Review: Lovecraft Country Episode 5 – Strange Case

Let’s start off by calling this episode “A Whole Lot of Butt.”

Although the Smallville fan in me just wants to call this episode “Metamorphasis.”

This episode is awesome, but it also reminds me of a horror version of “The Nutty Professor.”

And this is the first episode that I am going to bring up something I should have mentioned much sooner: The soundtrack for this show is a work of art.

The show starts off with the transformation that we had expected in the last episode. Ruby wakes up white and afraid. Within seconds she sees the power over life and death that the white world has over the black world and she’s so terrified that she almost doesn’t save the boy who bumped into her. While we saw this coming, what I didn’t expect was the painful and gory transformation process when Ruby changes back. This isn’t a permanent transition, and when it wears off we get either Blondy (I forgot his name again) cutting her out of her “white persona” or the werewolf style of change. It’s painful and bloody and almost not worth the cost.

The best line I’ve heard from any tale lately – “I don’t know what’s more difficult: Being Colored, or being a woman.” I love that line for it’s sheer power.

Wait…her “Last Name” is Davenport when she’s white? Interesting. I’m finding more and more stories I follow lately put that last name in there. Have I become a generic name placeholder? That’s unfortunate.

As per any great episode, we’re treated to two tales and Atticus discovered that Montrose killed the Zombie Lady and destroyed the pages. He is livid and almost kills his father over it, scaring Leti in the process. Honestly, I was not sure if I wanted him to kill him or not. His father is obviously tortured about something, but the flat out murder of someone who wasn’t a threat, instead of communicating was just “not cool.”

It’s alright though, because Leti took pictures of the pages and then we get some more Butt Scenes.

And then we get a scene that let’s another puzzle piece fall into place. Mikey and I have been toying with theories regarding Tic’s lineage. We think we’ve got it all together (Tic is actually George’s son and Montrose only married Tic’s mother as a beard to hide his being gay). The confirmation is the very injured Tic deciding he needed a good lay with his boyfriend bar-owner from the first episode.

Ruby uses her white superpowers to get a job (thus me realizing the Davenport name) at that store she’s obsessed with. There’s no better way to see how horrible white people in the fifties are than to work in retail, I guess.

After her first day as the Assistant Manager, she gets to learn what all this white skin is going to cost her. She has to attend a party as Ruby for Christina (remembered her name). The party is filled with those asshole cops and is for the brotherhood that won’t let Ms. Braithwhite into it.

Christina just said his name is William. I’ll try not to forget again.

Woah, it turns out that the police captain tried to have William killed. So Ruby is going to use some piece of magic to help her get her revenge.

I love the weird connections and secret messages in this episode. Specifically, Tic even gets a dream after he falls asleep on the pictures of the pages. It’s pretty clear that if he goes down this “You’re a Wizard, Harry,” path that he’s going to burn up.

Additionally, the archaeologist in me is happy that the language of Adam isn’t just a code (with letters equalling other letters) but also needs to be transliterated before it can be translated.

Tic isn’t an idiot either, and he has to let Leti know that Montrose didn’t just let the witch lady go, but killed her. Unfortunately, Leti thinks the pages themselves are what made Montrose do it. While I’m sure she’s right in the scheme of the story, if I was a character in here I would think she’s crazy. Montrose is just wacky. He would have killed her anyway.

There are so many twists in this show that I’m constantly on the edge of my seat.

While Ruby is acting out her half of the plan she finds some poor bastard in the closet of the Sheriff’s office. Woah!!! And I just noticed that the Captain is some sort of Patchwork Man, sewn together from other bodies. That’s why he was friends with Hiram.

The constant discussion of butterflies and locusts and then we get a scene with Montrose’s gay friends dressing as women and it makes me wonder if the message in this is more than tranformation. The beginning of the episode had the new guy stating that the locusts would devour everything in their path after they transformed.

The worst transformation for Ruby is when she destroys the vial. Her skin just melts off and damn that was nasty.

We get some interesting revelations after that. Ruby’s boss trying to rape Tamara, Montrose willing to show his face in public with his boyfriend. These seem like two worlds opening their eyes for both Ruby and Montrose. Montrose is suddenly free to be who he is and Ruby is suddenly aware that it’s not worth the freedoms of being white if you have to give up your humanity.

Question: Why did it matter that Ruby broke the vial if she has another one? Is the spell tied to the vial and that’s why she broke it, so that she could end that instance of the spell?

Oh, and another great line, this time from Christina. “Who are you really, uninterrupted?”

And then we find out…

Holy crap, and then more butt. My stomach almost couldn’t handle that.

