Cry Havoc, And Let Slip the Werebeavers of War

If you’ve not been watching Grimm, well, I’m sorry. You’re missing out on something unique and far more Portland than fucking Portlandia. Also, Grimm contains 100% less Fred Armisen.

If you have been watching, and you have NOT seen the Season 4 finale, turn back now because ooh boy are there spoilers.

So. “Cry Havoc.” In which the accidental Hexenbiest comes to a bloody end along with a good chunk of the Royal Family.

Now there’s an article about how Juliette was basically victimised by the entire Wesen world, and how even as she was going around raising hell as a newly minted Wesen the Grimm gang should have been kinder to her.

Firstly – they TRIED. She threw it back in their faces. She vacillated, as one would, between wanting to go back to her old life and wanting to accept her new life. They took that wanting as being a cry for help,  and help was offered. But by the time they had something real they could do, she didn’t want the help anymore.She just wanted to break shit. She picks fights with strangers in bars. She stalks Adalind and attacks Rosalee. She sets Nick’s trailer on fire.

Plus, let’s not forget the fact that barely a season before, Nick was stripped of his Grimm powers by Adalind when she used magic to disguise herself as Juliette and raped Nick. Yeah. I’m using that word because what the fuck else would you call it when you coerce someone into sex? And Juliette doesn’t show him one fucking bit of compassion then. She actually blames him, acts like he cheated on her.

And when she’s over that(we never find out if Nick is over it, he has no room for his feelings in this house), she can’t keep it a secret that she loves having “a normal boyfriend.” She wants to put all the Wesen and Grimm stuff behind her, and for him to do the same. Except that’s not how it works. Now that the big bads know the local Grimm is powerless, they come after him and everyone close to him.

So then she HAS to do the ritual to get Nick his powers back, but at first she refuses. And Nick is like, bummed, but he’s a fighter and he’s still got some of those funky side effects from the Cracher-mortel poison back in the day, so he thinks he can do this even without powers. Because Trubel, his protege, is there – so now he’s not completely screwed.

But then the Wesenrein(the Wesen version of the KKK) start attacking, and Juliette realises that as long as she’s with Nick, this shit will never EVER stop and it’s actually rather a lot worse now. So she resigns herself and does the spell.

And then she woges.

And Henrietta, the local expert on all things Hexenbiest – has a spell to tell Juliette her true nature….and judging by the hole the potion makes in the desk, and the floor, and the subsequent floors below them, it would appear that Juliette was always a Hexenbiest underneath. And that’s when she starts to turn. She embraces her monster and takes her friends’ confusion and distress as rejection and betrayal. She sees Nick as being weak and scared. And then she finds out Adalind is pregnant from that night with Nick. In her mind, that’s Nick choosing Adalind over her. Never mind that Nick had no choice in that situation, never mind that he’s only not flaying Adalind with a lemon zester because she’s carrying his child, and he has some fucking ethics about pregnant women (how dare he!)

Juliette knew Nick would never stop trying to cure her, and she also knew that she would never let him do it.

She knew that one of them would have to die in order for it to end.

And he knew too, because Henrietta had said, when a Hexenbiest is coming into her powers, your only choices are get out of her way or kill her.

Juliette claimed not to have known the Royals would kill Nick’s mother, Kelly, when she came back. But she also knew she could have escaped on the helicopter. (Though perhaps Diana would have had Meisnser throw her out too – who knows?) She could have run away. But she came back.

Juliette knew she was going to either die or kill Nick that night. But her final words – I think she was hoping he’d kill her. Her suppressed humanity came back as she came down the stairs and saw Diana, saw Kenneth covered in Kelly’s blood, and his shameless glee, and she shuts down. Through the scenes with Kenneth, with Frederick and Diana, she is unnaturally reserved and quiet as her conscience gnaws at her.

But it’s too late, too damn late, and when she goes home to face the music, she finds out that Nick is done. He doesn’t have it in him to kill her – he tries, but he can’t bring himself to finish it – and he tells her to go. He surrenders. And she doesn’t take the surrender. She stands over him, she woges, and says “Goodbye, Nick.”

