Goodbye, Perhaps Forever

The first installment of The Marina Chronicle! Marina says goodbye to Tristan…he’s pretty important in the long run

The Marina Chronicle

I was glad that Papa told me Tristan, Sir Tristan, (I must remember that we aren’t children anymore.) was leaving. He couldn’t tell me where, but I did want to say goodbye. He looked at me strangely, as I handed him the handkerchief.

“Just, something to remember me by,” I said. “And for luck.”

“I see,” he said, he was smiling, but I think he thought I was being silly. I suppose that I was. In the books that I read, brave knights going on quests always take a favor from a lady with them. Of course in those books the brave knight and the lady are in love, and Tristan is not in love with me. “That’s very kind of you.”

I was blushing, but then he kissed my hand. Honestly! I think I could have swooned.

“Do you know how long you’ll be gone?” I asked.

“As long…

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Those Albums

So, the July session of Camp NaNoWriMo begins tomorrow and I went to see U2’s The Joshua Tree Tour on Wednesday night.

I swear, I’m going to connect these things.

I’ve been thinking about music a lot more lately than I usually do, partly because I’ve finally gotten into a being caught up on podcasts pattern that allows me to listen to more music, and partly because my July project is about 3 twenty something siblings (and one of their significant others) who’ve spent their lives deeply entrenched in musical theater and classic rock. I know I’m stretching myself on the experience front, that doesn’t sound like my family at all.  I mean, my brother is 32 at this point, so it’s like, completely different.

In actuality the idea of writing something non genre with my family as it’s centerpiece, even fictionalized is something I’ve attempted and gotten scared of a few times, but I think I’ve found the right framework this time, and I’m excited to move forward with it.

But because of that I’ve been thinking about those albums and songs. The ones that mean more than they do because of memories. For my siblings and I there are some really specific one. Born To Run, Hotel California, Songs You Know By Heart, and yeah, The Joshua Tree. 

 

 

The Fall of The House of Pope

“I don’t know…every hero has one. If you don’t find it and learn to control it…well, they don’t call it fatal for nothing.” – Annabeth Chase Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

Back in my former life, as an English literature student, my fellow lit majors and I would sit around and analyze things. Sometimes, this was for our homework, sometimes, it was for fun. Often it was pop culture. When it was for fun, the stuff we were analyzing tended to lean more “pop” than “culture.”

I was thinking about this last night as I watched the end of Scandal season 6, and wishing that any of my lit major friends still watched Scandal. (Crystan quit when Olivia had her Christmas abortion and Beth didn’t watch at all, I don’t think?) because as I stared in horrorjoy (an emotion I have coined specifically for the work of Shonda Rhimes.) at Olivia Pope as she smiled coyly at Cyrus Beane when he asked her how it felt to be the most powerful person in the world, I realized that we’ve been watching a tragedy, in the classical sense all along.

Olivia is ready for a fall and we know that Scandal is ending in 2 seasons, which gives Shonda and Co 40-ish episodes to end this right, with our once white hatted heroine completely and utterly destroyed.

Let’s talk about Olivia Pope, and why I think she’s actually a perfect tragic hero. We first met her six years ago, and she was uncompromised. She was the good guy, the white hat, (literally, she was melodramatically dressed in white most of the time.) ever fighting for the underdog, tortured by a love she couldn’t ever have, sure, but her conscience was clear (OR WAS IT?) but as that first season unfolded, we learned that she’d chosen, along with Mellie Grant, Cyrus, and some other people who don’t really matter now, to rig an election so that her lover could become president.

Olivia Pope

Look how innocent she was

Olivia Pope loves power, and she will do what she needs to do to grab it. Of course lots has happened since then. She’s broken up with Fitz maybe seventy times, Jake Ballard became a thing (TEAM JAKE!), she was kidnapped, she beat a wheelchair bound man to death with a chair, and she once again ascended to the White House on Grant coattails, even if these are the much more stylish and competent tails of Mellie rather than the boring and useless ones of Fitz.

 

But this finale. Here, she allied with both of her parents, her father, who is, in D&D terms, lawful evil, and her mother, who defies classification beyond, BATSHIT LOONY TOONS, in order to save Mellie’s presidency, which was never really in trouble, since it turns out Cyrus was manipulating everything. (Mary: He’s literally the devil. I’m surprised they haven’t just given him horns…) AND THEN she reinstituted B-613, and made herself Command.

She is no longer uncompromised. She is no longer the white hat. She is now the thing that she used to fight.

Which means she has to go down.

