True Detective Recap and Review: Season 1, Episode 1

Have you ever got sucked into something, whether it be a book, a movie or TV show, so much that you forget to do stuff?  And I’m not talking about forgetting minor details, like forgetting to do the dishes one night…

No, more like forgetting to do the dishes for three nights.  Or forgetting to cook dinner.  Or forgetting that you need to eat dinner, for that matter.

Yes, there have been a few TV shows and books that have caused me to neglect my real life, because….well, because the world in those shows and books was just so much darn cooler than my real life!

the dark tower cover_0

That’s right, Dark Tower series, Sons of Anarchy and Arrow!  You guys are responsible for many a neglected chore, and I thank you guys for that…I am just a sucker for a good story!

Sutter and Martin

I can also add the show True Detective to this list.  I had heard good things about the show on some fan site or another, and had birthday money to burn.  So I bought the series, and began to watch it almost immediately.

Rust Cole 2

And never regretted spending money on that series.  I never regretted one single dime.  In fact, I was so impressed that I bought my dad the series for his Christmas present.  And the man who can take years to watch a single season of any show had finished watching it by January 15th, and sent me a text message saying how impressed he was.

So yes, the first season of True Detective was impressive.  It was really impressive.  In fact, the only bad thing I could say about it was that it wasn’t returning for a second season…

Well, our beloved Marty and Rust were not returning for a second season.  True Detective is an anthology show, where none of the seasons are related to each other.  In other words, each season will have different characters, a different setting and even a different mode of storytelling.  We get to start over from scratch, so to speak.

Rust Cole 1

 

So, it was a bit of a bummer…I loved Rust Cohle so!  And I loved the setting, and the tie ins to HP Lovecraft.  That setting in particular just made all the events on the show that much more plausible.  But we get to start over with a new cast and a new story line…kind of like a new school year, where your slate is clean and all things are possible!

Well, I’m not sure about the slate being clean…with this show, that slate is more like another dirty slate, but a different kind of dirt.  After all, we are dealing with murder, corruption, sex, crooked cops, bullies and sex, if I didn’t mention that part before.

So, lets get ready to look at our new slate…here is my recap and review of True Detective, season 2, episode 1!


 

Synopsis

The show begins with a man dropping his son off at school.  The son is obviously troubled, but the man tries to reassure his son that all will be well at school.  The man is revealed to be a cop by the name of Ray Velcoro.  Ray learns that a city manager, Ben Caspere, has disappeared, and is assigned to investigate the case.  Ray searches the man’s apartment, but only finds evidence of an interesting sex life.

The story switches over to the perspective of Paul Woodrugh, a California motorcycle cop.  Paul is falsely accused of soliciting sex from a woman he pulls over and is placed on administrative leave by his superiors.  Paul also enjoys riding his motorcycle at high speeds on the California highways.

We are then introduced to Ani Bezzerides, who is a detective for Ventura county.  Ani investigates what she thinks to be an illegal porn business that her sister is involved in, but can find no cause to arrest anyone.  Later, Ani and her partner investigate a missing person report, which leads them to a commune, where Ani’s father is a leader.  Ani and her partner question her father and other employees about the missing woman, but don’t turn up any leads.  Ani also argues with her father about her sister, whom she feels is on the wrong path.

Frank Seymone is then introduced.  Frank is an entrepreneur with ties to organized crime.  Frank is also tied to Ben Caspere, who is a business partner of his.  Frank and Ben are involved in a project to build a new system of transportation for the city of Vinci.  Frank is also tied to Ray, in that Ray takes care of some of Frank’s nasty business.  For example, Ray brutally beats a reporter who tries to publish an article that Frank dislikes.  Ray and Frank are shown to have extremely close ties, but it appears Ray is conflicted about the relationship.

Ray learns that his son is being bullied at school.  Ray finds out the name of the child and his parents, and pays them a visit.  Ray then threatens the child, making him promise to leave Ray’s son alone, and then beats the child’s father in front of the child.  Afterwards, Ray flees the scene, leaving the child’s mother to assist her husband and son.

The episode ends with the discovery of the body of Ben Caspere.  The corpse is discovered by Paul, was was out on one of his motorcycle rides.  Ani and Ray are also called to the scene, signalling the beginning of a murder investigation.


 

My thoughts

For the record, I am trying my best to not compare the second season of True Detective to the first season of the season.  Trying really hard…

But I can’t help it, I’m human.  And when I watched the show, I did see some things that reminded me exactly what show I was watching.  For example, I did notice the lighting.  The first season showed shots of dim lighting, and so does this season.  This is a trick that works to the show’s advantage (in both seasons) and effectively sets the mood.

Speaking of mood, this show is one of the moodiest I have ever watched…I would hate to see what color its mood ring would turn, if the show wore one.  The lighting, the music (you can’t get much moodier when you have a Leonard Cohen song as a theme song), the ariel shots of the highways…to me, all of the above are supposed to make the viewer feel unsettled.  And if unsettled is what the writers, directors and producers were going for, then they should consider themselves successful, as the vibe I got was dark and downright creepy.

mood ring 1

Another interesting thing about season 2 of True Detective is that one of the main characters is female.  The female characters in season 1 were not central characters, and were either used to add twists to the relationship between Marty and Rust, or were victims of the serial killer.  The viewer only saw these characters through the eyes of Marty and Rust, and these characters were never fully developed.  However, this is not the case this season.  Regina George Ani is a character who is not (hopefully) used for the advancement of the male characters in the story.  I am already fascinated by her…she may have some daddy issues!  And her sister, what is going on with that, and how will that tie in to this murder mystery?  And why is she so at odds with what appears to be everyone?  These questions have sparked my interest, and the only way (maybe) to find out is to keep watching!

True Detective 4

And let’s talk about Ray Velcoro.  Like I said before, I am trying not to compare this season to last season, but sometimes even I fail.  But I just have this funny feeling that Ray Velcoro may be this season’s Rust Cohle.  We didn’t actually see a lot of Ray in the first episode, but I think it was enough to know that he will be this season’s most intriguing character.  Who beats up the father of his son’s bully, right in front of the bully (although naming your kid Aspin should get you beat up, I mean really?!  Really?!)  And working for the mob…I almost thought we were in Gotham for a minute!  Ray seems so angry and so heartless…he has no problem hurting anyone, even a kid (although said kid was a bully but still).  I am intrigued to find out why Ray is the way he is (like I was intrigued with Rust last season), and I have a feeling the back story will be an interesting one.

True Detective 3

My only complaint thus far is the character of Frank Seymone.  Vince Vaughn is a fine actor, but seems to be struggling a bit in this role.  The character comes off as a little two dimensional, and a character like his deserves justice.  However, I have only watched one episode.  There will be seven more episodes, and I am optimistic that his character will be developed more in future episodes.

True Dective 2


 

So that’s it for this week’s recap and review of True Detective.  Tune in next week to explore more in the world of corruption, crooked cops, high speed motorcycle chases and murdered city officials, when we dissect episode 2!

True Detective 5

Advertisements

Penny Dreadful Recap and Review: Season 2, Episode 5

Hello everyone…its time to prepare yourself for another trip to the adult sundae bar, aka another episode of Penny Dreadful!

As always, this trip was not dull, and gave us of lots of different flavors and toppings to chose from…

sundae 2

Without further ado, here is my review and recap of Penny Dreadful, season 2, episode 5!


Synopsis

The episode begins in Malcolm’s mansion.  Ethan describes how he and some other soldiers slaughtered a group of Apache Indians, effectively annihilating an entire tribe.  Ethan states that the tribe had no idea of its impending death, and begs Malcolm and the others to not meet the same fate in their dealings with the coven.  Everyone gets ready to go to sleep, but also sleeps with weapons by his/her side.  Vanessa thinks that she sees one of the witches in her bedroom, but believes she is losing her grip on reality.  She takes shelter in Ethan’s room.  Vanessa sleeps in Ethan’s bed, and Ethan sleeps on the couch, promising Vanessa that she is safe in his bedroom.

In the meantime, Evelyn and Hecate make use of the lock of Vanessa’s hair that was previously stolen, and start to make a voodoo doll.  However, this is not a voodoo doll of Vanessa, but is a voodoo representing Gladys Murray, Malcolm’s estranged wife.  Once the voodoo doll is constructed, Gladys sits up in her bed, and seems to be aware that something is happening to her.

The next day, Inspector Rusk finally catches up with Ethan, and attempts to question him in regards to the Mariner’s Inn Massacre.  Ethan is evasive, and Rusk becomes even more suspicious of Ethan.  Rusk has one of his officers tail Ethan, but Ethan is able to quickly lose the man.

