selenak: (Catherine Weaver by Miss Mandy)
[personal profile] selenak
I had an extremely busy last few days, of which pictures will follow in due time. (Attended a conference in Switzerland, am en route back to place of residence, which is a looong trip.) But even when busy, I did have the chance to check out the news now and then. Seems the Orange Menace was even more obnoxious close up than he was in what we saw on the news, because Angela Merkel is a) a confirmed Atlanticist, and b) extremely cautious in her public statements. I mean, this is the woman who if anything got critiqued through the years for not showing emotion and spontanity, who had to put up with the likes of Putin trying to spook her with a dog (she was bitten as a child, which he knew), Dubya going for an unwanted shoulder squeeze, Berlusconi being... Berlusconi, and of course supposed ally and adorer of autocrats Horst Seehofer lecturing her on stage in public for fifteen minutes on how she sucked a little more than a year ago. And she never flinched. She's no stranger to boorish and/or game playing male polticians, is what I'm saying, and she never comments. Well, commented. (It took her eons to say something about the NSA/her phone being bugged in the Obama days, too, and when she finally did, not least because the nation was seething, she left it to her press secretary.) So for her to publically state what she did, see here, is in Merkel terms downright letting her hair down.

Meanwhile, in fannish news. During the last few weeks, I watched both the second season of Sense 8 and the second season of I Zombie. (Am looking forward to the second season of The Last Kingdom, which was just put up today.) On to the S8 review.

Sense8: continues to be a wild mix of good and bad. As now all the regulars know each other, it could focus on them providing support and being found family in their interactions, as opposed to having the "getting to know you" stage first. And that was delightful. So were almost everyone's interactions with their non-Sensate friends/loved ones, several of whom got showcased as well and given more background. Team Nomi and Team Lito were my favourites here, between the Neets' dads, her and Nomi's mutual marriage proposal and Bug's Lito fanboying, and Lito suffering some of the consequences he'd feared from his outing but also experiencing the joy of liberation and Dani's big scene demonstrating both to the audience and the boys why she'd be the perfect agent for him. Also liked Sun's plot and the new characters we meet in it, though am vaguely amused that the directors never seem to miss an opportunity to show her in her underwear. Yes, your sister is the Terminator, boo-hiss villain.

On the other hand: Kala's subplot started with a season 1 problem I had, to wit, that her father-in-law still makes zero sense to me in terms of rl Indian politics. Sorry, as long as a Hindu fundamentalist party like the BJP is in power, no rich industrialist who hopes to make it in politics would as much as admit to an atheistic thought. And "anti idolitary law"? This sounds about as likely as, say, the governor of a Bible Belt state in the US pushing for a law that would ask any pregnant woman to be told about the joys of abortion. Which is to say: it sounds like a crazy right wing fantasy designed to make the dominant power into the persecuted minority, and I don't know what JMS and the Wachowskis are thinking. Thankfully, this particular bit of weirdness stops being mentioned after episode 4 or so. My other problem with Kala's plot line is that whenever an element that's new and would seem to demand a reaction changing things shows up, it seems to be counteracted. Wher husband shows a life-of-privilege darkside when she finds out he knew that out of date/non-effective medicine ends up being sold to African countries being a case in point. While I thought at first this was just supposed to be a way to get Kala out of her marriage after the show had earlier made her first fiance, then husband into such a positive and understanding character that it was hard to comprehend why she didn't just come clean to him - not about the Cluster, but about not loving him, I also thought as opposed to his father being a religion-oppressing atheist, this actually was a plausible thing to be revealed and very likely. I also thought it would lead to Kala having some self examination that's not about her love life, and instead had her face that her entilre luxurious existence is now funded on people like Capheus' mother being sold faulty medicine, to put it a bit over the top but not inaccurately; and that she would end the marriage for this reason, and not because of Wolfgang, and seek another job. But no such luck. Instead, her reaction amounted to going to her parents, her husband giving her a "you were right, I was wrong" speech upon which she returns to him, and then later the reveal he's really under cover investigating bad guys. All of which feels like it happens solely to keep Kala's marriage as a dramatic obstacle alive, and it draaaaaags.

Kala was still doing better than Wolfgang this season, though. He had hands down the worst plot line. His interactions with Felix, hands down some of the most enjoyable aspects of Wolfgang's story last season, were kept to a minimum, the new characters felt like rejects from a cheap gangster movie (and sadly not one starring Lito), and if I never have to watch again a supposed femme fatale named Lila, it'll be too soon. I mean, I loved Lilah Morgan on Angel. But the Lila on Dexter later was extremely annoying instead of smart and alluring, and this one now just follows suit. The one point during Wolfgang's plot line where I perked up because my inner X-Men fan couldn't help it was, of course, the Cluster versus Cluster battle, when not just Wolfgang and Lila but Lila's Cluster and Wolfgang's Cluster fought. It was a cool visualization of a telepathic concept. I also am on board with the idea of some Sensates deciding they should be into the Empire building business for themselves. My inner B5 fan thinks "Psi Corps", which is a good thing. (Err, as a watcher, not for the poor people involved.) But Lila is such a collection of clich├ęs when she could have been a much more interesting character embodying the "bad" Sensate if she were, say, a deciptively harmless looking grandmotherly type whom Wolfgang thinks he has to protect until he realises she's playing him, and one who then argues her case sounding reasonably. Even the interactions Wolfgang has with his cluster, other than Kala, were kept to a minimum, when virtually every Wolfgang & character other than Kala from the cluster combination would have interested me more.

Capheus' storyline I'm a bit divided about, because I'm so rl burned on the universal adoration of the "honest, honest outsider person who never was in politics is the ideal solution for a troubled country" and lines like "we're not looking for a politician, we're looking for a leader" make me flinch for just that reason. Otoh I liked the reporter, AND the argument that if you eternally bitch about politicians yet refuse to get into politics yourself, you're part of the problem resonated with me.

Will and Riley: had a bit of a role reversal this season, as due to last season's ending Riley was the one getting to do the active stuff while Will was the damsel. (Though not entirely. And btw, the two pay offs for his cat and mouse games with Whisper were great.) Unexpected Sylvester McCoy was fun to watch, and I hope for more of him next season. Otherwise, I was okay with their story without being either wildly enthusiastic or irritated by it.

Angelika: though dead, turns from a plot device into a character this season as we learn more and more about her. Jonas, meanwhile, stays a plot device, albeit a good looking one.

Lastly: . I've been to India. I've been to the States. I've been to South America. These are all very long flights to London, but not, I repeat, not identical ones, i.e. Los Angeles/London isn't Delhi/London. And so forth. There's no way these people would all arrive at roughly the same time, and that's leaving aside the traffic situation to and from each air port, and the jet lag. I mean, I cheered the big rescue as much in this finale as I did in the last finale, but I also thought: no way.

...plus, just how long is Whisper supposedly torturing Wolfgang until the gang arrives? Ten hours? Twelve hours? Fourteen hours? Twenty hours? Could be all of this, based on flight times from individual points of origin (minus bad traffic en route the air port or queues at the passport checks). It's been decades since TNG did Chain of Command; I thought by now, we'd finally be admitting for more characters than Picard that yes, heroes cave under torture, and there's nothing unheroic about that. Yes, Wolfgang had an abusive childhood and thus is able to stand more pain in general, but not THAT much amount of it, that long. Here's how I'd have fixed that problem: the gang is already mostly in London to meet, with only one or two still missing, when Wolfgang gets captured and brought there..

All complaints not withstanding, though, I do enjoy the show, its unabashed emotionalness and commitment to diversity in all forms, and its ensemble spirit. And I look forward to season 3!

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