You might think it’s this lust for power that is our tragic hero’s flaw here, and it’s not. No, there are plenty of power hungry people in the Scandal pantheon and except perhaps for Elizabeth North, who was an idiot, it didn’t cause their downfall.

No, Liv’s flaw is her guilty conscience. She founded OPA to atone for Defiance. She pushed Mellie to the White House to make up for that whole stealing her husband thing. She forgave her father, well, mostly because the plot needed it, but I think it had something to do with beating Andrew to death with a chair. Hell, she missed Cyrus’s masterminding of the whole “killing Frankie Vargas,” because she felt so guilty about putting him prison (FOR A THING HE DID).

Running B-613 is going to destroy Olivia. She killed Luna Vargas (well, convinced her to commit suicide, but it amounts to the same thing.), she threatened David Rosen’s job. (IF THEY CORRUPT DAVID I WILL BE SO SAD. He is the only main cast member who has not committed murder at this point.) The guilt will eat her from the inside out and it will be her undoing.

So, I hope that this is the direction the show is going. Olivia is on top the world now, and for this show to maintain any of the goodwill it won back this season, it needs narrative direction, and the only logical narrative direction is a tragic fall.

Scandal should end with Olivia broken, possibly dead, certainly powerless.

And to give it the kind of Irony that all Tragic Heroes deserve? Huck should pull the trigger.

Or Fitz, but I think I’d rather it be Huck.

 

Everything’s Going To Be Different Now

Movie Post Season: Round 8

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them Inspires Harry Potter And The Goblet of Fire

In which we all learn that the world is a little bit bigger than we thought.

There are a lot of reasons why I think that Harry Potter And The Goblet of Fire is the most important story in the series. The idea that it finally zoomed out on the world we’ve seen in the past, the idea that it finally brings about the return of Voldemort, fully corporal and in terrifying power, (I truly believe that “Flesh Blood And Bone” is the best writing that Rowling puts forward in the series.) and of course, the death of Cedric Diggory, a burned bridge beyond any before.

There was death in the Wizarding world before but never so direct, so impactful on our main character, never in his view. It was in the margins, but with Cedric, he’s dead, and it’s over. There is nothing else, no way to bring him back, no last moment of clarity. His death is useless, petty and sad. It can’t even be called tragic, there’s no narrative to clean it up. He was a good person, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. (Tragedy is to be saved for the next iteration and Sirius Black)

And this changes things. It changes the tone a trajectory of the series. It changes Harry’s opinion about who he is, why he is, and what he can do moving forward. It’s this moment that moves him from being a passive protagonist, someone who plot happens to, to an active one, someone who acts thus creating plot, and it’s a brilliant spot to put him in.

So, why does this make it a good match with Fantastic Beasts? Mostly the world expansion, it’s unlikely anyone would have wondered “what’s up with Wizards elsewhere?” in anything more than a passing fandom way if we hadn’t been introduced to Beauxbatons and Durmstrang here. It’s an important change in the way we all see the series.

I Don’t Know When, I don’t Know How

Movie Post Season: Round 2

Moana inspires The Little Mermaid

I have a lot of history with The Little Mermaid. It was the first movie that I ever saw in a movie theater. I was two years old and my Aunt Mary brought me. I don’t remember that viewing, nor the countless after that specifically. But I do remember car sing a longs to “Part Of Your World” and couch dance parties to “Under The Sea.”

The Little Mermaid isn’t my favorite Disney movie, but I think it’s an important one. It’s considered the first film of the “Disney Renaissance” and therefore has a special place, also, “Part Of Your World” make me cry reflexively, and Ariel was my favorite Disney Princess to meet on my trip in last April. (We talked about my “thingamabob” which was my necklace that’s a beach badge…she was really great. Good job random Disney cast member!)

Anyway, there is something very special about The Little Mermaid, that I can’t quite put my finger on this time around, but I’m definitely glad I chose it for this. Ariel and Moana simply feel more akin than any of the other princesses. Yes, they want literally exact opposite goals, (Ariel wants out of the ocean and Moana wants on it) but something about their defiance of expectations really feels at home. Not to mention that there’s something distinctly Hei-Hei like about Scuttle and something distinctly Sebastian like about Maui.

Going back to this movie felt like getting a warm hug, though, which is why I think it works best in this context. I felt connected to something bigger when I saw Moana and I think that same connection comes through in The Little Mermaid. 

 

Tale As Old As Time

I don’t know who exactly at Disney Studios I’m supposed to thank for these live action movies, but they deserve thanks, if only for the stunning images they create.