And then Trubel shoots her with the doppel-armbrust loaded with Siegbarste Gift…the stuff that kills ogres.

Suddenly the Hexenbiest is gone and it’s just Juliette, fragile and mortal and afraid, and Nick holds her as she dies. As angry as he is, he can’t let her die alone on the floor.

Do I think Juliette set the trap on purpose in order to get Nick to kill her? That would depend on how much else she knew, I suppose – did she know Trubel was back, too? (She seemed pretty damn surprised to see Trubel.)

I think Kelly knew it was a trap and told the Resistance to be ready to collect Diana. I think she must have told Diana that the King was a bad man.

And I think Juliette knew that, even if she killed Nick, there would be others coming after her. That the only thing worse than having the Wesen world against her was having Grimms against her.

I think Juliette knew she was never going to be able to live with her Hexenbiest self. She wasn’t strong enough. In her mind, surrounded by Wesen and policemen and Grimms, she was the weak little human who couldn’t cope.

It’s a shame she never figured out that the strength she needed wasn’t telekenesis, but compassion.

Because maybe she would have been able to show it when Nick needed it. And maybe she would have been able to see it when Nick and her friends offered it. And maybe that would have been enough to slay the monster inside.

But we’ll never know, because when you live for revenge, you tend to die for it too.

422-Trubel_shoots_Juliette_with_the_Doppelarmbrust

Drink Me

(Author’s Note: This is the weird shit I dream about, and sometimes I remember to write it down. Apologies in advance for purple prose. It IS a dream, after all.)

The rainbow glitters line up perfectly, spelling out “Roy G Biv” in a single line across the bottle’s curved belly.

There are others too – invisible mylar shreds, microglitters that dance just out of reach –

He asks if it’s real. If he could drink it.

“You could,” says the green apron, “but I don’t recommend it.”

He asks again. He is eager for me to try this nuptial cocktail that has sat unopened and forgotten since the aprons here were bright red and covered with cheap flair.

I grimace – it is almost flavorless. I suck at my cheeks. I cannot tell if the vinegar tang is from the bottle or from my own mouth.

His eyes are wide in anticipation. I sip twice more, tasting the ghosts.

He looks irritated. “You should have loved it,” he says. “Gimme.”

He swigs it down, a greedy light in his eyes. “Delicious,” he says, then, to the green apron, “We’ll take it.”

The mylar chunks are caught in my teeth, Roy and his friends are already on the way to my stomach.

He would not want me, I think, if he knew the flavors I contained now. Or perhaps he would want me more.

I don’t want to find out which.

I excuse myself to the ladies’ room while he grunts the large bottle into the cart. It is as tall as our imaginary toddler.

Discount muffins and powdered cheese surround me as he disappears into the flourescent mist.

I once knew a boy who claimed to love all the music he’d ever heard. I never saw the love in his face, only the band logos pinned to his guitar’s case like helpless specimens. He did not listen, he consumed.

(There’s a story of another boy, a boy who wrote a letter to his favorite author. The author’s reply arrived in due course and the boy loved it so much he ate the entire letter. I sometimes wonder what became of that boy.)

The guitar case boy had eaten a lot of music, but it passed through him undigested, and he was still ravenous for something to fill his hollows.

I saw him satisfied only once, when we were at a dingy sandwich shop and he spilled his drink onto my hat. The laughter came out of him then, an unstoppable wave of joy. I took my ruined hat and left the relationship.

I’m in a book shop that changes each time I turn a corner. There are books I have only seen in my dreams – scripts for stories that are filed under non-fiction in some other universe. Rosalee’s spice jars sit next to the Doctor’s screwdrivers, and the door into Starlight is open, but only on sunny days. The books pile up in my basket, and as I’m waiting in line I hear a familiar voice.

“You forgot me,” he says.

