The Walking Dead … Again

I debated if I wanted to go this route with this week’s post, but I just had to say a few things about the Mid Season Finale for The Walking Dead.

Word of warning: This post will container spoilers. Read at your own peril.

The Walking Dead, saison 1

So, now that you’re still reading, Hershel died. It was sad, and it was gruesome, but it was kind of a let down. Scott Wilson who played Hershel was always a bright spot on any episode, even when he was struggling to cope with things. I wanted to be moved by his death, the way they had Maggie and Bethe be moved. Yet, instead, they had the Governor, who they spent two episodes trying to built a quasi-redemption story for, that really led nowhere for his character, kill him in just a gory, unnecessary way. It was done for the shock value rather than “You knew that this had to happen.”

The only reason we knew that Hershel was going to die prior to the episode was the fact that he had become the lone voice of reason. He got “Daled” for lack of better terms. He tried to talk sense and reason to the people who wouldn’t listen. We can’t have that in a zombie apocalypse! Time for Hershel to die! If they had at least decided to have him get sick from the swine flu because he chose to try and save those people, then his death would have been so much “better”. His death would have been a consequence of the current story, rather than regressing to past stories to see what they could do.

Last season, the Governor was a great villain. This season? They should have left him alone for longer, to build toward that scene. They didn’t need him to get rid of the prison (which is what that fight feels like it was used for). They had this sub-arc that was really fascinating about someone on the inside trying to subvert them with feeding rats to the fences, and maybe even something more heinous. Instead, they focus on past and going for the shock value. It’s very underwhelming to watch as a storyteller.

In a side rant about Sheriff Rick Grimes:

What the bleeding hell is wrong with you? You kick Carol out of the god damned prison because she mercy killed to sick people who were going to die? But you talk a big game about being able to live along side the Governor! What the fuck? (Rationally, I know he was trying to keep his people from dying by brokering peace, but come on! Carol never did anything as heinous as the Governor!)

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Leave them here!

The Walking Dead

So, it’s been awhile again. I’m sorry about that. The bad excuses I could use are: I got sick, I’ve been writing, and I had a bad time with my mental health. Again, those are just excuses, and I shouldn’t use those. So, I shall just apologize and hope that people are still interested in reading my random thoughts.

In the past month, I’ve seen some good things (Thor: The Dark World, Dracula), some okay things (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), and some down right terrible things (Once Upon a Time in Wonderland). I’d like to talk about a show that has been giving me mixed feelings though:

the-walking-dead-atlanta

I’m going to start with the part that has been unbelievably fascinating about this season so far. (Keep in mind that I am at present one episode behind, so no spoilers!) The Governor has just blown my mind after his one episode. My husband and I are of differing opinions on this too. I love the fact that they’ve gone back and tried to add humanity and the shades of gray back to his character. Villains, the really great ones, are not one note characters. They have depth, feelings, intrigues, and they make you stop to pause and think. They make you wonder how they got there, and if they are irredeemable. (Side note: Yes, the Governor went way too far last season to truly make redeem himself, but I love what they are doing anyways.)

I wish more characters, good or bad, would be written this way. It’s what separates good fiction, from great fiction.

Now, I’ll on to the part that has been pissing me off about the show. That would be the ever-annoying Sheriff Rick. Specifically, Rick deciding arbitrarily to evict the Carol. I will state now that Carol is my favorite character on the show. Carol has had the best character growth of anyone. She has grown from the meek house wife who couldn’t protect herself or her children before the zombie apocalypse to the one person you could rely on, other than Daryl. She is the kind of person I would want around in that situation.

I certainly would not want Rick at this point. Rick who spent the last two season either going crazy and being unreliable, or deciding that he wanted to play farmer and not lead. (Despite having multiple scenes over all the seasons where he forces himself to be the leader.) Somewhere, Rick decided that the actual world that they live in could be ignored, and that the prison walls would magically protect them once the Governor was no longer an issue. He wants to believe that he can impress society as it used to be in a situation that cannot sustain such values. Carol, on the other hand, knows better.

