Seriously. Mr Big-Bad is officially a crier now. He made a very moving speech to Rebekah and Elijah about how he was jealous that Hayley liked Elijah more than him, and how they both chose to side with other people when he needed them most. In the back of my mind I know that, to an extent, Klaus deserves all of this treatment at the moment, but at the same time I did really feel sorry for him. As Rebekah aptly put it: "We don't abandon you Nik, you drive us away." I mean, how tragic is that?! Klaus didn't want to stay to resolve the issue with his siblings any longer so he kindly gave them back the dagger that could kill them for a bit (at least that was decent of him) and then he moved out - and took the mother of his baby with him!

Other notable things that happened throughout the episode included Elijah suffering in a little wooden shack out in the wilderness with Hayley as his carer. In his pained state, he started having flashbacks that he somehow magically shared with Hayley, showing how he was in love with a witch called Celeste, but thanks to Klaus' trickery she died. (That's another black stain on your record, Klausy-boy). Also, we learned that Elijah likes to spank his girlfriends - good luck with that one Hayley, m'dear!

Hayley also made some progress with her werewolf-family history when she finally spoke to this creepy blonde woman who'd been spying on them. In the woman's defence, she really made an impression because she basically saved Hayley's life. Elijah started hallucinating and strangled Hayley (it happens) and then the woman just came out of nowhere and poked him in the back with a bit of wood (no sexual innuendo there, I promise). When all was calm they eventually had a little chat and Hayley learned that her family all suffered from a curse that reversed the typical werewolf curse; basically they were full-time wolves EXCEPT during the full-moon. Personally, I thought that sounded quite cool and I would like to know more about these wolfy people. I'm loving how this show is slowly drawing its story away from the witches. Hooray!

Now I really can't finish this review without mentioning the one thing that made me truly happy this week:

Tyler deserved to get his neck snapped. Rebekah is my hero! First the dude disappears and neglects Caroline, then returns to have sex with her, then dumps her, then arrives in New Orleans where he kidnaps Hayley and tries to kill her baby. Even the fact that you're good-looking can't save you now wolf-boy. The list of mean things that he's done is getting ridiculously long now guys. It's about time he had his neck snapped! 

I think I've covered the basics. I can't wait to see how Elijah takes the news that Klaus has taken Hayley next week. My goodness that girl gets taken a lot! I expect things will be bloody - Klaus is King now!

Amber

S4x7 - The Walking Dead: Dead Weight

Aired 24/11/13

Week two in the life of Brian the Governor; the dramatic reunion with Martinez last week led to, well, some talking. It was tense, I’ll give them that, as Martinez made it clear he was in charge and eventually invited them back to his camp. Luckily Lily’s optimism hasn’t died along with everyone else as she stated that even though the camp’s not great, they’d make it better. Well okay then!

She set herself up as camp nurse while the Governor went on a scouting trip with Martinez and two brothers to a cabin to get some supplies and stuff. On the way there they found a body of a guy tied to a tree, his head cut off and a sign saying ‘liar’ nailed to his chest. When they reached a cabin there was one with ‘rapist’ nailed to his chest, casually tied to an armchair outside, and a guy with his head this time and ‘murderer’ on his chest, who looked like he had taken himself out holding a picture of his family. He definitely wasn't messing around at the end of the world.

They searched the house, sending the Governor in as the sacrificial lamb to search for Walkers and found the dead guy’s wife and kid, plus the two heads, all looking for some tasty human flesh. He bashed in their skulls with his torch and they sat around a nice warm fire exchanging war stories of way back when. One of the brothers, Mitch, drove a tank in the army which turned out to be very useful when the zombie apocalypse happened. I think I’m going to have to include that in my plan from now on - don’t lie, you know you’ve thought about it too! And when the time comes, you’ll be the one laughing as your well thought out plan keeps you alive. You and your tank.

The next day they’re sat around the picnic table back at camp, eating lunch and getting merry with the beer they found in the cabin, reminiscing about the old times. I like that we continue to see evidence of the Governor’s remorse as the presence of Martinez threatens the life of Brian, even though he has said he’s not going to say anything. The Governor’s reluctance to even mention Woodbury is obvious and he’s apparently very good at dodging the subject when Lily asks.



They all disperse and as he sets about fixing the leak in his ceiling, Martinez invites him for a spot of golf on top of one of the caravans. Martinez is pretty drunk, taking alternate swigs of booze after each swing, talking about how lackey number two died and his responsibilities as camp leader. He suggests sharing some with the Governor and just as he says he should have taken golf lessons, the Governor clubs him over the head, drags him to a Walker pit and drops him in for feeding time, all the while saying he didn’t want it. Jeez, Gov, you could have just said no and be done with it. This reaction was a tad extreme and evidence that maybe there’s a reason he has so much guilt.

