Newsletter, Thursday 22nd June

23 Jun 2017 12:43 am
[syndicated profile] su_herald_feed

Posted by gillo

(Giles' citroen. Spike's driving, Giles shotgun)
GILES: If you can't find third gear, don't try for third gear!
SPIKE: I'm doing my best. I don't know if I'm driving this thing or wearing it.
GILES: It's perfectly serviceable.
SPIKE: (laughs) Funny hearing a Fyarl demon say "serviceable." Had a couple of them working for me once. They're more like "Like to crush. Crush now?" Strong though. You won't meet a jar you can't open for the rest of your life.

~~A New Man~~



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[Chaptered Fiction] </ul>
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[syndicated profile] markwatchesstuff_feed

Posted by Mark Oshiro

In the seventh episode of the first season of Enterprise, THIS IS SO FUCKED UP, HELP ME. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek

I WAS NOT READY FOR THIS EPISODE, Y’ALL. I had this entire review that I was plotting out in my head about narratives and the stories we tell ourselves about others and how destructive that can be and JESUS CHRIST, THE ANDORIANS WERE RIGHT. I NEVER ONCE CONSIDERED THAT THEY WERE RIGHT. And that narrative constructed for us is that they can’t be right. They are violent and paranoid; they broke into this monastery, convinced that the Vulcans were spying on them. This is all contrasted with the Vulcans, who are picture perfect opposites of the Andorians.

Thus, a narrative builds: the Vulcans are calm. Logical. Trying to meditate in peace in order to perform kohlinar. They have a history with the aggressive paranoia with the Andorians, who are always certain that the Vulcans are preparing an invasion. Every moment of this episode builds that dichotomy, showing us how rational and reasonable the Vulcans are, while placing the Andorians at the other end of the spectrum. I don’t remember a whole lot of the Andorians from the Original Series aside from them being sort-of-antagonists? This script doesn’t require any knowledge, however, and it works even better if you just assume the worst of them.

So I did it, and lord, it was easy. They are brutal with Captain Archer throughout this episode, who takes these beatings in stride, desperate to find a way to prove to the Andorians that they have the wrong idea about the Vulcans. But that desperation leads him to an interesting place: he wants to use violence in return to defend himself, his crew, and to ultimately get the Andorians out of that monastery. Unsurprisingly, the Vulcans find this option unethical. Barbaric. Illogical. To respond with violence is out of the question… which is an ironic thing to say given the ending of this episode.

I assumed, then, that “The Andorian Incident” was trying to make some big statement about pacifism, to make the case that the Vulcans’ commitment to non-violence had a very obvious flaw in this case. It’s not a bad theme to explore, though it’s complicated by human experience with violence. I tend more towards pacifism on a personal level, but that’s more because I prefer other forms of confrontation. Even then, there are times when violence is an answer, and this “incident” seemed to be a good example of that. The Andorians would never stop tormenting the Vulcans if the Vulcans didn’t stand up for themselves, and sometimes, that might require violence.

Leave it to Archer and his crew to bring the violence. I thought the Reliquary was a really cool idea and I wanted to spend more time there; I also wanted to see more of T’Pol interacting both with the monks and the physical space, since she hadn’t been around Vulcans in over two months. As we were approaching the final scene, I had enjoyed the episode but felt it a tad lacking because it never seemed to commit to any one thing. Was it truly about pacifism? Violence? Vulcan illogic? Archer’s ability to act as a diplomat? “The Andorian Incident” touched on all of these things at some point, so it was dense in that regard.

And then the curtain was pulled back.

It is truly difficult to analyze any of this episode without considering the ending. It changes everything. It changes what the Vulcans say, it changes the reasons why the Andorians broke into that monastery, and it changes T’Pol’s relationship to these holy men. (Seriously, bless Jolene Blalock for being able to convey, within T’Pol’s range, heartbreak. That look on her face was incredible.) In that moment, staring at the massive communications array hidden underneath the monastery, Captain Archer made a decision: the Vulcans were wrong. They violated a treaty. They lied repeatedly: to the Andorians, to T’Pol, to himself. How can Archer possibly support the Vulcans? How can he live with himself knowing that they manipulated him into believing that the Andorians were irrationally interpreting reality?

