Archive for April, 2021

Zeus’ Other Daughter – A Percy Jackson Story

April 30, 2021

Corinna sat down by herself at a table in the mess hall after a full day of training. Nobody dared to approach her and anybody who looked at her, tried to look away quickly. She was by far the most powerful fighter at Camp Prometheus. She was a daughter of Zeus and it showed in her bearing and on the field of training. She also seemed to hunger more and thirst more than anybody else at the camp. She was a legend and she had not even reached the age of 18 yet. People tended to steer clear of her because of how fierce she could be and she preferred being alone anyway. So it was a surprise to everyone, including Corinna, when Freddy set his food down on the table and sat on the bench opposite her. The room tensed and held their breath together.

Corinna narrowed her eyes. “Are you new?” she asked in a gruff voice. “Nobody sits there.”

Freddy just smiled brightly. “I am new. Thanks for noticing,” he said. Then he slid a foot to his right. “Is this better? Can I sit here?”

Lightning actually sparked in Corinna’s eyes. “Don’t mock me,” she said. “People who mock me end up getting turned into a smear on the ground.”

Freddy shrugged. “I’m not mocking you,” he said. “I saw an open seat and I took it. It’s not all about you.”

Corinna just grumbled and looked back at her food. She was too hungry to teach this newbie a lesson. Maybe later.

“My name is Freddy,” he said with that same smile. “Son of Eos. That is how people introduce themselves around here, right?” Like Camp Half-Blood and Camp Jupiter, Camp Prometheus was a place for demigods to train and grow in safety. The only difference is that it was mostly made up of the children of Titans and those who might not fit in at the other camps. Of course, that meant that a lot of people there had a parent who was currently imprisoned in Tartarus. It made for a pretty strong bond.

“Eos, huh?” Corinna said without looking up. “I guess that explains why you’re so sunny.”

“That’s hilarious,” Freddy said with a deadpan expression. “I’ve never heard that before. I’m guessing Kronos is your daddy from the way everybody around here thinks your hot shit.”

Corinna looked up at that and started at Freddy for a beat before looking back at her food. “Zeus, actually.” She mumbled.

Freddy whistled in surprise. “The Thunder from Olympus, huh?” he asked. “Shouldn’t you be at Camp Half-Blood?”

Corinna sat her fork down deliberately and looked at Freddy again. “My mother and I disagreed with how those Gods carry themselves,” she said. “I had a friend who came here because they wouldn’t let her come to Camp Half-Blood with me. This is the only place that would take me after everything went down.”

“Zeus and his group are pretty unfair,” Freddy said. “Like our camp namesake got a pretty bum rap. He deserved better.”

“Probably,” Corinna said. “He’s kind of an ass, though.”

“You met him?” Freddy asked with surprise.

“He came around,” Corinna said. “Before the last Titanomachy.”

“The war with the Gods?” Freddy asked. “Wish I had been here.”

“No you don’t,” Corinna said. “It sucked. It was tense and nobody was happy.”

“Are you ever happy?” Freddy asked, half-serious and half-teasing.

Corinna sighed. “I would have been happy if they let me fight,” she said. “They grounded me and everybody else here.”

“You would fight your cousins and your dad?” Freddy asked. “That’s pretty heavy.”

“He never gave me anything but grief,” Corinna said. “and I just want to fight.”

“Why?” Freddy asked, watching Corinna’s face.

Corinna shrugged but inside she was thinking ‘because it’s the only thing I’m good at’.

Media Update 4/29/21

April 29, 2021

Mortal Kombat

My friends and I fell in love with the Mortal Kombat video game franchise back in the day. We even created our own characters. Mine was not that imaginative at the time (another Scorpion recolor). The original movies were dumb but good fun and I am happy to say that this movie follows that tradition. The movie follows a group of strangers who are tapped to be champions of Earth against the Outworld. The movie felt more focused than previous outings by framing the movie around the very cool Subzero/Scorpion rivalry from the games. The movie follows Lewis Tan as an original character who would definitely fit into any of the games. Jessica McNamee plays Sonya Blade, for once not a damsel in distress and with an actual character arc. Kano is played by Josh Lawson and provides much of the comic relief. Ludi Lin and Max Huang do an excellent job of bringing in that classic Mortal Kombat feel as Liu Kang and Kung Lao. The movie has really fun (and sometimes surprisingly violent) special effects and I loved the character designs. The characters all felt like their video game counterparts but they allowed for little updates and twists that made it into its own thing. The movie is also gloriously peppered with quotes from the original games, easter eggs, shout outs, and a banging soundtrack. I recommend the movie a lot.