Ethan Chandler 2

Victor attempts to introduce the newly resurrected Brona (“Lilly”) to Caliban, but the meeting does not go well.  The two seem to have no connection, even though Victor has convinced Lilly that Caliban was her fiancee before she was struck with amnesia.

Vanessa meets Victor and “Lilly” for lunch the next day.  Lilly works very hard to show her newly learned social skills, but Vanessa appears to be suspicious of the true nature of Victor and Lilly’s relationship, and wonders if Victor has possibly fallen in love with Lilly.

After her lunch date with Victor, Vanessa again visits the soup kitchen, where she encounters Caliban.  She and Caliban speak of poetry and of sadness.  Vanessa teaches Caliban how to dance.  Vanessa also summarizes her earlier lunch meeting, not realizing that Victor is the creator of Caliban.

Proteus 1

That night, Dorian takes Angelique on a date.  They encounter some homophobic men who harass Angelique, but Dorian treats her tenderly, and Angelique speaks of her miserable childhood as a transgender woman.  Angelique changes into men’s clothing at Dorian’s home, and believes that Dorian will not find her true nature attractive.  Dorian tells her otherwise, and the two consummate their relationship.

Dorian Gray 1

Malcolm and Evelyn also go on a date that night, and become caught in the thunderstorm.  Malcolm is overcome with passion and kisses Evelyn.  The two then spend the night in a hotel room, and consummate their relationship.  Evelyn draws blood from Malcolm as they make love.

Lilly and Victor also consummate their relationship.  Lilly becomes frightened of the storm and climbs into bed with Victor.  She kisses Victor, who initially hesitates, but then gives in to his attraction and the two make love.

Vanessa and Ethan spend the night in the mansion.  Vanessa encounters Ethan in the stairwell. and he touches her face, but that is as far as the intimacy goes.

The episode ends with Gladys Murray writhing in pain, due to the wounds being inflicted on the voodoo doll.  Gladys sees creatures that appear to be apparitions of her dead children, and reaches for a knife.  However, Gladys uses the knife to cut her throat, and the apparitions disappear.  Gladys lies dead, alone in her bedroom.


 

My Thoughts

Well, more than a few people got lucky on this trip to the sundae bar, I will say that much!

Yes, this episodes was revealing…in more ways than one!

Evelyn and Malcolm 1

Finally, the show is going somewhere with Ethan’s story line, in that Inspector Rusk seems to know be actively pursuing Ethan and is suspicious of him.  So it appears to me that the wolf will indeed get his due, and I am sure that will be spectacular.  Ethan’s talk of his past was also interesting, as it gave more insight into his character:  he does not seem to be fond of killing, and may possibly have some regrets.  Does the slaughter of native tribes in America have something to do with his curse?  It seems to me that it may, and just creates for more fascinating speculation.

Ethan Chandler 5

We have Evelyn Poole.  Evelyn is just deliciously evil, I can’t describe her in any other way.  Not only is she a witch who  can cast terrible spells that can destroy people in her way, she is also a mistress of deception.  And being a mistress of deception does not seem to require any magical powers at all…rather, Evelyn is able to use the oldest trick in the book:  her feminine wiles.  And her feminine wiles work wonderfully on Malcolm, as he is completely besotted and has no clue that he has been infiltrated by the enemy.  Evelyn Poole is possibly the greatest creation of this show, and has me hooked…she is one of the main reasons why this season has been so interesting.

Helen McCrory as Madame Kali in Penny Dreadful (season 1, episode 8). - Photo:  Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID:  PennyDreadful_108_0908

And let me talk up Caliban, my favorite monster.  Poor guy, he got friend-zoned by his intended…

Jorah 1

Yep, I am sure the guy above can sympathize…getting friend-zoned is never fun!  Poor, poor Caliban…

This episode shifted more focus back to Victor and Caliban, and I loved that.  My favorite Creature quoted even more poetry!  The interaction with Vanessa and Caliban was priceless, and I am rooting even harder for these two…how can I not?

Eva Green as Vanessa Ives and Rory Kinnear as The Creature in Penny Dreadful (season 2, episode 5). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_205_1509

And the story line in regards to poor “Lilly”…I think that the show will be reaching a major turning point in regards to that. Victor will not be able to hide his deception for much longer (really, Vanessa…can you not see that she’s Brona with her hair dyed blonde?!  How can you not see that?!)  Vanessa even told Caliban that she had lunch with Victor, even though she didn’t specifically name Victor.  But again, this deception will not last.  Even if Vanessa does not recognize Brona with blonde hair, Ethan likely will (at least I hope he is that evolved).  And Ethan will figure out that he was deceived, and things sure will won’t be pretty once all of this comes to light.  In other words, payoff time!

Brona 1

And here is the section where I talk up Vanessa.  Don’t worry, this post will not be missing that particular section!  Can I sympathize more?  Well, probably…you know, next week?  Vanessa is becoming more and more dimensional each week, and this week was no exception.  She also shows her humanity, when she thinks she sees one of the witches, and believes she is going mad and seeks comfort with Ethan.  Vanessa shows compassion towards both Caliban and Lilly (that dance scene with Caliban made me shiver…for real!) and also shows herself to possess an intuitive mind, as she almost immediately senses Victor’s attraction towards Brona.  This show is Vanessa’s show, and we are reminded of that fact yet again in this episode.

Eva Green as Vanessa Ives in Penny Dreadful (season 1, episode 7). - Photo:  Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID:  PennyDreadful_107_1048

And speaking of Ethan…and Vanessa…

As I said before, lots of people got lucky in this episode.  However, the most intriguing couple has not got lucky, at least so far.  That’s right, I’m on team Ethanessa (yeah, team Ethanessa.  You heard it here first, folks).  These two have undeniable chemistry.  And the way Ethan looked at Vanessa when she sought shelter in his room…gives me chills to think about it!  And we did have a face touch, so that just gives me more hope for team Ethanessa…what could be better than two lost souls (a killer werewolf and a woman possessed by forces she does not understand) who finally find each other?  Love can be such a beautiful thing…

Vanessa and Ethan 2

 


Well, folks that’s it for this week’s trip to the adult sundae bar, aka Penny Dreadful.  Join me next week, as we delve deeper into the adventures of everyone’s favorite literary Avengers!

Josh Hartnett as Ethan, Eva Green as Vanessa Ives, Danny Sapani as Sembene and Timothy Dalton as Sir Malcolm in Penny Dreadful (Episode 101). - Photo:  Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID:  PennyDreadful_101_0708.r

 

Penny Dreadful Recap and Review: Season 2, Episode 4

Well folks, life caused me to take a break, but I am now back at the sundae bar and trying to catch up on Penny Dreadful.

And hopefully, I won’t have to take too many more breaks, and can continue with this trip to the sundae bar…hey, what can I say, I have had some wicked cravings as of late!

sundae 1

And with that being said, here is the recap and review for Penny Dreadful, season 2, episode 4.

 


 

Synopsis

The episode begins with Vanessa recounting her history to the others (Malcolm, Dr. Frankenstein, etc) after she has just recounted it to Ethan.  Malcolm and his friends still argue about the true nature of Verbis Diablo, but are unable to come to a consensus on its true meaning.  Victor Frankenstein asks for Vanessa’s help, and tells Vanessa that his “cousin” (who is really the newly resurrected Brona) is in town and he needs to buy a suitable dress for her.  Vanessa is amused and readily agrees to help Victor.

Ethan then has a not-so-chance encounter with Hecate, after Hecate leads him to believe that she has been injured after a close encounter with a horse carriage.  Ethan tries to be a gentleman and comfort Hecate, but calls her bluff when her accent and other details do not match up with her story.  However, Ethan does not realize that Hecate is a member of the coven that has been harassing Vanessa, and believes her to be an agent of Pinkerton Security sent by his father in an attempt to track Ethan down.

Dorian Gray is also seen in the area.  He takes Angelique on a date, and the two almost appear to be a couple.

Dorian Gray 1

Vanessa and Victor meet for Victor’s shopping trip.  Victor is uncomfortable, but manages to find a dress and other appropriate clothing for his “cousin.”  Victor also asks Vanessa to have tea with him one day, so that he can meet his cousin “Lilly.”

Inspector Rusk questions people, as he has learned of the baby kidnapped and killed by Hecate.  He again questions the sole survivor of the Mariner’s Inn Massacre for which Ethan was responsible, as he believes there may be a link between those killings and the murder of the infant.

Caliban begins his new job at the wax museum, and speaks to the daughter of the owner.  It is clear that he is falling in love with the girl, and it appears the feelings may be reciprocated.

Proteus 1

Hecate speaks to her mother, Evelyn, and the two confirm that Ethan is a werewolf and that he must be dealt with in some fashion.