This is one of the boldest episodes to a Star Trek episode, and I’m gonna be fucked up by it FOREVER. I don’t know if we’ll see fallout from it, but even if we don’t: OH MY GOD THIS EPISODE. Bravo, Enterprise: you’ve already impressed me.

The video for “The Andorian Incident” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– Please visit my new site for all announcements. If you’d rather not have to rely on checking a website regularly, sign up for my newsletter instead! This will cover all news for Mark Reads, Mark Watches, and my fiction releases. 

[syndicated profile] markwatchesstuff_feed

Posted by Mark Oshiro

In the nineteenth episode of the second season of Gargoyles, the team confronts the messy implications of Derek’s transformation. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Gargoyles

Trigger Warning: For discussion of consent and nonconsensual medical procedures, and abuse/manipulation/gaslighting.

Broken record time, and I’m gonna be a broken record about being a broken record. THIS SHOW IS SO GOOD, HOW IS IT REAL, HOW WAS IT EVER ALLOWED TO AIR, HOW ARE WE BLESSED ENOUGH TO EVER GET TO EXPERIENCE IT. And I know I’ve said that many times in various ways, but I can’t get over it. “The Cage” is one of the most emotionally complex stories I’ve seen on television, written convincingly and with honesty. The tragic element of Derek’s story hurts so much more because we understand why he is behaving the way he is.

On a personal level, it’s heartbreaking to watch someone get manipulated. The audience knows the truth about Xanatos’s machinations, and that makes this episode frustrating on a very basic level. We can watch the ways in which Xanatos takes advantage of each new variable or twist in order to push Derek further in his hatred of Goliath. But that hatred is only irrational from an external perspective. This show did an excellent job of demonstrating why Derek saw things as he had. From his view, Goliath’s invasive behavior is what destroyed the antidote. From there, it was easy to construct a narrative, one that Xanatos heavily contributed to. If Derek accepted that Goliath was his adversary, then each new bit of information could be twisted to fit that interpretation of reality.

I don’t want that to sound like Derek is responsible for his own manipulation, though. If you remove Xanatos from the picture, this all falls apart. There was little chance that Derek would have committed so wholly to this worldview if Xanatos had not actively gaslit him, convinced him that Servarius was dead, that Goliath despised him. Xanatos set himself up as Derek’s savior, his “last chance” at humanity. It’s despicable, isn’t it? We all knew that Xanatos didn’t care for Derek in the slightest, at least not outside of how Derek could be used as a means to an end.

Which is one aspect of this episode that’s a persistent theme: the means can’t justify the ends. It’s what Elisa says to Goliath after learning that he kidnapped Dr. Servarius, but it’s also a part of Maggie’s ethos as well. She’s the sole member of Derek’s “pack,” if you can call it that, who wants the others to exercise to caution. To consider other interpretations. To ask for understanding. This journey is important to her, right up to the point where she nearly risks it all. These characters are directly contrasted with Xanatos and Dr. Servarius, who only care about what the end result is. They will harm or kill anyone who stands in their way, and sometimes they do it just to entertain themselves. Y’all, Xanatos spared the very man who betrayed him OVER THE ONE WHO WAS FIERCELY LOYAL TO HIM just because, in the long run, Servarius was worth more to him. As he put it, Derek was just the “experiment.”

It’s such a horrifying moment amidst a chaotic confrontation, and y’all, the pacing of this episode is BRILLIANT. I love that it builds to that sequence, in which all the cards are laid out on the table and Derek realizes the full extent of how he’s been manipulated, how even in the end, he is disposable. It’s heartbreaking because it’s so easy to imagine that Derek struggled with that exact fear after his transformation: Was he disposable? Was he no longer worth anyone’s time or love or care anymore?

It’s where Maggie fits in to the story, both as a support system for Derek but as a character in her own right, one who has agency beyond her meaning to another person. She was the only one who got to know the gargoyles prior to this, even if she didn’t learn that much. Plagued by doubts and uncertainties, she wants to stop all the fighting, but she also wants a cure. Unlike Derek or the other two genetically enhanced people, she has no real desire to remain as she is. I’m glad that this conflict was given room within the story, too! It made the final confrontation so much more satisfying, since we were given a reason why Maggie was willing to drink Servarius’s “cure,” even if it meant that she was actually being poisoned.

