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Dave Robbins

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Dave Robbins grew up in the suburbs of New York looking south to the possibilities of The City, later finding potential throughout America. In addition to his contributions here, he is a fiction writer. His stories travel those nexuses where menace and wonder thrive in equal proportions and his pop culture interests live along those same paths. He is convinced that nights in the woods are scary, that little virtue is found saloons and that nothing good ever happens after midnight. These days he can be found wearing some of the same flannel shirts he wore in the pre-grunge era.

Grimm Season 6 Episode 8 “The Son Also Rises” | Review

GRIMM -- "The Son Also Rises" Episode 608 -- Pictured: (l-r) David Giuntoli as Nick Burkhardt, Bitsie Tulloch as Eve -- (Photo by: Allyson Riggs/NBC)

I get that we have to have an entree into the hell dimension behind the mirror. I agree that the remnant of Eve is the suitable catalyst for that. But now, attacked by the creature behind the mirror, she goes full on hexenbeist and is found unconscious on the floor of the spice shop. Why she didn’t ask to live there weeks ago is beyond me, but anyway, now that she’s near death, she’s no longer Eve, but returned to the Juliette personality and Nick sits vigil at her hospital bed and is all in love with her again. Why? For the love of all that’s holy, whyyyyy? From an acting, plot and character standpoint Adalind is the more compelling love interest and Claire Coffee the better actor.

With respect to the actual story this week: at least the MOTW is done well and with a welcomed twist. We are given a circumstance that we’ve never seen before. (Although, given that there are so many wesen in Portland, I’m surprised this particular unintended consequence had not become epidemic by now). Medical experiments with donor parts from dead wesen result in limb vogue and ensuing mayhem when the monster goes after his creators. This episode is an effective and suspenseful take on the Frankenstein monster motif with an added father-son dynamic that increases the emotional impact.

With only five episodes left, I’m starting to worry that not enough time is being spent setting up the final, series ending confrontation. Renard is using his never-before-revealed and mysteriously powerful Siberian connection to decipher the writings, so I suspect he’ll know more about them than anyone next week. As usual, we don’t know what he is really up to. And that throw-away line from Rosalee about wesens from outer space? Please, no. That’s too much, even for Grimm.

Grimm Season 6 Episode 7 “Blind Love” | Review

GRIMM -- "Blind Love" Episode 607

This episode makes some attempt to move the seasonal arc along, but for the most part, it is played for laughs. We are introduced to a skull with the glowing eyes that has something to do with the spooky writings and Eve’s glimpse into the hellish dimension and Diana’s creepy questioning of Eve about her other mother Kelly. (You remember the one that evil Juliette killed, in case you forgot she flash backed to the head-in-the-box). From then on, though, it is all Grimm-lite. If they were going to do a funny episode this is a good place to put it, we still have six more to save (or destroy) the world.

We know we are not to take things too seriously when we have a wesen that spits a fatal love potion into drinks, a father that is amused at his daughter’s kidnapping, and the most unbelievable of all, Monroe going on a romantic birthday spa retreat with his wife and five other friends and one infant. I could almost accept that Nick and Adalind are invited as a companion couple and maybe they didn’t have a choice but to take Kelly. (Who could they trust?) But Eve? Seriously? She lived for weeks in the tunnels beneath Nick’s house and Diana was the only one who noticed. I supposed if she was going to be invited, you would have to invite the two forty-something bachelors, both of whom had been cursed by Adalind. The more the merrier!

So, to recap the potion generated love connections: Eve loves Nick (of course), but that pairing was more cringe-worthy than amusing (as usual). Nick loves Rosalee, which was great, mostly because of Bree Turner’s acting (she totally rocks). Monroe loves Eve and thankfully Silas Weir Mitchel is there to do all the heavy lifting. Adalind (Claire Coffee) loves Monroe giving us another example of how well they work together. Hank loving Hank and the associated soundtrack was brilliant. I hope Wu and the waitress end up being a real thing, he deserves it, he’s a great guy, and after all, he did save her life.

That the funniest thing about the episode is the kidnapping of a child shows how Grimm should just go for it. Sasha Roiz as the “not at all concerned father” and Hannah R. Loyd as Diana made something that should not work into something truly original.

American Flagg! Vol.1

Comics have had a long history of poking the eye of the conventional observer. Fortunately, those are the kinds of books that never go out of style. I go looking for them from time to time to see what holds up and American Flagg definitely does. I like the books that take chances. I like the writers that make me think. I like the artists that make me uncomfortable. American Flagg does all of those things and no one gets away unscathed. That’s what makes this title continue to resonate decades later. What was pertinent in the Reagan Era still speaks to the concerns of today.

