Family Horrors: My Review of The Shining

Have you ever…

Lived with a person who the human version of a volcano, and you didn’t know if this person was the dormant kind of volcano, or the other kind?

Loved this person beyond all reason, but spent much of your time in fear of them, eventually fearing for your life?

Been isolated, through no fault of your own, with nowhere to turn?

Felt conflicted, not knowing whether to protect yourself, or devote yet more energy and resources to protect your loved one, from his or herself, in the hopes that this person would not self destruct, so that you guys could attempt to build a life together?

Spent untold hours blaming yourself for the awful situation, even though you were actually the reason for anything good in that situation, although you could not see it, because you were too mired in guilt, defending yourself from the attacks that you were sure that you caused?

Still felt sad, and even guilty, even after you escaped your situation?  Not knowing how you would go on without this person who you loved so much, but somehow finding a way?

So, why are we talking about a domestic abuse situation?

After all, that’s what I just described right?

Someone who was in an abusive relationship, but somehow managed to escape, but still have survivor’s guilt?

Well, you would be correct.  But as always, there is more to meet the eye…

You guessed, I have just described a Stephen King story!

stephen-king-cover-ftr

And it is one of his most famous, maybe even his most famous, with a movie that is perhaps even more notorious?

Redrum…

Yes, in case you haven’t guessed, I am referring to The Shining.

And let’s take a moment to acknowledge the red-headed stepchild of the family, otherwise known as The Shinning.  As we all know, all work and no play makes Homer something, something…

homer-2

But yes, that The Shining.  The same one that is such a huge part of our culture now.

The same one that is the subject of some pretty entertaining memes.

Admit, you have muttered “redrum” in *that voice.*

Or been petrified by blood coming out of the walls.

Or freaked out by people in animal costumes.

I could go on and on.  The Shining is a frightening book and movie.

the-overlook-hotel

But The Shining is so much more than just being scary.

The Shining is about family, and just what we will do to protect the ones we love the most.

The Shining is also about addiction and abuse, and how those can destroy a family from the inside out, even without the help of a haunted hotel.

In other words, for most of us, family is central.  And losing family is devastating, no matter the circumstances.  Over and over, King drives this theme home in The Shining.

So, welcome to this month’s read and review, and as always:

Homer spoiler


Synopsis

The book begins with an introduction to the Torrance family, which consists of Jack, his wife Wendy and their five year old son Danny.  It is revealed that Jack has recently become unemployed from his job as a schoolteacher, and is interviewing for a position as the caretaker at a hotel called The Overlook Hotel, in Sidewinder, Colorado.

It turns out that the interview is just a formality, and Jack is hired for the position, although the hotel’s manager, Stuart Ullman, is reluctant to hire Jack, as Jack has had past problems with alcoholism and controlling his temper.  Jack assures Ullman that the alcoholism is no longer an issues, and that he and his family can handle the isolation that will come with the job, which will require Jack and his family to live at the hotel during the winter and be cut off from all civilization.

During a tour of the hotel, the maintenance man, Watson, shows Jack how to adjust the pressure of the boiler so that the hotel does not catch fire.  Jack also learns that the previous caretaker, Delbert Grady, murdered his family during his stint as a caretaker.  Watson also tells Jack that the hotel has had a few deaths, and one of those occurred during the previous summer.  An older woman, Mrs. Massey, stayed at the hotel with her much younger suitor.  When her suitor abandoned her, Mrs. Massey committed suicide in room 217, in the bathtub.

In the meantime, Danny and Wendy await Jack’s return.  The Torrance family has relocated from Vermont to Colorado, due to Jack’s job loss, and Wendy has some concern that the move has not been easy for Danny.  We also learn that Danny has been a victim of Jack’s temper, as Jack accidentally broke Danny’s arm a few years prior, due to Danny spilling beer on his school papers.

We also learn that Danny is gifted with some unusual abilities:  he sometimes has knowledge of future events, or events in the present that he would otherwise have no knowledge.  Danny sees these visions through his friend Tony, another boy only visible to Danny, and referred to as his “imaginary friend” by Jack and Wendy.  We learn through Danny that Jack and Wendy’s marriage has been troubled, due to Jack’s alcoholism, and that Danny has feared that his parents will divorce.

Danny has another frightening vision brought to him by Tony as he is outside waiting for his father to get home:  he sees himself in an unfamiliar place being chased by someone, and also sees the phrase “REDRUM.”  Danny becomes frightened and has no idea what this vision could mean.

Finally, Jack arrives home.  Danny is overjoyed to see his father and glad that his father got the job at The Overlook Hotel.  However, Danny thinks that he sees a bloody mallet in the front seat of his father’s car.  When he looks at the front seat again, Danny realizes that is just a bag of groceries.

Jack makes a trip with Danny to a pay phone, so that he call his friend Al Shockley, who helped him get the job at the Overlook Hotel.  Jack recalls how, during one drunken night, Al hit a bicycle that was left in the middle of the road while driving himself and Jack home.  It is this incident that prompted Wendy to ask for a divorce, but Jack is able to stop drinking, and Wendy decides to stay, as she loves her husband and son.

That night, Danny has yet another, and Tony warns him not to go to the Overlook for the winter.  Danny is frightened, but does not say anything to his parents, as he knows how important this opportunity is for his family.

The Torrance family then arrives at The Overlook Hotel.  Danny is still feeling uneasy, but does not tell his parents, as he is still aware how important this opportunity is for his family.

After his family arrives at The Overlook, Danny is introduced to the hotel’s chef, Dick Halloran.  Danny and Halloran take a liking to each other immediately.

Halloran is able to ascertain that Danny possesses psychic abilities, to which he refers to as “the shining.”  Halloran tells Danny that he is not alone in possessing this gift, as Halloran also possesses it, although his ability is not as strong as Danny’s.  Before Halloran bids Danny goodbye for the winter, he warns Danny that he may see things in the hotel, as the Overlook is an old hotel and several unpleasant events have occurred there.  Halloran tells Danny that what he sees are akin to pictures in a book, and that nothing should be able to harm him.  Halloran warns Danny to stay out of room 217, as he may experience something unpleasant in that room.

Ullman gives the Torrance family a tour of the hotel shortly after Halloran and the other employees leave for the winter.  True to Halloran’s statement, Danny sees what appears to be blood and brains on a wall.  However, Danny looks away, and the vision soon vanishes.

Several weeks pass uneventfully for the Torrance family.  Jack is finally able to work on his writing, and thinks that he may be able to finish the play he is working on.  Jack and Wendy notice that Danny is a little withdrawn, but think nothing of it.  Danny continues to push himself to learn how to read, so that he may be able to communicate with his friend Tony, who has shown him signs with written words in the past.

One day, Jack finds a wasp nest on the roof of the hotel.  He kills the wasps with a bug bomb, and gives the nest to Danny as sort of a souvenir.  Danny is thrilled with the nest, and puts it in his bedroom.

That night, Danny is getting ready for bed in the bathroom.  When he does not come out of the bathroom, Jack and Wendy become anxious, and Jack breaks down the door.  They find Danny in a trance, but are able to rouse him.  Danny does not remember what happened, so Jack and Wendy put him to bed.

Later on, in the middle of the night, Jack and Wendy are awakened by Danny.  Danny is being attacked by the wasps from the nest given to him by Jack earlier.  Jack is able to kill the wasps, but cannot understand why the poison he used earlier did not work.

The next day, Wendy and Jack take Danny to see a doctor in town.  The doctor examines Danny and is able to find nothing physically wrong with Danny.

The doctor asks Danny to try and summon Tony.  Danny falls into a trance again, but is unable remember anything when he comes to.  However, Danny tells the doctor that his mother had a sister who passed away as a child, which is information he did not previously have.  Danny also tells the doctor that his parents had previously contemplated a divorce, but have since changed their minds.  The doctor refuses to believe that there is anything unusual about Danny. and reassures Jack and Wendy that Danny is simply an imaginative child, and that he will eventually grow out of his unusual behavior.

While he is setting rat traps in the basement, Jack finds a scrapbook of sorts.  When he opens up the scrapbook, Jack finds much information in regards to the history of the Overlook.  It turns out that the Overlook has seen many changes in ownership and has also been the scene of some violent crimes.  Jack becomes absorbed in this history, and also begins to exhibit behaviors that he exhibited when he was drinking, such as wiping his lips and dry swallowing Excedrin.

Danny also begins exploring the hotel, without the knowledge of his parents.  He is again tempted by Room 217, despite Halloran’s warnings.  Danny is able to resist the temptation, but thinks that he sees a fire extinguisher come to life, turning into a snake.  However, once again, he does not tell his parents about this incident, as he understands how important the job at the hotel is for his family.

Jack makes a trip to the library to do more research on The Overlook Hotel.  He places a phone call to Stuart Ullman, goading Ullman in regards to the history of the hotel, stating that he will one day write a book about the hotel.  This angers Ullman, and Jack regrets his actions as well.

After speaking with Ullman, Jack receives a call from his friend Al Shockley.  It turns out that Al owns part of the hotel, and is angry at Jack for making that phone call.  Al forces Jack to promise not to call Ullman again, and to not write any books about the hotel.  Jack is angered, but agrees, in order to keep his job.

Both Wendy and Danny become worried about Jack.  They sense that Jack is having trouble coping with his alcoholism, but are unsure of how to help him.  Wendy asks Danny if he would like to leave The Overlook, and Danny agrees that he would.  However, Danny is not happy with the alternative option:  staying with Wendy’s mother, as Wendy and her mother do not get along.  Wendy agrees to stay at the hotel with Jack for the winter, and hopes that things will get better.

One day, as Jack is trimming the hedge animals in front of the hotel, he is badly frightened.  He thinks that the hedge animals have moved.  He tells himself that this is impossible, and likely a hallucination caused by his struggles to remain sober.

