Monday, January 28, 2013

Weird Science: Speculations on Wesen Biology

Fantasy and Urban Fantasy biology is one of those things that just doesn't stand up to much scrutiny. Nature science does all kinds of fun and fascinating things all on its own and in the real world, and a lot of that can be passed on or extruded into fiction, but when it comes to choosing between the demands of the plot or the demands of fictional biology, the plot wins 9 times out of 10. And this is why, in books or on TV, nobody poops. Unless it's funny.

Wesen biology is something we've all been fascinated by, especially with the revelation that there can be not only naturally born and viable Wesen and Wesen-human hybrids, but also that the genetics can be manipulated and mutilated to create an artificially engineered chimera-style hybrid. And how does the morphing ability even work, physically speaking? How the hell does the digestive system of a wendigo manage nails and tough skin, or was that just extra flavor to be carved off later in the dining process? How do Reinigen control their rats? What the hell is the Seltenvogel throat-bubble thing all about? The questions go on and on. Twenty years ago, your dear blogger kept a journal of counterpoised X-Files cases with real life cases from which the X-Files writers might have taken their ideas and details. Now, we'll do something similar, and reverse engineer some theoretical Wesen biology out of what we're given to work with from the show. When all else fails we'll resort back to magic, because obviously that exists too, and must be considered.

For structure, we'll take it in alphabetical order, lacking the usual correlation convention of herbivores = good and carnivores = bad. Observations based on existing show data will go first, followed by pure speculation. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Families of Grimm

Families, as we've mentioned on occasion on this here blog, are very important to the world of Grimm. (She types, tongue firmly planted in cheek.) It matters what your bloodline is, it matters who you can trust to watch your back - and who you can count on to backstab you instead, preferably in predictable and useable ways - and it matters who you choose to associate with. All of these things inform the identity of our main characters to a greater or lesser degree, steering their actions and reactions and providing some emotional context for the way they approach the world. With that in mind, as with the examination of the women of Grimm, some patterns emerge on closer examination of the families.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Show Must Go On Haven S3E13 Thanks For The Memories

Previously on Haven: There was a meteor storm coming! (This is not like a firefight, I am not allowed to turn into Agent Smecker.)  (Too late.) Nathan made ill-advised statements about Audrey and the barn. Vince was cryptic and useless and quite probably very biased about how similar all the incarnations are. Arla was building herself a FrankenArla! Vince and Dave were freaky! Agent Fuck You Howard showed up along with James, Arla was threatening - in other words, a normal week in Haven ramped up to 11. And then someone broke the knob off.

This week on Haven: Welcome to the 100th post at Murderboarding. I know, we can't believe it either. This handbasket is getting comfier all the time. My wrists, however, are going to freak the hell out over this thing. I'm going to make a prediction that this breaks 25K before we get started (note: around 20K, because we decided timeliness trumped even greater attention to detail); when we finish I'm sure you'll hear the flailing from wherever in the world you're reading it. We apologize in advance for any Shadow ships, dolphins, or other high-pitched squeaky toys we may summon.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Who Dares To Live Forever? Haven S3E12 Reunion

Previously on Haven: A bunch of reiteration about how the skinwalker and James Cogan are tied together. In the holy bonds of matrimony. I'll spare you the Princess Bride quotes; aren't you glad. With very nice cuts between "her name is Arla" and Arla wearing Claire's skin and have I mentioned how these are very well done previouslies? They're very well done. Some REALLY NICE continuity with all those 'hushes,' we'd forgotten about the one from Roslyn. We'll get into that in more detail later this ep!

This week on Haven: Bree Williamson being awesome! Laura Vandervoort being awesome! We have never been so glad to be wrong about a serial killer in our lives, because that takes at least one layer of ridiculous complexity to the barn away. The Troubled person of the week drops anvils all over the place and if I were Audrey I'd be rolling my eyes every five seconds when he's talking on account of fucking really, writers. And everyone has catalogued libraries of issues, leading to a recommendation that no one play the drinking game of take a drink every time we say 'oh honey', or if you do, call for the ambulance before you start.