Next question: Does Hillary Davenport have the same shoe size as Ruby? I guess she must.

This episode is less about advancing the season’s plot and more about character development, and that’s not a bad thing. We’re seeing some characters that, until now, have been mostly minor, getting detailed personality developments that are going to help us in the future of the season. We’re seeing Montrose knowing who he is and that’s going to save him or maybe his family. We’re seeing how cold Ruby can be, and that’s going to come in handy when the monsters come knocking. And we’re seeing how monstrous Tic can be. He might not have PTSD, but he’s not afraid to be extremely violent with even family if they stand between him and his goals.

Holy shit, then we learn William’s truth. He did die, like Christina said, and Christina has been turning into him to get into the lodge and manipulate Ruby. Holy shit, that’s something I didn’t see coming.

Then we’re left with some sort of weird cliffhanger at the end with Tic and the pages. My theory is that Tic just discovered that Christina wasn’t lying about the fact that she can’t die.

This episode was great, of course, but it was also…shall I say it…transformational for the cast…

Additionally, we had another opportunity (Leti in the bath) to see more butt and after everything that we just sat through I was surprised that they didn’t take that chance.

Mikey’s thoughts: “Hang on folks, this is gonna be a long one.

Shock note: Ruby’s first transformation reminded me of something that Guillermo del Toro might have done. 

Anger note: I don’t think Atticus could have beaten Montrose harder even if he knew that Montrose killed the native American.

Annoying note: I think that Ruby took the acceptance of magic in the world WAY too quickly and easily.

Cthulhu note: Every time Ruby changes and the things move under her skin, it makes me feel like tentacles are moving under her skin. 

Horror note: The Ruby/Hillary transformation we see outside the bar on the West Side reminds me of the really good Werewolf transformations they did in the scary old movies.

Odd note: It was really odd to see Montrose happy for once while he was dancing. It’s sad how he has to hide himself from everyone. 

Comicbook note: Jonathan Majors, the actor who plays Atticus, would be an amazing John Stewart. He would be a great architect and he does have a military build.

Ending note: the final “transformation” made me speechless.

Final note: What happened to George’s family? His wife and child were heading to the county where they Murder African Americans at night. They weren’t in this episode at all!”

Review: Lovecraft Country – History of Violence – Episode 4

If you read this blog, then it’s likely you have read, want to read, or at least are aware of my Andrew Doran stories. Andrew Doran is my sort of parody of Indiana Jones or the stereotypical pulp heroes that Indy is based on. Because of my own past and interest in archaeology a lot of Andrew’s backstory puts him into historical adventures in caves and tombs and constantly hunting artifacts.

So, to continue my thought from above: If you read this blog, then you’ll understand why “A History of Violence” was probably my favorite Lovecraft Country episode so far.

This story is an adventure story and a “Other half” story. We have Montrose, Tic, and Leti hunting for the pages from the book. We learn that George gave the By-Laws for the Sons of Adam to Montrose who read and, seemingly, memorized the book before burning it in a booze-fueled attempt to protect his family. Unfortunately, Montrose didn’t know that Braithwhite’s daughter, Christina, would show up and begin threatening them all.

Tic decides that the only way he’s going to stop her is if he becomes a wizard himself, which I immediately said to my brother “that never works out in Lovecraft.” Leti decided that she was going with him to find the pages because she’ll be damned if anyone is going to tell her she can’t do anything. The problem is that they don’t know where to start, but Leti makes an obvious point that Montrose knew enough to go to Ardham, he might know where to find some of the pages.

Tic hates the idea, but Leti doesn’t give him much in the way of a choice. Leti recruits him and he asks to borrow Hippolyta’s car. Hippolyta agrees but then invites herself, excited to go to the Boston Museum. Her daughter and Tree come along as well, and it’s obvious that Hippolyta is along only to find out what everyone is hiding. Tree is only along to imply that Montrose is gay, give Tic some stressors, and give us more circumstantial evidence to Montrose not being Tic’s father.

At this point, I’ll quickly go over the “Other side” story that is going on with Ruby, Leti’s sister. She is getting worn down by the way people treat blacks in America. She knows that white women would be treated better and her jealousy is coming to head with (I don’t know his name… “Boy-Christina?”) showing up and showing interest. When he stops and messes up the police tailing his sister(?) he already knows that he’s about to meet Ruby and change her life. Much like everything with the Braithwhite’s he already has the plan drawn out on how their meeting will go, and if previews for next week are any indication, Ruby’s about to learn exactly how the other side lives.