The weather worsens in Sidewinder, and the Torrance family begins to feel the hotel closing in on them.  The only means of communication is a CB radio.  They are otherwise cut off from the world, unable to leave the hotel.

One day, Danny finally gives in to temptation and visits room 217.  When he opens the bathroom door, he encounters the ghost of Mrs. Massey.  The ghost then attempts to strangle Danny.

While Danny is being attacked in Room 217, Jack and Wendy have dozed off in their quarters.  However, Jack awakens to the voice of his dead father on the CB radio, warning him that Danny has broken the rules and visited room 217.

Once Wendy and Jack come to their senses, Danny appears at the top of the stairs.  Danny is bruised and bleeding from his encounter with the ghost in room 217.

Almost immediately, Wendy blames Jack for Danny’s injuries, convinced that Jack tried to hurt Danny in his sleep.  She chases Jack off and locks herself and Danny in the bedroom.

Jack is angered by Wendy’s treatment of him, and retreats to the empty bar at the hotel.  Jack then begins to fantasize about drinking again.

The fantasies about drinking seem to become real as Jack strikes up a conversation with the bartender he believes would have been serving the hotel back in its prime.  Jack refers to this man as Lloyd, and requests that Lloyd serve him 20 martinis.  Lloyd also appears to commiserate with Jack over his troubles.

Finally, Jack realizes what he is doing and snaps out of his trance.  Wendy appears with Danny at the bar, and Danny begins to have convulsions.  Jack is able to bring Danny out of his catatonic state, and tries to find out what happened to Danny.

Danny tells his parents about what happened in room 2017, along with the other incidents that he has experienced during the family’s stay at the hotel.  Wendy also tells Jack how worried she and Danny have been about him, as he appears to be struggling with his alcoholism.  Jack heads to Room 217, to see if he can find anyone or anything there.

When Jack arrives at Room 217, he investigates it and does not find anything.  However, when he leaves the room, he notices that someone or something is watching him.  However, he tells his family that he did not find anything in the room.

Later that night, Jack and Wendy begin to argue over their situation.  Jack reminds Wendy that they are snowed in, and that an escape attempt may kill them.  However, Wendy remembers that the hotel has snow mobiles, and Jack reluctantly promises to test them out the next day, so that they may possibly escape the hotel.

That night, Jack struggles with his anger at his family, as he feels that he will have no other options if they leave the hotel.  He dreams that he sees a ghost of one his students in Room 217, and that he attacks that ghost.  However, the ghost then turns into his son.  Jack awakens to find himself standing over Danny’s bed, and shocked by his behavior.

In the morning, Jack takes a look at the snow mobile and finds it in working order.  However, he is unable to bear the idea of leaving the hotel for a fate unknown, and deliberately sabotages the snow mobile, so that his family will remain stranded at The Overlook.

The weeks pass without incident.  Danny tells his mother that he still afraid of the hotel, but that he understands that his family has no other options.

One day, Danny is outside playing on the hotel’s playground.  He is playing in the miniature version of the hotel when he begins to feel trapped inside, and very frightened.  Danny makes his way out of the playhouse, and heads back to the hotel.

Danny also has a bad scare when he heads back to the hotel:  he sees the hedge animals move, and they begin to chase him.  However, Danny is able to make it back to the hotel, where he collapses on the porch from fright and exhaustion.

Danny tells his parents what happened.  However, Jack does not believe him and tries to convince his son that the movement of the hedge animals was a figment of his imagination.  Danny realizes that Jack is lying and that Jack has also seen the animals move.  When he tries to tell his father this, Jack slaps him across the face, angering Wendy.

Jack and his family are awakened later that night by the sound of the elevator running.  The elevator had not previously been in use.  Jack gets up to investigate the noise, with Wendy and Danny in tow.

When he investigates the elevator, Jack does not find anyone or anything there.  However, the Torrance family finds evidence of a party, which includes streamers and balloons.  Wendy and Danny also hear noises associated with a party, such as people talking and music.  Jack denies that anything unusual is happening, and chalks up the issues with the elevator to a short circuit.

A few days later, Danny comes across an old clock that no longer appears to be working.  However, the clock comes to life, and the figures in it commit lewd acts.  The clock then stops, and Danny has another vision.  He sees the word REDRUM again, and realizes that it is murder spelled backwards.  Danny is terrified, and sends a telepathic plea to Dick Halloran for help.

Hallorann is in Florida, working at his winter job.  He receives Danny’s message, and realizes that the situation at The Overlook Hotel is serious, and that he must return to Colorado as soon as he can.

As Hallorann is looking for a flight to take him to Colorado, Wendy and Danny sense that the hotel is closing in on them..  The hotel is working through Jack, in order to get to Danny.  When Danny tries to leave his quarters, he is accosted by a man in a dog costume, who tries to attack him.  Danny continues to call to Hallorann for help, but the hotel senses what Danny is doing and puts a stop to it.

Finally, Hallorann is able to find a flight to Colorado, and heads to the hotel, hoping that he will not be too late.

Jack becomes convinced that the hotel wants him, and not Wendy or Danny.  Jack encounters the ghosts of the hotel’s previous employees and guests, and is able to get drunk.  One of the ghosts, the ghost of Delbert Grady (the previous caretaker of the hotel), alerts Jack to the fact that Danny is trying to escape from The Overlook, and tells Jack that he must do whatever he needs to do to correct Danny.  Jack is also shown a vision in the clock:  a man beating a little boy with a roque mallet.  The clock then fills with blood, much to Jack’s disbelief.

Finally, Hallorann is able to find a flight to Colorado, and begins the trek to Sidewinder.

Wendy and Danny stay sequestered in their quarters, and are able to hear Jack in his drunken rage.  Wendy ventures out of their quarters to find food for her and Danny, and finds Jack passed out at the bar.  She realizes that Jack is somehow drunk, even though there is no alcohol anywhere in the hotel.

Jack regains consciousness, and begins to attack Wendy.  Wendy realizes that he intends to kill her and Danny.  Danny comes to the defense of his mother, and Jack also attacks Danny.  Wendy is able to finally subdue Jack by hitting him on the head with a glass.

Wendy and Danny drag Jack to the pantry, intending to lock him in there, for his safety and theirs.  Jack regains consciousness and fights them, but they are able to shut the door on him in the nick of time.

Even though they retreat to the their quarters, Wendy and Danny are still able to hear Jack’s protests, along with the elevator and other sounds that indicate that the hotel is coming to life.

The ghost of Delbert Grady finds Jack in the pantry.  Jack promises to kill Wendy and Danny, in exchange for his freedom.  The door is somehow unlocked, and Jack picks up a roque mallet, and looks to find his wife and son.

In the meantime, Hallorann continues to make his trek to The Overlook.  The hotel realizes what he is doing, and sends him a message, in an attempt to scare him off.  Hallorann fights it, and is determined to make his way to The Overlook.

Wendy begins to suspect that Jack has somehow escaped the pantry.  She heads downstairs, but this proves to be a mistake, as Jack is waiting for her.  Jack attacks her with the mallet, but Wendy defends herself with a knife.  She heads back upstairs, but an angry, inhuman Jack follows her, determined to kill her.

Finally, Hallorann arrives at the hotel, but is attacked by one of the hedge animals.

Wendy is able to flee from Jack, and hides in the bathroom.  She defends herself with a razor blade she finds in the medicine cabinet, all the while wondering where Danny is hiding, as she has been unable to find him.  She also realizes that the hotel has completely possessed her husband, and that Jack is no longer in control of himself.

Hallorann is able to fend off the hedge animal by lighting it on fire and makes his way into the hotel.  However, he is then attacked by Jack and loses consciousness.

Danny is in some kind of catatonic state.  He is visited by Tony, and realizes that Tony is a future version of himself, Daniel Anthony Torrance.  Tony tells Danny that his mother and Hallorann may be killed by Jack, unless Danny does something about it.  Tony then reminds Danny that he will remember what his father forgot, and vanishes.  Danny then returns to consciousness.

Finding himself in the attic on the third floor, Danny hears his father calling for him.  Resisting the urge to obey his father, Danny attempts to hide from Jack.

Wendy regains consciousness, and finds Hallorann.  She rouses him, and both hear the sounds of Jack on the prowl for his son.

Danny confronts the creature that had once been his father.  He tells his father that the hotel is using him, and will discard him once he has served its purpose.  Jack briefly makes an appearance, and tells Danny to run.

Danny then realizes that his father has not maintained the boiler, and that the hotel will go up in flames.  He runs, searching for his mother and Hallorann, so that they may escape before it is too late.

Wendy, Hallorann and Danny are reunited.  Halloran senses the urgency, and the three make their escape.  The hotel catches on fire shortly aftewards and is completely destroyed.

Even after they escape, the hotel tries to urge Hallorann to hurt Danny.  Hallorann fights the urge, and escapes with Wendy and Danny by using the snow mobile.  Soon, they reach civilization, away from the hotel and the haunted grounds.

Several months later, Hallorann has found work at lodge in Maine.  Danny and Wendy also stay at the lodge for the summer, but Wendy plans on relocating to Maryland, in favor of a new job and fresh start.  Danny is still saddened over the death of his father, but Hallorann reassures him that he will always be there for him, and that Danny will eventually recover from his ordeal.


My Thoughts

I have said it once, and I will say it again:  I appear to be incapable of reading anything that does not make me its emotional bitch in the end.

And The Shining is no different.

I have a few King books that are able to get to me on a personal level.  These include It, Bag of Bones and Rose Madder.

Bag of Bones 11

Well, now I can add The Shining to that list.

And I would not be alone in that sentiment.  Out of all of King’s work, it seems like The Shining is the one that has had the biggest grip on popular culture.

Even non horror and non King fans get what “redrum” means.

The Shining is so compelling that Felicity was reading it in an episode of Arrow

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Jack Torrance, you have failed your hotel!