Despite the guilt though, it seems that he can’t just wipe away who he was, but luckily no one suspected him and instead blamed Martinez’s death as a drunken accident while he blamed his shaking on a bad dream. Pete assumed leadership of the camp until a vote can be placed and took the Governor and Tank Guy on a hunt. They came across another camp with plenty of supplies that Tank Guy wanted to rob but Pete, the brother with a conscience, said no. They’d only caught a few squirrels though, and when they went back to the camp they found that it has been massacred by humans who had taken the supplies. It wasn’t too clear how much time had passed as they made it seem like not a lot, but I would think that they’d hear a massacre going on not too far away right? Either way they don’t have the supplies for themselves. Gutted.

Spooked, the Governor went back and demanded Lily and Megan pack up all their stuff to leave. Along with Tara and her new girlfriend Elisha, they attempted to flee but came to a roadblock of a bunch of Walkers stuck in the mud. That killed that idea. Forced back to camp, the next day the Governor went to see Pete who thought it was a chat about Tank Guy, but ended up being stabbed in the back, literally. Turns out that the Governor we knew and didn’t quite love has come back to play in his desperation to protect his new family.

He goes to see Tank Guy and confesses to the killing, saying that it was the right idea about robbing the other camp and that they should run this one. We got a little insight to his background as he told a story of his father beating him, but it seems like he has found a kindred spirit in Tank Guy, someone who doesn’t always do the right thing to survive. That was the Governor’s way before and it seems like he’s getting his groove back.



We now have a more familiar picture of the Governor running the camp, making decisions as people follow his every command. He even has the equivalent of his aquarium of Walker heads as he chained Walker Pete to a rock and stuck him in the lake. He has a little family, and more importantly, he has their trust. But all through the episode he’s talked of moving on, finding somewhere safer, and that leads us right back to the shot of him standing looking at the prison.

It seems like he just can’t let it go, especially when he sees Michonne smiling happily at Hershel. The episode ends with him aiming for her, and the promo for next week shows him convincing his new camp to try and take the prison, a storyline that seems oddly familiar. Look, I liked it last season: it gave Rick’s group a new challenge, it was fairly entertaining and stirred up some good dramatic TV moments. But I don’t know if I necessarily want to see it again. It seems like a lazy way of storytelling, to just repeat it over, but at the same time, it is already a proven formula so why change? They might go all ‘Walking Dead’ on us anyway and completely deny our expectations and switch it up. Either way, it’s the mid-season finale next week, so someone is bound to die, and the cliff hanger will annoy me for months. Bring it on.

Sarah


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

S1x5 - Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: Heart of Stone

With the amount of deals these people make, it’s a wonder that they manage to keep track of who they’re working with each week. This episode saw new teams forming, if only for a little while. Cyrus has finally escaped, Knave's no longer a statue and we have a tad more insight on the Red Queen’s life.

The flashback’s focused on Knave and RQ when they were just Will and Anastasia and new to Wonderland. Just before they jumped into the portal to take them there, Anastasia’s mother turned up and gave her a bit of a tongue lashing and basically said she’s a disgrace for choosing love instead of the family, who have worked hard to make her a princess. She was kind of a b*tch and a great example of how children end up like their parents.

She was also kind of right as times were tough in Wonderland. Will and Anastasia were spending most of their time scrounging for food when they decided to gate crash a palace ball. They stole a couple of fancy outfits and tried to blend in with the crowd but it didn’t really work. Will was too interested in stealing food, while Anastasia learned the posh accent and had a conversation with the King. They were busted and Will wasn’t that bothered because he had food, but she had been given an insight into how the wealthy half lived, and she definitely wanted more.


Feeling slightly desperate she convinced Will that it would be a good idea to steal the crown jewels, and honestly, I reckon even I could accomplish that as the security at the palace was shocking. Will was literally standing outside the front door waiting for her while she used a measly knife to crack the case open and start pilfering. Of course, the King turned up half way through, but instead of busting her, he made her his Queen because her determination fascinated him. What!? If it’s that easy to be Queen, where’s my tiara?! So not fair! I did feel a little for Will though: he clearly loved her and she left him as soon as something sparkly was waved in her face. Harsh.

Back in present Wonderland, RQ decided to strike a deal with Alice: if Alice gets her some magic dust that helps fight dark magic, giving her an edge on Jafaar, she will tell her where Cyrus is. Pretty simple except that the magic dust was across an un-crossable ravine and RQ didn’t really fancy stepping off a cliff and dying. Alice was naturally wary, but took the deal. When they got to the ravine, there was a sign saying ‘Only the purest of hearts can take the leap’ and they spent a good portion of time debating what that meant before they finally realised that Alice was pure of heart and had to take a leap – it was pretty simple.

