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.



The World Is A Vampire, But The Moon Is A Tribble

First of all…


Generally speaking, with Doctor Who or any other long-running show, there will be Those Episodes that you keep coming back to because they’re important, amazingly well-done, a hilarious breath of fresh air, or they provoke strong feelings (or “feels” as the kids call them nowadays.  What was wrong with “verklempt” Discuss among yourselves.)

For example, “Bad Blood” is one of Those Episodes of the X-Files, because it’s brilliantly staged, lets Mulder and Scully show the funny side of their long, often painful partnership; and somehow makes you hungry for pizza even while watching Scully perform a gorram autopsy.

Another one is “Closure” because we finally really properly learn what happened to Samantha Mulder, and it’s a complete gut-punch that makes sense in a series where little ever does. I still can’t listen to Moby’s “My Weakness” without weeping, over a decade later.

“Kill The Moon” is one of Those Episodes for Doctor Who.

Doctor:  Listen.  There are moments in every civilization’s history in which the whole path of that civilization is decided; the whole future path.  Whatever future humanity might have depends upon the choice that is made right here and right now.  Now, you’ve got the tools to kill it; you made them.  You brought them up here all on your own with your own ingenuity.  You don’t need a Time Lord.  Kill it or let it live, I can’t make this decision for you.
Clara:  Yeah, well I can’t make it.
Doctor:  Well, there’s two of you here.
Clara:  Well yeah, a school teacher and an astronaut.
Doctor:  Who’s better qualified?

Doctor:  Essentially, what I knew was that you would always make the best choice.  I have faith that you would always make the right choice.
Clara:  Honestly, do you have music playing in your head when you say rubbish like that?

Oh, Clara, Clara. She still has not forgiven him for regenerating, has she? She still misses her cuddly floppy-haired young-old Doctor, because he’d have given her a hug and a pep-talk and made it not so scary.

But he’s still the same man, and it’s times like this I wish she could remember all the other Claras she’s been, who’ve known the Doctor all his lives. But even though she can’t, she could at least remember the time she talked the Doctor down from using the Moment to destroy his own planet. She was good enough then, so why does she doubt herself now, when it’s her own planet? She’s not like the others, who turned off the lights and said “Kill the moon, even if we die along with it.”

If he does have music playing in his head, then maybe it’s time she let herself listen to it. Just a little.

Was he harsh? Yes. But was he wrong? Oh hell no. Lundvik even says the same thing. “Not everything can be nice.”

Even making the right decision can hurt so, so bad. The hurt is temporary, though.

In time, I think, Clara will see that. And the Doctor – well, I think he’ll let his guard down once Clara lets herself actually see him. As he pleaded in “Deep Breath,” Clara still isn’t seeing him.

Some people have complained that they insult each other too much, and I think that comes from the building tension that has been there since Trenzalore – the fact that they’re attempting to carry on and pretend nothing’s changed when in fact a lot has changed. And the harder they try to pretend that nothing is different, the less they can see the parts that are the same.


If I could think this deeply about coding, man, I’d be a frickin’ Java wizard by now. On the other hand, there’s a lot of fish in that sea, and maybe I just haven’t found my particular Babel fish yet.

So, that’s my review of “Kill the Moon.” Basically, don’t kill the Moon, it’s an egg and if it doesn’t hatch when I hit 71 I’m going to be very, very cross with you all.

Breaking Broadchurch

So Gracepoint aired last night, and it’s every bit as queasily self-conscious as I’d feared it would be. Of course, being a remake, it’s impossible to be any other way(unless it’s been a decade or two since the original, and even then there will be comparisons.)

The fact that the entire show is resting on David Tennant’s narrow shoulders is unsettling; while he’s more than capable of carrying the story, he shouldn’t have to. It’s an ensemble show, and the rest of the ensemble is unfortunately showing their roots as graduates of the Zooey Deschanel School of Emoting. (“Omigod you guys I’m so sad.” “Omigod you guys I’m so scared.”)

Even Anna Gunn seems hamstrung in Gracepoint, and anyone who saw her in Breaking Bad knows she’s got the chops. She just doesn’t seem to know when to dial it up or down here, and neither does anyone else. (Well, except Tennant, but it must be acknowledged that he has the advantage of having made this show once before.)

The first thing I noticed, unfortunately,  was the cinematography. Everything is too brightly lit, too blue, too HD – it’s washed out like soap opera lighting, which unfortunately gave me flashbacks to Passions (Remember that trainwreck?) which is never good. Then there was the self-conscious “THIS IS A PERFECT SLEEPY HAPPY FAMILY TOWN” vibe they were attempting to create, right down to the “Gracepoint: America’s Last Hometown” banners hanging from light posts. It was just one anvil after another smacking us upside the head.

The shot-for-shot remaking is a strange technique. I’ve seen it done elsewhere and I don’t quite understand the appeal of it. I suppose one could argue that it’s like seeing the blurry images sharpened up and made new, while preserving the original meaning – but done poorly, as it’s done in Gracepoint, it feels more like a bad LARP.

(Full disclosure time: I’m a pretty hardcore David Tennant fangirl. His work on Doctor Who is of course stellar, and has made him the star he deserves to be. But if you want to lose your socks entirely, watch him in Takin’ Over The Asylum, or Hamlet. In the first, he’s playing an emotionally disturbed twenty-something while actually in his twenties. In the second, he’s nearly forty but still comes off as an emotionally disturbed twenty-something. Plus, Claudius is played by Sir Patrick Motherf**king Stewart. What’s not to like?)

Point is, when you’re doing something besides soaps or reality shouting TV, you need to actually make your characters live and breathe. Body language matters, people. I only took a handful of acting classes and even I know that. If you just stand there with the same look on your face in every scene, I’m not gonna buy your emotional beats no matter how hard you anvil them at me. Hell, even Olivia Colman in her Eighties outfit on “Look Around You” wasn’t this stiff and awkward, and she had a reason to be.

So. That’s Gracepoint in a nutshell, and while I’m going to stick out the rest of the episodes for Science, I’ll recommend you just go watch Broadchurch instead.

Or watch Gracepoint muted, because Tennant is still ridiculously good-looking.