Carol sees the world for what it actually is, and not what she hopes it should be. There is danger everywhere, including the very prison that they called home. Every person is a potential threat, even if they call them a friend. As they’ve learned, something like the flu will destroy their society and put everyone at risk. That’s not something you can just sit and wait to see what happens. Actions have to be taken to protect everyone. No matter how despicable it might seem, it has to be done. So, I applaud Carol for taking the initiative to try and stymy the flu by killing those two who were sick. It might seem like the wrong decision to us, as we sit in a world where zombie treats are not a concern at all. Where we have the conveniences of medicine, and we can have a civilized society that does not have to try and eradicate a virus by harsh means.

When she made that decision, no one had left to go find medicine. Hershel hadn’t remembered an herbal remedy that could help slow the fever. They locked the people away, and they were hoping it wouldn’t spread to the others in their community. They knew, given the symptoms the virus generated, that the two people had an almost no chance of not suffocating on their own blood. Yes, they locked them up, but the door didn’t have bars that they could just shove a knife through. They were going to have to open the door, and that in and of itself could have added another risk to losing another person. Yes, Carol made a calculated decision to take matters in her own hands, not knowing, but she did it to protect everyone else, and as we saw, she did not do this without taking on a heavy heart.

Everything she does in the show is to make up for the life she lived before. She used to be the victim. She was ill-prepared to protect her children in the old society, and failed Sophia when the world fell apart. She’s using her life to protect and prepare those who she sees her old self in. She wants the children to have more of a chance than her own daughter had. Children do not have the luxury to live in a coddled world until they are adults. At any point, they need to be able to defend themselves against not only zombies but the people who might just want to kill them to take what they have. Teaching them the simplest of techniques could be the difference between life and death for those kids. Their world is not our world, and they have to learn to live in a harsh reality. It doesn’t matter what we feel they should have. It matters what their world dictates they need. They need Carol, and Rick was idiot to throw her out.

I’m also just annoyed that they have yet to show how Daryl reacts to learning what she did, and more importantly, what Rick did. Since the rest of the prison appear to be lemmings and agreeing with Rick no matter what, I sadly anticipate Daryl falling in line. I hope not. I hope he’s conflicted over it, and I hope he goes to find her. He doesn’t have to like what she did because she doesn’t like what she did. They share something, something that has yet to be defined in the show, and I hope that is what wins in the end.

Comments, questions, rants? Feel free to reply below. Just keep it civil, and no spoilers from the show on 11/24/13.

R.P.G.

No longer are those initials shorthand for Roleplaying Games, or Rocklet Propelled Grenades!

My good friend, and one of my awesome DMs, has started his own Blog! Go read, enjoy, and have fun.

Now back to your regular scheduled programming….

I’ve been all over the place, mentally, for the past week. I’ve not had many coherent thoughts to streamline into an interesting read, so instead, I shall leave an excerpt from something I’ve been working on during my hunt for employment.

Enjoy!

——————

“What are you doing here, Matthews?” I glanced to the slow drawl of a male voice. Detective Joshua Boulliard stood behind the yellow crime scene tape, holding a cup of coffee.

Boulliard looked rough. On a given day, I could count that Boulliard would be wearing a pristine white shirt, neatly pressed, with a monochrome tie, clean shaven and dark brown hair neatly combed into place. All in an annoyingly perfect manner that would make most girls swoon. Today, he was far from that image. His black tie was pulled loose, the sleeves of his shirt were rolled up past his elbows, and his hair looked like he had run his hands through it more than once.

I smiled in his direction. “Heard that something went down. Thought I’d check it out.”

He didn’t return the smile; his hazel eyes shadowed by whatever was on his mind. “No one’s missing. So run along home.”

“I have every right to be here, Boulliard.”

“Trust me, Yumi. You want to let this one go.”

It was a dark and stormy night…

I love writing cliches. They can be fun and interesting, even if they are used sometimes a bit too often. It really depends on how they are inputted into the story. Take for instance, “It was a dark and stormy night.” It does its job. It tells you that it was both dark and stormy that night, but by itself, it’s dull. That doesn’t mean it can’t be used. It just needs a tweak, or two.