The point I’m trying to make about “The Cage” is that the pieces here are intricate, but they fit together in a way that is urgent, necessary, and fulfilling. As frustrating as it was to watch Xanatos and Dr. Servarius escape unscathed, there’s still a joy to be had. Derek and Maggie accept one another; Derek reconciles with Goliath and Elisa; Goliath extends an invitation to his clan; but Derek chooses to form his own with the people who have shared this traumatic experience alongside him. It’s a form of found-family, something y’all know I love dearly, but it’s given one final bit of love. I was utterly shocked as I watched Elisa reveal to her family that Derek wasn’t missing, but changed. THAT FINAL IMAGE MADE ME TEAR UP, WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHOW. The cage was open. Derek and his friends were free.

Again: Gargoyles consistently goes the distance, and it is a goddamn spectacle.

The video for “The Cage” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– Please visit my new site for all announcements. If you’d rather not have to rely on checking a website regularly, sign up for my newsletter instead! This will cover all news for Mark Reads, Mark Watches, and my fiction releases. 

[syndicated profile] whedonesque_feed

https://cup.columbia.edu/book/serenity/9780231544115

The book "examines the relationship between the film and its peculiar cult following, largely established before a cult object even existed, and situates the film in relation to the series and its other transmedia continuations to plumb the status of different media texts and their platforms".

And it's available for pre-order on Amazon.com.

[syndicated profile] markwatchesstuff_feed

Posted by Mark Oshiro

In the sixth episode of the first season of Enterprise, the crew tracks down the first deep space human colony, only to discover a terrible truth. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek

This is a neat episode, if a little confusing towards the end. As a whole, though, it’s a great to show us what exploration is like without the Prime Directive.

SPOILER ALERT, IT’S MESSY, NO ONE IS SURPRISED. (Of note, however: Exploration with the Prime Directive is somehow just as messy! OH, HUMANS.) It was fascinating to watch Archer and the crew deal with the complications of Terra Nova without the usual pause to consider whether they should get involved or not. Well, I can’t discount T’Pol’s role in this, since I am rapidly coming to understand that she exists to basically treat the humans like over-excited puppies who need to be reminded not to pee on the floor or tear up the curtains. Still, this mission was always going to be risky and a little bit creepy because… y’all. Y’ALL. LOST COLONY TROPE. It’s creepy right from the start!

Even then, I expected the team to immediately find people, was shocked when they didn’t, and then got shocked by what they did find: an entire humanoid culture who lived underground. So, I jumped to the next conclusion: humans had colonized a planet where people already lived. Look, that is not exactly an unbelievable thing, okay? Do I even need to provide citations at this point? Star Trek itself is pretty heavy on the whole colonization bit anyway, thus it made sense to me that this episode was going to address that. There had to be a reason the Terra Nova colony stopped communicating 70 years prior, and death by the indigenous population? A pretty shitty trope, but an explanation nonetheless.

Except PLOT TWIST AGAIN, they were all human, and apparently, other humans wiped them out? At times, “Terra Nova” felt bewildering as I tried to keep track of the various threads and reasoning given for what had happened to the colony, but I didn’t see that as a bad thing. This had to be a confusing story so that the audience could understand these two sides better. The humans were desperate to prove that they were not responsible for the destruction of the colony, despite the signs that said otherwise. The Novans wanted to protect themselves and had no reason to trust humans, yet these humans repeatedly made no sense to them.

Ultimately, this is an episode that tracks cultural storytelling and myths and compares it to a giant game of Telephone. I mean, that’s kinda what happens here, right? Humans never destroyed the original colony; rather, a coincidental asteroid collision made the colonists think they were being attacked by a vengeful Starfleet. It’s not like they had any other explanation readily at hand, and so I understood why they had assumed the worst. But this script focuses more on an individual than the Novans as a whole, though it did get dangerously close to something pretty awful. (More on that in a bit.) Nadet is the oldest surviving member of the original colony, but doesn’t know that.