But honestly, that story didn’t matter nearly as much to me as the rest of the episode. I wanted magic and monsters and Montrose, Tic, and Leti delivered in spades on the magic. We had secret doors, flooding chambers, and a cave system that somehow bridges the distance between Boston and Chicago.

We even meet some sort of magical corpse/ghost/revived woman who was considered magical by her people for having the parts for both genders. Tic’s great great grandfather had locked her away and killed her family and friends to force her to translate the pages that Tic was hunting for. They save her and take her from the tomb, only for a horrible twist at the end that I felt was my only criticism of this episode. She could have had a much larger role in the story, with her own agenda or powers or problems, but instead, she was removed as quickly as she was brought into the story and I felt as though that robbed us of a great story tool.

That being said, I still loved this episode.

To summarize, this story was just fun. I had a blast with it and never expected them to go the traveling adventurer route, a la Indiana Jones.

Mikey’s thoughts: “First off, wow. Another great episode. My brother and I say the exact same thing after every episode: “Wow… This show” This episode is no exception! All of the episodes try to scare us and so did this one, but a little bit differently. At one point they were underground and some people might have had a claustrophobic moment, especially with the spider webs. Next, there was a plank over a HUGE bottomless pit with traps and the plank receding. And then… One of my fears shows up at the end. Fear of underwater. Not the fear of drowning btw, but fear of a tentacled monster grabbing them underwater because, let’s face it, it is Lovecraft. All in all, epic episode.”

–Back to Matt– Also, not to get on a high horse again, but I recently read an article from someone who, while I don’t know that they even have a body of work, they tend to highlight a lot of the Lovecraftian works of others, including myself. This article said that they are annoyed at the lack of Lovecraftian influence in Lovecraft Country and see the idea of tying the stories to anything even remotely connected to the author as a cash-grab based on his current celebrity status. He was referencing the entire series/book, but he used references from episode 3, “Holy Ghost.” I can’t do anything but question this guy’s credentials in analyzing what “Lovecraftian” means. Holy Ghost didn’t have any shoggoths or transdimensional beings of dread, but it had ghost stories (Lovecraft wrote a specific style of these) and human experimentation (I clearly state seeing Reanimator influence), and a secret group funneling him the people (also from Reanimator). Again, I don’t mean to be the guy who constantly keeps bringing this up, but there are a lot of people out there (much as in the Star Wars fandom) who have a specific idea of what these stories mean to them and how they define their fandom, and that’s entirely alright, but it’s obvious that a lot of these same people are using their definitions to ostracize the subject of their fandom, only because it doesn’t reflect exactly their thoughts. The problem with this is that if they succeed, they’ll cancel any other growth in the genre. Lovecraft stories have had such a hard time getting off of the ground in the past, arguably because portraying a “mind-shattering evil” without shattering the audience’s mind kind of defeats the description. So, when you shoot down shows that are trying to elevate your fandom, you’re shooting down future chances of your fandom to get more great content. I’m not saying that bad shows shouldn’t be reviewed negatively, but I am saying that if you want more of them, stop closing the gates and start critically reviewing the stuff. It’s one thing to say “I don’t like it and it could be better if it did these things,” and another to say “I hate it. Cancel it.” I would enjoy critical reviews of this show, but I’m getting sick and tired of the reviews that just hate it for not being their idea of what it should be.

Of course, I am in love with this show, so maybe I’m biased.

Review: Lovecraft Country Episode 3 – Holy Ghost

After the last two episodes, it was anybody’s guess (having forgotten how the book went) where the next episode was going to go. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that while Lovecraft’s dark underworld of wizards and magic was the first homerun, the second at-bat decided to take a swing at HPL’s ghost stories.

Another decidedly great decision was to make this story more about Letti and her backstory.

Holy Ghost is the name of the episode, and as per usual, the first half of the story takes place in the solid reality of the ignorant.

It has been several weeks since the events of the first two episodes. Montrose and Atticus told George’s family that the asshole sheriff that was eaten by shoggoths ended up shooting him. It was a lie that was more believable than the truth, but it’s obvious that something about his death (aside from the being dead part) isn’t sitting well with Hippolyta.

Atticus has been trying to assuage his own guilt through helping the family in every way that he can, but even he knows that it can’t continue as hanging out in his uncle’s house and playing his uncle’s role is only making everyone uncomfortable.

He decides to ask his dad to let him stay with him, but his father’s alcoholism and generally abusive behavior quickly show him that it wasn’t worth the effort to ask.

During all of this, Letti mysteriously came into some money and bought a large house that she plans to turn into a safe haven for black people. It’s a wonderfully quaint idea that is hit over the head in a violent manner by the fact that they are in an all-white neighborhood.