Ethan Chandler 3

Vanessa, Ethan, Malcolm, Sembene and Ferdinand Lyle re-convene.  Malcolm confesses to Lyle (not realizing that Lyle is a double agent of sorts for the coven) that he is beginning to fall in love with Evelyn Poole.  Lyle theorizes that Verbis Diablo is an autobiography for Lucifer himself, and Malcolm seems to think that Vanessa will play a role in the story.  Vanessa becomes highly upset at this suggestion, as she feels that it implies that there is no hope for her situation.  The episode ends with another appearance by the witches, who steal a lock of Vanessa’s hair and then disappear into the night.

Helen McCrory as Evelyn Poole in Penny Dreadful (season 2, episode 3). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_203_2785


My Thoughts

Well, I can say that this week’s trip did have more variety than the previous episode.  However, this trip through the sundae bar was much slower, almost meandering.  Not that this is a bad thing, but oh boy, this season’s trip has been interesting, to say the least.

I have loved the focus on Vanessa (really, this show is all about Ms. Ives) but we are finally starting to see some focus on Ethan, which is a good thing.  Hecate is sent to spy on Ethan, but Ethan immediately assumes that this encounter is about him, not about Vanessa (as he does not realize that Hecate is actually a witch who is who knows how old).  Slowly, we are getting to know Ethan, and can only assume that this build up will lead to some kind of major confrontation…hopefully the wolf will be unleashed soon!

Wolf 2

Inspector Rusk poking his nose around also gives the show a little more dimension.  The fact that Rusk is still actively investigating the Mariner’s Inn Massacre, which was actually committed by Ethan in werewolf form, is what I believe to be another teaser in regards to Ethan…something is going to happen, and that incident will probably involve everyone’s favorite werewolf, the sharpshooter known as Ethan Chandler.  This type of build-up just appears to me to be the foreshadowing for a major event.  Since Vanessa has had her fair share of major events on the show, it looks like Ethan will also have his due as well.

But I don’t want to take anything away from Vanessa.  Some of the spotlight in this episode may have been directed towards Ethan, but a fair amount of that spotlight was directed towards Vanessa (again).  As the show progresses, Vanessa just becomes more sympathetic…I am rooting for her and worrying for her…why do the dark forces want her so badly?  She agreed to help Victor with his little shopping trip…one more incident that shows what a good person she is!  And why did the witches take a lock of her hair and vanish?  Are they toying with her?  Or is she genuinely going to be a problem?  Will the witches have to actually work in order to get what they want from Vanessa, whatever that may be?  Intriguing questions, and so far the show is leaving more questions than answers at the end of the episodes this season…so it will be interesting when (and if) we do find out.

Vanessa Ivers 3

 

And then we have Victor Frankenstein.  Victor is another character who is likely due for some kind of confrontation, which may be with Ethan.  So far, he has managed to deceive everyone about Brona and the true nature of “Lilly”, but I don’t think this deception can hold for very long.  Sooner or later, someone will find out the truth, and that truth will not be kept from Ethan, given his love for poor Brona.  And it could get ugly for Victor…very ugly indeed.

Caliban 1

There is also Caliban.  For me, he is the second most sympathetic character on the show (barely edged out by Vanessa…its a close one!)  For someone supposedly missing his soul, he sure has a lot of…well…soul.  His insights into humanity are uncanny, and this episode reiterated that point.  And is our favorite un-dead “monster” going to finally find love?  Does someone finally love him back for who he is, not because her corpse was stolen and the unwitting subject of a unnatural experiment?  She may be blind, but finally, someone can finally see Caliban for who he is, and how much beauty is actually behind the scars.  And if Caliban could find true love, that would indeed be beautiful.

Proteus 1


So that’s it for this week’s trip to the adult sundae bar…join me next week next as we take another peek at our favorite literary Avengers, and see just what kind of shenanigans they find themselves in this time!

Penny Dreadful 2

Just Another Day…

Today is June 19th.

Well, duh.  Water is wet, the sun sets in the west…all that good stuff.  Its just another day for most…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Well, except if you are an avid reader of this blog (yeah, avid…work with me here, ok?)

And you guys know who you are…

Mention a certain number between 18 and 20…do I have your attention?

Mar Barses?  Got your attention, huh?

Or you really like roses.  Or maybe its turtles that you really like.  Or…well, I could go on and on, actually…

Rose

So in case it wasn’t clear yet, I am talking about a certain niche fan base…

Yes, fans of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series.  The rest of the world may not know who we are, but we recognize each other at first sight.  Maybe you have a Dark Tower related t-shirt that you wear sometimes.  Or maybe you have a Dark Tower related tattoo.  The rest of the world will either ignore the shirt (at worst), or make a comment in passing (at best).

But we know who we are.  And our obsession may be odd to most (you know, like devoting a blog almost entirely to Stephen King and his magnum opus…who does that?), but finding others who share our obsession is priceless, and something that not even MasterCard can buy!

a-lannister-always-pays-his-debts

And we are one devoted fan base.  In fact, there is a particular number that is almost reverential in the world of The Dark Tower series…

19 1

Yes, the number 19.  Its pretty significant to the series as a whole, for some reason…

Seems that the master suffered a bad accident on June 19th, 1999.  Stephen King went out one day for a walk, and nearly came back home in a body bag.

And this accident had a big effect.  It affected not just King and his family, but this Constant Readers as well.  See, King’s magnum opus, The Dark Tower, was unfinished at the time of the accident.  And many feared that it would remain unfinished.  Fortunately, that is not the case, as Sai King made what can only be called a miraculous recovery, and churned out the last three books of the series over the next few years, and is still writing new books to this day, and is probably even writing a new book as we speak.

But this accident was a big thing.  And its effect on Sai King was enormous.  It inspired him to finish the Dark Tower series (a terrible thing to be an inspiration, but an inspiration, nonetheless).  In fact, the accident became a major plot point in the series…

Yes, King wrote his own accident into his books.  And…gasp…he even incorporated himself into the series!

Stephen King is a character in the Dark Tower series.  And his accident is a plot point.  A major plot point, in fact.  An this has been controversial, to say the least…

In talking to some other fans who have read the series, some have got this impression upon reading about the character of Stephen King and how his accident had the ability to affect the existence of our universe and all of the other universes contained in the multi-verse:

lion licking

Well, its a metaphor, at any rate…

Many think that King including himself in his series was arrogant, or simply ridiculous.  And having his own character rescue him and give his life for him?  Crazy, right?

Well, no.  I don’t think that King’s inclusion of himself in his series was arrogant, nor do I think that King being rescued by his characters is crazy.  In fact, this could not be further from the truth.

When Sai King was hit by that van, we nearly lost one of the greatest writers that this world has ever known.  To boot, this great writer is purely American as well, and is responsible for the invention of the modern horror tale.  HP Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe were great writers, but King was able to take the horror story, and make it into something readers could relate to.  Salem’s Lot was the first modern vampire tale.  And then there is The Shining, the first modern ghost story.  Jack Torrance may be one of the most famous villains in any story or movie, but who hasn’t felt like him at some point in his/her life, struggling to provide for family, and wanting to do the best he/she could for the ones that mattered the most?  And that is what makes that particular novel so frightening:  the setting (an isolated hotel) and the themes (family, addiction, domestic abuse, etc) are so realistic and reel in the reader, so it is not so difficult to believe that there may be ghosts around the corner and that fire hoses could actually come to life and attack us, and that if we are smart, we won’t look over our shoulder, and instead we will make a mad dash down the hall, and dive into the bed, under the covers, into what we hope is relative safety?

the-overlook-hotel

And then there are the Dark Tower books.  To paraphrase King himself, the Jupiter of his solar system, or his greatest work.  And these are the books that contain all of King’s other works.  In other words, everything in King’s universe is connected, from the crazy obsessed fan girl who hobbles her favorite writer, to the gang of kids who battles the evil clown in the sewers, to the gunslingers who strive to protect the Tower itself, the nexus of all existence.

Maturin 1

The thought of the series not being finished must have been on King’s mind, and must have been a frightening one.  In fact, he may have felt that he was letting someone down.  His fans.  Or maybe his characters, actually…

Ka_tet_by_Cordania

Yes, his characters.  If something happened to Stephen King, how would Roland continue his quest?  The quest that originated from the mind and heart of King himself…

Some say that we all write our own stories.  The Dark Tower series was a big part of King’s own story, as he had spent so many years writing it, and incorporating it into his other works.  The Tower was a part of King, and King was a part of the Tower.  So it would make sense that he felt the need to include himself in the story, as it was (and still is) so intertwined with his life.  Often reality and fiction blur, and King’s inclusion of himself in his books is a great example of this.