Superman and Lois

I was actually kind of skeptical when I saw an announcement for this show. I felt that Superman was a great side character on Supergirl but I wondered if he actually merited his own show. I was wrong. This show feels like a throwback to Lois and Clark with a slightly more serious CW bent to it. This show is not just a Superman show. It equally focuses on Superman, Lois Lane, and their twin sons, Jonathan and Jordan. We get the superheroics of Superman, the hard-hitting journalism of Lois Lane at her best, and how two kids deal with their dad being Superman. We also get to see their family dynamic in what feels like a fresh way. Each are allowed room to pursue their own plot threads but also come together organically when those threads intersect. Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch return as Clark and Lois and really pull out all of the stops in the acting department. Alex Garfin and Jordan Elsass do a really god job as the super twins, really exploring the teenage years in an interesting way. The cast around them is absolutely great as we see a lot of great characters from the comics and other CW shows. I am very interested to see where this goes. I recommend this show especially if you have liked the other DC Comics offerings on the CW.

Creed II

I was a huge fan of Creed because it really breathed new life into the Rocky franchise. In fact, I see Creed as way better than any of the Rocky movies. This one takes the first movie and adds so much more to it. It follows the first movie a couple of months later and has Adonis Creed dealing with his own legacy and his father’s legacy. Michael B. Jordan has so much heart in the lead role and is so much fun to watch. The movie just could not happen without Tessa Thompson along for the ride again. She is not only a great actress but her music adds a lot to an already great soundtrack. Sylvestor Stallone has really relaxed in his old age into a really good actor. Dolph Lundgren returns as Ivan Drago and also is a much better actor than he was decades ago. Florian Munteau appears as Viktor Drago and does a lot with his physicality and very few lines. I recommend this movie.

Music of the Week:

Lauren Ruth Ward – Well, Hell

Trivium – Drowning in the Sound

Rita Ora – Soul Survivor

Watsky – Limo 4 Emos

Mashup of the Week:

Mashed Potatoes – Bye Bye O B

Weekly Update:
This week’s theme is “Legendary Lineage”
I watched more Watcher videos
I watched a lot of Twitch and YouTube
i watched more Elementary Season 4
I watched more Prodigal Son Season 2
I watched more Bob’s Burgers Season 11
I watched more A Crime to Remember
I started watching Conspiracies
I finished The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

The Yeti Adventure – A Disney S.E.A. Story

April 29, 2021

Danny Reed had a twinge of regret as he watched the plane fly away but any thoughts in his head were blown away by the cold wind that kicked up. He looked around and hurried to catch up with Mariah Mystic. She looked over her shoulder and gave him a mocking smile.

“Keep up, Reed!” She yelled over the roaring wind. “Keep up or you’re out!”

Danny grunted and kept moving in her wake as they walked away from the landing strip and toward a small cabin. They had taken several planes and ended up near a mountain range in Nepal. It was absolutely frigid and Danny felt like he had not been adequately prepared for that. The plane was too small to fully gear up so they had to get inside quickly. The cabin was not very warm but at least there was no wind. Mariah pointed at the fireplace and Danny grumbled and got to work starting a fire. Thankfully there was dry wood. After a while, the place started to warm up and Mariah and Danny took off their jackets. They sat down.

“You’re not doing that bad a job, Reed,” Mariah said. She had hung a kettle over the fire and they were waiting for it boil. There were rations stocked in the cabin but no actual food. “You still with me?”

Danny fought not to sigh. “I’m still with you,” he said. “I’m not as used to cold weather as you are, apparently.”

“Better get used to it, Reed,” Mariah said. “The Society of Explorers and Adventurers are expected to go anywhere on Earth at the drop of a hat. You never know where knowledge might be hiding.”

“I don’t think it’s knowledge that is hiding here in Nepal, huh?” Danny asked. “We’re here on a specific mission.” He started to unwrap and dig into his rations.

“Why don’t you recite our mission, Reed,” Mariah said with a smirk. “In full.”

“Come on,” Danny said with a groan. “Is this a test?”