(OK, that one was admittedly bad.  Maybe Jack should have tried harder to save his city  hotel.  OK, I will stop now before someone sends the ghosts of the Overlook or perhaps Damien Darhk after me for making these bad jokes!)

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And there is a good reason why The Shining (both the book and movie) has the grip that it has on popular culture.  Actually, there are a few good reasons.

The Shining is scary.  Really scary.  Really fucking scary.  Fucking scary as hell, as a matter of fact.

OK, Captain Obvious is on board…

Stephen King wrote The Shining.  He is the King of scary.  So of course his books are scary, right?

Well, many times, King’s books are scary.  King does a lot of things besides scary (which he also does in The Shining, and which we will talk about later), but if you mention his name, the first word that comes up is scary.  That is what he is primarily known for:  writing books that will scare his Constant Constant Readers into a change of pants.

After all, who hasn’t been home alone except for the dogs, and felt her skin crawl while reading the likes of It, ‘Salem’s Lot, Pet Sematary, Revival or almost any other King book?

Stephen King's Pet Sematary (1985)

(Or is that just me?  OK, just checking, no judgement, right?)

Even The Body and 11/22/63 have creepy elements in them, and those are not traditionally billed as horror stories.

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Well, add The Shining to that list.  And believe me, it has earned that spot on the list.

First of all, there is the setting.  We have an isolated, abandoned hotel in the dead of winter.  Forget about the ghosts for a minute, and think about that instead.  Being trapped in the middle of nowhere is a real fear.  And The Shining plays upon that fear almost right from the opening pages, before we even have the pleasure of making the acquaintance of those lovely, hospitable creatures that call The Overlook Hotel home.

In fact, I could even rightfully argue that the hotel is a character, in and of itself, in much the same way that Danny, Wendy, Jack and Dick Hallorann are characters.

I find this utterly fascinating:  only King has the ability to turn an inanimate object, like an isolated hotel, into a compelling, fleshed out character.  Much love for The Master!

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But, I don’t want to forget about the ghosts.  No, let’s not do that!

Now, the build up to the ghosts is a nice, slow burn.  There are a couple of flashes here and there, like the blood and brains Danny sees in the one room on his first tour, along with the incident with the wasps.  But King spends the first half of the book getting us invested in Danny and his parents, and even the hotel.  So the ghosts take a back burner, at least at first.

But then King unleashes them.  And good things (or is it really scary things?) come to those who wait.  And the payoff is grand.

It had been many years since I read this book.  And a few details may have escaped me.  But lucky me, they came back to me on my re-read.

There is the ghost of Mrs. Massey.  Now, thanks to Kubrik and his movie, I have never really forgotten about her.  But she deserves mention here.  I may make jokes and kid around with all The Shining references, but here is my confession:  I do that to hide the fact that she still scares me into a change of pants, even to this day.

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(Again, we cool and no judgement, right?  Whew!)

Although Mrs. Massey scared me, and the guy in the dog costume scared me (who does that?  Who wears a dog costume and makes the rounds at a party, greeting people by barking?  Ew much?), along with the ghosts of Grady and Lloyd, I think the honor goes to…

You got it, the clock!

I know that a wind up clock is not what most people associate with this “redrum” of a book.  However, that is one seriously scary scene.  And it would actually be two scenes, as Danny sees the figures in the clock do some unspeakable things to each other after it comes to life, and then Jack also sees the same clock come to life, showing him a guy murder a kid with a roque mallet.  And then the clock fills with blood.  Nice touch, Sai King!

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Okay, we have paid the ghosts their due.

So let’s take away the ghosts now.  Let’s take away the spooky hotel.  Let’s take away a little boy’s mysterious, PSI powers.

We are doing away with anything and everything supernatural.

With most horror stories, if you took away all the supernatural elements, you would not have a story.  You would have the equivalent of a car with no engines, no tires, probably even no stereo to listen to the music on.

But this is where King separates himself from the pack, and shows us why he has earned the moniker “The Master.”

SK give me what I won

You can take away anything and everything supernatural in The Shining.

And you are not left with an empty vehicle that won’t go anywhere or play any music.

Rather, you have a vehicle that is functional.  It may have no “extras”, like the fancy tires and state of the art stereo system.

But this vehicle will run.  We can drive it, and it can still take us places and can be counted on for a journey.

In other words, The Shining is not just about ghosts.

The ghosts make the story fun, and provide some great scares (again, Mrs. Massey).  But they are not what makes this story so memorable and so effective on so many levels.

At its core, The Shining explores familiar territory.  Or familiar to anyone who has had to “adult” for more than thirty seconds of his/her life.

The Shining is about family.

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The Shining is about addiction and the devastating effects it has on the addict and the addict’s loved ones.

The Shining is about unemployment, and how devastating it can be to lose one’s job and place in the world.

In fact, the Torrance family’s stay at The Overlook Hotel could be seen as metaphor for being trapped in an abusive relationship.

In an abusive relationship, the abuser will use isolation as a tactic.  This is what my ex did to me:  he cut me off from everyone and everything that I loved.  And then the monsters were unleashed.

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Like Danny, I lived in fear.  I also constantly questioned myself and blamed myself, as Danny did, when his father and the hotel would do terrible things.  I believed, like Danny, that I had caused those things.

Like Danny, I believed that there was something I could do to keep the monsters at bay, and prevent the terrible things from happening.  I shouldered much responsibility for what happened, and looked for ways to prevent (like Danny avoiding certain parts of the hotel.)

But, like Danny, it became too much, and escape became necessary to save my life.  Danny agonized over the escape, and so did I.  Escaping from an abuser is never easy, as you are running from someone you love, sometimes a person you love beyond all reason.

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And the recovery is not easy, as evidenced by the end of the book.  Like Danny, I spent much time crying.

But, again, like Danny, I found the light.  Light is never so beautiful as when you escape that darkness.


Well, that’s it for the roller coaster otherwise known as The Shining.  Join me next month for a reunion of sorts, when we review and dissect the follow up to The Shining, aka Doctor Sleep!

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

batman and robin


Connections

Even though The Shining is an early King work, it is still set squarely in the King universe, and shares some notable connections with other King books.  Here are the connections I found:

-The most obvious connection to another book is to Doctor Sleep, which follows the adventures of Danny Torrance in adulthood.

-The town of Sidewinder is mentioned in the novel The Talisman.

wolf and jack

-Danny has PSI abilities.  Many other characters in the King universe have these abilities, including Carrie White, Jake Chambers, Kyra DeVore (Bag of Bones) and the Breakers in The Dark Tower series.

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-Room 217 is the room that houses Brady Hartsfield in the Mercedes trilogy, which includes Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers and End of Watch.

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-In the book The Drawing of the Three, Eddie recalls a movie that he has seen, titled The Shining.  Even if Stephen King does not exist in every reality (or even most of them), apparently some version of The Shining does exist on more than one level of The Tower, and may even exist on all levels of The Tower.

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-The ghosts seen by Danny at The Overlook Hotel bear some resemblance to the “vagrant dead” mentioned in The Wolves of the Calla and The Song of Susannah.

Roland dance

-In the novel It, Dick Halloran makes a brief appearance in a story in a flashback regards to Derry’s history.  Hallorann saves the life of Wil Hanlon, who would later go on to father Mike Hanlon, one of the members of the Losers Club.

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11/22/63: Episode 3 Recap and Review

Origin stories.

We all have them, no matter who we are.  We don’t just wake up one day, and do the things that we do (like write this blog), without some kind of reason.  Or maybe several reasons.

And even the worst among us did not become the worst overnight.  Usually, there is something (or several somethings) leading up to becoming the worst.  Not even The Clown Prince of Crime became Batsy’s arch-nemesis overnight, after all.

joker and harley

And the same goes for actual bad guys.  Most serial killers have an “origin story.”  Not that there are excuses for committing acts of evil, but most people have something in their pasts that an outside observer can point to, and correlate that to a person becoming “bad.”  Even incidents that take place when we may be too young to remember them can end up having a huge impact on our lives later on down the line.

Certainly, most people would consider Lee Harvey Oswald to be one of the most evil people in history.  After all, he killed the president!  The assassination of JFK shaped an entire generation.  In fact, my parents were college students when JFK was killed.  I don’t have to talk about it much, but I know that this was a huge part of my parents’ young adulthood, just like the 9/11 tragedy was a huge part of mine.

And obviously, the JFK assassination was a huge part of Stephen King’s young adulthood.  So a huge a part, in fact, that he wrote an entire book about it, aka 11/22/63.  This book gives a fascinating account of the Kennedy assassination, time travel, the Vietnam War and quite a few other topics.

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One of these other topics is Lee Harvey Oswald.  Before I read 11/22/63, Oswald was only real to me in an academic sense.  Sure, I knew he killed the president.  So that made him a bad guy.  A really bad guy.  You have to be really bad to kill a president, after all.

However, I never had any emotional reaction to Lee Harvey Oswald.  He was just another historical figure.  My reaction to him was equivalent to my reaction to, oh say, a piece of tissue paper, perhaps?  A piece of tissue paper, in other words, really doesn’t elicit any reaction.  It is simply there, in much the same way Lee Harvey was there for me.  Nothing to get excited about, in other words.

Well, I then read 11/22/63.  And one of the things that I loved about 11/22/63 was the amount of detail it provided on Lee Harvey Oswald.  Somehow, the guy who writes about scary clowns was able to provide a stunning amount of information on an entire generation’s bad guy and turn him into a fleshed out character.  Suddenly, this guy came alive for me, and I could more easily connect with my parents and others over their generation’s boogeyman.

lee harvey oswald

In other words, we were given a origin story on one of history’s most iconic bad guys.  And this gave a new dimension to one of the events that shaped our nation, turning it from academic to personal.