Warning: this and the following post will be another jointly-written recapalypse and we expect them to contain 200% more instances of the word fuck. Particularly that second one. If one of us turns into Agent Smecker and the other into Spider Jerusalem, nobody will be surprised, right? Of course right.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Better The Devil You Know: Haven Profile (The Woman In Question) (AudSarLu)

To: Danielle Matheson <dmathes@[redacted]>
CC: Peter Torkarov <ptorkar@[redacted]>, Sam Connor <sconnor@[redacted]>, Eve Marlowe <emarlow@[redacted]>, Ash Dunlevy <adunlev@[redacted]>, Jared Engel <jengel@[redacted]>, Daifyn Ifans <difans@[redacted]>, Alec Cray <acray@[redacted]>, Thomas Marlowe <tmarlow@[redacted]>
Date: 1/18/13
Re: Finally

Yeah, we know, by the time we finished it it was already out of date. The individual incarnations should be relatively accurate still; expect an update after we finish shredding recent events with our teeth. K swears her desk is going to be splinters. I keep telling her there's fiber pills for that.

Assume updates to all relevant profiles coming in the next week as well. Also a security check might be in order, now that our suspicions about Teagues the Toothy have been confirmed.


Date: 1/17/2013 (updated 1/30/13)
Subject Name: Audrey Prudence Parker (Lucy Ripley, Sarah Vernon)
DOB: Unknown
Gender: Female
Age: Presents as a woman in her late 20s - early 30s; rate of aging unknown.
Place of Examination: Data compiled at Chandler/Hammett Investigations offices
Occupation: Currently officer with Haven PD, formerly believed she was an FBI agent. (Lucy Ripley incarnation unknown; Sarah Vernon incarnation believed she was a nurse with the US military during the Korean War.)
Marital Status: Complicated. Prior relationships with Chris Brody, Nathan Wuornos, this latter showing signs of being resumed in open acknowledgement rather than suppressed without admission of any direct or related sentiment. Updated 1/30/13: Subject has acknowledged her feelings but considers them impossible to act upon due to the apocalyptic nature of Haven's current difficulties. Lucy Ripley incarnation unknown; Sarah Vernon incarnation had sexual relations with subject PT-TR-#### (updated 1/30/13 resulting in the birth of James Cogan), unconfirmed but suspected romantic connection subsequently with TD-BD-#### and/or TL-BD-####.
Race: Presumed Troubled, though may be meta-Troubled.
Classification: IN-####

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Remember Who You Are: Identity and Free Will in Grimm

Hey, look everyone! It's our first guest post, from @countmystars, whose acquaintance we credit to the DJ nights @AkelaCooper ran during hiatus between seasons 1 and 2.  -A


As with most good science fiction and fantasy, Grimm takes the time to explore themes other than “oooh, scary monsters and magic”.  One of the strongest of these is the theme of identity -- all the major characters, save Hank, struggle with who they are and how that affects/is affected by the world around them.  Few characters on Grimm are who they appear to be -- by choice, necessity or circumstance -- and the interaction of those hidden identities is a primary source of conflict.  Generally speaking, TV writers state the theme of their series somewhere in the pilot, and in Grimm, this takes the form of Marie Kessler’s dying words: “Remember who you are; trust your instincts and nothing else.”  Instincts are a tricky thing in the Grimmverse, especially when the “creature” side of Wesen instincts comes into play: as Monroe states, “You can’t stop it. It’s who you are.” -- in a poignant contrast to his own free choices and behavior.  The series explores both ideas and has yet to choose a “side” -- even in the episode “Big Feet”, which addresses the theme head-on in both dialogue and action -- and it’s that nuance that helps add depth to what could have been a simple cops-and-monsters show.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Once More, With Feeling OUAT S1E18 The Stable Boy

Previously on this series, we discovered that when we're writing neither to a deadline nor to a word count we get really wordy and blathery. For the sake of everyone's sanity, eyeballs, and our wrists, we're attempting to limit this one to 10K. You may all now point and laugh if (when) we blow straight by that in our search for the perfect rant about what the fuck is wrong with Regina and her characterization. For the curious, A wrote all the our-world bits and Kitty did all the FTL bits, for this one.