“It’s only a test if you’re about to fail it,” Mariah said. “I only do this kind of thing to prepare you for life in the S. E. A.. Reed. I grew up in this life. My family goes back generations in the Society so I was raised with all of this. You’re new. I want to make sure that you get caught up with the rest of us. It’s not personal.”

“It feels a little personal,” Danny said. “I mean, I can’t really blame you if your perception of my family is colored by your grandfather.”

Mariah took a deep breath. “The fact that my grandfather expelled your grandfather from the Society does not color my opinion of you,” she said. “It was a shameful chapter in the Society’s history and it was unfortunate that Garrett Reed earned his expulsion.”

“What did he do to get tossed?” Danny asked. “I never really asked and gramps got really distant after it all went down. I never saw him again, really. Not until the funeral.”

“My condolences on that last part,” Mariah said with all sincerity. “Nobody in the Society wished for Garrett Reed to die. My grandfather caught him acting inappropriately in regards to some mystical items in a dig in Egypt. After his expulsion, he clashed with Doctor Indiana Jones on several occasions.”

“Well, that tracks with why he was found strangled by vines,” Danny said. “Magic had to have been involved. At some point, I’d love further details, though. That wasn’t really a full explanation.”

“I can loan you my grandfather’s journals if you like and the official Society record,” Mariah said. “Your grandfather was not the only one expelled from the Society. We take our duties seriously and the supernatural can corrupt people quickly.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Danny said.

“Now recite our mission,” Mariah said with a wicked grin. “You may have thought I forgot about that but I never forget.”

“I’ll keep that in mind too,” Danny said, rolling his eyes. “We’re here in Nepal to look for a missing Yeti. It used to be observed and ‘managed’ by the S. E. A. near Everest but the Yeti was attacked. A Joe Rohde attacked the creature with a series of flashbangs which frightened it away from its lair. Madame Zarkov was able to locate the Yeti here further along the Himalayas and we are here to aid the Yeti in getting back to the Forbidden Mountain.”

“Nice summary,” Mariah said. “We will sleep here tonight. Arnold Lindsey will arrive tomorrow morning with the rest of our gear and a guide. Rest well, Reed. Tomorrow will be another long day.”

“You can call me Danny,” he said.

Mariah took a deep breath. “Danny then,” she said. “That doesn’t mean you can call me Mariah yet. You have to earn it.”

X-Cell – An X-Men What If Story

April 28, 2021

(This is a companion piece to my Avengers story two weeks ago. It can be found here. TL;DR this world is in a bad way.)

“So where we at, mon freres,” Gambit said, leaning against a wall. “Things are looking pretty grim, non?” They were taking refuge in an estate in the country north of New York City. Westchester County was just far enough out of the way to dodge the heavier patrols in the city but close enough that they could still take action if they needed to. Besides, the place belonged to a man a few of them had met once. Charles Xavier, a mutant just like them who had brought them together for a purpose. To counter the threat of Magneto and the US Government.

“You ain’t lyin’,” Rogue said. “We’re in a fine mess.”

“Agreed,” Colossus said. “The government’s forces are closing in. They keep capturing our people and brainwashing them against us. Magneto, Logan, my sister, and so many more. And now they have started to kill us.”

“Sam,” Rogue said, her voice wavering a bit. “I can’t believe he’s dead. He was the best of us.”

“At least you took his power before he went, chere,” Gambit said. “I know it’s not a lot of comfort.”

“I shouldn’t have done it,” Rogue said. “They weren’t mine to take.” Magneto had somehow hurled a piece of rebar right through Sam Guthrie. He was bleeding out when he called out for help, barely conscious. Rogue had been the first one to get to him and the last one to see him alive.

“I disagree,” Colossus said. “It was smart thinking. Sam would have wanted his powers to continue to be used for justice. The legacy of Cannonball lives on through you.” Sam had been young and experienced but his power level was huge.

“I’m so tired of carrying these legacies,” Rogue said. “I already had M’s and Banshee’s powers.” She could see their faces still when she closed her eyes. She had traces of their memories and knew their pain. It was a lot.

“Are you having difficulty holding in that much power?” Colossus asked as gently as he could. He cared for his teammates and wanted the best for them. He had never asked to be their leader but their options were fewer and fewer. Charles was in a mysterious coma in the basement after a confrontation with Magneto’s forces. Many of their former friends were imprisoned or brainwashed. He badly wanted to hand over the position of team leader to anybody who would take it.