Letti likes doing things the hard way, and it’s admirable.

The neighbors get pissed off by their presence as they do renovations and more of Letti’s friends (including Atticus for a few days) move in. The neighbors put out “Whites Only” signs and tie bricks to the horns of their cars to try (as Atticus puts it) audible warfare. The police aren’t any help and we can see that, as per our suspicions, Letti and her friends are entirely on their own.

Letti decides to throw a housewarming party once everyone is settled and it goes mostly well, with Letti and Atticus (finally!) hooking up, although we learn some interesting, although not entirely important, information regarding her lack of any previous partners. The party is hopping until the neighbors push Letti’s final buttons and she goes Jackie Robinson on the cars outside.

Letti is, for some odd reason, the only one arrested. During her violent interrogation she learns that the officer who arrested her has had some undisclosed history with the house and we get to the good stuff.

The house had a mad scientist-styled doctor living there who worked with the cop to kidnap black people to experiment on. They got all sorts of messed up. Super long arms, baby heads, no jaws, and lots of other weird crap that we get to see because the ghosts of his experiments are still haunting the house. Letti and Tic get an exorcist lady or something to conduct a seance and things get down-right crazy.

It wasn’t just that this was a Lovecraftian ghost story, but my brother pointed it out before I could see the connection: this was a take (just as the bipedal creatures in the first story were totally a reference to shoggoths) on Herbert West: Reanimator. We don’t know that these mutilated people were ever undead, but the experimentation in a grotesque manner on the people that society assumed wouldn’t be missed was “on the nose.” We got ghosts, we got monster corpses, and we got a seance. At the very least, I was very pleased with this story.

So far, I haven’t found a single thing that I didn’t like about this series. Until I do, just assume that each review is going to be at least one star more than my rating system.

Before we get to “Mikey’s Thoughts,” I would also like to point out that Mikey has a theory that he keeps bringing up, but didn’t add to his thoughts. In this episode we learn that Letti was a virgin. In the previous episode there is Adam and Eve symbology as the dreams they are subjected to encourages a relationship between Letti and Tic with Letti getting scared by a snake penis (not a snake’s penis, but a penis on a person – Tic – that is actually a snake). Mikey believes that the combined symbology of the dream and the emphasis on her sexual history is going to come back in the form of some sort of monstrous progeny. I’m unsure, but I can’t deny his math.

Mikey’s thoughts: This show has a habit of making you think, “Humans can be real monsters,” and then reminding you, “Oh crap! This show has MONSTER-monsters too!” Right before making you jump out of your seat. It’s amazing.

Review: Lovecraft Country Episode 1 & 2

I almost forgot that this show was about to air when all of the Lovecraft Facebook groups that I follow became flooded with posts and reviews.

Before I get into my review of the first 2 episodes, I had a few things that I wanted to say:

The first is that this review covers Episode 1 and Episode 2 of Lovecraft Country on HBO and I wish I could that it was an artistic choice to combine the review of both of them together, but it’s not. The truth is that I didn’t even think about reviewing the episodes until a day before the third one aired. This two episode combination review is my “catch up.”

Secondly, (this is where I address the 30 huge elephants in the room) Lovecraft Country covers a dark period in American History that a lot of white Americans like to pretend didn’t happen. The subject matter (race and racism in the 1950’s, not the Lovecraftian stuff) triggers some people in a way that I see as entirely selfish.

What I mean by selfish is that these people (read that as “racists”) have no problem watching an uncomfortable subject matter in another period piece as long as it doesn’t pertain to race or ‘Murica. Denying our darker past to forget about it is selfish, ignorant, and, of course, racist. I bring up this salient point for a multitude of reasons.

The first of which is that a large percentage of the posts I saw on those Lovecraft Facebook pages were claims that the show’s message was too much or statements that demanded that black people shouldn’t be put into the racist author’s legacy.

One post went as far as to claim that the Nazi’s didn’t go far enough, and used this to imply that if they had, this wouldn’t be a discussion.

These people are disgusting, obviously, and are a complete waste of the flesh they use to house their hateful demons. That being said, I am going to address some of these points.

Claiming that adding race to HPL’s stories disgraces his legacy is dumb for several reasons. Being a damned racist in the first place is what disgraced his legacy. Nobody can even speak about Lovecraft and being a fan of his work in this modern era without someone mentioning his overzealous amount of racial hatred. If anything, adding new and diverse ideas to his mythos only keeps the mythos alive by adding fresh stories and working to redeem the author’s dark opinions.