As an artist myself (I dabble in writing, drawing and painting), I can tell you that my art has saved me many times.  I have gone through divorce, job loss and many other stressful life events, and my art was the one constant in my life, and I honestly don’t know what I would have done without it.  And I am sure that this is true for King as well:  his art has kept him grounded, and the thought of finishing his magnum opus, the Dark Tower series, may have played a part in his recovery.  In other words, he was saved by the characters he created, and what better way to pay homage to that lovely idea than to include it as a plot point in the Dark Tower series?

Jake 2

In the world of Dark Tower fan-dom, “going 19” is a phrase used to describe a situation where everything is going wrong and things are FUBAR (Fucked Up Beyond All Repair for the uninitiated).  It is used in a somewhat joking manner, but many take this somewhat literally.  But to me, that phrase could not be more wrong.

To me, 19 is a number that is a symbol of hope.  On a day that many would describe as “just another day”, we nearly lost one of the greatest writers this world has ever seen.  However, whether by sheer luck, sheer determination or possibly even the intervention of some other force, this writer continued to live.  And he was able to finish his magnum opus, and provide us with a series of books that has united people, sparked some lively debate and has provided countless hours of joy and entertainment to so many Constant Readers.

And I will end this post with a quote from another inhabitant of the Stephen King universe.  I can’t think of a more appropriate quote to sum up my feelings on this day:

Red 1

 

Getting the Band Back Together: My Review of Finders Keepers

Well, looky here folks…

Christmas came over six months early this year!

Christmasland 1

Um no, my birthday is in June and it is an awesome day but that’s not what I’m talking about!

Nope, the master has graced us with a new book!  And a couple weeks before my birthday…how considerate of him!

Stephen King

And Finders Keepers was a great gift.  Not that anything was wrong with Mr. Mercedes, but oh man, Finders Keepers!  If Finders Keepers is what I got for my upcoming (eek) 37th birthday, then I can’t imagine what my present (The Suicide Prince) for my 38th birthday will be like…already looking forward to next year’s birthday release of the third book in this series.  Thanks Uncle Stevie, you know me too well!

i-want-my-cake-and-now-ive-got-it

But seriously, Finders Keepers was a fantastic read, and really does have me excited for the release of the third and final book.

FK 3

With all that being said, here is my review of Finders Keepers

And as always…

Spoiler alert

 

 

 

 


 

Synopsis

Finders Keepers begins with a murder in 1978.  The reader is introduced to Morris Bellamy, who is obviously troubled.  Morris and his friends break into the home of John Rothstein, who is a famous writer admired by Morris.  Morris and his friends steal cash from Rothstein, and Morris also takes some notebooks belonging to Rothstein that contain letters, musings and even a draft to a novel.  Morris becomes upset at Rothstein for what he believes is the wrong treatment of a characters in Rothstein’s novels, and murders him.  Morris and his friends escape, but Morris then murders his friends, and hides the cash and notebooks in the woods near his house.  Morris is later imprisoned on unrelated charges, and spends over 30 years in prison.

The novel then shifts shifts to 2009, and tells the story of Tom Saubers and his family.  Tom is unemployed and desperately seeking employment, so he attends a job fair in his city.  Tom becomes one of the victims of the Mercedes Massacre when he is injured by a Mercedes that is deliberately driven into the crowd waiting in line at the job fair.  The driver turns out to be Brady Hartsfield, who is later apprehended when he tries to place a bomb at a concert.  Tom and his family were suffering before the Mercedes Massacre, but their situation becomes even worse, as Tom is unable to work.  The family is forced to move and fears losing their home.  The oldest child, Peter, becomes worried about his parents and fears their financial situation will cause them to divorce.  Peter takes a walk in the woods near his house one day, and finds the cash and notebooks buried by Morris Bellamy.  Peter finds a way to make it appear that the cash is being anonymously mailed to his family, and the family receives several hundred dollars in cash per month for the next four years.  Pete considers selling the notebooks of John Rothstein, as his family is still needy, and speaks to an owner of a used bookstore, Andrew Halliday.  Andrew also happens to be a former friend of Morris Bellamy.  Andrew threatens Peter and attempts to blackmail Peter into handing over the manuscripts, but Peter stands firm in his insistence that Andrew share in any proceeds he receives for the notebooks.  Peter then hides the notebooks at a recreation center.

In the meantime, Morris is paroled from prison, and begins to wonder about the money and the notebooks that he buried so many years ago.

The story then switches over to the perspective of Bill Hodges, the primary character in Mr. Mercedes.  Hodges has now opened his own detective firm called Finders Keepers, and specializes in apprehending fugitives, especially ones that have defrauded wealthy people.  He is assisted by Holly Gibbey, another character in Mr. Mercedes, who also happened to be the cousin of Janey, the woman who Hodges had a brief relationship with, before she was killed by a car bomb that was meant for Hodges.  Jerome Robinson, the third member of the trio, stays in touch with Hodges, but is attending Harvard and unable to assist Hodges with most of his cases.  Hodges has also made several positive changes in his life, including adapting to a healthier diet and exercise program.  However, he still feels remorse over the death of Janey and feels responsible for it.  He also remains close to Jerome’s family, and is considered an honorary member of that family.  Hodges visits Brady Hartsfield, the Mercedes killer, in the hospital, every so often.  Hartsfield is supposedly in a vegetative state, but Hodges sometimes doubts that Hartsfield is actually in that particular state.

Jerome’s younger sister Barbara pays a visit to Hodges in his office.  Barbara brings Tina Saubers, the younger sister of Peter, with her, because she has heard a troubling tale from Tina.  Tina has deduced that Peter is responsible for the “mystery money” and worries that her brother may have committed a robbery or other illegal act to obtain it.  Tina tells the story to Hodges and to Holly, and also mentions that Peter may be in possession of some old notebooks.  Hodges agrees he will speak to Peter when the next school day ends.  Barbara also tells the tale to Jerome, who is back in town for the weekend, and Hodges and Jerome make a plan to follow Peter and confront him.  Holly also spends time thinking about the new case, and believes that the notebooks may actually be an important detail.

Morris Bellamy tracks down his old friend Andrew, and confronts him at his bookstore.  He threatens Andrew into giving up the name of the now owner of the stolen notebooks, and then beats Andrew to death in his own store.

Hodges confronts Peter outside of his high school, and tries to obtain information regarding the “mystery money.”  However, Hodges is not successful in obtaining any information from Peter, and has Jerome tail him.

Peter enters the bookstore, and discovers the body of Andrew Halliday.  He also encounters Morris Bellamy and is nearly shot by him, but manages to escape.  Peter then contacts Hodges and arranges to meet him again, but takes a detour to his house, as he receives a call from Bellamy indicating that his family is in danger.  Peter rushes home to find his mother shot in the head by Bellamy, and his younger sister kidnapped.

Peter tracks down Bellamy at the original hiding spot for the notebooks.  Bellamy uses Peter’s younger sister as bait, and Peter leads Bellamy to the recreation center where the notebooks are hidden.  Peter and Bellamy scuffle over the notebooks, and Peter douses them with gasoline to burn them.  Hodges and his friends track down Peter and Tina, and are able to rescue them from the now burning recreation center.  Morris is left in the recreation center, and is burned alive.  The notebooks are also destroyed by the fire.

The story then moves ahead a few months.  Peter’s mother has recovered from her bullet wound and is doing well.  Tina has also recovered from her ordeal and has resumed a normal life.  Peter has been offered a job by a major newspaper.  The newspaper wants him to write summaries of the writings of John Rothstein, and will pay him $15,000 for the job.  Jerome will be returning to college for his senior year.  Holly has gained even more confidence and will take a trip to visit her mother on her own.  Everyone is doing well, except for Hodges.  Jerome and Holly worry that his fixation on Brady Hartsfield has become unhealthy.

Hodges makes another visit to the hospital to check on Hartsfield, after he receives news that a nurse has committed suicide under suspicious circumstances.  Hodges also learns that some employees at the hospital believe that Brady has the power to move objects with his mind, as he has heard stories of odd things that seem to occur around Brady.  Hodges pays another visit to Brady but nothing seems to have changed.  However, once Hodges leaves Brady’s room, a picture falls over, confirming that Brady is not what he seems to be.

 

 


 

My thoughts

So let me start off by saying this:  I liked Mr. Mercedes.  I really did.  I have a lot of like for Mr. Mercedes, in fact…

mr. mercedes 1

And I would also like to set the record straight on one other matter;  I loved Finders Keepers!  Much love for Finders Keepers!