“I’m having difficulty holding the grief in,” Rogue said. Gambit reached out for her but she waved him off. There was time enough for comfort later. “I’ll be fine, though. We have to be fine, don’t we?”

“We must,” Colossus said, nodding with a grim look on his face. “For now there is the three of us and Pyro. Madrox, Kurt, and Raven are still on their mission. I can only hope that Morph is still undercover somewhere but out of touch. Betsy and Jean are spending all of their energy shielding us from the government. The Avengers are missing.”

“They have to still be out there somewhere,” Rogue said. “Otherwise, they would have been plastered all over the news. They would be crowing about it.”

“Chere’s got a point,” Gambit said. “They are probably hiding just like we are. Except we can’t stay hidden forever.” They were all getting restless and hope was dwindling. Remy kept joking and flirting to keep the dread away but it only did so much.

“Agreed,” Colossus said. “We have to make a move and soon.”

“I’m ready for it,” Rogue said, her eyes suddenly fierce. “I’ve got all this power and I’m ready to rain down hell on them. You have to turn me loose.”

“Soon enough, Anna Marie,” Colossus said. “The first opening we get, we strike. We will win our friends and loved ones back to our side.”

Wilde and Hopps Detective Agency – A Zootopia Story

April 27, 2021

Nick followed Judy into the dusty old office. The building was on a little side street off of Savanna Central. It would have been a prime location if the building had not been so neglected. It must have been missed by the new Mayor’s beautification programs. Nick had made a face when he saw the building but Judy had not seemed to notice it. Nick had lived in and been to plenty of sketchy places but he thought that part of his life was over. And yet, here he was following Judy Hopps into another situation.

“Explain what this place is again?” Nick asked, gesturing around them. He ran a single furry finger along a desk and came away with a thick bit of dust. He wiped it off on his pants.

“This is my new office,” Judy said. “Our new office if you still want to join me.” She seemed to be in exceptionally high spirits but Judy Hopps was almost always vibrating with energy. At least, that’s how Nick had always known her. It was part of what had convinced him to go straight.

“I still can’t believe that you quit the police force,” Nick said. “Wasn’t that your dream from when you were a little kid?”

“It was my dream,” Judy said with a smile. “but things change. When I had that dream, I didn’t really know what it would mean for it to come true. Mayor Lionheart and then Mayor Bellwether proved that the system is broken and it can’t be fixed from the inside. I don’t regret working hard for that dream because it gave me the skills for my new dream. I want to really help people.”

“So that’s why we’re here?” Nick asked. “That’s why you need an office?”

“Yeah,” Judy said. “I want to be a private investigator. No case too big or small. I want to help people. That was my real dream.”

Nick laughed and shrugged. “I kind of wish you had this epiphany a lot earlier,” he said. “You know, before I went through the Academy too.”

“It wasn’t a mistake for me to join the Academy and the force,” Judy said. “but it was a mistake not to really talk to you before you did the same. I’m sorry.”

“Hey, it’s not that huge a deal,” Nick said. “It’s just really weird for us to be reversed from when we met. Me the police officer, you the civilian.”

“Yeah,” Judy said with a laugh. “It is a bit weird. At least I haven’t devolved into a life of crime.”

“Yeah yeah,” Nick said. “I guess I sort of deserve that. I’ve gone straight but don’t think for a minute that I haven’t lost my cred on the street.”

“Heaven forbid,” Judy said in mock indignation. “I would never suggest such a thing. Your street cred is what made you so effective on our first case together.”

“Our first and only case,” Nick said. “unless I quit the force, of course. That’s a big ask, Judy.” He leveled his gaze at her and watched her tense up and look embarassed.

“Right,” Judy said softly. “It is a big ask and it was wrong of me to pressure you. Besides, I can always use a man on the inside.”

“I’m just kidding, Judy,” Nick said with a laugh. “I’d quit in a heartbeat for you. I proved that I belonged. We both did. You proved that a bunny could do it and I proved that a fox could do it. I have nothing left to prove. Besides, what you have in mind sounds more fun.”

“I’m so glad you said that,” Judy said. “because we have to clean this place up.”

“Suddenly, this sounds like not as much fun,” Nick said, his shoulders slumping.

“A little hard work isn’t going to kill you, Nick,” Judy said.

“We’ll see,” Nick said.