The other thing that bothers me is this claim of ownership over HPL. Trying to gatekeep people from creating any type of story, including those that include race, directly contradicts his feelings concerning the shared universe of the mythos.

The current, accepted, belief regarding new stories in the mythos is that none of his stories are protected in a way that stops authors from adding and joining them. The mythos was meant to be a sandbox that allowed creators to expand and play in. Imagine the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or The Flash’s Multiverse, but with existential dread. We, as creators (and the “Nazi” that I meantioned previously is actually a fairly famous creator) can’t create and add to the mythos when it suits us and then try to close the gate when the other artists create something that we don’t agree with. The only person who has that responsibility died in the late 1930’s.

Finally, my last major point to the haters is that this show, and the book by Matt Ruff, have been clearly advertised for years without demonstrating any sort of hidden agenda. This show is clearly what it claimed to be. If a show doesn’t intrigue ME with it’s trailers and ads, I won’t watch it. These haters all had ample warning to the content of the show and could have simply avoided it.

Instead, they watched it anyway and then bitched about it online. They are trolls looking to be fed and I encourage all moderators to block users who conduct this behavior so that they will starve and, hopefully, learn from their behavior.

Anyway, that is the only time (I only kind of promise this) that I will be bringing up people needing to stop being racist assholes in reference to this show. Now onto the review. Full disclaimer: I’ve read the book, and it was a long time ago, but I remember enjoying it.

Disclaimer number 2: My brother and I watch this together, remotely. He watches on his tv 20 minutes away while I sync my show up with his (“Ready? Ok, 1, 2, 3, hit play.”) and we sit in a party chat. Mikey’s opinions will be regular short pieces in these reviews.

Disclaimer number 3: I tried to write this without spoilers. I couldn’t do it. You’ve been warned. SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS. Boom! Warned again.

Episode 1 – Sundown

This episode is a perfect example of how to introduce characters and keep things moving. The opening scene is beautifully done, and while I know everyone was talking about it, I was excited to see the dread lord Cthulhu get his ass handed to him by the powerful swing of Jackie Robinson.

Atticus is the main character, but it becomes obvious that we’ll be following several other characters (his uncle Geoge and his wife, Letti and her sister, and the almost too white Braithwhites) throughout this series.

Atticus has just returned from the Korean War and there are questions as to whether he has “Shell Shock” or PTSD as we know it today. On top of that, he’s found a letter from his father requesting that he go out east and find him in “Lovecraft Country” (OMG they said it!).

George, Letti (who’s a mooch and a drifter), and Atticus decide to make this trip together and get paid doing it as George is the editor-in-chief (with his wife) of the “Green Book.” The Green Book is a book that is sold/handed out to black people to tell them safe routes, places to stay, and more in the incredibly racist 1950’s. This book is the key to surviving a roadtrip if you happen to have the wrong skin. Unfortunately, it isn’t always perfect and needs to be regularly updated, as we’ll see throughout this entire series, I’m sure.

The first 70% of this story is just them getting to their destination and dealing with very horrible people (chased out of town with shotguns, told to get out of a county before sundown, etc). It’s the getting chased out of the county that opens up the first real (there was minor bits before) supernatural stuff.

The sheriff is going to kill all three of them in the woods when suddenly…

SHOGGOTHS!

There are few televised moments that make me that happy. You can verify with my brother, Mikey, that I screamed with terror and delight when they arrived on the scene. The shoggoths came from nowhere, and even though I had them spoiled for me a little before the show, I still jumped.

Let’s get the big thing out of the way that everyone is talking about: No, they didn’t look like shapeless forms of whirling flesh, or a black mass of gel, or whatever you think shoggoths are supposed to look like, but that’s ok. As a writer for Shoggoth.net, I know what I’m talking about. Shoggoths have the ability to take many shapes, and they have come in many different flavors. This might have big six limbed bipeds, but they also had eyes and mouths covering their entire bodies.

Also, the vampire bite changing thing bothered a few people, but obviously nobody that was bothered by that ever watched “The Thing,” by John Carpenter. The monster in “The Thing” was the best vision of a shoggoth that I have ever seen, and simply touching a person made it take over and replace that person with it’s own self.

These things were shoggoths, and they were beautiful. I want 2.

Anyway, I’ve already broken my cardinal rule and spoiled a lot of the episode, but this episode ended on quite the high note (the shoggoths, duh) and put our heroes into a place that I thought (from my vague memories from the book) they wouldn’t get to until the end of the season.

 6 out of 5 stars. It was that good.

Mikey’s thoughts: “The best line in that entire episode was tied for Letti screaming for them to get the F out of that diner and for Uncle George looking at Atticus and asking what happens when someone gets bit by a vampire.”