Last night, I watched the third episode of the mini series 11/22/63, titled Other Voices, Other Rooms.  And I saw the onscreen version of the origin story of Lee Harvey Oswald, one of the most iconic bad guys in history.  And again, I found myself lured in, unable to stop watching.

So, without further ado, here is my recap and review of Other Voices, Other Rooms.

And, as always:

Homer spoiler


Synopsis

Bill joins Jake on his quest to prevent the assassination of Kennedy, after hearing and accepting Jake’s explanation that he is a time traveler from the future.  The two men drive to Dallas, where Jake shows Bill exactly where Kennedy will meet his untimely end.  Bill tells Jake that he stayed in Holden due to Frank Dunning’s murder of his sister, but has nothing keeping him in Holden and would rather help Jake prevent the murder of a president.

Jake concocts a cover story that he and Bill are brothers, and applies for a teaching job in nearby Jodie, Texas.  Somewhat to his surprise, Jake is offered by the job by the principal Deke Simmons, and also meets the school secretary, a black woman referred to as Ms. Mimi.  Later that night, Jake and Bill go out to celebrate, and Bill becomes intoxicated.  The club the men celebrate at is actually owned by a man named Jack Ruby, and Jake’s plan is nearly put in jeopardy when Bill begins to tell of their plans to the club’s owner.  Fortunately, Jake is able to mitigate any damage, but is reminded again that “past pushes back.”

Jake settles into his job as a teacher, and two years pass.  His teaching job becomes a permanent position, and he seems to be enjoying it.  In 1962, Ms. Mimi introduces him to the new school librarian:  Sadie Dunhill.  Jake immediately recognizes her from their encounter in Dallas two years earlier, and learns that she is divorced.  Ms. Mimi persuades Jake into chaperoning a school dance with Sadie, forcing Jake to reschedule his prior commitment, which happens to be bugging Lee Harvey Oswald’s apartment so that he and Bill can listen to Oswald’s conversations.

Bill and Jake rent an apartment next to the one where Oswald will live.  Jake is reminded of what time period he has traveled to when he speaks to the racist, bigot landlord of the building.  He is also reminded again of the racism prevalent in the time period when he encounters Ms. Mimi on his way home at a gas station.  The attendant refuses to assist Mimi because she is black, and Jake is forced to give Mimi a ride himself, as no nearby gas station will help her.

In the meantime, Lee Harvey Oswald has returned to the United States from Russia.  Jake observes Oswald’s reunion with his family at the airport, noting that he has brought his wife Marina and their infant daughter back from Russia as well.  Bill and Jake also install the surveillance equipment at the new apartment.  Jake’s cover story is that he trying to obtain information on his soon to be ex wife.

That night, Jake and Sadie chaperon the dance.  Jake impresses Sadie with his dancing abilities, and explains to her that his ex wife made him take lessons.  However, much to the annoyance of Sadie, the night is cut short when Jake realizes that he must return to the apartment to gain information on Oswald.

The apartment is successfully bugged, but Bill and Jake are nearly caught by Oswald.  They are able to escape Oswald’s apartment, but barely, as the air vents they use to escape are covered in spiders and Bill’s screams nearly give them away.

At school the next day, Sadie expresses her disappointment in Jake, as his premature exit forced her to chaperon the dance on her own.  That night, Bill and Jake attempt to spy on Oswald, as George de Mohrenschildt, who Jake determined earlier to be working for the CIA, pays Oswald a visit.  However, the men speak in Russian.  Jake becomes frustrated, and hurries back to the school find a Russian-English dictionary.

Upon his return to the apartment, Jake finds Bill to be bloody and unconscious.  It turns out that the landlord has tampered with the equipment.  Bill and Jake then take back their ruined equipment, again realizing that the past does not want to be changed.

At school the next day, Sadie speaks to Jake in regards to his actions at the dance.  Jake apologizes, and Sadie kisses him.  Sadie then accepts a dinner date for that weekend.

Jake and Bill follow Oswald to a rally led by General Edwin Walker.  Oswald is accompanied by George de Mohrenschildt.  After the rally, Oswald becomes angered by Walker’s political views and has a physical confrontation with Walker’s guards, and also threatens the life of General Walker, calling him a fascist.


 

My Thoughts

The previous two episodes of this show were more action oriented.  We had the time travel itself, along with the past “pushing back.” And of course, the confrontation with Frank Dunning…how could we forget that?

11/22/63 EPISODE 103a Photo Credit: Sven Frenzel

However, this episode had a different feel to it.  This episode was more about character development.  And most of that character development was not in regards to the central protagonist, Jake Epping.

A lot of the character development focused on this story’s main villain, Lee Harvey Oswald. As I stated before, in the book King managed to draw a convincing villain out of someone who is mainly known through the history books, and possibly some interviews with surviving family members.  However, this is not the same as actually getting into Oswald’s head and actually understanding his motivations.  But King’s portrayal of Oswald as the villain in his book is the next best thing, as he is a character in a story.  Characters in stories have motivations.  They have feelings.  We may not always agree with a character’s motivations, but we can paint a picture in our head of that character, and come to an understanding of him or her, since we have the author to guide us to that understanding.

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And in this case, we have the mini series to paint a picture of that character.  So far, the mini series is doing a fairly decent job of this.  I enjoyed the scene at the end of the episode, where Oswald flipped his shit on General Walker and got in his face.  That would seem to me to be “textbook Oswald,” if there was such a term.  I would like to see more interaction between Oswald and his family, particularly with his wife and mother, as King treated us to in the book.  However, Bill did mention that Oswald was hard on Marina in regards to her clothing choices, so at least there was that.  And there will be another five episodes where we will (hopefully) get to know Oswald even better, so I am keeping my fingers crossed.

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One of my main concerns about this mini series was how it would show Jake’s effect on the past, and the past’s effect on Jake.  This was a really important part of the original story, and should also be important to the mini series as well.

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And so far, the mini series is doing a pretty good job with the past overall.  I don’t even need to talk about the visuals (again) but I will say that they are great (again).  If I were to mute the TV and pretend that I had no knowledge of what I was watching, I could still tell what time period the story was supposed to cover.  The producers have taken care with every single detail, from the cars, to the clothes, to the music, to the dancing and even the store fronts we see on the streets.

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Speaking of the past…yeah…

This particular time period (the late 1950’s and early 1960’s) is often seen as something nostalgic, by both the people who actually lived during that time, and by the younger generation who only has the selective memories of the older generation, along with what is seen in film and television.  And 11/22/63 does give us a sense of nostalgia, with the music, clothing and so forth.

However, both the book and the mini series remind us that this time period was NOT all it was cracked up to be.  One of my concerns was that the mini series would not show this to the degree that the book showed this.

Well, my fears have been put to rest after watching three episodes.  In fact, the mini series seems to actually want to remind us of this fact more than the book does.

Jake’s interaction with Ms. Mimi in this episode is a great example of this.  The fact that Jake unthinkingly commits a serious social gaffe when he offers to pour Mimi a cup of coffee is one example.  The treatment of Mimi by the gas station attendant is another example.  If Mimi had not fortuitously run into Jake, who was the only one willing to help her, she may have had to walk many more miles before she ever got any help at all.   So yes, racism was (and still is), very real, and can have annoying consequences at the least, or the consequences can go from annoying to tragic at a moment’s notice (for example, if Mimi had been mugged or worse).  The past is often something that is not viewed objectively by most, and 11/22/63 serves to remind us of that fact.

Speaking of Jake’s effect on the past…

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The show reminds us that Jake does have an effect on the past quite frequently.  We have seen what appear to be some consequences of Jake’s presence where he “doesn’t belong”, and none of those consequences are good ones.  Jake already lost his surveillance equipment, and Bill got a bit roughed up.  And every time Jake does anything, like take away the alcohol from the jocks, help Ms. Mimi or even treat her like a human when no one else will or even when he turns a student on to English, I can’t help but think that someone somewhere will pay for that, and likely in blood.

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Jake is also being affected by the past.  He is forming relationships.  He has become friends with Bill and they are now co-conspirators.  He appears to be making friends at his job (I love the casting of Nick Searcy as Deke, since I am still mourning the loss of Justified.  Perhaps Deke is Art on the Justified level of the Tower).  However, and this is the big one, he is not just making friends…he has also fallen in love.

Justified meme 2

Not only is this episode an origin story for an iconic villain, it is also the origin stories of one of my favorite love stories in any book, not just a Stephen King book.  We have the beginning of Jake and Sadie.  And if their dance is any indication of what is to come, then I can’t wait!

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Now, I have not said a lot of negative things about this series, because I actually don’t think that there is a lot.  There is actually a lot to love, at least so far.  However, I do have one bone to pick…

And his name happens to be Bill.

Bill is a minor character in the book, and is only there for a few sentences.  I know that movies and TV shows will turn minor characters into major ones when it suits their purposes.  For the most part, I don’t have a problem with it.

But I just can’t stand Bill!

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There, I said it.

I don’t know if it’s because of his horrible accent.  Or because I know so little about him, especially compared to characters that would seem to play less of a role, like Mimi, perhaps.  Or Frank Dunning, who is already dead.  Or maybe it’s because he seems to be a stereotype, who comes off more like a member of Cletus’ clan, as opposed to an actual human being with feelings, motivations, etc.

Cletus 1

I understand the need for this character (see the part about internal Jake not really making for a good movie), but so far, the mini series has not executed very well on this part.  Could my feelings change as I see more episodes?  Possibly.  Could Bill die some kind of horrible death as the past has its way with Jake?  Um, no comment on that one…only time will tell (see what I did there?).


 

So that’s it for Other Voices, Other Rooms.  Join me next week for the recap and dissection of episode four, titled The Eyes of Texas.

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

batman and robin

 

Sideshow Attractions: My Review of Humbug

For most of my life, I have considered myself a freak.  And I have accepted this fact, embraced it, even.