A VILE Phone Tap – A Carmen Sandiego Story

April 26, 2021

Sean Pumpkinclanger woke up on his cot at the ACME listening station. He stretched and moved over to the kitchenette area to grab an MRE for breakfast. He had been stationed there for almost a year but he would not complain. It was an honor to serve in one of the greatest agencies in the world. Better than the FBI, better than Interpol, better than anything else you could think of. He was the last student of Greg Lee before his retirement and he carried that truth like a badge of honor. He had first run into ACME while visiting his grandmother and he had known what he wanted to be. Now he was an ACME agent and he would do his duty.

On the other side of the bunker, his equipment came alive with a loud beeping. He rushed over, carrying his food with him, and put on his headphones. It was coming in on an old feed but it was definitely a phone tap. His heart started pounding as the line clicked on and the recording started. This was the first call in a while so Sean was so excited.

“Carmen,” a woman’s voice said. “I’ve got the loot. The Gates of Versailles are ours. They were definitely a golden opportunity.” The computer kicked into gear and analyzed the voice as belonging to Barb Dwyer. Her file came up on Sean’s screen. She was a tough biker chick turned VILE agent. That meant that the ‘Carmen’ on the other end of this call was the ultimate quarry. It was Carmen Sandiego.

“Excellent gate crashing, Barb,” Carmen said. “The original gates may have been broken when the peasants revolted, but these replicas are worth a pretty penny. Speaking of storming, I need you to storm across the Rhine and head to an area famously associated with the tales of the Brothers Grimm.”

“Grim?” Barb asked. “Sounds like that could make for some really killer ink.”

“Killer ink is right but I’m not talking about tattoos,” Carmen said. “You really need to read a book, Barb.” Sean wondered to himself why so many VILE operatives were so dumb and yet managed so many fantastic heists. Without Carmen, they would probably all be lost.

“Why would I read a book when they make movies of everything,” Barb asked. While she was not wrong, it did feel pretty ignorant.

Carmen sighed. “Listen, where you’re going you may need a flashlight because this place’s name is very dark,” she said. Sean was penciling his thoughts on a piece of paper while he listened and he was starting to get what Carmen was trying to hammer into Barb’s dense head.

“Darkness sounds good to me,” Barb said. “Makes it easy to lay low. Just as long as I can find a repair shop for my bike. I think the cobblestone at Versailles knocked something loose.”

“Head for the town of Baden-Baden,” Carmen said. “You’ll find what you need there but remember to lay low or you’ll get caught.”

“Sounds Baden to the bone to me,” Barb said. “Just my style. How long until we meet up?” Sean’s eyes went wide. A meetup? This was big news. The information on this recording could lead to Carmen’s capture and the potential dismantling of VILE. Of course, Carmen had been caught before but she had always escaped.

“Soon enough,” Carmen said. “unless you screwed up, of course.”

“I got away clean,” Barb said. “ACME has nothing on my bike.”

“Keep your head down,” Carmen said and the line went dead.

Barb Dwyer had slipped up. She had used an old channel to contact her boss and now Sean had to get this information to ACME. The detectives needed to get on the chase and track down Carmen. He started sending a message to command with the phone tap attached. “VILE agent Barb Dwyer in the Black Forest. Baden-Baden, Germany. Carmen may be en route.”

Senior Agent Greg Lee had taught him well. He knew it was the Black Forest from his studies in European geography. Barb would stick out like a sore thumb in Baden-Baden. There was no way that Dwyer would keep her bike idle with all of that countryside to drive through. He hoped that the agents would have little trouble tracking her and letting her lead them to Carmen. He smiled brightly as he pressed send.

Underworld Hunters – A Disney Crossover Story

April 24, 2021

The room was not very inviting when they arrived. A very large table sat in the middle of it. Many of them would have called it a dining table but who would make a dining table out of stone? It was so cold despite all of the blue flames in the room. There were exactly enough chairs for all of them which meant that the room had been staged just for them. Cruella was smart enough to be unnerved by that but she did not think the others noticed. They did not strike her as very bright. They reminded her of the Baddun brothers. Fairly stupid but also arrogant.

She was not a fool so she knew where she was. She remembered her death and her arrival in what could only be the Underworld. It was different than she had suspected. She had expected pearly gates but after a lot of reflection in this place, she realized that she probably could have been nicer to those dogs. She probably could have been nicer to a lot of people. The moment had passed and now she was stuck in this hole. However, this room was new and it certainly broke the monotony.