Episode 2 – Whitey’s on the Moon

They ended up at Braithwhite mansion, the last place that Tic’s father was seen. The Braithwhites are weird, but friendly, and offer them anything and everything, but they were also expecting them and all of their favorite stuff fills each of their rooms.

Another odd thing, no one without Braithwhite in their blood can remember the shoggoths, and George and Letti can’t see to recall any of Tic’s weird crap he’s explaining to them. So Tic must be a Braithwhite. When he discovers the memory crap he makes friends with the lady of the house (who’s name is escaping me) and demands that she proves her friendship by undoing whatever spell stops George and Letti from remembering. She agrees and suddenly there are screams everywhere.

Fast forward a bit and they quickly discover that Daddy Braithwhite is trying to make a spell that will open the door to Eden and provide him with eternal life. This spell had been tried once before by (as it turns out) Tic’s great-great-great grandfather and super bad cultist, but he screwed it up and the house burnt down with Tic’s great-great-great grandmother escaping to give birth to the next line of Braithwhites.

George has a powerful scene in this episode where he does what he does best and reads. His readings lead him to understand this cult and their bylaws thoroughly and he uses those to manipulate the entire cult into giving Tic everything he wants, namely his father.

George and Letti get shot, with Letti getting killed, and the cult uses her revival to explain that they can also save George, Tic just has to take part in the ceremony.

The ceremony…

Hoo-boy…that was a doozy.

In a good way, of course. I don’t think this show could do anything wrong if it tried.

Anyway, Tic does the ceremony but it goes all wrong and I don’t know if it was because of Tic’s will, Tic’s great-great-great grandmother, the cult screwing up, or Lady Braithwhite doing something behind the scenes. I’m sure they will let us know later in the series as a big plot twist. Whatever happens, everyone, including the house, gets destroyed except for Tic, Letti, Montrose (Tic’s dad), and George…

And then George bites it.

Ugh. Tears.

Anyway, another 6 out of 5. This show is better than anything I’ve watched in a while. I’m on the edge of my seat the entire time and can’t get over how dang good it is. To prove how much I like it, just look at how many names I remembered. I never remember names of characters, not even in shows that I like. 

Mikey’s thoughts: “All I have to say is ‘Snake Penis.’ We knew it was going to happen as soon as they showed the stained glass window. Even so, I was still not fully prepared.”

Fan-Fic Friday: A Grand-Goofy Movie!

I apologize to those who were excited to see a new episode of Arrow: Green Lantern this week. We will return to our regularly scheduled programming soon.

To explain today’s post, which is a huge break from what I normally do, you would have to know something about my family. My wife, my 2 year old, and myself are all obsessed with The Goofy Movie from 1995. The worst culprit would have to be my wife. Whereas I have fond memories of singing the songs and laughing with my brother about the movie, I was always more of a Goof Troop fan. My daughter has recently discovered the show and loves initiating Davenport Dance Parties whenever Powerline is on the screen. This of course leads into An Extremely Goofy Movie, the less successful sequel that follows Max (and Goofy) to college. My wife is a little less enthusiastic about this one, but Willow doesn’t know the difference between Powerline and Disco yet, but musical taste is reserved for 3 year olds, so I’m told.

That being said, I’ve always wanted to see the trilogy completed, and even more so now that Willow has entered our lives. Through A Goofy Movie, An Extremely Goofy Movie, cameos in Ducktales (the reboot), and some Christmas thing my daughter found on Disney+, we’ve only been given snippets of what came after and the road for the Goof family. What we’ve been given has shown that Max appreciates his dad more and more as he got older and that gave me an idea.

In my scenario, Max is in his late 20’s and, like his father, his spouse is nowhere to be seen. Max, the rocking out, skateboarding, extreme sports-junky is now a father to the very serious (think the kid from Pagemaster) very school-driven 8 year old little girl, Maz (or Mazzy).

One more thing before it starts: If Disney wants this, I’m totally willing to sell out. Give me a call, I’m sure you can use your Super Computers to find my phone number.


Opens on Maximilian Goof, late 20’s, knocking on a bedroom door decorated in little girl things.

Maz Goof is in her room and doing her homework.

Max- “Hey kiddo, it’s summer vacation, what are you working on?”

Maz- “I bartered with the children in the grade above me for their assignments. I’m getting a headstart on next year’s homework.”

Maz- “Wouldn’t you rather go outside or play with your friends?”

Maz- frowning- “Father, friends consume time that could be better applied to study.”