The rain hammered on the hood of the car as Edmund wiped away the condensation from the interior of his windshield. It did little to improve his vision, seeing little more than the endless black stretch of street and sky. If it was not for the occassional flash in the sky, Edmund would not know where the street ended and the nightsky began.

The above is just a variation of “It was a dark and stormy night,” but it engages the reader more, and it does more than just tell you about the night. That’s why cliches can still be fun and great to use.

So tell me, what are some of your favorite writing cliches?

Honorable Mentions

I’ve already discussed my three largest passions in fandoms: Star Wars, Mass Effect, and the X-Men.

Here are a few that I adore, but didn’t quite make the list.

buffy_logo

There’s more than just a little love for this blonde vampire hunter from me. I came to this party, like most, late. I did not start watching until FX started running the show in syndication, and then I wondered how the hell had I missed this gem? It came at the perfect time in my life though. I was struggling with family issues, college, and my sanity in general, and here was a show that I could watch, just for me, that I could identify with. Who cares if it had a Monster of the Week format? The metaphors behind the problems spoke to me, and I honestly don’t know if I could have gotten through my Sophomore and Junior years of college without this show.

angel_logoNow, anyone who knows me, they know I hated the Buffy/Angel relationship. I loathed it. I despised it. I wanted Angel dead, dusted, and gone forever.

But I loved his television show. His character, once separated from my beloved Buffy, was suddenly likeable to me. He was surrounded by an exceptional cast, and I really could not get enough Fred/Wesley in that show. (Oh, how I hate you Joss…) There were terrible season arcs; I cannot or will not deny that, but this show had an amazing way to show the grey of the world. Where Buffy captured most issues in black and white, Angel explored that murky in between area.

Plus, Smile Time Angel.

logo2The little kid in me is jumping up and down in glee over just seeing that logo right now. Mainly because I used to watch the movie, Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer, a lot. That’s probably understating how much I watched it too. I loved that movie. It was fun, it had a great opening song, and there was just something magical about it. To this day, I can load that movie into my DVD player and just giggle and enjoy it. It has not tarnished with time, like so many other of my childhood cartoons.

elflogo2

This is probably my most obscure fandom. I cannot find anyone who watched this is a child, but it literally is my favorite childhood cartoon. It was a short little hour long movie that my parents somehow got for me. I don’t know where or how, but I remember it was my favorite. There were elfs, pixies, sprites, and they were in charge of nature with their magic wands. It was a short little romp about a kidnapped wand and imprisoned elf, and the daunting rescue of both. Again, I watched this again (thanks to my husband finding a copy for me), and I was transported back. It’s one of those movies that I cannot wait to show my children.

goonies

Hey, you guys!

Really, nothing needs to be said about why this is an all-time favorite of mine.

 

Well, I think that should give you an insight into the crazy world that is my brain. There are so many other things that I could have included, but I wanted to try and keep this brief.

If you have any questions, or comments, please feel free to leave them below.

Also, any requests or suggestions for topics, I’ll be glad to listen.

My Lonely World

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have many friends. Not people that I would actually call up for help and confide in. I know a lot of people. You can’t be in my line of work and not know people, but I don’t trust most of them. People lie. People cheat. People sometimes aren’t actually people, but the monsters under your bed. So when I find someone who I think I can call a friend, it hurts when you realize that maybe you were wrong.

I’ve been in over my head for months now. I don’t know what’s real and what’s fantasy. I’m shocked when I can get to sleep at night without the use of alcohol or drugs, which to be fair, most nights I can manage without. But there are nights, when I’ve seen shit that I can’t shake from my mind. Those are the nights that I really need my friends, especially the ones that understand more of this fucked up world that we are in. Or when realization sinks in that you’ve been friendzoned by that one guy.

Except, like I said, maybe we aren’t really friends.

Friends trust each other. I was trying to figure out how to broach that whole mystery surrounding Sean with her. That says a lot. I don’t trust anyone with that information, but I thought I could bring it to her. But, instead, she’s made me second guess myself. After all, she made it clear that I don’t understand anything in the world, and I don’t. I’m not sure how much I want to understand.