Previously on Once Upon A Time, we have a big amalgamation of scenes! Which isn't bad as such things go, with bonus irony on Emma's evidence against MM versus the evidence for the curse. I see what you guys did there. Who knows the truth! (Hi Gold.) Who can break the spell! (Emma. August. Henry.) The subtlety, it is not. Am I the only one who wants Gold to break into a rousing chorus of Rolling Stones over Regina getting what she wants? No? Excellent. Let's begin the scenery chewing, shall we? For all that we bitch about the characterization being weak, these scenes tend to be delightful. Two actors determined to enjoy every bit of their villainy? Oh yes. Regina is examining the wedding ring Daniel gave her, which is I think the first time we've seen her with something that was clearly either a trophy or sentimental; we know by this that this will be a Regina-focused ep. (If, you know, when you first watched this you didn't have all the trailers and sneak peeks and so on.) Gold will cheerfully interrupt! And ask for a favor, because apparently the wheels of justice are grinding very slow indeed. I'm just going to sigh at the pacing for the umpty-millionth time and move on. It's at least a nice touch that Gold doesn't leave room for Regina to interrupt him on the being locked in a cage bit, denying her that chance to gloat. Most of this scene is very exposition-laden. The reasons it carries fairly well despite that are a) the actors and b) the fact that it's the first scene, and we expect a certain degree of that, both for the sake of the ep of the week and for the sake of potentially picking up new viewers. Gold will now use an apple for a prop, which along with his tie and Regina's blazer are the only spots of color in this office. Dark red. Naturally. Because We Are Evil And Also Not At All Subtle. That actually is the ONLY reason to trust him, too, that he always honors his agreements. And only so far as the agreement carries, which means you need to be VERY CAREFUL how you word such things. Which, as far as we can tell, Regina isn't, though we don't get a firm wording followed by "it's a deal," so it's possible he just out-rules-lawyered her and we don't get the details. Guys? If you're going to have a deal-maker like Gold|Rumple in your show, it matters that you give us the damn details on each and every deal, either when it's struck or after the fact. Every time. So we know what loopholes he's exploiting and can wait for what should be the inevitable comeuppance from... well, we'd hope Emma, but with this show that would be too damn much to hope for.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

State of the Blog

Given the oddities of the current Haven schedule, and further given that your blogmistresses are under their standard ridiculous levels of stress at this time of year, we thought it would be a good idea to give you guys an idea of the next couple weeks!

Obviously we're working our way through the Once Upon A Time episodes, as people requested. I have to admit, though, that this was not fun for us. We don't enjoy hate-watching things; we especially don't enjoy doing so for a show that we did enjoy. (Insert requisite pun here.) So we're finishing it out this weekend, but you heard it here first: if a show becomes something we don't enjoy watching for analysis purposes, or never was something we would consider putting on the blog? We'll drop it or not do it in the first place. We won't go into details why we don't want to do it (unless it's a time constraints reason), because we try not to tell anyone what they should and shouldn't enjoy, even when we're picking things apart. But this started as a way for us to braindump things we enjoy doing, watching, and talking about, and this was a relatively inexpensive time/sanity cost to learn our lesson about writing on things we don't enjoy.

That said, the last of the Once eps (Stable Boy) should go up first thing this week, followed in short order by our very first guest post. Friday will see the AudSarLu profile for Haven, probably without any extra details from the last two eps of this season. We're aware that Haven is airing Thursday night, but we still have lives and things to do on Friday, and so you can expect 3x12 Reunion on Saturday and 3x13 Thanks For The Memories on Sunday.

After that, we enter a seven week drought of no new Grimm episodes. During that time, we'll be updating the Haven show pages, clearing at least some of our backlog of Grimm and Haven supplemental posts (see the sidebar for more information, as usual), and starting work on Person of Interest! The goal here is to get one PoI ep out every week; we'd like to eventually do the s1 and s2 eps of Haven in full recaplysis glory but we're not sure on our schedule for those. Kitty has an urban fantasy anthology she's self-publishing, a house she's still renovating and unpacking, and a day job, and I have a freelance business to get off the ground and musical commitments to maintain.

Thanks to our regular readers for bearing with us while we juggle blog and lives!

ETA 1/14: Apparently this needs saying again: read our policies on the about page before you comment here. Please. I don't want to have to tack the comment policy, in link or shortened form, onto the end of every post, but I will if I have to.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Not Made To Court An Amorous Looking-Glass OUAT S1E12 Skin Deep

Previously on this series: good transitions, bad world-building, jarringly different styles of dialogue! This week we're skipping to what was, to us, the most interesting arc. Prepare yourselves for an infinity of scenery-chewing, because boy does Robert Carlyle enjoy him some fiber in his diet.