Max frowns, and an idea suddenly strikes him. – “I’ll bet I can teach you something.” He smiles at his cleverness. “A physics lesson!”

Maz- “Is this some plot to engage me in ‘fun’?”

Max- “Well, yes, but you might also learn something.”

Maz- “Very well, father.”

Cut to Max giving pointers on skateboarding and Maz speaking to it’s dangers with percentages. Max skates off screen and we hear the classic Goofy Scream.

The next scene is Goofy running through a hospital and to a room. Max is in a full body cast and Maz is thanking him for the very important lesson.

Maz hugs her grandfather and gives a clever explanation when Goofy asks what happened.

Maz- “Father taught me what happens when a small mass at high velocity collides with a much larger mass that is stationary.”

Goofy raises an eyebrow at Max who gestures at the broken skateboard and says, “I crashed.”

Max asks Maz to get him something from the vending machine as a ploy to get Goofy alone.

Max- “Dad, I need you to watch Maz. She’s too young to go without someone and I’m not moving anywhere for 4 to 6 weeks.”

Goofy- “Max, I dunno, son. I’ve always been a little…”

Max smiles- “Goofy?”

Goofy returns the smile- “Well, yah. And Maz is just a little…”

Max- “No, she’s way too serious. That’s why you have to take her. She needs to learn that it’s ok to have fun. That it’s ok to be Goofy!”

Goofy- “Well, I don’t know what little girls like to do…”

Max- pulls out a slip of paper, aged, folded- “I already figured that out.”

Goofy unfolds the paper and the biggest, Goofy-est grin spreads across his face and a tear comes to one of his eyes.

Goofy straightens and pushes the paper back toward Max who refuses it- “Really? This is really something that she should do with her father.”

Max nods- “Really. I would love to take her, but she won’t learn what she really needs to learn with me. Besides,” he shrugs as much as his body cast will let him, “I’m not going anywhere for a while.”

Goofy- “But what about you, son? I can’t leave you here all alone.”

Right then the nurse walks in and Max’s eyes light up. She’s “Disney-attractive.”

Max- “I’ll be alright.”

Goofy catches on and let’s out a “hyuck.”

The camera zooms in on the paper, it’s a map, and a corner of it is circled.

It reads, Lake Destiny.


On the one hand, this seems very “The Force Awakens is really A New Hope in disguise,” but while we would be revisiting much of the first movie the idea and spirit behind this are entirely different.

In the original, Goofy was trying to connect with his son who, seemingly, hated him. In this, Maz knows and loves her grandfather, she just doesn’t understand how to just enjoy life. Goofy will struggle with that and getting her to relax and enjoy herself while also struggling with his fears of not being the “Max” type of parental figure. The goal of the movie is for him to realize he needs to be his own type of Grandpa while Maz needs to learn what it means to be a Goof.

All with tons of cameos, musical numbers, and easter eggs from the first movie.

Review: War of the God Queen by David Hambling

Hambling’s War of the God Queen was a relatively new look at the Cthulhu Mythos for me that not only worked, but was great at using the Mythos as a background piece of the plot without taking away from the very character driven story.

The story follows Jessica, who is thrown into the past while fighting the dread beast Cthulhu himself. I loved the portrayal as R’yleh as something more than just a location on Earth, but also as solid thing throughout time.

Jessica lands in tribal times where that same tunnel through time has also been regurgitating Lovecraftian beasts that have been kidnapping woman for breeding purposes.

She’s forced to convince tribal leaders that not only can she help, but that also being a woman isn’t something that’s a hinderance to her aid. She has to learn the language, their way of life, and how to survive in those old times while trying to figure out how to get past the monsters and climb back through the hole through time that she fell through and get back home.

My favorite thing about this story was the anthropological look at the people and Jessica’s integration. While a lot of the people she’s with see her as a goddess from on high come to save them from their demons, the rest tend to see her as a political tool, or push aside religious iconography to accept her as a person with more knowledge than they have.

Additionally, the entire story reads like an epic Hambling adventure akin to Harry Stubbs, with it being evident that Hambling did his research.

I’m a huge fan of this book and can’t see where else David takes this world that he’s been building.

5 out of 5 stars!

FanFic Friday – Arrow: Green Lantern Part 3

John was resting on the floor of his new house, just outside of Metropolis, with Lyla spooning against him. There were boxes scattered around the room with the nearest one acting as a table for two glasses of wine and a half-eaten box of pizza.

“The kids fell asleep harder than I expected them to,” he commented.

Lyla nodded. “When you said they could decorate their new rooms however they wanted it was game over. I’ve never seen them work that hard before.”