Fuck.

I’m just going to go back to being business. Strictly business.

Oh, Joss …

agents-of-shield-logo

Like so many of my geek friends, I have been watching ABC’s new drama Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Before the show started, I knew I had to watch it. Not only was it part of the rich Marvel universe that has been grown in the movie industry, known as the MCU, but it was also a new Joss Whedon show. I’ve might not gotten to my honorable mentions for fangirling, but here’s a hint, anything Joss Whedon, I adore. So, a spin-off of the Avengers (kind of) for TV, brought to us by Joss Whedon? My Tuesday nights at 8pm were solidly booked at that point.

So, here we are three weeks into the show, and I find myself at a pause. There’s something that just is not working for me in this show. It’s not that I don’t like it, but I don’t love it. Not the way I love Buffy, Angel, or Firefly. The plot of the episodes are fun, creative, and entertaining, but that’s the story of what is going on. It’s the characters that are more lacking for me, which is hard to say about any other Joss show (apart from maybe parts of Dollhouse and the intentional lack of character that they intended for certain characters). Here I am, three weeks in, and I know almost nothing relevant or compelling about these characters. Certainly nothing that makes me want to care about them.

There’s Melinda May, the obviously talented yet scarred secret agent who has demonstrated the same emotional and character depth as one of the mind-wiped dolls on Dollhouse. She wants to avoid combat, but is known as “the Calvary”. She has expressed little emotion, other than disdain, throughout every episode.

Next, the twins, as I like to call them, Fitz and Simmons, who half the time I can’t recall which is which. They have the most actual personality of all the people on the show, but they also get the least amount of screen time. They are from all appearances, crazy smart, but we aren’t getting any interaction with them to see who they are beyond that. Hard to get invested in characters that you aren’t getting a chance to see.

Then we get to the merry threesome at the center of the show: Skye, Ward, and Coulson.

Skye and Ward are doing a merry little dance that is ultimately going to lead to them falling for one another. It’s written plain as day for anyone to see. Except, I don’t really care if they get together. At this point, all they have done is tell me that Skye is this amazing super hacker, who is also an orphan and a drop out, but she’s always looking great for someone who lived out of her van at the start of the show. Then there’s Ward, who has no personality, and it feels forced every time he tries to “be human” in attempt to connect with Skye in a way that she would understand. His whole story about how his bad older brother used to beat him up because him or his younger brother wanted cake, and that being the whole reason why he became a secret super spy that kills people when necessary and has to work alone? A bit far-fetched, just a tad. It was like the writers were told that Ward wasn’t connecting with the audience, so they came up with this elaborate reason why he has to protect people, which serves no function as to why that transcended from protecting his family to fighting to protect the world. I’m not able to make that leap with them as to how something so small could make him make such a huge choice. (Unless they forgot to mention that his brother was actually a super villain in training, and then hey, that would work. But that’s the kind of information they need to tell us so that we understand the gravity of standing up to one’s older brother.)

The worst part about Skye and Ward is that the relationship is likely doomed, by one of their ultimate betrayals. I’m betting on it being Ward; mainly, due to the fact that the signs are screaming at us to not trust Skye. However, it’s a Joss Whedon show. Any romance, no matter how much they love each other, is going to be doomed in some way.

Finally, there’s Coulson. Many people love and adore Coulson, but that comes more from his existence in the extended MCU rather than the show. He’s had the most “characterization” of any of the others, but it is limited at focusing back to his “death” during the Avengers movie. Whether he was killed and revived, cloned, replaced by a robot, we don’t know, but his character hinges on everything we were supposed to know already. He’s “rusty”. That’s all we’ve been told. It makes it hard for me to latch onto him. He’s not progressing.

None of the characters are really progressing. None of them are showing us really their internal struggles. They all feel weak and shallow, and I don’t know why. Joss has many times been able to show the internal struggle, rise, and fall of characters through monster of the week programming, and it worked brilliantly for those shows. Here though, it doesn’t.