Suddenly, one of the others spoke up. It was a big oaf with his feet propped up on the table.

“When are we going to find out why we’re here?” the man said loudly. “This is boring!” The man was wearing a tight red shirt and even tighter pants. His dark black hair was in a ponytail.

“Shut your mouth, you fool,” Cruella said almost in a hiss. “Don’t you know where you are?”

“I could care less,” the man said. “Don’t you know who I am? I am the great Gaston! I fear nothing!”

“Empty bravado,” Cruella said. “you really are a fool.”

“I’m afraid I’m going to have to agree with the lady,” a man in a wide-brimmed hat said. “We have to keep one eye open here. McLeach is the name, by the way.” He tipped his hat and somehow the gesture was not polite but threatening. The man had skin like leather from being out in the sun too much and his words were thick with what Cruella guessed was an Australian accent.

“At least there’s a little intelligence in this room,” Cruella said.

“What’s your name, lady?” McLeach asked.

“Cruella de Ville,” Cruella said with a flourish. “Certainly you’ve heard of me.”

“Nobody’s heard of you,” the third and final man said. “Neither have I heard of Gaston or McLeach. All nonsense names. I hardly expect you to know my name either even though it is known in many circles.” The man looked absolutely put together with slicked-back hair and a thin pencil mustache.

“What is your name then?” Cruella asked.

“William Clayton,” the man said. “Greatest hunter that ever lived.”

McLeach and Gaston laughed at that, each in their own way.

“Noone hunts like Gaston!” Gaston cried out. “I doubt you could match me kill for kill.”

“Calm down there, Frenchie,” McLeach said. “I know I’m a better hunter than you but I’m not about to get into a pissing contest. Where have you hunted, Clayton?”

“Africa mostly,” Clayton said. “The most dangerous continent.”

“Doesn’t hold a candle to Australia,” McLeach said with a chuckle.

“I thought we weren’t engaging in pissing contests,” Cruella said with a smirk that caused McLeach to frown.

“Is your name really devil,” Gaston asked suddenly.

“Shut up,” Cruella said simply.

“How about we all shut up?” a voice said as the doors opened. A gaunt man with blue flames for hair and a smirk on his face walked in. “How about we all just settle down and play nice for the moment, huh?”

“Who are you?” Gaston asked indignantly.

“What are you?” Clayton asked, aghast at the supernatural figure before him.

“Hades,” the man said. “Lord of the Underworld. You’re in my house so you play by my rules. Capiche? Great. Now I’ve invited you four because I have a bit of a problem and you’re just ruthless enough to solve it. Two days ago, a coven of witches escaped from the Underworld. Now, I’m the boss around here but I have to deal with my brothers who are big pains in the keister. Frankly, I love to send chaos up there but these were unauthorized. I need you to go up there and take them out. The hard way.”

Before anybody could say anything, Cruella raised her hand. “We accept,” she said simply. “Give us weapons and we’ll bag these witches for you. If it means getting out of here ourselves for even a moment, we accept.” She glared at the others and they all nodded.

Taking Time to Mourn – A Descendants Story

April 23, 2021

Jay, Mal, and Evie sat on benches behind Evie’s cottage. The sun had gone down and the moon was out and it was the only light beyond a single light at the back door. None of them seemed to notice. They had talked a little but mostly they were quiet. Most of the evening they had stared at the ground or gave each other knowing glances. They had gotten together to have dinner at Evie’s but none of them had an appetite. Anytime that one of them tried to start a conversation, they all just seemed to run out of fuel and go quiet again. The four of them had left the Isle of the Lost together but now there were only three. It was so painful. All three of them were alerted to the sound of footsteps on the stones leading around the house.

“There you are,” Uma said. “Ben told me I could find you here.” Her face was solemn but it was clear that she was trying to keep her voice somewhat light. All three tensed at her approach and Mal almost stood up. “Whoa! I come in peace.”

“Sorry, Uma,” Evie said. “It’s still hard to get used to you being friendly after all of the kidnapping and swordplay.”

“That’s fair,” Uma said. “I admit I’ve been a little nasty to you. I’d be on guard if I were you too.”

“No,” Mal said, her own voice almost startling her for a moment. “It’s not fair. We’ve all done bad things here. None of us are innocent. We shouldn’t judge you.”

“The bridge is restored,” Uma said. “My beef with you and Auradon is over. Well, it’s a start and after we put the smackdown on Audrey together, I think there’s a future for us.”