Not for the squeamish or easily offended, Howard Chaykin challenges his audience to peel back the curtain to find that nothing is ever what it seems. Chock full of gratuitous sex and violence and all manner of bigotry and excess, this futuristic noir depicts a world ruled by corporate governments where Nazis infiltrate the police, bike gangs murder freely to benefit television ratings, and the Russians try to influence American elections. Strangely prescient for a relic from the ‘80s.

Trust no one. They are all out to get you, and just when you think you have all the answers, you find out that you certainly do not. Challenge your expectations if you think you are up for it.

Grimm Season 6 Episode 6 “Breakfast in Bed” Review

Another Monster of the Week and another reversal for Renard. Will any of the major plot arcs pay off? Is he a good captain or a bad captain? Who knows? Who cares? Seems like the powers-that-be don’t.

Though I’ve never seen this week’s particular wesen, (a kind of vampire who steals melatonin from deep sleepers, causing them to go insane from insomnia) it feels familiar. I’m pretty sure that even the face hugging special effect has been done before, but not in the spooky night-vision green they used this time… The identity of the perp-wesen was kept hidden, then both conveniently found and dispatched at the last moment. At least Nick got to be all “Grimm outranks cop” when nobody’s looking.

We also got an underwhelming reveal. As it turns out, the mysterious symbols represent some star-map calendar of the future. March 24th will be a big deal apparently.

To me, this was the laziest episode of the season. They present a retread MOTW, the return of an ineffective Black Claw, Renard killing two of their assassins with a silencer equipped pistol and the help of Meisner, and Eve back in the center of the story. Both Adalind and Diana are nowhere to be seen and that lack is sorely missed.

The thing that bothered me most, though, is that once again Monroe is used as bait. My ongoing complaint is that Nick is the worst friend ever. Monroe, the brave and noble soon to be father of triplets is willing to risk his life for someone who has never expressed appreciation. And Nick seems to be getting closer to Eve. That’s another disappointment and I’m starting to think that maybe Renard or Diana or Adalind should off the both of them. Then, the level headed, truly heroic, self-sacrificing (and best acted) Monroe and Rosalee could finally live a well-deserved and normal life. On second thought, Rosalee our lovely fuchsbau should just tear out their throats, she’s got a litter to protect after all.

Friday’s Familiar Face: Lilli Birdsell

Every Friday, Dave brings you a Familiar Face: an actor or actress that you’ve seen countless times, but for whatever reason, have no idea who they are. This week, Dave connects the name and face of…

Lilli Birdsell

Lately, by my count, she is in at least four different commercials ranging from the usual supermom or business woman to a fairly well spoken and humorous zombie concerned about taxes. In television, she has been in almost every procedural, often more than once as alternately grieving widow, murderous wife and sometimes both at the same time. It wasn’t until she appeared in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as ethereal scientist Lucy Bauer in the Ghostrider arc did I finally find out her name.

But I know her best from the first episode of Angel as the lonely heart Sharon Richler indelibly frozen into the opening sequence for that season and forever into my mind’s eye.
Once in the Whedonverse, always in the Whedonverse. (And now MCU too).

Abandon Me by Melissa Febos | Review

Abandon Me by Melissa Febos
Bloomsbury Publishing
February 28, 2017
(320 pages)

I had been under the impression that good memoirs could only be written by those people who have had lived extraordinary lives. Whip Smart, the story of a college age dominatrix certainly fit into that preconceived notion. This new memoir, however, centers more on the ordinary. Here, we are given the easier to identify with experience of love and loss. We see the limits of devotion and the hunger for a solution to the story of oneself. Doesn’t everyone want to be loved? Don’t we all want to know where we came from? The examination of how these questions intertwine makes for a beautiful and compelling journey.

A few pages into Abandon Me, Chilean poet Pablo Neruda’s emotional truth of “Loving is so short, forgetting is so long” from “Tonight I Can Write the Saddest Lines” came to mind, hitting me with the same gut punch reminder of how love is often all consuming. Where Melissa Febos’ prior memoir Whip Smart lived in the dark, Abandon Me runs to the light, but both stories nonetheless are about transformation. Here, we see the aching truth about love, how it is craved, and how it must be survived. In this return to the life of a former dominatrix, there still is beauty and pain for all to see, but this time it is expressed in a journey out of one relationship and into an understanding of personal history.

Intimate and heartbreaking, this is the story of endurance through hope and grace despite tendencies to do otherwise. This is a marvelous glimpse into what love makes us do and feel and what it allows us to become.

Thanks go out once again to NetGalley for the review copy. Abandon Me is to be released in February 2017 by Bloomsbury Books.

Grimm | Season 6 | Episode 5 | Review

Grimm is often the weirdest, silliest and most nonsensical show on TV, but that’s a good thing. It doesn’t matter that the life cycle of the cicada wesen, doesn’t match a real cicada or the legend of Dionysus doesn’t match up either. After all, instead of cheap CGI, this week we get a guy in a bug suit, which is so much better. When Grimm embraces the illogic it works best because after all, we come to the show with a willful suspension of disbelief. We abandoned logic years ago, so don’t sweat it.