She took a couple steps off the cliff, the faith of her and Cyrus’s love helping her walk on air before that stopped being a thing and she fell and landed among the bones of some other dudes who had tried. The next sequence that followed was pretty stupid as young Alice manifested and tried to force her to kill RQ, who had fallen as well. It was exceptionally cheesy and extremely obvious what the outcome was, as Alice didn’t fall for it and passed the test, proving she’s pure of heart. Well duh. It actually also highlighted that Alice is kind of boring – yes, she’s the good guy, but she’s constantly going on about her love for Cyrus and finding Cyrus. I wish that would happen already so some actual adventures can happen or something.

In the meantime, she got the magic dust but wouldn’t you know it, RQ betrayed her and took it without telling her where Cyrus is. Luckily, while Alice may be a bit annoying, she isn’t a fool and she kept some of the dust for herself. She used it to reveal Jafaar’s castle and professed to the air that she was coming for Cyrus.

Cyrus was actually doing the same thing as he had finally escaped from his cage using the wishbone and was standing outside looking over to the Wonderland woods. The fact that I could write that entire storyline in one sentence when it took five episodes to happen shows how tedious this has been. There was also a side story of the old guy who was in another cage and threw away the keys so he couldn’t escape with Cyrus, saying he would only slow him down. Cyrus was worried Jafaar would kill him but the old guy was sure he wouldn’t. My money is on him being Jafaar’s Sultan father who didn’t acknowledge him and Jafaar’s exacting his revenge with a classic lock-him-in-a-cage plan.



Jafaar has also struck a deal with the White Rabbit, who quite honestly keeps getting the short straw. First RQ was blackmailing him to help her get the bottle and information from Alice, and then Jafaar spent this entire episode interrogating him for information, eventually cutting off his foot so he would tell him who Alice likes in Wonderland. It ended with Jafaar making him open a portal to someplace else, and I reckon he’s probably going to get the Mad Hatter, which is ok because I liked him in OUAT.

So now things have finally happened, hopefully there will be a bit more exciting action that’s less predictable. One thing I liked about the first season of OUAT (I don’t want to talk about the second one) was that it presented us with familiar fairy-tales, but always changed something so that they were surprising. That hasn’t really happened yet in Oncerland as it’s all been fairly predictable. Now Cyrus is free, RQ has turned Knave back into a human and Alice knows where Cyrus is, things might start happening. Or not. We shall see.

I do need to talk about RQ’s footman though. They’re only in it for about two minutes and one of them is actually working for Jafaar, but those are probably the best two minutes of the entire show.  The faces they make and the twirls when dismissing someone are brilliant and make me chuckle every time. Just have them and Knave on screen constantly and it will be a winner!

Sarah

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Elizabeth Wein: Rose Under Fire



While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women's concentration camp.Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners.

But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her?



This book focuses on a bleak moment in history: life and death in Nazi concentration camps. The majority of the novel is written in diary format, with letters added in every now and then. The diary is written by Rose Justice, a pilot who recounts her terrible suffering at the hands of the Nazis at Ravensbrück concentration camp. As a whole, I'd say that the author manages to capture how disturbing life was for prisoners in these camps. The protagonist is made to suffer unspeakable horrors, but with the help of her 'rabbit' friends (prisoners used for medical experiments) she fights her hardest to survive.

While the events of the book ensure that the reader is taken on an emotional journey filled with ups and downs, I did not enjoy the narrative structure of the novel, and for that reason I can not give it a five star rating. The novel begins with Rose's diary entries before her capture and mainly describes her life as a pilot. I found it difficult to warm towards her character at first and I did not find her diary entries particularly exciting. While I admired her skill and courage as a pilot, particularly a female one (rare for the period),  I did not really appreciate her recklessness which I think is what really resulted in her being captured. The diary stops suddenly and is interrupted by several letters from Rose's friends and family, who are distraught with worry as she has gone MIA. While I understand that the sudden halt in a diary can be very harrowing, like The Diary of Anne Frank for example, I really don't think that it worked for this fictional novel. The diary entries start up again very quickly and we learn that time has passed by several months. The diary is then used to report the events of the things that happened to Rose during the gap in her diary. This is why I don't think the diary format is a good device to use; we learn early on that Rose survives her ordeal but don't actually learn about the ordeal until later. It's almost like there is an unavoidable spoiler within the story. I also think it would have been more harrowing and would have had more impact if we followed her first person narrative during the events rather than after them. At a lot of points throughout the diary some things are very general and because of this, I sometimes felt detached from what was happening to the character. The plot itself is a good one and enough happened to persuade me to read further. Unfortunately, it is the execution of the plot's presentation that weakens it. 