X Men 1

However, I have spent much of my life looking for my fellow freaks…I mean, they have to be out there somewhere, right?  In fact, let me give a shout-out to my bee people…I know you’re out there somewhere!

bee girl 1

In fact, what if a community existed, made for just us freaks?  Sounds pretty cool, huh?

Freaks 1

Well, maybe.  Being able to be with your own kind is always a good thing.  However, even communities of freaks can have their drama…

Freaks and Geeks 1

Although, on a certain TV show, that drama can escalate a bit…

Well, a lot actually…

Yes, I refer to The X Files.  More specifically, I refer to what I consider to be a classic episode:  Humbug.

Humbug 1

Humbug was a disturbing episode, because unlike most of the episodes of The X Files, it was actually somewhat plausible.  The premise is still a far reach, but it is actually not much of a stretch to imagine conjoined twins who have gone rogue.  The setting is something that is also attached to the “real world”:  the circus and its performers.  For me, the circus has been fascinating, and a little frightening as well.  Even though I am a freak, I can hide my “freakiness” when needed.  However, there are those who cannot hide what makes them different, and were exploited back in the day by an unnamed man.  People with genetic abnormalities are still feared by many even today, even though science has shed light on many of these conditions and taken away some of the mystery.  Still, the circus and its performers is seen as mysterious, and a backdrop for many horror themed shows, such as The X Files, American Horror Story, etc.

So, with out further ado, here is my recap and review of the freak show known as Humbug!

Oh, and as always:

Spoiler alert


 

Synopsis

Humbug begins with two boys playing in a pool one night in Gibsonton, Florida.  The brothers are interrupted by a man with a skin condition that makes the man look like he has alligator scales.  The man is actually the boys’ father, and tells the boys that they must now go inside and go to bed.  The man stays in the pool by himself  for a bit, but he is not alone, as he is attacked by an unknown intruder.  The attack proves fatal, and the man is quickly killed.

Agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder are sent by the FBI to investigate this murder, along with several others that may have been committed by the same person.  It turns out that Gibsonton is actually a town established for “circus freaks”, and that most of the inhabitants are “freaks”, or people who genetic abnormalities who have worked the sideshow circuit.  Mulder and Scully encounter several of the “freaks”, including Dr. Blockhead, who is able to endure large amounts of pain and has turned this ability into a sideshow act, and his partner, The Conundrum, who is a “geek” and able to eat anything, but never speaks.  The local sheriff is even a former sideshow freak, known as Jim Jim the Dogface Boy, due to the excess hair on his body.  The sheriff tells Mulder and Scully that he retired from the sideshow circuit once he began losing his hair, and took up a career in law enforcement instead.

Mulder and Scully are given temporary quarters in the Gulf Breeze trailer court.  There, they meet a dwarf named Mr. Nutt, who acts as the landlord, and an alcoholic named Lanny, who has a undeveloped conjoined twin named Leonard, who is kept hidden.  The agents pursue several false leads as suspects, including Mr. Nutt and even the local sheriff.  Eventually, they arrest Dr. Blockhead for the murders, who protests that he is innocent.

The agents and the local sheriff begin the process of charging Dr. Blockhead, but are interrupted because another inhabitant of the town has been murdered.  Mr. Nutt is the murder’s latest victim.  Lanny becomes distressed and the sheriff puts him into the “drunk tank” to “sleep it off.”  Mulder and Scully speak to Lanny and eventually discover that the murders are being committed by his conjoined twin Leonard.  Lanny is dying of complications due to alcoholism, and Leonard is searching for a new host.  Somehow, Leonard is able to separate himself from Lanny, and does so when Lanny is in the jail cell.  Mulder and Scully realize that Leonard has escaped again, using the window in the jail cell, and decide to pursue him.

Mulder and Scully track Leonard down to a local fun house.  However, Leonard is able to deceive the agents again, using his small size and quick movements.  The agents realize that Leonard has escaped them once again, and wonder where he is now.

In the meantime, The Human Conundrum is taking out his trash and is attacked by Leonard.  There is a struggle, and The Human Conundrum is seen laying on the ground, with his stomach somewhat distended and a contented smile on his face.

The next morning, Dr. Blockhead makes plans to leave town, as he fears that Leonard is still on the loose.  Scully reveals that Lanny passed away the previous night, due to complications from alcoholism.  The Human Conundrum sits in the passenger’s seat of the car, but appears unwell.  Mulder and Scully inquire about his condition, and The Human Conundrum remarks that it may have been something that he ate, speaking for the first time.  Dr. Blockhead and his friend then leave town, leaving behind a horrified looking Mulder and Scully.


 

My Thoughts

Oh, Humbug

So much to love about you, and I don’t know where to start!

First of all, I love the idea of a community of “freaks.”  I have always been a freak, and the idea of living among my own kind is just awesome.  Imagine encountering your kind everywhere, from the grocery store to your kid’s kindergarten teacher to even the local sheriff.  You would no longer be the one who stood out for whatever reason, so you could be known for other reasons (well, known for reasons other than being a conjoined twin who murders people, even if unintentionally.  I would think that it would be better, say, to be known being able to bake the perfect loaf of banana bread.  I am sure even The Human Conundrum would be able to appreciate a good loaf of banana bread).

I also love the homage that Humbug pays to PT Barnum, the circus and sideshows in general.  And there are more than a few of those in this particular episode…

The Fiji Mermaid for instance.  One of Barnum’s most famous “exhibits”, and Humbug referred to it multiple times.  Hey, it was even a suspect for the murders!  You know you’ve made it big when you get to be one of Mulder’s suspects!

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I also loved the carnival speak that was thrown around in this episode.

I heard the term “rube”, so of course my mind immediately went here:

Rose the Hat

And again, the references to the classic sideshow acts, such as the Dog Faced Boy, the Alligator Man, the Bearded Lady just added another dimension to this episode. making it that much more memorable.

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So let’s talk about the cast of characters in this episode, as there are quite a few of them.

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I love the funeral scene in particular…it was a who’s who among the circus performers…it was awesome!

However, there are a couple of particular characters in this episode that stand out…

And boy, do they put the C in character!

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Yes, Dr. Blockhead, and his loyal friend, The Human Conundrum!

And no, I don’t even know where to begin with these two…

I think the best scene in this episode is when good old Dr. Blockhead tries to scare Scully, but she won’t have any of it.  She pretends to eat a bug, much to the astonishment of Dr. Blockhead.  And then, much to the astonishment of Mulder, she pulls the bug out of his ear.  What do you know, two for the price of one!

And of course, Mulder on his morning jog.  Jogging can be interesting, can’t it?  Especially when you see a guy gleefully munching on a very much alive fish?  Ah, the benefits of early morning exercise…suddenly, the small furry dogs that seem to have it in for me while I am out on my morning jog are pretty mild…wait, scratch that…those dogs scare me way more than blue tattooed guys who have the worst case of the munchies!

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Then, we have The Human Conundrum…

Boy, does he live up to that conundrum part, too!

Right up to the very end, even, when he ended up being the “hero” of the episode…

And speaking of the ending to this one…

Really, this may be one of the best endings to anything ever, let alone an episode of The X Files!

The chase of Leonard through the funhouse, after he escaped from the jail cell…this episode is not a scary one, for the most part, but Scully in the funhouse…shudder!  It was those magic mirrors…those things are pure evil, I say!

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And Leonard himself…sufficiently disgusting and gruesome.  In other words, I wholly approved!

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However, poor Leonard…where did he go?

It seems like he just got swallowed up, poor guy!  I just hunger to find out what happened to him…

In fact,the end of this episode can just leave you speechless…

Well, unless you are The Human Conundrum!

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Well, folks, that’s a wrap on Humbug!  Join me next week for my recap and review of Our Town!

Our Town 1

Uh no, oops, wrong town!

Join me next week, so we can discuss the episode that forced teenaged me to become a vegetarian (well, maybe)!  There, that’s better!

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

batman and robin

 

Special Delivery: My Review of Heart Shaped Box

Oh, hangovers…

They are the worst!

You have fun, you party hard and life is good!

Until you wake up, and can’t piece together your night, and find out later that you had some wild shenanigans with your friends and maybe even got married the previous night…

Hangover 1

Well, maybe its not quite that bad, but they are no fun.  No fun at all.

Yeah, nothing like reading an awesome book series, going crazy and having all kinds of fun…

Until you are done reading those books.  And then the payback…oh, the payback…

Yes, I am referencing a book hangover.  I have had my share of the other kind of hangover, but given that this blog is devoted to all things nerdy, I thought I would acknowledge book hangovers…after all, the struggle is real!

If you have been following this blog at all over the past 6 months or so (and I truly thank both  all of my devoted fans), you would know that I just finished reading all eight (all eight!) Dark Tower books.  I read the revised edition of The Gunslinger!  I even read The Wind Through the Keyhole!

And this series is epic…it was penned by The Master, after all!

Stephen King mit Katze "Clovis", tierischer Held des Films "Schlafwandler". Der Meister des Horrors wird am Sonntag (21.09.1997) 50 Jahre. Mit 50 hat er mehr als 30 Romane veröffentlicht, ein Sachbuch, fünf Geschichtensammlungen und neun Drehbücher. dpa (zu dpa-Korr vom 17.09.1997) nur s/w

But so much epic-ness has a consequence.  And the past six months were an epic party:  I felt invincible.  I chugged shots  books like no one’s business.  And I am sure if there was a literary equivalent of a keg stand, I did that too.

But all good things must come to an end, and that includes my read and review of The Dark Tower series.  And I have been nursing that hangover for a couple of weeks now.  Like in my younger partying days, I have been averse to light and noise.  And just looking at food  books has made me feel pretty nauseous…

So I needed a cure.  The literary equivalent of a comfy couch, gallons of Gatorade and a carb filled breakfast to settle my insides…what was a nerd to do?