Yesterday a new trailer for Beauty And The Beast hit and if nothing else, this movie looks absolutley stunning. Every image looks breathtaking. There are a few things that really stand out to me.

  • I’m much more excited than I realized for Kevin Kline as Maurice. Like, unresonably excited, I love Kevin Kline.
  • Maurice is caught when the Beast finds him clipping a rose. This is, unfathomably important to me. In the original fairy tale, this is what Belle asks her father for. (She also has two vain and silly sisters, I’ve always been glad Disney excised them.)
  • Emma Watson really was such brilliant casting, and she looks so at home running around the castle. (Can’t imagine why)
  • I’m still obsessed with the yellow dress, I think they did a wonderful job with it.
  • Emma Thompson’s voice is always the greatest comfort.

So we’re a few months away, but I’m really excited to see the movie. Before that there’s Moana, and you know, my trip to Disney World…so I’ll be full up with magic when the movie hit.

Looking forward to it!

Deconstructing Defenders: Daredevil Season 1: Episodes 1 & 2

Hey everyone! It’s time for a new rewatch project. (You  missed it these past few weeks, admit it!) The timing may feel weird for this. It kind of IS! But I realized that two episodes a week (finales get their own post) gives me a full six month of posts. AND finishes up a second watching of Iron Fist in July of 2017. (still going to binge when it hits in March!) If The Defenders winds up with an October drop date, like Luke Cage, or a November like Jessica Jones (either is likely) it gives me a few months to organize my thoughts, rewatch episodes that I think link well together, or just full on binge again!

The other thing that is I need some inspiration right now, and I think this will do it. These are stories about standing up for the people around you against those who would exploit and disregard them. Granted, the heroes do it with super powered punching, but the principle of the thing.

Anyway, we’ll see how this goes.

I really was trying to wait until it would line up exactly.

Also it might move to Wednesday when West World Ends. Who knows! We’re flying by the seat of our pants here.

We start with Daredevil Season 1 today. If you’re interested in my first reaction to this season of television, you can read it here, SPOILER ALERT, it might be my favorite season of anything ever. (I love it a lot). This is the first time I’m revisiting, so, deep breath, here we go.

daredevil

Daredevil: Season 1: Episode 1: Into The Ring

About ten seconds into Daredevil there are two things we know about Matt Murdock, he was in a tragic accident with some chemicals, and it happened because he was saving an old man from that same crash. We know immediately that Matt Murdock is a hero. The little boy rubbing his eyes as his lights go out forever is not the defining thing about that moment. It’s such a small thing but it’s so perfect and so defining.

I also love the kinetic feel of this scene. The confusion that Jack Murdock feels looking for is son is so palpable in this moment. It’s so good.

We’re ten seconds in and I’m already gushing. This project is going to go well.

When we next see Matthew Murdock, he’s grown up, sitting in a confessional and impossibly dreamy. This confessional scene means a lot to me, but I’ve outlined that before. It’s also pretty good writing. Matt clocks his own faith, his family history, his fear of his anger and his difficulty accepting the violence of his life choices. He’s so afraid of the anger, of “the devil in the Murdock boys.”

We then get the first of so many brutal, brilliant amazing fight scenes. But all I could focus on was how good that costume looks. I love the Daredevil suit, but the black mask and outfit are really, really effective. But I also forgot that this is the first place we see Turk, which is weird, because he’s terrifying here, forcing three women into a shipping container, and he’s basically comic relief in Luke Cage. 

I love these opening credits. They’re so Catholic, man. I heard a lot of people teasing about the dripping liquid because they didn’t understand the candle wax imagery. But it’s so good.

The next scene is where we meet Foggy, and my notes express my excitement at this development quite succintly. Also Matt is shirtless in this scenes. All of this equals, I had some trouble focusing. Then Foggy bribes Officer Brett Mahoney, who is my favorite, non Claire recurring character. So, we’re barely ten minutes into this and we’ve gotten a lot of what I really, really love about this show. Matt and Foggy tour their office, and Matt flirts with their realtor, they talk about “The Incident,” which is still a term that I love.

The hard cut to Karen standing in a pool of blood with that knife, just as Matt insists they’ll only take innocent clients is so imossibly perfect. This is just such DAMN GOOD TELEVISION. Anyway, her arrest, Brett calling Foggy and Matt, and their swift move to represent her all happens so seemlessly. And seeing the three of them together makes me so happy. The heart of this show is their relationship. We also get one of my favorite Daredevil tricks here, the human lie detector thing, where he listens to heartbeats.