I avert my eyes. He grabs my throat, forces me to look at him.

“How could you forget me?”

The coughing takes me, and he lets go. The shards of glitter pour out of my mouth and he jumps back, frightened. The answer is staining the carpet and making the air twinkle.

“The wine,” I say, shaking with the effort.

And suddenly the wine is flat cola, soaking into the pile of a Carrollesque top hat, and the husband is a boy laughing, and I pick up the guitar case and fling it open. It’s empty.

“I’m done,” I say.

“But it tastes so much better when you do it for me,” he sulks. “Please.” He grabs my wrist.

“Don’t.”

But he has already broken the skin with his crooked teeth, drawn blood like the richest wine, and as he drinks it down he begins to choke…

Merits and tokens

I occasionally hear people complain about lack of diversity in casting.

And then I hear other people say, “Well, it’s about their talent, not their race,” which is bullshit when there are lots of working actors of all races, sizes, genders, and abilities and yet so many shows still follow a format of “A bunch of white cisgendered actors and a token minority or two” or “A mix of men and women but only the men get agency.”

I occasionally AM the one complaining about lack of diversity in casting, because I’m a mutt and a minority in several directions. As a person with a “funny ethnic name” I should be cast as a programmer or a stuck-up scientist, as a half-Asian I should DEFINITELY be a programmer or maybe engineer, as a lesbian I should be a butch punchline or a male porn fantasy, and as a woman I should be a smooth, flat surface for the men to bounce their dialogue off of. ‘K.

And then I see a rerun of “Friends” or “The Big Bang Theory” or “Two and a Half Men” and I’m so, so disappointed because it’s basically the Adventures of White Guys and their Non-White Guy Friends but reality is not like that.

Which is why I’m so happy there are shows like “Grimm” around.

The main character, Nick, is a white guy. However, he’s completely helpless when his supernatural abilities manifest UNTIL his aunt and mother come to his aid. The Grimm powers are inherited through the mothers, and they have all the knowledge he needs. So it starts with powerful women.

Nick’s partner, Hank, is a black guy. And not a token. He’s treated as the indispensible person that a partner is in a procedural cop show.

Nick’s best friend, Monroe, is a vegan feminist wolfman who wears sweater vests and plays with model trains. He’s another white guy, but not a macho stereotype. He’s emotional and doesn’t apologise for it.

Nick’s boss, Renard, is a European prince played by an Israeli guy. He’s complicated and has really nice muscles, if you like that sort of thing.

Then there’s Wu, another cop, who has struggled with his sanity for a while, and now he’s properly part of the Grimm gang after he saw an Asian Wesen species called an Aswang. Wu’s character is Asian, and he is played by a Filipino-American actor.

So far we have: three white guys, a black guy and an Asian guy.

Now the women. They’re white, all of them, BUT. There are FOUR OF THEM.

Four main female characters, all of whom have agency, all of whom carry huge chunks of the story.

They’re independent. They have their own agendas. Adalind wants her powers back. Then she wants her baby back. She’ll do whatever or whoever it takes to get that.

Juliette – I can’t say much without giving you spoilers for season 4. She’s prone to saying that she was happier before all the Wesen stuff. She has her own thing going on.

Rosalee is the Willow of this little Scooby gang. She’s a recovering addict, she’s also an excellent potion maker. She could do just fine without Monroe, but given the choice, she chooses Monroe despite the cultural taboos of a mixed-Wesen marriage.

Trubel(Theresa Rubel) is the new kid. She’s young, frightened and has new powers to master. Her name is an incredibly bad pun but we love her anyway. She’s still figuring herself out. She bonds with Juliette, but who knows how that’s going to pan out?

Maybe the ensemble format lends itself better to getting a good mix of people. Or maybe the people doing the casting are paying more attention these days.

Whatever the reason, this cast is a great example of diversity that feels natural and real. Nobody’s a token here. And nobody is immune – there are NO Mary Sues here. Everyone goes through something, and everyone evolves from their experiences.