Well, after much searching (actually not that much searching), I found my cure…

No, not the hair of the dog that bit me!

Cujo

A much better cure.  A cure that offers a long term solution:

Joe Hill 1

No, I did not wear a pair of Horns on my head!

I am talking about the man behind the horns himself…

None other than Joe Hill!

As most people know, Joe Hill is the son of Stephen King.  And he writes scary stories.  And he has a wicked sense of humor.  A regular chip off the old block, in other words.

But the comparisons end there.  Make no mistake, Stephen King is Stephen King (and I don’t want it any other way).  And Joe Hill is Joe Hill.  I don’t want that any other way, either.  He can write a scary story like Dad, and sculpt interesting characters that the readers become invested in (again, just like Dad).

Again, make no mistake about it:  Joe Hill may have some similarities to his old man (and his stories may also link with Dad’s and could be considered a part of Dad’s universe), but his style is all his own.

And I love it.  Its refreshing.  Kind of like the literary equivalent of a comfy couch, gallons of Gatorade and a carb filled breakfast to settle your insides…

In other words, I found the perfect (literary) hangover cure: Joe Hill.  And reading his work is much better than trying to ingest some of the hair of the dog that bit me!

So, I chose the book Heart Shaped Box to help ease my hangover.  And it was perfect:  scary, great characters and great setting.  In other words, just what I needed to ease the pain, and make me a little less grouchy.

And without further ado, here is my review of my hangover cure, aka the book Heart Shaped Box!

HSB 2


 

Synopsis

The book begins with an introduction to a man named Judas Coyne.  We learn that Judas is a musician for a heavy metal band who has been moderately successful.  We also learn that Judas has a penchant for collecting macabre souvenirs:  a snuff film, a piece of artwork from a serial killer, and a few other unusual items.

One of these items is a ghost.  Jude receives an email offering the ghost of a man who has recently died for sale, and promptly pays the $1000 asking price.  The “ghost” arrives at Judas’ home a few days later, and is actually a suit that was owned by the dead man, Craddock McDermott.

Almost immediately, Judas begins to notice odd occurrences that coincide with the arrive of his “ghost.”  His girlfriend Georgia (whose real name is Marybeth), pricks her finger on one of the pins that holds the suit together, and her finger becomes infected.  Judas’ dogs, Bon and Angus, become aggressive in the presence of the suit.  Judas begins to have odd dreams.  And worst of all, Judas begins to see an apparition of what can only be the dead man, whose eyes resemble squiggly lines.  The ghost also carries a razor on a silver chain and brandishes it as a weapon.  This causes his girlfriend Georgia to recall an incident from her childhood, when she also encountered a ghost: Georgia glanced out the window of her grandmother’s house, and saw what appeared to be a little girl, who also had eyes that looked like black squiggly lines.  Georgia later finds out that this is the ghost of her grandmother’s sister, who disappeared as a child and was never found.  Judas becomes frightened, as he realizes that he is actually being haunted and that this ghost does not have good intentions.

Judas makes a phone call to Jessica, the woman who sold him the suit.  He then finds out that Jessica is actually the sister to one of his former girlfriends, Florida (whose name is really Anna).  Jessica tells Judas that Anna committed suicide, and blames Jude’s breakup with her for Anna’s death.  The “ghost” is actually the girls’ stepfather Craddock McDermott, and Jessica reminds Jude that he has paid for the ghost of the old man, and will forever be cursed.

The odd occurrences continue.  Judas’ assistant Danny realizes that ghost intends to kill everyone associated with Jude, and resigns from his position immediately.  Judas later receives an odd late night phone call from Danny, who has actually committed suicide.  Judas falls asleep in one of his vehicles, and nearly dies from carbon monoxide poisoning.  The ghost continues to torment Judas, even after Georgia burns the suit.  Judas sees an old pick up truck that belongs to the dead man.  The ghost continues to taunt Judas, flashing the razors that Anna used to commit suicide.  Georgia becomes frightened, and encourages Jude to leave town with her.

Judas has a final confrontation at his home with the ghost, but is saved by the intervention of his dogs.  He theorizes that dogs can act as familiars and are therefore able to fight the ghost.  Judas leaves his home with Georgia and the dogs, and heads to Louisiana to confront Jessica.  Georgia insists that they stop and visit her grandmother, and also tells Judas that they may need to raise the spirit of Anna to fight the ghost of Craddock McDermott.

The next morning, Jude awakens in the hotel room with a particular tune in his head that he plays on his guitar.  Jude notices that the ghost is not present when he is playing the tune on his guitar.  However, the ghost reminds Jude and Georgia of its presence when they venture out of the hotel room, without the dogs or the mysterious tune.  Georgia nearly commits suicide per the suggestion of the ghost of Craddock McDermott.  Jude and Georgia then hightail it to Georgia’s grandmother’s house.

Jude and Georgia arrive at Georgia’s grandmother’s house, and use Georgia’s old Ouija board to summon the spirit of Anna McDermott.  They are successful, and receive a plea from Anna to stop the ghost of her stepfather.  Later on Jude sees the ghost of Georgia’s grandmother’s dead sister, and actually speaks to her, telling her to to not leave with her kidnappers.  Georgia’s grandmother tells Jude that this may put the spirit to rest, as someone has shown some concern about her fate and attempted to speak to her.  Despite the pleas from her grandmother, Georgia and Jude continue on their journey.

Before he leaves Georgia’s hometown, Jude stops at a local used car lot, and confronts the man who molested Georgia as a teenager.  Jude punches the man in the face, and takes one of his loafers as a souvenir, so that Georgia may have some closure.

Judas and Georgia then confront Jessica at her house.  Jude tells Jessica that Anna did not kill herself, but was rather hypnotized by her stepfather, who actually cut her wrists.  Jessica and Anna had both been abused by their stepfather, and McDermott continued the abuse with Jessica’s daughter.  Anna had threatened to go to the police and press charges, and her death was an attempt to keep her quiet.  A bloody fight then ensues at the house, and McDermott’s ghost returns and turns Jessica’s daughter Reese against Georgia and Jude.  Reese is able to shoot Jude with a gun, which results in the loss of Jude’s finger.  Reese also shoots Jude’s dog Bon and mortally wounds her.  Georgia and Jude escape, but barely.

Once Georgia and Jude escape to their vehicle, Judas has a vision where he witnesses the final confrontation between Anna, Jessica and their stepfather.  Anna does indeed threaten legal action, and Jessica and McDermott blame her changed behavior on Jude, and cover up Anna’s death with a staged suicide.  Jude awakens from his trance, and the ghost of Craddock McDermott speaks to him on the radio, again telling Jude that this confrontation will result in his death.

Judas and Georgia then reach their destination:  Jude’s childhood home.  However, Jude’s other dog, Angus, passes away on the journey, leaving Jude with no protection from the ghost.

The ghost returns to Jude while Jude tries to recuperate from his injury.  The ghost possesses the body of Jude’s dying father.  Georgia has a show down with Craddock McDermott, and shoots Jude’s father, killing him.  The ghost vacates the dead body, but Georgia is able to channel the spirit of Anna, who calls Craddock McDermott back to the afterlife and away from the corporate world.  However, this causes Georgia to become trapped in the afterlife.

Jude is able to bring Marybeth back from the afterlife, and the two spend some time in the hospital recovering.  Georgia and Jude return to New York and eventually get married and adopt new dogs.  Jessica is arrested by local authorities for abusing her daughter and faces a lengthy prison sentence.  Several years later, Jessica’s daughter Reese hitchhikes to New York and visits Jude and Georgia, thanking them for their actions.  The couple sends Reese on her way, giving her money and a ride so that she may build a better life for herself.


 

My Thoughts

I will not compare Joe Hill to his dad.

I will not compare Joe Hill to his dad.

I will not compare Joe Hill to his dad.

I will not compare Joe Hill to his dad.

I will not compare Joe Hill to his dad.

I will not compare Joe Hill to his dad.

I will not compare Joe Hill to his dad.

I will not compare Joe Hill to his dad.

I will not compare Joe Hill to his dad.

I will not compare Joe Hill to his dad.

I will not compare Joe Hill to his dad.

I will not…

Oh, wait…ah, screw it, I’m human and the comparison is inevitable, dammit!

Simpsons SK

But although I may compare Joe Hill to Dad (a lot, hey I am human, at least the doctors tell me that…haha), I still want to emphasize that Joe Hill is Joe Hill…

And like Dad (damn comparisons), there is so much to love about Joe Hill…

One thing I love about a Joe Hill is that he is close to my age (six years OLDER than me, in case you cared).  So many of his references are…well…recognizable.  In other words, I don’t have to turn to Google (much) to get them…

Even the title of this book:

Kurt Cobain 1

Yep, it seems the title of his book is a tribute to the guy above.  Someone who colored much of my adolescence (and Joe Hill’s too, I am sure), and who still continues to influence my generation (and beyond to this day).

And there is the character of Jude himself…

And how can Jude NOT be a tribute to this guy:

HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 01: TV Personality Ozzy Osbourne arrives at the premiere of Columbia Pictures' "Total Recall" held at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on August 1, 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Maybe we have a Twinner, ladies and gentleman!  Jude biting the head off of a bat does not actually seem that far fetched, if you think about it…

Oh, boy…and speaking of Jude…

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Judas Coyne has to be one of the most complex characters in any book I have ever read…

In fact, he may even rival our friendly neighborhood gunslinger!