For the record, this does not diminish my feelings for Mr. Mercedes in any way.  I just happen to think that Finders Keepers is the stronger of the two books.  And if the trend continues with the third book in the series, I may have to write another statement to reassure the master that my feelings for the other two books are still valid…

Last year, when I read Mr. Mercedes, I immediately thought of Bachman

Cleaner 3

You know, Bachman?  That guy who died of cancer of the pseudonym.  Although we all know he is not really dead, he is actually still alive on the Sons of Anarchy level of the Tower, disposing of dead bodies as we speak and requesting that 80’s music be played while he is working…

Roland 2

In all seriousness, Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers have the feel of a Richard Bachman book.  The story line is of the “real world” and the supernatural aspect is practically non-existent (although if the ending of Finders Keepers indicates what I think it indicates, that may change in the third book).

One of Bachman’s, er King’s, strengths as a writer is his ability to incorporate reality into his works, which makes them that much more believable.  This is particularly evident in books like The Shining, in which themes such as financial problems, domestic abuse, alcoholism and divorce were prevalent.

redrum

Like The Shining, Finders Keepers was also rife with “real world” themes.  And this Constant Reader could emphasize with the struggles of Peter and his family.  I have lost my job.  My husband has also lost his job.  We came close to losing our house.  We have had to rely on the kindness of friends and family to get by.  Although our situation has much improved, I have not forgotten our struggles, and I never will.  And if I had found a box full of money while out walking in my neighborhood (hey, work with me and suspend disbelief for just a minute), I would have used it to help my family, just like Peter.  And I would have felt no guilt.  The money may have had “blood” on it, but anyone who uses that kind of money to help his/her family is not a bad person in the slightest.  I admired Peter in his conviction to help his family and keep it together.  Because without family, what is there?

As I have mentioned before, Uncle Stevie has quite the sense of humor.  And it will show up where it is least expected.  You know, like in a book about a crazy obsessed fan who murders his favorite writer because he didn’t like the ending to the latest book?

Yes, Finders Keepers had some funny moments.  Tina describes the arguments between her parents as “arkie barkies” (I am stealing that one, thanks Uncle Stevie!)  “Shit don’t mean shit” was a popular phrase uttered throughout the book (imagine if we Constant Readers could get that one trending on social media!)  And perhaps my favorite no my mind is not in the gutter   was the description of the act of copulation… in other words, a guy putting his “John Hopkins” into a woman’s “Sarah Lawrence”…good one there, Sai King!

Finders Keepers also incorporated an element of creepiness that was not present in Mr. Mercedes.  Mr. Mercedes was a bit unsettling, and suspenseful, but the story took place before the obsession…

Raylan and Boyd 1

Well, maybe not quite like these two guys!

Maybe more like a certain friendly neighborhood gunslinger who spends his time chasing a man dressed in dark colors across a region that sees little rain?

Roland 2

Yes, Brady Hartsfield is the creepy element in this book.  And Hodges concern obsession (calling a spade a spade) is also unsettling.  And the ending…whew!  That ending left frightened for Hodges and anyone even remotely associated with Hodges (Hodges third cousin once removed better watch his/her back…you don’t mess with Brady Hartsfield!)  I have a feeling that the third book in this series will deliver, and we are in for a bang (no pressure, Sai King.  No pressure at all)!  Brady Hartsfield was a bad enough guy before he slipped into a vegetative state (although the jury is still out on that), but Brady with PSI powers?  Not good at all!

Writers and writing are a big theme in King’s works.  The Dark Half talks about the effect of fiction on the writer.  Misery discusses the effect of fiction on the reader.  The Dark Tower series even takes a stab at this theme, as Stephen King is a character in his own books (that’s meta-fiction, for the uninitiated).

Finders Keepers continues on with these themes.  Morris Bellamy becomes obsessed with John Rothstein, and that ultimately becomes his own un-doing.  Peter also develops an obsession, and narrowly escapes being killed by that obsession.  Obsession and addiction are also huge themes in King’s work (The Dark Tower series could be said to be a metaphor for the journey of an addict), and King successfully weaves these themes into Finders Keepers, adding a level of depth and richness, which makes a what appears on the surface to be a simple detective novel, into something that is far beyond a simple detective novel.


 

Christmas in June?  Hey, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!  In other words, Finders Keepers works very well when one wants to celebrate Christmas in June.  Or maybe Thanksgiving in June.  And I am sure some culture has celebrated New Year’s Day in June.  Or heck, get Finders Keepers if you want to give a Flag Day present to yourself!

Who am I kidding?  New Stephen King books do not need a holiday behind them!  So no matter what you celebrate, treat yourself and read Finders Keepers, and take a holiday into the awesomeness known as the Stephen King universe!

 

Christmas 1

 


Connections

Again, here we go with the connections.  There are enough of them in Finders Keepers to remind you that you are, in fact, reading a Stephen King novel.  So here is what I found:

-Burt Hodges apprehends a criminal who has been accused of stealing a car (among other crimes).  This vehicle just happens to be a Rolls Royce Wraith.  The Rolls Royce Wraith also happens to be the vehicle owned by Charlie Manx, the main villain in the book NOS4A2 by Joe Hill.  This connection is worth noting because there are tie-ins in Joe Hill’s work to King’s work, especially in NOS4A2.  Charlie Manx is also mentioned in passing by Dick Halloran in the book Dr. Sleep, during a flashback experienced by Danny Torrance.

Charlie Manx 1

-Brady Hartsfield is housed in Room 217 in the hospital.  217 is also the room number to a famous haunted room in the novel The Shining.

the-overlook-hotel

-Jerome’s alter ego, Tyrone Feelgood, makes a brief appearance.  Tyrone’s manner of speaking is similar to Detta Walker’s speech in The Drawing of the Three.

Susannah 1

-Andrew Halliday’s pin number consists of the digits 9118.  9+1+1+8 = 19.  As most Constant readers know, 19 is a significant number to King and his work, especially to Roland and his friends in the last 3 books of the Dark Tower series.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

-Pete Saubers’ mother refers to her son as a “do-bee.”  “Do-bee” is a phrase used by Craig Toomey in the novella The Langoliers (which is a story in the collection Four Past Midnight), and also by Jack Mort in The Drawing of the Three.

Jack Mort

-Andrew Halliday was the owner of a used bookstore and had an obsession with books, especially rare books.  Another character in King’s work is the owner of a used bookstore and is obsessed with rare books:  Calvin Tower in the Dark Tower series, who first appears in The Wastelands.  It is possible that Tower and Halliday are Twinners of sorts, as both are owners of used bookstores, both are obsessed with rare books and both are even described as being overweight.

Calvin Tower 2

 

-Morris Bellamy is described as having lips that are extremely red.  In the book Black House, the villain Charles Burnside is also described as having lips that are very red.  This may be another example of people who are Twinners, or doppelgangers to each other.

gorg_and_mr_munshun

-Brady Hartsfield has been in a comatose state, but appears to have awakened with PSI powers.  This is similar to what happened to Johnny Smith in The Dead Zone, as Johnny awakened from a five year long coma with the ability to see future events.  Brady’s powers are also similar to Carrie White’s telekinetic powers in the novel Carrie, as she had the ability to move objects with her mind.

carrie-1

Man Crush Monday 6/8/15

Good morning, and welcome to this week’s edition of Man Crush Monday, done in the nerdy style that is this blog!

keep-calm-its-man-crush-monday

I know, I need to apologize for being such a slacker.  Its been awhile for one of these so nerdy posts, so I hope you haven’t been too grief-stricken!  But life has gotten in the way lately, and sometimes life just won’t get out of the way!

Not to mention the fact that Christmas came to my house over six months early this year…

That’s right, a new book by the master himself!  I have been immersed in Finders Keepers…trust me, the review for that will be posted shorted.  Since everyone is entitled to my opinion, I will be courteous and post it here, to make sure it is not missed!

Yes, I can be outspoken, and I’m not ashamed of that!  I will offer up my opinion (whether its wanted or not) and I stand by it, no matter what anyone else may think.  What can I say, I find outspoken people to be really sexy!  And censorship is never sexy!

Crack_the_censors

And there are characters in some Stephen King books that fit that bill quite nicely.  They say what’s on their mind, and let the dice roll.  And they will even fight for the disenfranchised, which is awesome!

With that being said, it is my pleasure to introduce you to the subject of this week’s Man Crush Monday!

Man Crush Monday 1

I present to you: Joe Clarendon, otherwise known as Beaver, from the novel Dreamcatcher!

Beaver 1

 

Beaver fits the “outspoken” description extremely well.  He has no problem saying what’s on his mind, and is often “colorful” in expressing those feelings.  And he’s from my favorite fictional town: Derry, Maine!  And he stands up to bullies…*swoon.*  What’s not to love about the Beaver?