The most interesting characters we’ve seen have been Maria Hill, Nick Fury, and Mike Peterson (played by J. August Richards in the first episode). Of all those, only Mike Peterson has been written solely for this show. I felt for Mike Peterson when he was on. I don’t feel for these other characters. Yes, it’s only three episodes, but that’s 120 minutes that I’ve given to these characters. They need to give something back.

I’ll keep watching. I hope this is just the growing pains of finding their voice, and that in the next few episodes, these people will be more like actual characters. That they will show me this, rather than just kind of tell me. (I mean, come on, the super hacker goes in undercover to a guarded fortress so that she can find a wireless signal, activate a device, and let someone else hack the system?) Perhaps we’ll even get more tiny cameos, like we got with Nick Fury in episode 2.

Thoughts, comments, questions? Share them with me.

The Uncanny, Amazing, Outstanding, and Excellent

Once again, I must apologize for the delay. I had a rough past few weeks, which should not have kept me from my job of writing this post. So, without further ado, I shall go straight into my last favorite fandom.

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I would love to say that the fandom is all encompassing, including Marvel and the MCU, as it is often referred to now, but as much as I enjoy the new Marvel movies, my fan girling is still highly limited to The X-Men, and various X-title comics that I read growing up.

It all started for me when I was about 10 years old. I stumbled across this amazing Saturday morning cartoon that I had to watch after one episode. It had action, comedy, drama, and such a diverse cast of characters. I was in love with it. My mind raced trying to absorb all the information that I could from the show. Since I was all of 10, when I went with my father to our favorite local gaming store (The Green Dragon), I wouldn’t stop talking about it to anyone I thought would listen, and I was soon in possession of not only the comics for this cartoon, but also the main comics for the X-Men, and an X-Factor comic book.

It was such a sweet down hill ride from there.

This world was so rich, and I was quickly becoming attached to a few characters (Gambit and Havok). As I devoured more of this world, my brain generated its first real character. She was someone who would fit in this world, with little adaptation to the actual stories, and I could create these stories in my head for her that I would play out: in my mind’s eye, with various toys, and eventually with other like-minded friends who were enthralled with this universe.

Even as I got older, I never really forgot about my love for this universe. I have had it tested, with bad movies, and having to give up the comics as they went off the rails, from what I wanted. I have lost friends who I used to enjoy this with, which gives some memories a strong bittersweet moment to it. I’ve never forgotten my first character: Lex. She’s there, forever. She’s evolved, changed, and adapted, but she’s there, and she’s never left me. (For those of you who know me, and know my love of other genres, this is in reference to the original Lex.)

In the end, this is likely where I have learned to be so harsh on characters. I don’t accept a character on face value, in any medium, especially female characters. I want there to be depth, and purpose, and reason. I want the characters to be flawed, and to make the tough choices, even if I won’t like them for it. There are so many characters that I have such strong opinions on from those days, still, because that was what those writers did. I could write a long diatribe about why I dislike Rogue, attributing her hypocrisy and the artistic representation that she was given. I could list all the reasons why Cyclops is (or was when I was reading the books still) the quintessential X-Man, of all the people that have been members of the team. Along the way, I could also through out a 1001 jokes about the universe that most people would never get, but I would laugh, and so would those people.  (That’s what happens when you spend your Saturday nights on the phone with a friend, RPing the X-Men. Because that was the best option in the world pre-internet.)

At the end of the day, I want to play X-Men again. The closest I’m getting is that I’m running a Mutants and Masterminds game for my table every other Friday. It’s fun, and it is certainly tapping into my love of X-Men. I’m also toying around with an idea for a story, but we’ll see where that goes.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the insight into the things that I love, even if I tried to keep them brief. Please feel free to post comments, suggestions, and questions.

Also, I have a friend who is currently looking for submissions for a writing contest. His game Legends of Adventure is coming out soon, and he is looking to flesh out his website with some biographies for heroes and creatures in his game. If anyone is interested, please feel free to drop a line to staff@legendsofadventuregame.com with the subject “Bio Contest”. Entries should be between 100 and 200 words.

Until next time!