Roland 14

When I read this book, I am just not sure what to do with Judas.  Sometimes, I just want to Tombstone him (although he would probably enjoy that, and that would actually be kind of fitting)!  But then he beats the living shit out of the man who molested his girlfriend as a child…

Jude takes Georgia’s (Marybeth’s) word for it, and hunts the man down.  And pummels him.  Hard.  Really hard.  And then I just wanted to give him a big old kiss, tongue and all.  Won’t the first time a literary character has gotten me hot.  Nor the last…

And speaking of sexual abuse:  I spent the first half or so of this book being petrified…

I mean, there was a guy with squiggly marks for eyes and a silver razor for a weapon who kept appearing and wouldn’t go away (well, except he hated dogs and haunting guitar melodies, apparently).  And the fact that Jude owned him because he paid for him (really, we need more disclaimers on these online purchases):  shudder.  Burning the suit didn’t stop, he just hopped into his ghastly truck and continued his campaign of terrorism that way.  He even had the power to give poor Marybeth (Georgia) a nasty infection on finger…eek!

But the second half of the book was different.  I was no longer scared.  Not scared at all.  Instead, I got pissed.  Righteously pissed, in fact!

As Hill began to reveal more about what was really going on, i.e. the abuse suffered by poor Anna, Georgia’s molestation and even the abuse suffered by Jude, who had to make adjustments so that he could continue playing guitar, the ghost with the squiggly eyes took a backseat.  My fear was replaced with anger:  how can people you are supposed to trust (parents, your friends’ parents, etc) be so…well…shitty?  What on earth is wrong with people?  How can you abuse your own stepdaughter, and then treat her in such a condescending manner when she (understandably) sinks into to depression?  How can you, when you were abused by your stepfather, along with your sister, allow your stepfather to do the same to YOUR daughter?

In other words, Heart Shaped Box is something beyond a ghost story.   This is not to diminish the ghost story, which is creepy and terrifying in its own right.  But there is so much more to this story than ghosts with icky looking eyes. It is a story of abuse, obviously.  Nearly every single character, including Judas, was a victim of abuse at some point.  And the effects of that abuse were felt for a long, long time (including the effects on Jude, whose father’s abuse took quite the toll on him and likely affected his adult life, such as his decision to not have children, his divorce, etc).

Heart Shaped Box also deals with betrayal.  Nearly every single character has been betrayed by some he/she was supposed to trust, or betrayed someone who trusted him/her.  Jude was betrayed by his father, who abused him, and his mother, who did not protect him from the abuse.  Georgia was molested by a family friend.  Anna was abused her stepfather, and Reese was abused by the same man.  Both women were also sold out by Jessica, the sister and mother who should have protected them.  Jude also does his share of betraying:  he turns Anna away when she needs him most, sending her back to the hornets nest, which ultimately leads to her death.  And Jude nearly betrays Georgia, as he puts her life at risk in order to defeat the ghost of Craddock McDermott.

However, Heart Shaped Box is also a book about redemption.  The characters may have suffered abuse and betrayal, but many are able to obtain redemption.  Georgia is able to confront her abuser and obtain some closure, which allows Anna to help her and Jude from beyond the grave.  Jude is also able to obtain redemption, as he is able to save Georgia, unlike Anna.  Jude also obtains redemption because he and Georgia are able to turn Reese’s situation around for her, so she does not suffer the same fate as her aunt.  Even Anna obtains redemption.  Although she is dead, she is still able to defeat her stepfather and save her niece from her stepfather’s evil influence.  And Reese is perhaps the most redeemed character of all:  she is able to escape from her family and finally begin to build a normal, happy life.


Well, I am starting to feel a little better…

The literary hangover is slowly dissipating…

Turns out a bit of the old Joe Hill was just what I needed…

So thank you Joe Hill.  Whether I am hung over, or have been stone cold sober for days on end, you are just what the doctor ordered!

Joe Hill 2

True Detective Recap and Review: Season 2, Episode 6

Yes, sometimes you just need a reset.

Actually, sometimes a reset is just what the doctor ordered (well, as long as the doc in question is not evil Rick Springfield…ewwww).

Pitlor 1

And as I stated last week, True Detective certainly benefited from the reset.

Again, this week…the benefits of the reset were certainly visible.  In fact, the game has kicked into full gear, and we are finally making some progress…

With that being said, here is my recap and review of True Detective, season 2 episode 6!

And, as always:

Homer spoiler

 


Synopsis

The episode begins with a confrontation between Ray and Frank in Frank’s house.  Ray wants to know why Frank sent him to the wrong man, as the man he killed did not rape his ex-wife.  Frank responds that he was given bad information, but that he will track down the man who gave him the information, if Ray will help him recover a hard drive owned by the deceased Ben Caspere, as the hard drive main contain clues to Caspere’s murder.  A truce is then called between the two men, and Ray leaves Frank’s home.

True Dective 2

Ray then visits his ex-wife’s rapist in prison, and tells the man that he intends to badly hurt him for what he has done to Ray’s family.  Ray visits with his son Chad, but the visit is uncomfortable, as it is being supervised by a state official.  Ray then heads home, and indulges in drinking and a massive cocaine binge, smashing all of the models that he and Chad built.  Ray calls him ex-wife and attempts to make a deal with her:  he will allow her full custody, as long as she agrees to not reveal Chad’s parentage to him, if it turns out that Ray is not his father.  His ex-wife reluctantly agrees to these terms.

Ray 2

Frank and his wife Jordan pay a visit to the bereaved family of Frank’s deceased business associate, Stan.  The couple offers comfort to Stan’s widow and son.  Frank then meets with people whom he thinks may have information in regards to Ben Caspere.  Frank tortures one man, and the man gives up the name of a woman, Irina, who may have information on the blue diamonds that once belonged to Caspere and were sold to a pawn shop. The woman tells Frank that an unidentified police officer told her to sell the diamonds.  Frank convinces the woman to meet with him, but finds her murdered once he arrives at their pre-arranged meeting place.

Frank 1

Paul continues to track down the blue diamonds, and meets with a jewelry store employee who once sold them in his store.  The owner speaks of a robbery/shootout in 1992, and of two children who were orphaned due to the incident.  The owner tells Paul he knows little about the children, other than their approximate ages in 1992 and that they then became part of California’s foster care system.

Paul 1

Ani makes preparations to attend the sex party to obtain information.  Paul and Ray place a tracking device on her so that they may know of her whereabouts.  Ani boards a bus, and has to give up all her personal belongings, including her cell phone and purse.  Ani arrives at the party and is almost immediately drugged by the hosts of the party, and is propositioned by a much older man.

Ray and Paul spy on men making some kind of land deal, similar to the one Frank had made with Ben Caspere.  Ray and Paul then steal some of the documents so that they can be reviewed.

In the meantime, the drugs are affecting Ani, and she begins to have terrifying flashbacks of being molested as a child.  However, Ani purges the drugs from her system, and steals a carving knife.  Ani then notices Vera, the subject of her missing person case.  Ani rescues Vera, and stabs a man with the knife, escaping from the mansion.  Ani and Vera then are rescued by Paul and Ray, who speed away from the mansion as quickly as possible.


My Thoughts

Well, then.

Finally…

The confusing, winding road known as True Detective, season 2 is finally leading somewhere…

And…

ermahgerd 1

Yeah, in a nutshell, I suppose.

This episode may be the most eventful episode of the season so far.  Like the shots of highways and traffic this show seems so fond of, this season started out slow, and was almost meandering.

Not this episode.  This episode sped down the open road, much like the car that contained our heroes in the final scene.  So buckle in guys, and let’s get ready to take a ride!

roller coaster 1

First of all, the show now seems to want us to be invested in the characters.  We got to see Ray have a cocaine and booze infused temper tantrum to end all temper tantrums.  We also got to see the alleged gangster Frank console a dead friend’s child.  Now, I don’t think this is coincidental.  The show is gearing up for something major.  A death perhaps?  It would seem that way, although maybe that thought is just a little bit over-simplified.  However, I do think that there will be something major that will happen with one or more characters in one (or both) of the upcoming episodes.  So right now, this is just speculation, but only time (and the remaining two episodes) will tell.

True Detective 3

Another curious thing that I noticed about this episode was the photograph of two children with dark hair, who would be in their mid to late twenties if they were still alive today.  The two Chessani children have dark hair, and appear to be in their mid to late twenties.  Somehow, I don’t think that this is a coincidence either.  Chessani’s daughter has even stated that her father is “evil.”  And we know that Mayor Chessani himself is a shady character.  So it does not seem to be much of a stretch to speculate that even his means of acquiring children would perhaps be surrounded by shady circumstances.  The children were orphaned by a robbery that went wrong.  Or were they?  Was something even more sinister at work?  Again, its pure speculation, and only time (and the next two episodes) will tell.

Well, ok.  You want to get to the good stuff, right?  Right?  RIGHT???

Yes, the “sex party” scene.  The one that the internet has been abuzz about for the past several months…

eyes wide shut 1

Well, not quite as creepy as this movie, although the entire last 7 minutes or so of the episode probably would have made Kubrick proud…

Maggie Simpson 1

In all seriousness, the scenes at the sex party were very, very well executed.  I loved how we could see the party from Ani’s perspective, who happened to be stoned out of her mind (well, until she took it upon herself to change that).  I also loved how the past and present was merged (Ani appears to see her molester at the party and the two settings bleed into each other).  My heart was literally in my throat the entire length of the part, and I am sure my sigh of relief once Ani escaped was audible.

Oh, and speaking of Ani…

True Detective 4

I think we are in for a major character arc, and soon (I know, only two episodes, but still).  The flashbacks scenes were creepy and just confirmed my suspicions…Ani was in fact molested as a child.  And we don’t know who the perpetrator was…could it have been the creepy Dr. Pitlor?  Or maybe one of her father’s other creepy friends?  Hell, could it have been her father himself?  At the very least, Ani’s creepy dad was probably complicit in whatever abuse she endured as a child.  She has seemingly repressed it up until now (although I am wondering if Dr. Pitlor had something to do with the repression as well, since he seems to be good with mind games, in a literal sense).  My heart also broke wide open for Ani during the final few minutes of the episode, as she was weeping.  I don’t think these were tears of joy or even from the trauma of that horrible party…I think they were actually tears of sadness and shock from the sudden recovery of her past memories.  My heart aches for Ani, and I hope that the show gives us some answers and some closure for poor Ani.