Beaver 2

 

Oops, wrong Beaver…sorry about that!  Our Beaver may be cute, but I don’t think he’s quite that innocent…heehee!

So here you go, ladies…feast your eyes upon the subject of this week’s Man Crush Monday!


Name:  Joe Clarendon.  Is known as Beaver to close friends and family.

Beaver 3

Hometown:  None other than scenic Derry, Maine!

Pennywise 9

Occupation:  Carpenter by trade but also fights bullies and aliens in his spare time.  Is also a full-time smart ass.

Friends:  Beaver is not shy and never has trouble making new friends.  But only a few are near and dear to his heart:

Gary “Jonesy” Jones.  However, sometimes it almost looks like Jonesy is controlled by someone (or something) else…

Pete Moore.  Has a knack for finding lost keys.

Henry Devlin.  Doctor does not always know best.

Douglas “Duddits” Cavell.  See entry on “disenfranchised.”  Duddits can be catching in his enthusiasm for life and a few other special things.

Duddits 1

Enemies:  Even easy-going guys like Beaver have them, so here are the ones of note:

Richie Grenadeau.  Bullies are never cool, especially when they pick on the disenfranchised.  See final entry in friends section.

Shit weasels.  The name alone would probably put one in the corner for the unpopular.  And these aliens have a bad habit of killing folks.

Alien-Chestburster

Of note:  He has quite the extensive vocabulary and knows when to use it, especially at inappropriate times.  Has been warned that his habit of chewing toothpicks may be the death of him.


 

So here he is, ladies…Beaver Clarendon!  Forthright people are just sexy, and Beaver is definitely forthright.  And bonus points for his sense of humor!  And he definitely has things to teach you, like how to cuss in new and colorful ways!  What more could you want in a man, after all?  Beaver has it all, I tell you!

Quality: Original.   Film Title: Dreamcatcher (2003).   Pictured: (L to R) DAMIAN LEWIS, THOMAS JANE, TIMOTHY OLYPHANT and JASON LEE in Castle Rock Entertainment's and Village Roadshow Pictures' science fiction/horror film Dreamcatcher distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.   Photo Credit:   Doane Gregory.   Copyright:   Warner Bros. Pictures 2002. For further information: please contact The Warner Bros. Press Office on 020 7984 5000.

So that’s it for this week’s edition of Man Crush Monday, in the nerdy style that is this blog!  Tune in next week, and spend even more time with me obsessing over unavailable men aka literary characters that we would never have a chance with!

attracting-emotionally-unavailable-men-pic-2

Top 10 Friendships in Stephen King Books

All my life, I have been a loner.  A Loser, some might say.

Loser

Making friends has never been my strong suit.  Although I do have one good one now.  And she knows who she is, and how much I love her.  And how proud I am to call her my friend.

Forgive

But throughout much of my life, its just been me, myself and I.  I like being alone, but sometimes it gets a little old.

saved by the bell

So what do I did I do (and still do)?

What any sensible person does?  Grab a good book…duh!  A good book is a cure for almost anything, including the flu, being dumped by your ass hat ex and yes…loneliness!

I was able to lose myself in the adventures in these books (everything from Anne McAffrey to David Eddings to Madeleine L’Engle to almost any other category that you could think of).  Another trip to Pern?  Sure, sign me up stat!

Pern 1

But perhaps the biggest part of these books were the characters.  I identified so much with these characters.  My spirit Losers, much of the time.  And how I wished I could have a cup of coffee with some of these guys, and just chew the fat with them for a few hours.

And some of my most memorable book friendships (not to be confused with my book boyfriends, thank you very much) came from stories by Stephen King.

Jon Snow

Believe it or not, the man known for rabid dogs, killer clowns that live in the sewers and shit weasels has also created some memorable friendships.   Really, is there anything he can’t write about?

stephen-king-cover-ftr

Stephen King is just great at creating memorable characters.  And he can also portray relationships very well.  This combination makes for some great friendships between his characters.  Sometimes these relationships end in tragedy and sometimes at least one party makes some kind of noble sacrifice for the good of the other.  Or sometimes what was once a beautiful relationship turns toxic.  However, these relationships are rich and woven seamlessly into the tapestry we call a Stephen King book.  In other words, they are never dull.

With that being said, here are my top 10 friendships in all of Stephen King’s books.


 

10)  Charles Jacobs and Jamie Morton (Revival)

Some friendships withstand the test of time and just endear.  Normally, this is a good thing…

However, what is good in our world is not always good in a Stephen King novel.  In other words, there are some friendships that just should not be, and this includes the one between Charles Jacobs and Jamie Morton in Revival.

SK 2

Sure, the relationship between the two main characters in Revival starts off innocuously enough.  A young preacher with a beautiful family, who just happens to have an unusual hobby (electrifying, you might say).  And a five year old boy who is impressionable, and eager to please.  And he also gets caught up in the preacher’s new hobby and becomes an eager assistant to his new friend…kind of sweet, actually.

Well, the friendship between young Jamie Morton and Charles Jacobson does start off as sweet and even a little touching.  But like most things in the King universe, all good things must come to an end.  And the relationship between Charles and Jamie does seem to come to an end, when a tragedy strikes.  Charles flees town, but Jamie is never quite able to forget the dynamic preacher.

A chance meeting years later re-kindles the friendship between the two.  At first, it seems that this is a good thing, as Charles is able to help Jamie kick his heroin habit.  However, the friendship soon becomes dangerous, as Charles persuades Jamie to assist him him in one final experiment that should not have taken place.  The results are tragic, and the consequences for Jamie, Charles and several other people are simply horrible.  Throughout the book, Jamie refers to Charles as his fifth business, and feels that he owes the man a favor.  However, the relationship between Jamie and Charles is proof that some debts are best left unpaid.

OSF1-00001107-001

 


 

9)  Dolores Claiborne and Vera Donovan (Dolores Claiborne)

Vera Donovan reminds her friends Dolores Claiborne (in the book of the same name) that sometimes an accident is a woman’s best friend (especially when it comes to husbands who abuse their daughters in unspeakable ways).

DoloresClaiborneNovel

While it is true that the accident that befalls Joe St. George winds up being a very good friend to poor Dolores, Vera Donovan ends up being the best friend that Dolores ever had.  Vera is able to offer some sage advice to her employee that helps save the well being of her employee’s family.  However, more importantly, Vera provides a listening ear for Dolores and acts as a sounding board of sorts, allowing Dolores to vent in relative safety.  Dolores is poor and lives in a hard world.  The treatment she endures from her husband and society in general is a constant reminder of how hard the world is for a woman like Dolores.  Vera’s situation is not as difficult (due to her wealth), but is still actually not much better than Dolores’ situation (it is implied that Vera may have been great friends with an accident that befell her husband).  However, Vera suffers from extreme loneliness, and that loneliness is only abated by the presence of her housekeeper (and later full-time caregiver).  Each woman provides what the other is unable to provide for herself, and is a complement to the other.

The relationship between Dolores and Vera can almost be considered symbiotic, as there is mutual benefit enjoyed by each party.

Dolores C


 

8)  Jack Sawyer and Henry Leyden (Black House)

Like I said before, making friends has never been a strength of mine.  I was an awkward kid.  Now I’m an awkward adult.  And not cute awkward either.  More like what the fuck is wrong with you kind of awkward…

Hawkeye 1

So my social calendar is still almost as empty as it was during my childhood, except for a few special people.  And finding those special people is just even more awesome, since making friends becomes harder as you age (one of the few benefits of government sponsored babysitting er school is that you do get to be around your peer group.  Adulthood is not so cut and dry).

Jack Sawyer is a King character that seems to have the same problem:  he has trouble connecting with people, and is therefore very isolated.  However, his friendship with his blind neighbor Henry Leyden helps to bring him out of that isolation.  Jack begins to realize, through his conversations with Henry, that he is part of a higher purpose, and that he cannot continue to ignore his calling.  Jack also realizes that he must open up in regards to his childhood experiences in The Territories, because his knowledge may save someone’s (or several someone’s, for that matter) life.

Henry and Jack’s friendship is another example of a King relationship that ends in tragedy.  The fact that Henry passes away shortly after Jack finally makes the decision to remove some his walls just makes this particular friendship even more bittersweet.

gorg_and_mr_munshun


 

7)  Roland and Sheemie (The Dark Tower series)

One of the reasons why I love King’s work is his portrayal of the disenfranchised (i.e. the underdogs).  The disenfranchised (or underdogs) often play major roles in King’s work.  Oftentimes, these characters are among King’s most memorable, and they are portrayed in a loving (as opposed to pitiful) light, causing the reader to emphasize with the character, as opposed to pitying the character.