My other qualm is that it features a spoiler or two from Code Name Verity, which I have not yet finished reading. It is advisable that you read that book first before reading this one - not because this book won't be easy to understand, but because if you plan on reading Code Name Verity too then you will avoid the spoilers. I wish this information had been given to me before I started reading. 

The poetry for me, is the strongest point of this novel. Rose is not only a pilot but a poet and it is her poetry that keeps her sane and to a certain extent, alive. Now I'm not a big fan of poetry - as Sarah my fellower reviewer can confirm. I didn't struggle to grasp the meaning of the poetry and found it intriguing. It is the poetry that allowed me to connect more to the character than her actual diary entries. The poetry came from her heart and reflected both the horrors of what was happening around her, the stiff mechanics of the war and her human soul. 

Finally, Elizabeth Wein's general prose style is swift and not overly complex which makes it a fast read. If you enjoy quick, historical novels then this is the novel for you. If you are looking for something more like The Book Thief then this may disappoint. 

Rating: ***

Amber 

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:


Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
Share the title & author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!



Ever since I read The Book Thief a few weeks ago I've been trying to find something similar ever since. It didn't necessarily have to be set during the same era but I wanted a book that would inspire me in the same way. After much searching, I was recommended Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein which I am currently in the middle of reading. So far it's good... that's all I'm going to say. If you want to know more you'll have to wait for the review which will be posted sometime next week!



I could not tell what he was thinking. He rubbed my hair gently between his fingers. 

Then he said one word. It sounds the same in English and French and German. Kerosene. 

And he left me here with the door closed. 

page 131

Monday, 25 November 2013

S5x8 - The Vampire Diaries: Dead Man on Campus

Aired 21/11/13 on The CW

Hallelujah! No more doppelgangers! I repeat: no more doppelgangers! The Silas plot has officially ended - and yes I know I said that last week, but you never really know what the TVD writers might cook up from episode to episode. The only doppelgangers in this episode were Elena and Katherine. We have returned to the status quo. Finally!

The college plot got the chance to take over in this episode; new vampire Jesse was being tortured by Dr Maxfield, except he's super strong these days so he managed to break free, bite the crazy professor and quickly reveal all to Caroline. Oh and he also bit his room mate who happened to be Elena's depressing kindred spirit, Aaron, but don't worry he's okay because Caroline taught Jesse how to heal people. It was sweet - kinda. Caroline and Elena were also in the process of planning their first college dorm party and used it to help Jesse cope with his new vampy status - apparently Elena thinks that being a vampire is awesome! Who knew? While Elena, Jesse and Caroline raved it up and whatnot, Damon was called in to convince the professor to reveal more about his experiments and the secret society (when I say convince I mean torture obviously).

While this was going on there were a couple of sub-plots involving Katherine and Bonnie. Now, I can't believe I'm about to say this and I promise I will never say it again so read carefully... I like Bonnie right now. I know, I'm shocked too! I like her new hair style, I like her new storyline which basically involves her screaming in pain as dead spirits pass through her, and I like her boyfriend cos he has some very defined muscles (see below!). Bonnie is in my good books at the moment - oh and did I mention that she no longer has witch powers?! I think that this is a great idea, because for the past 5 seasons she's basically only been around to do magic spells for other people. She can't do that now so she actually has some breathing room for real character development. I'm excited for Bonnie! Seriously!





The Katherine plot had its good parts and its bad parts. She is amazing and will always be amazing, but she also did something weird and totally out of character that I WAS NOT OKAY WITH. Do you remember that weird mind control thing with the only human in Mystic Falls, Matt Donovan? Well, that appeared on Katherine's radar this week. She was drowning her sorrows at the Grill while Matt was watching the video of the traveller dude controlling his body. In exchange for more booze, Katherine helped Matt with his "spiritual passenger" issues. I also peed my pants with laughter when I remembered how Matt already knew Nadya cos he'd enjoyed some weird threesome thing back in his "Rebekah" days! Katherine... that dude hooked up with your daughter! LOL. Anyway, she then went and hung out with Stefan who was sat on his own and being all miserable (no change there then). She offered to help him through his post-traumatic stress from all that continuous drowning he did over the summer in exchange for a favour. Look at Katherine being all heroic and helping people out! She's giving Stefan something to do to take his mind off his Silas issues and she's helping out Matt. Now don't start thinking that she's turned over a new leaf... she was still totally bad-ass and she'll take any excuse for a little bit of scheming and some free booze. She also introduced Stefan to her daughter which was hilarious, because Stefan took the news very well - his facial expression was basically like it is all the time... broody and frowning.