There’s a whole lot of stuff going on this week and it is all fun and it all serves the ongoing arc, except the MOTW, but that’s awesome in ways that Grimm has never done before. Eve is connected to those mysterious symbols, she writes them on the walls of the tunnels and they appear on her skin. Diana is connected to them too, is suspicious of her father and wants to “see Meisner” implying maybe she is responsible for the hallucinations. Renard tries to rid himself of Meisner with a “Spirit Vacuum” which is as ridiculous and cool as it sounds, but is it real? We don’t know.

There is lots we don’t know. Top of my list is when is Trubel coming back? But also, will Diana end up saving the world or destroy it? Either way would be fine with me, but no doubt she is the center of everything.

Grimm | Season 6 | Episode 4

Grimm
Fridays at 8:00 on NBC
Season 6 | Episode 4
“El Cuegle”

Everybody knows that Grimm’s days are numbered. The hope is to finish the series in a manner that does justice to a well-loved show that has managed to hang on despite its flaws, detractors and the junkyard Friday night time-slot. With that in mind, I am resistant to what looks like a return to the ‘mundane monster of the week’ format. There is too much to do, to many questions to be answered to go backwards.

Maybe I’m overreacting. “El Cuegle” is a better than the average MOTW. It also underscores the menace that Diana has become. If El Cuegle, the three armed, three eyed seer’s purpose is to eliminate evil in its infancy, are we to infer that Diana is not evil? Well, she loves her Mommy, she loves her Daddy, but has made it abundantly clear that no threat or harm to her mother will ever be tolerated. Although she doesn’t see Sean Renard as a threat, should he become one, no doubt retribution will be sure and swift.

The side stories have promise too. The potential is immense, I want to see how they pan out, but they better not blow it.

Meisner has been revealed as a figment of Renard’s imagination, a welcome return of Damien Puckler and better than nothing. Eve has gone full-on stalker ex-girlfriend mode and it appears that the magical stick of healing (and as yet unnamed other powers) doesn’t like her. Yeah stick! Monroe and Rosalee have real concerns about the safety of their unborn child (or children as Diana has indicated). Any scene that they are in is always good.

All in all, a good episode and I am cautiously optimistic about the future.

7 out of 10 for balance and promise

Friday’s Familiar Face: David Patrick Kelly

Every Friday, Dave brings you a Familiar Face: an actor or actress that you’ve seen countless times, but for whatever reason, have no idea who they are. This week, Dave connects the name and face of…

David Patrick Kelly

Can you hear the clicking bottles at the ends of Luther’s fingers when he taunts “Waaaarrrrrriiiorsss, come out to pla-ay!”? The Warriors (1979)

Or, psycho punk T-Bird screaming “FIRE IT UP! FIRE IT UP!” before reminding Funboy and Skank to get “Smokes and road beers”? The Crow (1994)

What about Arnold holding Sully over a cliff by his leg: “Remember, Sully, when I promised to kill you last?” Commando (1985)

Or, my personal favorite, Jerry Horne’s line after returning from France: “Brother Ben, this is the best damn sandwich I ever ate, it’s a baguette, with brie and butter, I had four of these damn things every day I was there”? Twin Peaks (1990)

Oh, he’s that guy. He’ll be back in the reboot for Showtime in May 2017, I can’t wait. It’ll be tasty I’m sure.

The Librarians | Season 3 | Episode 10

The Librarians Sundays at 8:00 on TNT
Season 3 | Episode 10
“And the Wrath of Chaos”

Did anyone really believe that Col. Baird sold out Flynn and the rest of the Librarians? Maybe not, but we were forced to believe that the head of the super-secret all-powerful government agency tasked to protect everybody from magic is stupid enough to release Apep from his sarcophagus, get possessed, and try to release pure evil into the world. As luck would have it (surprise, surprise), it turns out that all along, Flynn’s master plan to save the Library and the world was to rely on the General to do just that.

And just to make matters worse, Gen. Rockwell (Vanessa Williams) of DOSA happens to have a bomb on hand to blow up the Library, even though if her plan went correctly it would have been empty. Or was the explosive supposed to destroy only the source of magic in the Library? Why would she think she could? How did she know where it could be found?

Anyway, the government stooges underestimated both our plucky heroes and the great big bad chaos god. In the end, of course, Flynn doesn’t have to die because Jake, Cassandra and Ezekiel were each given the exact thing necessary to turn Apep into a human so that he could be the sacrifice instead of Flynn. Yay, good triumphs over evil! I like that the good guys win, but this whole season felt like it was phoned in.

From the beginning I have liked the premise of The Librarians, the characters and the actors and as disappointing this season has been, it is still usually fun to watch. Maybe it will get better, maybe I will lose interest. If there is nothing else on, I’ll probably continue to watch…if I remember.

General-DC Comics

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