Sheemie Ruiz is one of these underdogs.  Sheemie is a mildly mentally handicapped young man who is first encountered by Roland Deschain and his friends during a fateful few months spent in the town of Meijis.  Roland and his friends stand up for Sheemie when he is wronged, and a friendship is born.  Sheemie soon becomes part of the ka-tet, and an integral member, to boot.  Sheemie’s contribution to Roland’s quest is a large one, and the gunslinger is never able to forget the young man he met during those fateful months in Meijis.

Roland and tet 1

The friendship between Roland and Sheemie is another example of a bittersweet relationship.  Even though the two are reunited many years later (and Sheemie once again becomes a contributor to Roland’s quest), Sheemie also becomes yet another casualty in Roland’s quest.

sheemie


 

6)  Danny Torrance and Dick Halloran (The Shining, Dr. Sleep)

Some of the best friendships are ones that span a wide gulf, whether that gulf be age, social class or any number of other factors.  After all, variety is the spice of life!

Danny Torrance and Dick Halloran are a perfect example of this type of friendship.  On the outside, the two could not be more different:  when they first meet, Dick and Danny are nearly 50 years apart in age.  Danny is the only child of two loving parents, and Dick is a confirmed life-long bachelor.  However, there is more that meets the eye for both Dick and Danny, as both possess PSI abilities that Dick refers to “the shining.”  In other words, both possess paranormal talents that render them outsiders, especially Danny.  However, Danny is able to receive some comfort from Dick, as he begins to realize that he is no longer alone.  And Dick is able come through for Danny in a way that most of the adults in Danny’s life (especially his father) are unable to do, when Danny uses his abilities to call on Dick to rescue him and his family from a haunted hotel that wishes to use Danny as a sort of human generator.

the-overlook-hotel

Although the two fall out of touch, Dick is still able to come through for Danny yet again when needed, this time when Danny is forced to become an adult and help another psychically gifted child who has become endangered.  However, there is an added twist:  Dick is able to reach out from beyond the grave and offer his assistance.  The fact that Dick is able to assist Danny from beyond the grave makes this friendship even more endearing and powerful.

abra-doctor-sleep


5)  Wolf and Jack Sawyer (The Talisman)

Move over, Seth Rogen and James Franco.  You guys may be seen as the quintessential bromance, but someone has you beat on that front!

seth and james

Yes, Wolf and Jack Sawyer are actually the quintessential bromance (at least in this blogger’s humble opinion that worth at least 2 pesos, dammit).  And werewolves and 12 year old boys nicknamed Traveling Jack make much better couples, anyway.

wolf and jack

In all seriousness, Wolf and Jack are another example of a friendship that spans a great divide.  And the great divide is literal, since Wolf and Jack are actually from different worlds.  And not of the same species, as Wolf is a werewolf.  However, that does not matter to either Wolf or Jack, as they draw together in Jack’s quest to save his mother from dying of cancer (and save her Territories Twinner in the process).  Wolf becomes Jack’s guide in a world he does not understand, and Jack returns that favor to Wolf when the two are forced to continue their question in Jack’s world.  This friendship is truly complementary, as Wolf and Jack are able to provide each other with what the other needs.

And Wolf and Jack also fight together, to the very end.  This is yet another example of one of King’s tragic friendships, as Wolf sacrifices his life doing what he does best:  protecting the herd.

morgan sloat


4)  Nick Andros and Tom Cullen (The Stand)

Again, the underdogs and disenfranchised.  I cannot emphasize enough that these guys are some of King’s most well rounded and well written characters.  And Tom Cullen and Nick Andros definitely fall into the underdog category.  And both also fall into the well rounded and well written category.

Nick Andros 1

Nick Andros is a deaf mute, while Tom Cullen is a mildly mentally handicapped man.  Both are survivors of Captain Trips, aka the super flu that has killed off 99.999% of the population.  Nick communicates through writing, and Tom cannot read.  But somehow, these two manage to save each other, both from actual physical dangers and from loneliness.  Even though they cannot communicate at first (due to their handicaps), a deep lasting bond develops between the two.  The two men are able to eventually communicate when they meet Ralph Brenter, and all three become integral members of the Boulder Free Zone.  However, this friendship ends in tragedy when Nick is killed by a bomb placed in house that he is in while meeting with other members of the Free Zone.  Tom never forgets his friend, and thinks of him fondly.

Nick and Tom 2

This is another relationship that extends beyond the grave, as Nick’s ghost helps Tom save Stu Redman from certain death after the defeat of Randall Flagg.

man in black


 

3)  Jake and Oy (The Dark Tower series)

Ah, a boy and his dog…does it get any sweeter than that?

lassie-and-timmy

Well, actually, make that a boy and his bumbler.  But its still the same in principle.

Oy 1

Animals are often major players in King’s works.  Cujo, Kojak and even the unfortunate cat Church all played major roles in the lives of the human beings around them.  Oftentimes, King’s animals are better people than the people in his stories, and Oy is no exception to that rule.

Cujo

Oy and Jake are another pair who manage to save each other.  Oy was an outcast from his pack and rescued by Jake, and joins Roland and the tet in their quest to save the Dark Tower.  Oy repays that favor in spades when he helps Roland save Jake from Gasher, a psychotic pedophile who seeks to rob Jake of his innocence.  This is just one of many times when Oy proves his worth as a four-legged gunslinger.  Oy is also the final piece of the puzzle for Jake, in that it is Oy who finally helps Jake feel at home in Mid-World, after his violent exit from his own world.  Oy becomes the glue that holds Jake to the quest, and to his new home in a strange place.

“I ake.”

Truer words could not be said by a billy bumbler (or anyone else), in expressing his feelings after what is one of the saddest deaths in any piece of literature I have ever read.

Jake and Oy


2) Duddits, Pete, Henry, Beaver and Jonesy (Dreamcatcher)

Childhood and all the joys and traumas associated with it is a major theme in many King books, and these books are among some of his best works.  Dreamcatcher is a novel that deals with childhood, especially the friendships that are formed between children.

Duddits 1

Pete, Henry, Beaver and Jonesy are a foursome.  They are the quintessential best friends, and are seemingly average children.  However, when they stand up for child with Down syndrome (Douglas “Duddits” Cavell), that changes.  Not only do the boys do something courageous and even noble, they make a new friend who will change their lives forever.  Duddits is able to open the boys’ eyes, making them see the world in a new light.  Duddits also gives the boys a gift of telepathy, as Duddits is no ordinary child.  This gift (and Duddits’ powers) will come in handy in adulthood, when the boys (who are now men) must face another adversary, one that is far worse than the bully they confronted as children.  Once again, Duddits brings the men together, and allows them to defeat the enemy before it has a chance to endanger our planet.  The ending is bittersweet, as Duddits, Pete and Jonesy sacrifice their lives in the fight.

Quality: Original.   Film Title: Dreamcatcher (2003).   Pictured: (L to R) DAMIAN LEWIS, THOMAS JANE, TIMOTHY OLYPHANT and JASON LEE in Castle Rock Entertainment's and Village Roadshow Pictures' science fiction/horror film Dreamcatcher distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.   Photo Credit:   Doane Gregory.   Copyright:   Warner Bros. Pictures 2002. For further information: please contact The Warner Bros. Press Office on 020 7984 5000.

Oh, and shit weasels.  Perhaps one of the most delight creatures in any Stephen King book (or any book, for that matter).

byrus

 


 

And now, I present to you my favorite Stephen King friendship of all time…

*drum roll please*

drum-roll-please


1)  The Losers Club (It)

Well, what can I say, I’m not sure how else I can put it…

So I will just come out and say it.

Childhood is hell.  Really, I can’t think of a better way to say it.  And its so so true.

childhood is hell

Matt Groening even wrote a book about it…

However, the rabbit-like creatures (or whatever the heck they are, jury is still out on that one) in Matt Groening’s work have nothing on Ben, Beverly, Bill, Richie, Eddie, Stan and Mike.

Losers club 1

These guys really did have one hell of a childhood (see what I did there).  And that’s not necessarily a good thing…

Well, shape-shifting clowns that live in the sewers cannot possibly ever be a good thing.  And when the clown employs local bullies to do its dirty work, that is also not a good thing.

So what’s a kid living in scenic Derry, Maine to do?
balloon2

Somehow survive the encounters with that evil clown, and find other survivors to help fight that motherfucker!  And bonus points in giving that group of friends a cool name, aka The Losers Club!

It 3

It was the book that popped my Stephen King cherry, and unlike certain other “first times”, I enjoyed this cherry popping immensely.  And my favorite part of It was the friendship between the kids.  I identified with all of them in one way or another, as I was bullied, and the notion of a clown living in the sewers of my hometown wasn’t really THAT far-fetched.