We start with... a spinning wheel! Just so we know it's a Gold/Rumpelstiltskin ep. And incidentally, at the time we heard a lot of complaining (and there still might be some except neither of us is actively trawling the fora anymore) about how Rumplestiltskin was in every fairy tale somewhere and taking over a number of roles. Which is true to the extent that Rumplestiltstitters seems to be the Golden Boy of both Once Fandom and the Once Writers. That said, the way in which they made him the Beast of the Beauty and the Beast story is smooth and competent, in line with the way his character has been developed and without too many overarching contrivances. We start with the setting, the Ogre Wars of legend, apparently there have been several of them and within the show we're not given a number for this one. We'll call it Ogre War Z, if we have to. Rumor has it that Rumple had been Rumpling for a few centuries at this point, so it definitely wasn't the first.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Women of Grimm

You've seen us do profiles of characters for our other show at the moment, and you might have read some of them, or our celebration of the women of Haven. We'd like to turn our attention now to celebrating the women of Grimm, and their influence on the events within the show. While the protagonist of Grimm is Nick and, arguably, Renard as the deuteragonist, more and more, the driving forces behind an equal if not majority share of the plot these days are the women.

As we stated earlier, Juliette's first introduction in the show is in the context of Nick's girlfriend. Because the first episode is so focused on Nick's discoveries and Nick's life we get only bits and pieces throughout, but what we do get is enough to know that she's been with Nick for several years, long enough to build up familiarity with his background and his family as well as be comfortable with them dropping in unannounced (or, presumably, comfortable enough to tell him off if she was uncomfortable with same). We can deduce from the way she behaves around him that she is aware of his habits and his reactions to anticipate them, after the quick exchange when Aunt Marie is attacked and as well when Nick wakes up with the nightmare. She functions for the first several episodes as Nick's support structure, without either giving much of a clue as to aspects of her life outside of Nick and yet without sacrificing her own independence as a character; she acts more as a sounding board or an alternate point of view than a yes-person. Over the course of the first season we learn that she's a vet, that she's not only well-educated but also quick thinking and with sound reasoning skills. We learn that she favors the scientific over the instinctive, not blatantly, but demonstrated by the fact that she clearly feels something is wrong at several points in the first season and decides not to act on those instincts for whatever reason. However, when she is confronted with a physical conundrum (the unknown species of creature that attacked the horse in Big Feet) she does pursue that even though it takes her to a place she doesn't yet have the terminology to describe.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Better The Devil You Know: Haven Profile (Nathan Wuornos)

Date: 1/9/2013
Subject Name: Nathan Thaddeus Wuornos
DOB: 12/23/1978
Gender: Male
Age: 34
Place of Examination: Data compiled at Chandler/Hammett Investigations offices
Occupation: Current chief of police, Haven PD.
Marital Status: Single, currently involved with Jordan McKee (see file TR-####), past involvement with Audrey Parker (see file IN-####)
Race: Troubled.
Classification: PT-TR-####

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

When You're At Home: Nick & Juliette

At long, LONG last, this series is in its final installment and we can go back to examining the minutiae of set design in recaplyses proper. Enjoy! (If I feel really masochistic I might do a When You're At Work series, but you can expect that one after the conclusion of s2.) We are, as is only right and proper, ending with the set that has the most scenes, because I secretly hate my wrists and want to see how much I can aggravate the carpal tunnel. Ahem.

I'm told that somewhere or another it's explicitly stated that the house is in Juliette's name, so I'll be considering as much of this in that light as possible, particularly during s2 analysis. She obviously knows it's her house, she feels like it belongs to her and not Nick, and so that's presumably going to affect who's done what as far as making that giant house into a home. I will try not to rant about how a house that size has to have more than one bedroom on the second floor, because it makes no fucking sense, because I'm tired of delivering the rant and you're probably tired of hearing it. I don't care what they're claiming is canon in interviews, I care that Nick and Juliette have a reverse-TARDIS house that's smaller on the inside.

As with Monroe's house, I'm cherry-picking so that this ever gets done and I stop fussing at how much goddamn data there is. On this one, we'll start with the pilot, just to see what, if anything, changes from pilot to subsequent episodes! Also as with Monroe's house, I'm sure there will be Very Important Scenes that I forget about, choose to skip, or otherwise elide in order to get you a post at any point in the next year. I do apologize for that necessity.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Once Upon A Time In Maine: OUAT Pilot

Alright, folks, you voted and a roughly two-thirds majority wanted us to rip Once Upon A Time to shreds. I don't actually know why, because nobody gave us any reasons, but as the poll dictates, so we write! There will be only three of these, so for those who have no interest this shouldn't take too much time away from our other two (soon to be three) shows. For those of you who do have interest: fair warning, this is worse (in our opinions) in retrospect than we remembered, and we're fairly cranky about that. We picked up OUAT right when it came out, and liked the basic premise quite a lot despite the overacting, the cheesy dialogue, and the cardboard sets. With teethmarks in them. And then, well, first season progressed. And it had to get better, right? Someone was going to call Mary Margaret and David on their incredibly shitty behavior sometime, weren't they? Maybe they didn't mean all those messages about the nature of family and true love.