Which was a little hard to believe at times, I admit. Granted, she was a young child before the asteroid struck, and what “Terra Nova” attempts to say is that the years and years of being told that humans were to blame pushed that memory out of Nadet’s mind. It takes the old Terra Nova files to jog her memory, to get her to believe that Archer and his crew really were trying to help them survive. But what if that hadn’t worked? There was a moment within this episode where I thought that Archer truly was going to forcibly relocate these people, and BOY, WAS THAT UNCOMFORTABLE. The writers bring him to the edge of that decision, and it looked like not even T’Pol herself was going to be able to talk him out of it. He was so convinced that he could “save” these people, despite that T’Pol expertly pointed out that such an act wouldn’t be saving their identity or their culture along with their lives.

Thankfully, Archer’s attempt to reach Nadet worked, and I’m guessing the survivors moved south? Hopefully? At least they didn’t have to move to another planet or got forced to do so. WILL THEY CONTINUE TO HAVE THAT AWESOME FACE PAINT, THAT’S ALL I CARE ABOUT.

The video for “Terra Nova” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– Please visit my new site for all announcements. If you’d rather not have to rely on checking a website regularly, sign up for my newsletter instead! This will cover all news for Mark Reads, Mark Watches, and my fiction releases. 

[syndicated profile] markwatchesstuff_feed

Posted by Mark Oshiro

In the eighteenth episode of the second season of Gargoyles, Goliath and Broadway discover that Elisa does not seem to be who she says she is. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Gargoyles

You know, this is an awesome episode that deals with a frightening reality. This show for kids just had an entire plot centered around a protection racket. The script explained what one was, and then it used the gargoyles – who dedicate their lives to protecting others out of duty – to demonstrate why it was such a bad thing. Amidst this, we’re challenged by the bewildering turn of Elisa, who suddenly rejects all the morals and ethics that comprise her character so that she can run a protection racket of her own.

Thus, it made sense to me that Goliath wondered what sort of spell or sorcery she was under. I wondered the same thing! Her characterization in “Protection” was bizarre and contradictory. Granted, I actually figured this one out before it was confirmed onscreen, but that didn’t dilute the experience. I went from confusion and shock to joyous wonder as I watched all of these people – Elisa, Bluestone, their boss, and the gargoyles – conspire to trap Dracon and his men in the act of committing a crime. In hindsight, it was such a good idea to have Elisa go undercover: she was much more believable as a corrupt cop, especially since it was in great contrast to her “normal” personality. The idea was infectious: a do-gooder cop who finally fell from grace and did so hard. AND SHE WAS SO GOOD AT IT. She’s a natural at this!

But this was also a great respite from the more emotionally heavy stories that we’ve been getting lately. Or the straight-up horrifying ones. It’s not until the end of the episode that there’s any sort of growth, but that’s okay. This episode was pure fun, right up until Elisa and Goliath vowed to protect one another and the city, and then the ~wave of emotions~ came. I used the word “pure” to describe the joy of the episode because ultimately, there is a goodness at the heart of “Protection.” Many people lost their hard-earned income to Dracon because of his destructive practice; others lost everything when Dracon retaliated. The show paints this man as demonstratively evil, and then shows us how a dedication to being a force for good in this world results in evil losing. Dracon is taken down by his own arrogance and pride. (And a really sweet swooping tackled from Goliath, LET US NOT FORGET THAT.) Even after successfully taking out Dracon and his men, though, these characters don’t give up. They recognize that fighting evil is a journey, an unending path that twists and turns. It doesn’t always end in victory, and these characters know that well, too. But those victories do happen, and some times, you can make the world a better place.

The video for “Protection” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– Please visit my new site for all announcements. If you’d rather not have to rely on checking a website regularly, sign up for my newsletter instead! This will cover all news for Mark Reads, Mark Watches, and my fiction releases. 

[syndicated profile] su_herald_feed

Posted by chasingdemons

Quentin: We're not in the business of fair, Miss Summers, we're fighting a war.
GILES: You're *waging* a war. She's fighting it. There is a difference.
Quentin: Mr. Giles, if you don't mind...
GILES: The test is done. We're finished.
Quentin: Not quite. She passed. You didn't. The Slayer is not the only one who must perform in this situation. I've recommended to the Council, and they've agreed, that you be relieved of your duties as Watcher immediately. You're fired.