Beverly

I actually would have gladly fought alongside the Losers Club, risking my neck to defeat that bad, nasty old clown who had a horrible habit of killing the local kids (although he wasn’t picky, adults would do if times were lean).  I often felt invisible as a child, and I saw so many parallels to Derry in my own small, hometown, as it seemed everyone overlooked the wrong, and chose not to see what was really going on right underneath their noses.  I especially identified with Beverly Marsh, the lone female of the group (gingers of above average height, unite!) and longed for a love such as the one Ben had for Beverly.

Ben and Beverly

At one point in the book, one of the characters states that the other members of The Losers Club were the best friends he/she ever had.  And I agreed:  the members of The Losers Club were the best (book) friends I ever had.  And that is still true today.

Pennywise 5


So there it is:  my top 10 friendships in Stephen King’s books.  Well, some of these friendships may not exactly be healthy ones, but all of them are certainly memorable.  And they are just one part of the amazing tapestry that we call a Stephen King book, adding layers of richness and color to an already elaborate, complex design.

So do you really want to be a friend to someone?  Well, here’s an idea:  introduce them to a Stephen King book, if he/she has never had the pleasure of experiencing one.  And I will guarantee you that you will make a friend for life!

RoaldDahl

 

Penny Dreadful Review and Recap: Season 2, Episode 3

Good morning everyone, and welcome to this week’s visit to the sundae bar, aka my recap and review of Penny Dreadful.

sundae 1

And boy, was it an interesting visit this week.  Let’s just say that the choices at the sundae bar were limited this week.  Not that this is a bad thing, but if you were wanting variety (you know, where you could mix gummi bears, crushed Oreos, M&M’s and whatever other junk your not so inner child may have been craving), you may have a been a bit out of luck.  The treats available this week were actually quite interesting, but the selection was quite limited.  However, sometimes limiting the selection can cleanse your pallet…after all, cramming too much junk food down your gullet in one sitting can result in a need for that sophisticated pallet to be cleansed every now and then…

sundae 2

With that being said, let’s take a trip up to the bar and talk about this week’s selection!


Synopsis

The episode begins with Ethan asking Vanessa how he can help her.  Vanessa then proceeds to describe an incident from her past some months back, as it occurred when the search for her friend Mina was still active.

Eva Green as Vanessa Ives and Olivia Llewellyn as Mina in Penny Dreadful (season 1, episode 3). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_103_5063

Vanessa had been troubled for most of her life by visions and other strange occurrences.  This prompted her to pay a visit to a bruha, or the “village witch.”  The bruha, or Joan Clayton (also known as the Cut Wife), is at first skeptical of Vanessa and her intentions, but that skepticism vanishes when Vanessa is able to tell the witch exactly how the older woman received the scar on her back.  The witch agrees to take Vanessa in, and begins to teach her the art of witchcraft.  Vanessa assists the woman in hunting, gathering and even helps Joan perform an abortion on a young woman who lives in the village.  Joan also performs a tarot card reading on Vanessa.  Vanessa picks The Devil from the tarot cards, and states that this card could represent a dark lover who may become a part of her life.  Joan becomes fond of Vanessa, referring to her as her “little scorpion.”

Joan 3

However, the lessons are cut short when the coven headed by Evelyn Poole and her minions track Vanessa down in the remote village, and pay the old woman a visit.  We learn that Joan and Evelyn were formerly members of the same coven, but Joan broke off from Evelyn and sisters because Evelyn’s practices had taken a turn towards the dark side.  Joan attempts to protect Vanessa from the coven, but falls critically ill shortly after the confrontation.  She tells Vanessa that she is dying, and that there are books in her possession that she will pass on to Vanessa after her death.

Joan 1

In the meantime, Evelyn begins to stir up trouble in the village.  She uses her dark powers to kill cattle with a mere touch, and then seduces Geoffrey Hawkes, who happens to own the land that the village is located on.  She convinces Geoffrey that witches are responsible for the deaths of the cattle, and points the finger towards Vanessa and Joan.  Geoffrey confronts Vanessa while she is out on an expedition for Joan.  Vanessa fights off his advances and hurts him.  Geoffrey is angered, and leads the village to Joan’s residence.  The villagers become an angry mob, and accuse Joan of witchcraft and believe her to be responsible for the death of the cattle and other ills that have befallen the village.  Joan is then tarred and burned alive at the stake, as Vanessa watches helplessly.  The villagers also restrain Vanessa, and burn the shape of a cross onto her hand.

The episode ends with Vanessa finding the books left to her by Joan, and leaving the village behind.  However, Vanessa first cuts herself, and draws the shape of a scorpion on a rock before leaving, presumably to protect the village from evil.

Joan 2


My thoughts

As stated before, the selections were limited this week at the sundae bar.  This was a bit of a contrast to last week’s episode, which had almost too many selections to choose from…well, at least the show is never boring!

This episode did not feature douche bag doctors lying to newly resurrected corpses about their past, and trying to cop a feel in the process.  Vanessa did not become possessed.  And perhaps the saddest part:  No monsters quoting poetry!

Caliban 1

However, this episode was still interesting.  For one, we got some more background info on Vanessa.  Vanessa is a fascinating character, and more than a little mysterious.  This episode only served to increase both the fascinating and mysterious factors.  And it also made Vanessa a little more human (even though she may be the most human of all the characters, other than Caliban).  I am rooting even more for Vanessa now…How can I not, after this episode?  The relationship between Vanessa and Joan was actually sweet, and it made me think of the time I spent with my grandmother as a child (minus the witchcraft, of course).  And it was clear to me that the events of this episode have had a far reaching effect on Vanessa, making her determined to fight evil, even if it puts her own life in peril.  Vanessa definitely needs to be classified as a “good guy” after this episode.

Josh Hartnett as Ethan, Eva Green as Vanessa Ives, Danny Sapani as Sembene and Timothy Dalton as Sir Malcolm in Penny Dreadful (Episode 101). - Photo:  Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID:  PennyDreadful_101_0708.r

The village setting for this episode was also beautiful.  The backdrop was so creepy, and it fit the mood perfectly.  The overcast skies (I’m not sure I ever saw one ray of sunlight in this episode), the isolated house where most of the action took place and the “moor-ish” feel added an ambiance that I liked.  From the start, I was given the impression that something tragic would happen, and I was correct.

The best part of this episode, however, was Joan Clayton.  First of all:  the name.  Joan.  Kind of close to Joan of Arc…surely this was not coincidental.  And the fate suffered by Joan Clayton was similar to Joan of Arc, as both were burned at the stake.  So does this mean that Joan Clayton is also a saint?  Well, perhaps it does, at least to Vanessa.  We now know that Vanessa is fighting for someone or something, and its a pretty safe bet that the someone is Joan.  Joan of Arc has served as a beacon to many, and Joan Clayton is now a beacon to Vanessa.  Joan Clayton and Joan of Arc both died while fighting for what they believed in, and Vanessa has now been inspired to do the same.

http://www.kommunicera.umea.se/hemma/mathias/

And the death of Joan Clayton.  Tragic.  Simply no other words.  There have been more than a few deaths on this show (if your name is Van Helsing, too bad, you are disposable).  But I think that this is perhaps one of the saddest deaths.  In fact, I thought of this character from a certain book written by the master:

Susan Delgado

And its probably not too far off base.  Joan Clayton was innocent, she was only trying to help someone who was also innocent and caught up in a game that she didn’t understand.  This episode was actually pretty good mirror for some shameful events in our history (the Salem Witch Trials immediately came to mind), and also a good mirror for what still happens to women in far too many parts of the world even today.  Being burned alive is one of the most horrible deaths imaginable, and my heart ached when I watched it happen to poor Joan, who seemed so resigned to her fate.  The fact that Vanessa was forced to watch and not able to help added yet another horrifying touch.  The cross that was burned onto Vanessa’s hand also showed just how cruel humans can be to one another, and I am sure that it added fuel to the fire burning in Vanessa (no pun intended).

Vanessa Ivers 2

The scorpion drawn by Vanessa using her own blood was also a nice touch.  Presumably, it was to protect the village, but I may be wrong on that count.  I was not really sure if Vanessa was leaving a blessing or a curse when she left the village behind (and it could be either, depending on which side of Vanessa you are on).  I have a funny feeling that there is some meaning behind the scorpion drawing, and I am pretty sure that it will come into play in a later episode.  So writers, don’t disappoint me on that, ok???

scorpion


So folks, there you have it.  That’s it for this week’s trip to the sundae bar, but there will be more to come next week, when we check back in to discuss the latest hijinks of our favorite literary Avengers!

Penny Dreadful 3

Tune in next week…same bat time, same bat channel!

adam west