Well. It got bad enough that we gave up without even finishing the season, and from the spoilers we've heard about as far as season 2, have zero interest in attempting to find the diamonds in the rough. Or the Gold, as the case may be. Our tastes are predictable and our tolerance for fucking up a perfectly good trope or three low, so without further ado, let's begin! Please keep your toes tucked under you and out of the reach of the anvils at all times; there will be many of them.

On rewatch, I don't remember these title cards being this overweening. Honestly, it seems like the kind of thing that you leave in for the test pilot and take out in editing, because your audience is not that stupid, guys, I swear. (It's the title card equivalent of bracket notes!) This will be important later, because apparently we are supposed to be this stupid ALL THE TIME. And like being treated that way. Show, you tried, you really did, but we needed maybe TWO of those title cards. Anyway, we cut to Charming riding a horse on the beach! VERY BADLY. His posture is off and looks more like he's trying to slow the horse down from a full run than urge the horse on. His feet are flapping everywhere, he has no body control whatsoever. I can't get a good look at his hands on the reins, but just going off what I can see I feel sorry for that poor horse's mouth. But the show would like us only to consider that this is a Prince going somewhere Very Fast on a White Horse. There is urgency! And a very long causeway! And swelling music that reminds us that we're in Fairy Tale Land. I have no idea what the fuck is up with the mini-climate of snow around Snow White in her glass coffin other than, I guess, it's Very Symbolic and everything. I also wish we got more background about the dwarves here, because they become so important later and they're clearly important throughout the pilot, but do we have ANY idea of how their story varies from the Disney/original fairy tale? No. No we do not. We just know they're here.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Better the Devil You Know: Haven Profiles (Duke Crocker)

Date: 1/3/2013
Subject Name: Duke Crocker
DOB: 04/24/1977
Gender: Male
Age: 35
Place of Examination: Data compiled at Chandler/Hammett Investigations offices
Occupation: Owner and proprietor of The Grey Gull; import/export specialist though that line of work is currently a sideline rather than his primary occupation in terms of time. In terms of income we have far less data either way due to the nature of the business.
Marital Status:
Widowed; estranged prior to that.
Race: Troubled.
Classification: ST-BD-####

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

When You're At Home: Monroe

So the downside to these last two parts of this series that we have to either cherry-pick eps for close examination, or do something sufficiently massive that it gets split up into multiple parts and might not be done before the hiatus. Now, I'm sure y'all wouldn't mind the first one, but I mind the second, if nobody else does, so I'm going the cherry-picking route. We'll start with a couple s1 eps and move along to some s2 eps, with special focus on La Llorona and Monroe's Halloween decorations, because dear god the man must have a separate storage unit for his holiday shenanigans. We're not doing the Christmas decorations because that would make this into a multi-part post for sure. Oh Monroe.

Let's start, then, with a relatively early s1 episode! Three Bad Wolves, in which Monroe's home is invaded by Hap. And Angelina. And Orson. Poor Monroe. But it gives us, among other things, a good sense for what he wants his home to look like, and the ways in which other people being in his space is very upsetting. We get a brief exterior shot of the house to start with, and it's definitely smaller than Nick's. Possibly smaller than Hank's, come to that, and again I have to ask: does the Portland PD pay its detectives that well? Really? It's well-kept but nothing really remarkable about it, not even down to the lawn. Monroe is Just Folks. He swears. Nothing to see here, move along. When we switch to an interior shot, it's of the hallway that leads... looks like between the kitchen and living room, we can see counters behind Hap. The coat hooks on the left hold familiar coats, including the not at all ironic one with a fleece-lined hood. (Heh. Heh. Sheep fleece. Thanks, guys.) There are a couple lamps with nifty cutout patterns on the right wall, illuminating what may be one of the many clocks but I think might be some kind of humidistat or similar thingie. (Why you would need that in Portland I don't know. Is it still Portland? Then it's at least mildly humid.) I will establish right now that I'm not going to try and count all the damn things. Speaking of, there are at least two for-sure visible clocks in this initial shot: one a bit beyond the two metallic things and one in the back over a trash can. Our impression is of clutter, but controlled clutter: everything is in a place that Monroe knows about and Hap please don't mess with his system. HAP.