John wrapped his arm around Lyla, but before he could tuck his hand under her, she looked again at the ring that seemed to be permanently affixed to his finger.

“J’onn said it was a weapon?” she asked.

John smirked. “A weapon, but a lot like a crowbar can be a weapon when you need it to be. That last two nights it seems to be talking to me in my sleep and teaching me more about it.”

Lyla was suddenly concerned. “It’s reading your thoughts?”

John shook his head, “Not really. It seems to only want to teach me about itself. I think that for the ring to work, we have to be partners who are entirely in sync. The more I learn about it, the better it works for me.” He could see that his words weren’t making much sense to his wife, so he decided to show her instead. “Watch.”

He let Lyla sit up so that he could reposition himself before stretching his arm forward. A beam of green light came out of his ring and created an orb around a slice of pizza. The tension that had been building up in his brow released as his confidence grew and the slice lifted into the air before gliding into Lyla’s hand.

She took a bite as John relaxed and smiled. “We are totally going to get fatter with that thing.”

A movement at the front door caught their attention as J’onn J’onzz passed through it with his Martian abilities. He was wearing his Martian Manhunter suit but was still in his human guise.

“I apologize for the interruption, but you are in danger.”

Years of conditioning as both a soldier and member of Team Arrow had his hand out and aiming a green and glowing construct of a pistol at the Martian. Lyla had a similar reaction and was holding an actual pistol on the hero. They both lowered their weapons, and John’s disappeared back into the ring as he did.

“Danger? From what?” Lyla asked.

“Something is coming for you, John,” he explained. “Something you aren’t ready for yet.”

Diggle smirked and brought the gun construct back into existence. “I don’t know, I’ve been practicing.”

“While that is impressive,” J’onn explained, “this thing that is coming for you went toe to toe with Supergirl. Running today will protect your family and help you in your fight tomorrow.”

Lyla climbed to her feet as her husband followed. “J’onn, what is this thing?”

“It calls itself a Manhunter.”

“Like you?” Diggle asked.

“No,” Lyla answered as her mind began recalling information from her time as the Harbinger. “The Manhunters were the sworn enemies of the Green Lanterns.”

John raised an eyebrow. “You know that, but you don’t know what my ring is capable of?”

“My knowledge as Harbinger was only given to me on a need to know basis. Knowing your enemy was more important to the Monitor than knowing your allies. The Monitor didn’t want me running into Manhunters, whereas the Green Lanterns would have been on my side.”

“Great,” John exclaimed. “Then we know more about them then they know about us.”

Lyla shook her head. “I’ve told you everything I know already. They hunt the Green Lanterns and I was to avoid them.” She looked John in the eyes. “John, I had access to multiversal power and the Monitor told me to avoid them.”

Diggle turned to his Martian friend. “J’onn, are Lyla and the kids safe here?

“No, John,” Lyla argued, knowing where her husband was going with this. “We’re coming with you.”

“Lyla,” J’onn spoke up, “the Manhunter is tracking the amplified power of John’s will. If he leaves, you and your children will remain entirely safe.”

“This thing fought Supergirl, Lyla,” John hugged and kissed her. “This is strategy 101. I can’t fight this thing if I’m worried about protecting you.”
Suddenly the ring spoke up, in Lyla’s voice, “Power at 10%.”

“Wait,” John’s frustration was obvious. “This thing needs to be charged? How do I do that?”

A beam of energy leapt from the ring and a portal of light opened in the wall. Floating from it was a large green lantern, similar to those he had taken camping with his stepfather years ago.

Lyla’s voice continued from the ring, “Place your ring against the lantern and you will know what to say.”

“I’ve heard about this, but never seen it,” J’onn J’onzz looked almost giddy with excitement. “I have dreamed of this since I was a child.”

Diggle placed his fist against the lantern as it floated in front of him and the ring was right, he did know the words.”

“In Brightest Day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight. May those who worship evil’s might, beware my power: Green Lantern’s Light.”

The ring flashed and the lantern receded back into the portal. The portal disappeared.

“You can call upon the pocket dimension to access your power battery at any time,” the ring explained. “Ring Power is now 100%.”

“Woah,” Lyla said and John noticed that she was looking him up and down. That was when he realized that the ring had dressed him in his newest uniform.

“Cool, huh?”

“From vigilante to complete superhero,” she smiled. “Oliver would be proud.”

He nodded to his wife and gave her another kiss before sneaking into their kid’s rooms and kissing them as well. Once the pleasantries were gone, he and the Martian made their way out of the house.

With a smirk on his face, John leapt into the air and flew into the night sky over Metropolis.