I’m beginning to think there’s something wrong with me. I love to read, I love to write, I love to watch TV, I’ve got a gig where I get to do all three, and yet I’m never ACTUALLY in the mood to do it. This is like the 5th consecutive review that I haven’t been able to get jazzed about. One could assume it’s the comparatively low quality of the shows themselves, and while that’s probably a part of it, it’s never stopped me before (“Oh, God, not ANOTHER episode of ‘Generator Rex’”). Furthermore, my brand new book just came out today (Check it out here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/433927 _ and I can’t seem to get worked up about it. And the other day I got like the absolute best news I could possibly hope for (Basically no one in my family is dying, though for the last three months we were pretty sure the opposite was true), and while I *AM* overjoyed, I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop. This is the part where something even more awful happens, like the USSR says “Just foolin’,” reforms, and nukes us back into the stone age, or they let George Miller direct another Road Warrior movie, or some friend of mine goes crazy-eight bonkers and starts killing people, or whatever.
Not that I expect any of those things to happen, and I am obviously overjoyed at the recent good news, but when you’ve lived as a character in an Irish novel for as long as I have, you sort of start to take each victory as a setup for an even bigger disaster, generally within 24 hours or so. (Hint: All Irish Novels Are Tragedies.)
None of this has anything to do with anything, I’m not making a desperate cry for help, I’m fully aware that this is all in my head, and once the PTSD wears off I’ll be able to enjoy “Greg the Bunny” on DVD just as much as everyone else does. I’m just putting this out there so you’ll understand if I don’t seem fully ‘into it’ in the review tonight. That’s the reason.
Well, that and the show kinda’ sucks.
PLAY BY PLAY
Actually, I’m kidding, It was pretty good. Well, half of it was anyway.
ON THE ARK
They finally get a signal from the ground, which points out that Kane (Whom I’ve been occasionally calling ‘Stark’ for some reason) and the Chancellor killed all those people for no good reason. Kane is legitimately busted up over this, the Chancellor – who’s attempted suicide over the issue twice – is less so. I think he’s mostly burned out. Clarke’s mom is booted off the council for frequent and flagrant violations of procedure and law. Word of the sacrifice – and that it was for nothing - is threatening to cause a mutiny on the ark, and so the Chancellor invites his predecessor (A former Chancellor) to sit on the council, because they need unity. Everyone seems happy about this.
In the final scene, in a closed council meeting, the Chancellor reveals their NEW problem: the station houses 2237 people, but they’ve only got dropships for 700. “We’re on the Titanic, and there aren’t enough lifeboats,” he says.
ON THE GROUND
Fin is dying from being stabbed. Clarke’s mom talks her through the surgery, which goes way better than it should. I mean unrealistically so. Then Fin is dying for no apparent reason. Clarke reasons that the grounder blade that stabbed him was poisoned.
Bellamy, meanwhile, has captured the grounder that saved Octavia, in order to get intel. He finds a sketchbook (Drawing being a repeated motif on this show), which includes a sketch of Octavia. Upon Clarke’s insistence, they torture the hell out of the guy to get the antidote, reasoning it must be among several vials he carries with him. After this comes to nothing, Octavia cuts herself with the poisoned blade, and he immediately points out which vial has the cure. Clarke gives it to Fin (And presumably Octavia) and everyone is better.
Afterwards, while Octavia is cleaning the grounder up, Clarke says “I didn’t want to hurt him, I just wanted to save Fin.” “Yeah, well it wasn’t you who saved fin, actually, it was me. But whatever you’ve got to tell yourself.” Ouch! Burn! In semi-private, the grounder tells Octavia “Thank You.” Up to this point it’s been unclear if he speaks English, or indeed can talk at all.
Clarke confronts her mom about getting her dad killed, and then talks to Bellamy about maybe having to kill the grounder
The Ark stuff was far and away more interesting this week. I haven’t really said it before, but Kane is far and away the most interesting character in this series. He was painted as the bad guy in the pilot, but he was simply the most determined to do whatever it took to keep the species alive. Now that he’s actually killed 320 people for no damn reason whatsoever, he’s very broken up. It’s a nice performance in a mediocre show. He’s complex and if not exactly likeable, he’s convincingly lost (No pun intended) and broken knowing that he made the wrong choice.
In fact, there really isn’t a villain in this show, which I find intriguing.
In the grounder’s sketchbook, there was a drawing of a bigfoot-looking thing. One of his interrogators even asks, “What’s this?” Presumably we’ll be meeting it soon. It seems obvious to me that there’s two species on the ground: Grounders and Mutants. I’m willing to bet the Grounders are gradually being driven extinct by the mutants.
One neat thing is that when they’re torturing the grounder, he takes it all in stoic dignity. It’s just pain, just beatings, floggings, stabbings. Nothing unusual there. Not for a savage. When Raven comes at him with some electrical cables, however, he freaks out even before they touch him. The sparking alone freaks him out, which is kinda’ clever because that sort of thing must seem magical to him, and hence terrifying.
The chancellor’s “I lost my son” line was well done and moving. Really, the whole near-riot was pretty good. Not great, but pretty good.
So have we all just given up on “Weather Mountain” at this point? I mean, no one’s mentioned it in weeks. They’ve been on the ground 13 days thus far. Where the frack is all the food coming from?
The “Only space for 700” doesn’t make a lot of sense. The dropship we saw is mostly empty space. It could have EASILY carried 300 or 400 people if they just used the space more efficiently. Getting INTO space is hard. Getting down is pretty easy.
We’re told that The Ark was made up of the crews and materials of a dozen space stations in operation at the time of the war, yet everyone speaks English (No Russian or Chinese or Indian or Korean or even French) and there aren’t even any loanwords or neologisms. Furthermore, we see a nice patriotic American flag in the memorial for the dead tonight, and we saw one on Raven’s suit, too.
There’s a hurricane hitting the “Weather Mountain” area (Which is in Virginia), but it provides no plot importance whatsoever, it’s just there for the sake of being there. Despite not having any other shelter, the dropship is surprisingly empty during the storm. So where are the other 90-or-so?
Anyway: the show is gradually getting better, but it’s still wildly uneven.
Hm. I’m a bit less depressed now.
Kevin Long is a well-reviewed Science Fiction author, who has written several full-length anthologies, the fourth of which just came out today https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/433927 . He used to blog under the name “Republibot 3.0,” but now that his stalker is dead, and he can afford to be less paranoid, he uses his real name. His blog is here: http://www.kevin-long.com (It's poorly organized) His other site is here http://willwriteforyou.com/ Here's his smashwords page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/rthree Check ‘em out, as he’s poor, talented, and (As mentioned above) kind of a gloomy gus this week.