“I’d like that,” Evie said. “I always liked the whole sea pirate sheik thing you have going on.”

“We’d all like that, I think,” Mal said. “We could use more friends right now.” They all nodded at that sentiment.

“Yeah,” Jay said. “I kind of liked hanging out with you, Harry, and Gil without fighting.”

“Same,” Mal said. “I’m so tired of fighting.”

“We all are,” Evie said, moving to take her best friend’s hand in hers. “No more fighting.”

Uma sat down on a bench. Mal waved her hand and ignited the fire pit with a thought. They all relaxed for a moment.

“You know, you said that none of us are innocent,” Uma said. “but do you know who was the closest? Carlos.”

There was a deep silence at that moment. None of them had mentioned the name of their dearly departed friend.

Jay suddenly smirked. “Yeah,” he said. “He talked a big game but he was a pretty lousy villain.”

“He was the first of us to turn away from the dark,” Mal said. “He helped inspire me to shake off my mother’s influence. I mean, you all did but Carlos was just so sweet about the whole thing.”

“I know,” Evie said. “We all helped each other and Carlos was a big part of that. If we hadn’t made the decision to be good together, we would never be where we are now. Life is getting better for everybody, right?”

“I think so,” Mal said. “We’re going to make sure it does. Ben and I have made sure that Auradon is dedicated to helping reunify with the Isle of the Lost.”

“I never cared about anybody back on the Isle,” Jay said. “but Carlos had a big heart and that kind of rubbed off on me.”

“We were all pretty selfish back then,” Mal said. “Carlos took to being kind the fastest. The rest of us followed suit.”

“If you four hadn’t become such big shot do-gooders out here, I wouldn’t have started my crusade to free the Isle,” Uma said. “When we were all on the Isle together, I only cared about crushing your crew. When you were gone, I took a look around and wanted better for everybody. I didn’t think it would end with the bridge rebuilt but I guess friendship really works.”

“You are our friend,” Evie said. “I don’t want any enemies.”

“We need your help to figure out how to really help the kids on the Isle too,” Mal said. “Helping is what Carlos would have wanted.”

They all nodded at that thought. Carlos was mischievous but ultimately a good guy and there had to be more on the Isle more like him that they could seek out and reform. They had to move on without Carlos. It would be hard but the realm was depending on them. They had to follow through.

Media Update 4/22/21

April 22, 2021

Unorthodox

I had heard of this show through my new job where some of our clients are Orthodox Jews. It is a culture that I have always been curious about. I learned a bit because my high school was open-minded but it is a very insular community. This show is supposed to be the most accurate look at the culture on film so far since it is based on a true story. The show follows a young woman who leaves her Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community with dreams of a different life. It is a great fish out of water story as a sheltered New Yorker moves to Berlin to follow her dreams. The show constantly cuts back and forth between the present in Berlin and the past in New York, contrasting the two lifestyles. Shira Haas plays the lead and she is fantastic and so fun to watch. She is backed by a fantastic ensemble cast and a superb production team that makes everything so visceral and raw. I thought that the show was going to be too depressing but I have stuck with it and I want to see the rest. I recommend this show.

Hunters

This show has been on my list for quite a while. The cast immediately grabbed my attention. I sat down and watched the first episode which was the length of a movie. The show is set in the 1970s and follows a secret non-governmental organization hunting Nazis living in the United States. The show arguably stars Logan Lerman who is a young and clever man discovering a new part of his life. He is backed by Al Pacino in probably one of the best roles of his late career, an aging Jewish philanthropist. They are backed up by a great ensemble played by Saul Rubinek, Carol Kane, Josh Radnor, Tiffany Boone, Louis Ozawa, and Kate Mulvaney. I also really love the insidiousness of Greg Austin and Dylan Baker who play such great villains. I am really excited to see where this goes since, at the end of the first episode, it felt like it was just picking up. I recommend this show.

Operation Finale

I watched this movie on a whim because of the subject matter but I realized as I watched that this should have already been on my list. The movie is about the capture of Adolf Eichmann, one of the architects of the Holocaust. It follows a group of Mossad agents who travel to Buenos Aires to capture Eichmann. The movie stars Oscar Isaac as a young but burntout agent who is dedicated to the cause. Ben Kingsley plays Eichmann as a perfect villain, one who believes he was right even though the world knows he was wrong. They are backed up by a great cast including Nick Kroll, Lior Raz, Melanie Laurent, Joe Alwyn, and more. The movie is a fascinating look at the relationship between victim and villain and how we deal with that dynamic. The scenes between Isaac and Kingsley are especially captivating. I recommend this movie.