 

 


 

Well, that’s it for this week’s dissection of the roller coaster ride known as True Detective.  Join me next week, as we delve into the penultimate episode of murder, corruption, sex and all that other good stuff.

True Dectective 1

True Detective Review and Recap: Season 2, Episode 4

Good morning everyone, and welcome to this week’s recap and review of True Detective, season 2, episode 4!

You know, True Detective, the land of incredible coincidence and let’s use everything as a metaphor, even that random piece of dirt on the ground (ok, slight exaggeration, but still).

This week’s episode was interesting, to say the least.  So time to cut to the chase, and delve right in to this week’s review and recap!

And, as always:

Homer spoiler


 

Synopsis

The episode begins with Ani and Ray inspecting the vehicle that had caught on fire in the previous episode.  Ray and Ani both agree that the person who set fire to the vehicle is probably not Ben Caspere’s killer.  Ray also states that it appears that someone does not want this case solved.

Paul awakens in a hotel room, apparently having spent the night with a male friend.  It appears that the two have had a sexual encounter, but Paul has no memory of the events from the night before.  Paul is accosted by reporters outside of the hotel, who pepper him with questions about his military service and Operation Black Mountain.  Paul attempts to leave the hotel, but finds that his motorcycle has been stolen, and is forced to call Ray for a ride home.

Ani and Ray track down Mayor Chessani’s daughter Betty and question her.  Betty recognizes Ben Caspere, but cannot recall much about him.  Betty reveals that her mother died when she was only 12 years old.  Ani also reveals that she lost her mother at a young age as well.  Betty also tells Ray and Ani that her mother was treated by Dr. Pitlor, the same psychiatrist who treated Ben Caspere.

Ani pays a visit to her sister Athena, and the two reminisce about their mother.  Ani examines sculptures that were created by her mother, and states that the memories often sneak up on her.

Ray and Ani then visit Ani’s father Elliot in the commune where he works and lives.  Elliot confirms that he knew Dr. Pitlor, although in a more academic sense, as Pitlor was taking part in a study about communal living that was conducted with Ani was a child.  Elliot also confirms a connection to Ben Caspere, and even to Mayor Chessani, although the connection is to Chessani’s father and not to Chessani himself.

Paul meets his ex girlfriend, Emily, in a coffee shop.  Emily tells Paul that she is pregnant and keeping the baby.  Paul is shocked, but states that he thinks that they should get married and be a family.

Ani and Ray take a trip to Fresno to investigate some land that was of interest to Caspere.  They speak to a work from the EPA who reveals that the land was actually contaminated due to mining run-off, and that no farmer will attempt to grow anything on that plot of land, making it useless.

Frank spends the episode trying to re-establish relationships with his old contacts, with varying degrees of success.  He also argues with his wife, Jordan, about their fertility issues and some of Frank’s business decisions.

Ani’s boss calls her into his office, and informs her that she has been suspended from her job and has been charged with coercion by Internal Affairs.  Ani had a relationship with a co-worker that she had ended the previous episode, and also had a brief sexual affair with her current partner.  Ani states that she is the victim of a double standard.  Her boss warns her that these relationships will be thoroughly be investigated by Internal Affairs, along with her gambling debts.  However, Ani will be allowed to remain on the Caspere murder investigation.

Ray visits his son Chad, and passes on his father’s badge to Chad.  Ray warns Chad not to let his mother know of their visit before disappearing into the night.

True Detective 3

Paul has investigated some items sold to a pawn shop and identified them as being owned by Caspere.  The man who stole the items is Amarillo Ledo, and all three cops suspect that he is the killer.  Ani puts together a task force to apprehend the man.  Ray passes on this information to Frank, who puts together his own task force to apprehend Ledo.

Ray, Ani and Paul track Ledo to a warehouse that he is known to frequent.  At the same time, people are protesting Vinci’s new railroad system that has taken money away from other forms of public transportation.  A shoot out ensues, with several by-standers and cops being injured or killed.  A SUV crashes into a bus.  Ledo takes a by-stander hostage but then shoots the man in the head.  Paul and Ray and then fire their guns at Leto, killing him.  Ray, Ani and Paul are the only ones left standing at the end of the shoot-out.


 

My Thoughts

Well, I can say that this show is confusing at times.  However, what this show is not is dull.  This show is not dull, not by a long shot.

Previously, I have stated how much I love the character of Ray Velcoro.  And that still stands, Colin Farrell has done a great job with this character in making him somewhat sympathetic, even when Ray is being a scumbag.  However, the past couple of episodes have shifted more focus on Paul and Ani, who are also turning out to be fascinating characters in their right.  Paul is obviously a closed homosexual who is a textbook case of repression, as he is repressing his sexuality and some of his memories in regards to his time in the military.  And now his ex girlfriend is pregnant.  And Paul proposed.  Something tells me that Paul is headed for a major disaster of some kind (all the ingredients are now in place), and it will be interesting to see what happens to this character.

Paul 1

Ani has become another fascinating character, who has been supremely acted by Rachel McAdams.  The character of Ani herself is fascinating:  she is a female cop.  She takes charge of her sexuality.  She doesn’t care what others think, even her boss.  She also takes charge at her job, putting together task forces, giving her partners leads to chase down, even taking charge of the driving.  She is righteous and committed to solving a murder that her partner has repeatedly told her that they are not supposed to solve.  And she is an old soul:  even her childhood pictures prove that.

True Detective 4

Another fascinating thing about Ani is all of the coincidences that seem to tie her in to this case.  So far, she has visited her father twice in the name of work.  And there is that creepy doc:  Dr. Pitlor.  He seems to be tied in to both Ani and the mayor’s daughter, Betty.  And  Ani likely knew Mayor Chessani as a child, and she is suddenly under investigation for her relationship with her co-workers.  Oh, and she took part in a major shoot-out while trying to chase down a bad guy.  Coincidence?  Probably not.  The writers have been teasing us, and the tease is becoming almost unbearable.

Speaking of unbearable, what is up with Frank?  Really, what is this guy’s deal?  Right about now is when we get to the confusing part…what is going with this character?  Conflicted does not even begin to describe it…one minute, he is almost the of this season, with his quotes.  And the next minute he’s pulling teeth (literally, even if they were gold ones.  And good on Jordan for calling him out on that in this episode!)  And in this episode, he makes threats (and gets all tough guy about his dental health) in a bakery, of all places.  And argues about adoption and fertility in his avocado tree orchard (which, while we are talking about coincidence, just happens to be barren)?  And is now suddenly the owner of the brothel that was the subject of investigation in the last episode?  This character is just all over the place, and right now I am not sure if this is a good thing or bad thing.  Nor am I sure if the problem is with the writers, the actor or both.  So I am keeping my fingers crossed that we will see some more cohesion in the upcoming episodes.

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This episode did feature the most action packed scene (so far) in the entire season:  the shoot-out.  Turns out taking down a (suspected) bad guy is never easy, and our heroes got first hand experience with that in this episode.  And were the only ones left standing, to boot.  Is this (like almost everything that seems to happen this season) some kind of foreshadowing?  And was the shootout and the trail to Ledo a setup?  It certainly has that feel.  And it will be interesting to see what the repercussions of this shootout will be, since Ani, Ray and Paul are the only survivors (I think), and so many others were either injured or kill.  This cannot be good, since Ani will now no longer be the only one under investigation from Internal Affairs, and it lends to veracity to the theory that someone (or a few someones) does not want this case solved, and does not care what he/she needs to do to prevent this case from being solved.


So that’s it for this week’s dissection of the ever confusing, sometimes infuriating but never dull TV show otherwise known as True Detective.  Join me next week for more analysis, dissection and possibly even some hair pulling!

True Dectective 1

 

Happy Friday the 13th before Valentine’s Day!

Today is Friday the 13th.  But its a special Friday the 13th.  Its not your mother’s Friday the 13th.  Tomorrow is actually Valentine’s Day.  So, we have a very special Friday the 13th (and Valentine’s Day, for that matter).  I have dubbed it Friday the 13th Before Valentine’s Day.  Its a rare occurrence…almost like another blood moon.  Or something.

blood moon

And I have never considered 13 to be an unlucky number.  I don’t consider Friday the 13th to be an unlucky day.  Crazy, huh?

Well, not so crazy.  See, 13 is a number that has brought me the greatest thing in my life.  No, its not this guy…

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Nor is it this artifact, although I’m really not sure its lucky anyway.

Black_13

No, the love of my life was born on the 13th day of September.  Therefore, 13 is his number.  He considers it his lucky number.  And now I consider it my lucky number.  I was the one who truly lucked out.  I got lucky to find someone who put up with me at my diddliest, as well as my doodliest.  And seeing me at my doodliest, well, its not a pretty sight.  So I got lucky there.

Flanders

And he has a sense of humor…if you haven’t experienced simultaneous sarcasms with someone, then your humor life is sorely lacking, my friend!

And he gets my obsession with Batman.  I mean, Batman.  Always Batman.  Batman is the alpha and Omega.  It all just comes down to Batman.

joker and harley

Did I mention he is really smokin’ hot?  And he helps old ladies cross the street.  And kind to stray animals.  And…well, I could go on and on.  But for once, I am not going to write a 2500 word post.  I don’t have to, to express how lucky I am.  Sometimes words aren’t needed.  Or maybe they aren’t enough to express whatever it is you’re feeling.  And I am feeling like the luckiest woman alive on this Friday the 13th before Valentine’s Day.

So, Happy Friday the 13th Before Valentine’s Day, my love!  You know who you are, so I will keep it anonymous.  And there will be many, many more happy days of all kinds to come…I am feeling lucky today, so I am calling it!

garfield