Katherine, Nadya, Stefan and Matt (my new favourite team) hung out in the back of the Grill, where Nadya brought forth Matt's mind passenger. They talked in Czech for a bit and we learned that the traveller didn't know that Silas was already dead - you snooze you lose sucker! FYI Matt's eastern European accent is so funny, he should speak like it all the time. Traveller Matt then revealed that his mission was to kill Katherine - uhhh no way mate, not happening. So she stabbed him right in the gut. Pow! Then she fiddled with the bloody knife, as she revealed that Matt would be fine and the knife had expelled the traveller forever. Matt was saved, Katherine was awesome, Nadya was upset because apparently she had a thing with the passenger, and Stefan was like... WTF? It was amazing.


After all this stuff happened, Stefan had a PTSD episode and strangled Katherine - everyone wants to hurt her all the time it seems - and she helped him through his stress by reminding him of all the people he had killed in the exact order. Nadya then came running out all upset because her Mum killed her boyfriend and bla bla bla, nobody cares that much about Nadya. This whole scene was totally weird, but I did like the bonding between Stefan and Katherine (even if he did strangle her) and I also liked how Katherine was showing very human emotions and behaving like a protective mother.

So then this really awful thing happened: Stefan later found a note left by Katherine at the bar that was basically a suicide note. Again he was like... WTF? Katherine was standing at the top of the Mystic Falls clock tower ready to COMMIT SUICIDE. Seriously! What is it with this show and suicide at the moment?! Two of the doppelgangers did it last week. Another FYI: Suicide is NOT COOL. And anyway, suicide is not what MY Katherine would do - she is a survivor, though I suppose she did hang herself once but that was because she was going to come back as a vamp. BUT NO, she would not do this again. I WAS PISSED OFF AT THIS POINT IN CASE YOU DIDN'T REALISE. She jumped but luckily Stefan was on hand to catch her. She told him (and I'll admit this bit was quite sad) that she was dying of old age. Stefan said: "You're Katherine Pierce. Suck it up." BEST ADVICE EVER. So Katherine isn't dead and she had a moment with Stefan that somehow managed to be harsh and cute at the same time. At least that's something. BUT THEN... she made the infamous 'Katherine is scheming' face, smiled and looked up at the tower. Perhaps she was just helping Stefan? Or has she got something in the works involving Stefan? Did she pretend she was committing suicide? (NOT COOL, KIDS BTW)

Ok, so I suppose I have lingered on the Katherine plot for long enough (but she is the best so it's understandable). While Damon was torturing the professor, we learned that he was creating vampires that only fed on other vampires. At the college party this point was proven when Jesse decided to take a bite out of sweet Caroline. He then ran off to confront the professor, but ran into Damon and decided to try and eat him. During the whole mess, Elena came along and rammed Jesse through with a bit of wood and killed him. Caroline looked completely betrayed! I mean, her best friend just killed her new beau! Elena's defence: He was trying to eat my boyfriend, he couldn't be stopped! Well, she could of just wounded him or snapped his neck which usually happens to somebody every other episode. As is the way with Elena, the only person she could think about was Damon. Go figure. And they didn't even really know what Jesse was capable of; they could have helped him through his cravings etc and donated blood. But we'll never know because he's dead. Well done Elena, you're so thoughtful as always.



The story wasn't over though... we were given another big reveal. Dr Maxfield mentioned the Augustine vampires and it turns out that Damon had heard of them before because... wait for it... HE WAS ONE! 60 years before! He was soon suffocated with vaporised vervain and thrown into a cell - turns out it was the same one he was in before and his initials were carved into the wall. All of this was intermixed with quick flashbacks of Damon being experimented on before. The poop is about to hit the fan my friends. I'm actually quite intrigued... the only thing I'm not looking forward to in the next few episodes are the very likely and very typical TVD flashback scenes because we all know how silly they can be sometimes. Though, if they happen to show Damon being tortured for a change then I won't mind too much. (Don't worry I don't hate Damon and I hope he gets saved bla bla bla, but I'm definitely looking forward to seeing someone else wearing the shoes for a change!)

So overall, Katherine was incredible as always (I'm going to forget about that suicide thing for now) and Elena was annoying again. Next week Damon is going to be tortured or whatever... Just wait til Elena finds out that he's missing... I'm dreading that reaction. Hopefully, Katherine will be around to lighten things up with her boozing.

Amber