ALSO – I don’t have an exact tally because I haven’t seen all the seasons, but “Longmire” is another show that has a great mix. There are a lot of Native American actors in this show, and the main character, Walt Longmire, is written as sort of the white alien who has to earn the trust of the people he’s responsible for protecting. It’s really good.

That Writing Challenge Thing (When X meets Y)

X: The Princess Bride

Y: The Matrix

**

It’s all about Destiny, of course.

Not the overbearing sense of a future already mapped, signed, sealed and delivered – no, that’s small-d Destiny. This is big-D Destiny, the Princess of this backwater kingdom, and if you thought dirty things when I said “big-D,” well, you’re not wrong.

She’s the one that, if they had music videos in this land, would be starring in all of them. Soft-focus, slow-motion, short-shorts, crotch-bumping hard-rock music videos. Maybe with an oversized cheeseburger in one hand, just to push it over the top.

Naturally, she’s extremely popular. She has tons of friends, and quite a lot of them seem to be boys who are quite keen to come visit her and show her their massive treasure chests. But she isn’t interested in any of them, not even Lord Emarae from the kingdom next door.

Especially not Lord Emarae from the kingdom next door. Ick. The one time they met at a ball, he spent the entire evening talking about himself and she was so bored she actually started hoping there’d be a pirate attack just to give her an excuse to end the night early.

Ah, the pirates. I suppose it’s time I got to those.

Every kingdom’s got something. A fly in the ointment, a serpent in the souffle, et cetera. Around here, it’s pirates.

The markets are full of vendors selling Pirate Repellent and Anti-Piracy alarms. Politicians debate in the town square at length about the best methods for dealing with them. Everyone has their routines and traditions, codes and camouflage. Every generation learns from the previous one about how to deal with their society’s burgeoning buccaneering burden.

My kingdom, Destiny thinks proudly, pulling the handles to close the patented Pirate-Proof Shutters(just 15 doubloons at Sassy Jack’s Retail Smorgasbord!)

Suddenly there’s a flutter and thump as a messenger bird squeezes itself through the nearly-closed shutters. For a moment Destiny holds her breath, but then the bird stirs and shakes out its grey-blue feathers. Not a parrot, thank goodness. None of the merchants have successfully created a product that gets those pee stains out.

The bluejay skritches its ear vent with a foot as Destiny crosses the room to check her treasure chest.

It’s empty.

She stares at the bird, puzzled.

The bluejay puffs out, an angry little ball on sticks. “RESOURCE_NOT_FOUND,” it squawks.

What the heck? That wasn’t supposed to happen. Every day, bird showed up, and so did treasure. Sometimes the birds were blue, sometimes red, and once in a while they were huge and brown with white heads. Those birds were really good because everyone got treasure and trinkets.

“Oi,” she says, poking the bird. “Try again.”

The bird tilts its head back and sings, “NETWORK_ERROR.”

Destiny stands up, crosses to the window, and shouts, “BRING ME THE SEER RIGHT NOW!”

**

Captain Westcott Langley unties the last rope holding the ship to the dock, and the little ship Barnable is on her way. It’s not the name he would have chosen, but when he arrived that first day at the pier, he asked for a ship and this was what he got. After a few missions, they’d told him, he could trade her in for something a bit nicer.

He settles back into his seat in the crow’s nest (there’s only room for one seat, and stupidly, it’s up there) and waits.

The seconds tick down on his timepiece. An oriole alights on the tip of the mast. “Need help speeding things along?” it asks.

“Shut up,” Langley says, and pokes the bird in the eye. It flies away, but it will be back. It always comes back.

The Barnable is moving at a pretty good clip, especially considering there is no wind to speak of. The water’s barely rippled, yet the pace is as regular as that of a woman in a yogurt commercial. There are no such things as “commercials” here, of course – there’s no television –  but he lets this slide. He needs the reminders, they keep him from acclimating too much to this foreign world.

The bird reappears. This time, it’s a fat yellow canary. “Hey!” it chirps. “It looks like you’re in a hurry! Need some help?”