After this we meet Wesley and I didn’t realize how much I missed him in season 2 until this scene where he threatens the prison guard who then tries to kill Karen. And let’s talk about that scene, which is so brutal and so violent, in a way that the fight scenes aren’t because there’s no aesthetically cool choreography here. Just a large man, going after an unarmed, scared young woman, and it’s brutal and terrifying.

I also kind of forgot that the whole Daredevil story starts because Karen noticed the company she worked for moving money around in a shady manner. It seems so, small, compared to what it becomes and it’s kind of genius. Anyway, Matt takes the terrified Karen back to his apartment and there’s a very tense scene where he tries to get more information out of her, that I really love because, I noticed there is no music which is always eerie, until Matt realizes that Karen’s lying and her heartbeat races.

The big meeting between all of the bad guys makes me giggle, mostly because of Nobu, who is not yet an immortal ninja man, and because both Owlsley and Wesley are deeply missed on this show as midlevel bad guys.

When Karen sneaks out of her apartment and is attacked, it’s shot like a horror movie and that’s pretty cool, but that she doesn’t know that Matt is The Devil of Hell’s kitchen (a name he doesn’t yet have) is just a huge jump in superhero credulity. I don’t mind, it’s just tough.

Matt’s passed out flashback to his childhood is chilling and wonderful. I really love John Patrick Hayden as Jack Murdock, he brings this brilliant vulnerability to the character, and it’s well done. Matt coming back to life as his father says, “come on Matty, back to work,” is so inspiring, and this fight is so good.

When Foggy and Matt and Karen regroup after Karen is cleared, and she gives them a caserole, is the scene is what made me fall in love with the show back at Comic Con 2014, so I have a deep affection for it, but I also just love the friendship between these three characters, but the actual finale of the episode, a montage of Hell’s Kitchen mayhem, while Matt beat’s the crap out of a heavy bag at Fogwell’s gym is a masterpiece. And as that little boy gets dragged away from his father, and Daredevil hears it, diving into action, I was overwhelmed with excitement to watch this series again.

Daredevil: Season 1: Episode 2: Cut Man

Back when Luke Cage premiered, I made an off the cuff statement on a friend’s facebook status that Luke Cage is about blackness, Jessica Jones is about rape, and Daredevil is about ninja fights. Obviously, that’s a simplification of all three series, and I’m gonna try this time around to hone in on another theme, and I want to say it’s about the cycle of violence. But also DAMN those ninja fights.

Obviously this episode ends with the most infamous of them all, dubbed “The Hallway Fight,” where Matt fights off like ten guys in a hallway to retrieve a kidnapped child. It’s an exceptional bit of stunt work and thrillingly shot. It’s been written about ad nausiem and it’s no less impressive watching it again.

But that isn’t all that goes on in this episode. Most importantly to the Defenders universe, we meet Claire Temple. Fucking Boss Ass Nurse Lady, Claire Temple. She’s the best. Just the absolute best. Her taking Matt in, fixing him up and helping him torture that Russian is easily the most pivotal moment in Daredevil season 1, and probably in the Defenders (Luke and Jessica would be very dead, if Claire hadn’t decided giving medical help to superheroes was her calling.).

This episode also features Jack Murdock’s death. His decision to not throw a fight, to bet on himself to give Matt a safety net and every small detail of this story, from Matt learning to read in brielle, to Jack calling someone (Matt’s mom Maggie? We’re two seasons in and we haven’t heard from her) to Matt’s role stitching Jack up, which to me creates this connection between helping with injuries and an act of love. There’s something there, or maybe it’s just that Rosario Dawson could have chemistry with an actual door.

The final bit of this episode is Foggy and Karen getting drunk which is so adorable, I can barely stand it. Also, Karen is wearing a very pretty flowered dress.

This episode is exceptionally emotional and wonderful.

Other Stuff:

  • Matt’s powers that we know of: Can hear heartbeats, super smell, super hearing, ability to constantly have 5 o’clock shadow, looking good in a suit and pectoral muscles.
  • I wrote a lot of notes about how hot he is. Charlie Cox is a deeply attractive man.
  • What America needs right now is a Foggy Nelson to get it drunk and make it smile. I’d volunteer but I’m not as beffuddingly charming as Foggy.
  • Here are some notes that I wrote down about Claire: “Claire as known Matt for five seconds and is already done with his shit,” “Claire’s hood in the torture scene is creepy,” “Claire keeps Matt human.”
  • Architect Nobu is not as interesting as immortal Ninja Nobu
  • Wesley is great.