Music of the Week:

POWERWOLF – Fire & Forgive

Buddy – Hey Up There

Halsey – Alone

Parov Stelar – The Voodoo Engine

Mashup of the Week

Lewis Wake – I Survived, You’re Welcome

Weekly Update:
This week’s theme is “Jewish Matters”
I watched more Watcher videos
I watched a lot of Twitch and YouTube
i watched more Elementary Season 4
I watched more Prodigal Son Season 2
I watched more Bob’s Burgers Season 11
I started watching This is a Robbery

Summers in Neptune Pt. 1 – A BTVS/Veronica Mars Story

April 22, 2021

After what was only a moderately violent patrol, Buffy Summers and Veronica Mars returned to the compound. The compound had been hastily put together on the outskirts of Neptune. It had started with the donation of Logan’s beachfront house and, after that, the slayers’ magicians had magicked up an underground base below it with a separate entrance through a cave. It was pretty cool and all of it still blew Veronica’s mind. She had personally requested that they move Mars Investigations to the underground bunker. She wanted her people to be safe now that she knew the dangers.

She was still a little hazy on all of the lore but the long and short of it was that Veronica, Keith, Logan, and Mac had been investigating a really strange murder case. The victim had been completely drained of blood. In the middle of a late-night surveillance (she refused to call it a stakeout now), she and Logan had witnessed a blonde woman tussling with some guy who appeared to be really strong. Military man Logan had tried to leap to the rescue but the blonde did not need the help. She stuck a wooden stake in the bad guy and he evaporated into dust. The woman had tried to slip away but Veronica tracked her down the next day.

When pressed, Buffy had decided to come clean as soon as Veronica and Logan had assured her that they could keep a secret. Veronica and Logan were both really good at secrets. Buffy had clued her and Logan into the Hellmouth that had formed under Neptune. Apparently, all of the bad blood and death from the literal class warfare had awakened something dark in Neptune. The Hellmouth was closed but it did attract a lot of supernatural threats that Buffy and her crew were there to fight. Veronica and her friends had volunteered to help, mostly by being eyes and ears for the so-called Scooby Gang and their slayer friends. However, Veronica and Logan had insisted on fighting too which is why Veronica had been out on patrol with Buffy.

“How was that?” Veronica asked, peeling off her armor. “I think I’m getting better out there.” The gear she had was custom-made for her. A lot of leather and kevlar to keep monsters from scratching or biting her. She felt like a cool biker chick in it. She took the magazines out of her twin pistols and made sure the chamber was clear too.

“You’re really good for a normal human,” Buffy said with a sunny smile. “and before you ask, that’s not a backhanded compliment. It’s an actual compliment.”

“Thanks,” Veronica said. “I was going to ask. I guess you guys don’t usually use guns.”

“I have once or twice but I tend to favor stakes and bladed weapons if anything,” Buffy said. “I did use a bazooka once, though.”

“Whoa, no way,” Veronica said with a laugh. “I guess there are some perks to the job.”

“A few,” Buffy admitted. “but a lot of downsides.” Her face got dark for a moment and, although Buffy had not related the whole story, Veronica could guess that the story was not a good one. Veronica had thought she had had a tough time but it seemed that Buffy had literally been through Hell.

“I can see that,” Veronica said. “What with the Hellmouth and the constant danger. Still, more exciting than snapping pictures outside of a motel room.”

“Usually just as gross, though,” Buffy said. The two of them had been spattered with demon blood on patrol and it had been nasty.

“Speaking of,” Veronica said. “Let’s hit the showers. We have to get this stuff off of us.”

“Good call,” Buffy said. “Then we can check in with Information Central.”

“Also known as Mars Investigations: After Dark,” Veronica said.

“We’ll workshop the name,” Buffy said with a laugh.

The two of them headed for the showers. The hot water felt good and both of them felt better that the bunker had a closed system and they were not sending demon blood into the groundwater. They changed into actual clothes before heading deeper into the bunker to what was affectionately known as The Library. Veronica did not really understand why the Scooby Gang said that word with such reverence but it definitely served its purpose.


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