~~Helpless (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 3, Episode 12)~~




[Drabbles & Short Fiction]
[Chaptered Fiction]
[Images]
[Reviews/Recaps]
[Recs]
[Community Announcements]
[Fandom Discussion]

March 2014

S M T W T F S
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Functions


 
Little About a Girl
 
The Latest Nonsense
 
My Chorus
 

 

Indexs


 

 
Fiction Master List
 
Monthly Fiction Recap
 
Archive History
 
Tags
 

 

Fragments


 

 
FRTCharlatan’s Web
 
FRTFleeting Moments
 
FRCFootprints
 
FRCHow Not to Say No
 
FRMPossession
 
FRCSomething Glue
 
FRTA Study in Chartreuse
 

 

Short Stories


 

 
FRAOAnd Wouldn’t You Be Bored?
 
FRMAnother Side of Faith
 
FRTAnswer Me These Questions Three
 
FRMCounterpoint
 
FRAOIn the Mourning
 
FRAOOne Kiss, Two Kiss…
 
FRTOne of Five
 
FRTOne Teensy Little Problem
 
FRMThese and Other Differences
 
FRMWalk About
 
FRTWiddershins
 

 

Side Stories


 

 
Table of Contents
 
FRAO-GVBloodlust
 
FRTNew Blood
 
FRTNow and Then
 
FRAO-GVVicarious
 

 

Novellas & Novels


 

 
FRAO-GVBloodletting
 
FRAO-GVBloodletting (the Final Cut)
 
FRMFlood
 
FRAOVanishing
 

 

Series

ACROSS SEASONS


 

 
Table of Contents
 
FRTCrossed Wires
 
FRTCross Words
 
FRTCross Purposes
 
FRTWhere Dreams Cross
 
FRTCross Section
 
FRTPaths Crossed
 
FRTLines Crossed
 
FRTCrossing the Rubicon
 
FRTIn the Crosshairs
 
FRTCross Examine
 

 

A.T.S. (2009 – present)


 

 
Table of Contents
 
FRTThe Outsider
 
FRMThe Noose
 
FRMBlue
 
FRMGravity
 
FRAO-GVCrimes
 
FRMEpitaph
 

 

A.T.S. Fragments


 

 
FRAO-GVCrimes: Dream Sequence
 
FRAOCrimes: The Second Time
 
FRAOCrimes: It’s Just Sex
 
FRMCrimes: Fresh Linens
 

 


 

 

Empty Spaces


 

 
Table of Contents
 
FRTA Single Step
 
FRCThe Paragon of Monsters
 
FRTCrossed Wires
 
FRTIt’s a Glamorous Job…
 
FRTOwen Who?
 
FRTAbsolute Zero
 
FRCKinda Pretty
 
FRTFishwife Blues
 
FRCGlass Heart
 
FRTPeanuts
 
FRTAnother One Closes
 
FRTIn the Time of Wolves
 
FRTStone
 

 

The River’s Daughter


 

 
Table of Contents
 
FRTIn Blue Moon’s Light
 
FRTJupiter
 
FRMCapture Theory
 
FRAOAn Effigy to Aphelion
 
FRAOA Keyhole in the Sun
 
FRAOHesperus in Retrograde
 
FRTThe Two-Body Problem
 

 

S.O.R. Fragments


 

 
FRMA Prelude to Schism
 
FRTBalance (an Interlude)
 
FRTTherapy and Waffles
 
FRCSoft Spot
 
FRMUse of Force
 

 

Thirteen Steps (2007)


 

 
Table of Contents
 
FRMThe Outsider
 
FRMThe Noose
 
FRAOGravity
 
FRAOBlue
 
FRMWeak and Powerless
 
FRAOPet
 
FRTLullaby
 
FRAOThe Package
 
FRAOFor Marie
 
FRAO-GVCrimes
 
FRAO-GVA Stranger
 
FRAOVanishing
 

 


 

 

Essays


 

 
FRTOn Writing Series
 
FRMA Selective Meme
 
FRTFanFiction Writing Meme