“Fuck off.”

“I’m sorry, you need to wait 5 more seconds to decline this offer.”

“Fuck. Off.”

“I’m sorry, you need to wait 3 more seconds to decline this offer.”

Langley rolls his eyes, counts to three, and punts the canary into the water.

He closes his eyes and leans against the mast for a quick snooze.

Seconds later, the timepiece is chiming softly, and the Barnable is bumping gently against a dock.

He ties off, climbs down off the awkward seat, and makes for town.

**

The Seer is exactly what you’d expect a Seer to be in a situation like this. Ratty hair, grimy burlap robes of indeterminate color, rotted teeth, warty nose, the whole crone-tastic shebang.

She takes Destiny’s empty treasure chest and shakes it, hard. “Sometimes you just gotta try it a couple times before the treasure comes out,” she rasps.

“You think I didn’t already try that?” Destiny says. “And what’s up with the birds?”

The Seer grabs one of the birds and swings it over her head in a circle. She lets go suddenly, and the bird sails into the laundry hamper with a muffled thump and a *pop.*

She looks into the hamper and shakes her head. “Anyone else getting empties, or just you?”

Destiny shrugs. “This just started happening. I don’t know.”

“I’ll look into it. Give me your keys.”

“How many?”

“All you got. This could take a few tries.”

Destiny opens a different chest and retrieves a bag of brightly-colored keys. “Is this enough?”

“Eh, it’ll do.” The Seer takes the bag and hobbles out.

Destiny sits down and sighs. Nothing to do now but wait-

The Seer hobbles back in. “Got it,” she says.

“Well?”

“WAKE UP, JENNY!” the Seer booms, before exploding in a burst of pixellated light.

“NO_CARRIER,” the bluejay chirps.

“Aaaaugh!” Destiny cries, throwing herself into the bed. Before she knows it, she’s asleep.

And awake again, and the bird has landed on the windowsill and said, “AN ERROR HAS OCCURRED WHILE DISPLAYING THE PREVIOUS ERROR” before exploding into a cloud of feathers.

She opens the windows, closes them again, paces the room. Somehow the bird is back. It opens its mouth and vomits yellow stars all over the floor.

Destiny covers her ears and screams.

There’s a knock at the door. “Go away!” she cries.

“Your Highness? Is everything all right?” Oh no, not you…

Lord Emarae knocks on the door, harder this time. “Let me in, milady!” he shouts, throwing his shoulder into the door. It’s stupidly sturdy. He might break his shoulder getting through, and then how would he carry his lady to safety from the horrors beseiging her? No, this calls for cleverness.

By the time he gets back with the bolt cutter that he’d bought from the groundskeeper for a ridiculous number of coins, the pandemonium is over. Fear seizes him. It’s too quiet. He hurriedly breaks the lock and opens the door to find it…

…empty.

**

Destiny scrambles down the back stairwell that the Seer had told her about once, a long time ago. For good measure she’s thrown the shutters open so maybe they’ll think she flew out the window. Or fell. Or got sucked up by a passing tornado with exceptional manners. Whatever. Exploding birds are one thing, but exploding birds and Lord Emarae clinging to her like a week-old poultice is surely divine punishment for some crime she’s yet to commit.

She hits the dirt running, heading for the one place she’s managed to keep to herself in all this royal madness. The Shed.

She’s half-way there when a brown blur comes at her from the left and knocks her, breathless, into the mud.

“What the…”

Big blue eyes look down at her. No way…

And then the eyes are gone as the brown blur leaves again, but there’s something in her palm now. A piece of paper with a message on it.

“None of this is real.”

Destiny stuffs the paper into her skirt pocket and gets to her feet. The mud is ground into her leggings and skirt, and if it’s not real, then someone has a pretty damn disgusting imagination…

**

(Note: I’m not sure where this is going, so I’m going to take a break from it for a while. I’ll post what I have but this may end up being continued later.)