Tuesday, 17 March 2015

A Week in Stories - March 17

I was very sick all last week, so both of my extra blog posts, this one and the old SF one, fell by the wayside. I already had reviews written to get me through the week, although now I'm scrambling to catch up on writing reviews for the books I plowed through while I didn't have anything else to do. So we'll try to pack two weeks into one.

TV

Agents of SHIELD, "Shadows" and "Heavy is the Head"

I have complained quite a lot about how Trip's death at the mid-season break was not a good one, dramatically, as he didn't really matter enough to anyone on the show to make it have dramatic impact. They tried to fix that by having everyone mourn, and that was well done, but it doesn't fix the underlying problem.

Gemma's reaction to what's going on is pretty overblown and not very scientific - by the time Raina had been on the run for several hours and there weren't any cases of contagious superpower diseases, that would pretty much blow the epidemiological explanation out of the water, and she's too smart for that. I like the tack of making her more afraid and willing to do more to compensate. Just don't make her a bad scientist.

On the other hand, the Fitz stuff was wonderful, and the actor really stuck it all. Love Fitz. Love what they've been doing with him, and that they haven't backed away from trying to incorporate a character with the kind of damage he has into the show.

For the rest? I'm impressed they didn't drag out the reveal about Skye, I loved the reappearance of Lady Sif, and I'm happy with the resolution - that Skye is dangerous, but less dangerous when she's around people she cares about than she would be rotting off in some Asgardian prison somewhere. And it's poignant that it was her mother who used to help people like her learn to control her powers, and she's gone.

Movies

Five Card Stud

Not a big movie week. Just this Western, starring Dean Martin and Robert Mitchum. With, of course, lounge theme song. A man is lynched after cheating at poker. The poker players start to turn up dead. Who is behind it? (The answer will really not surprise anyone.) Meh. It was okay.

Roleplaying Games

Seven Stars of Atlantis

We're getting near the end of our pulp game - two more sittings, I think. With a brief detour for dinosaurs in Antarctica, because dinosaurs.  Let's see. This was almost a week and a half ago, so what is there to say.

Oh, hey! My character Margot got engaged! Teddy finally popped the question, and she said yes pretty much before he'd finished talking. Later on, I wondered if I should have spent some time being more suspicious and asking Teddy to prove that he loved Margot, but in the moment, it didn't feel right. She wanted a perfect romantic moment, and she got it. Now, they just have to survive imminent danger before they can get married.

Right. There was one more thing I wanted to think about, and that's my process for playing scenes. I get my fun out of roleplaying by getting into character and reacting from that perspective. I think of it a lot like my acting process - I think about things a lot ahead of time, trace possibilities, but when I get into a scene, I do my best to forget all that on a conscious level and just trust myself that it's there in the subconscious. I try not to think through what I'm going to say or what I'm going to do - I just do them. For the most part, I'm successful.

Rex and Margot were trying to patch up their differences, and they made a start, but it'll be a long slow process. Getting past that kind of mistrust and anger is not going to be taken care of in one conversation (or one lesson on how to shoot, as the case may be.) I think that frustrated the other player, as he wanted to get past it more quickly than I felt worked for me, and I was a bit taken aback when he asked if I always needed to have a snappy answer for everything. Because I'm not thinking things through ahead of time, the answer is: yes, if one occurs to me, and it feels right for the character.

Bill has pointed out that I tend to play strong-willed, opinionated characters. I told him that that's unlikely to change anytime soon. Still, Margot and Rex have made baby steps towards an eventual peace, and for me, that feels exactly right.

Paper Dolls

This was the night before I got sick, but still, it was a good evening! For my three different versions of the main character, one (Trix) was largely on the sidelines, and now I think that maybe I should have made a little scene out of that - she's used to being in the thick of whatever's going on, and giving up that control and being powerless to help was difficult for her, but we didn't get to see any of that at the table.

Of the other two, the alcoholic one who stole the baby of the third character, found out she really didn't enjoy taking care of a squalling baby, and was more than happy to let one of Colin's characters rescue the child. She's the only one of my three characters I don't see a redemption for. But I have been surprised before!

My third, poor Bee, came back to the two people she'd run away from (again), and is trying very hard to face the music, and it's interesting. I'm enjoying playing through the scenes from the perspective of someone who is trying very hard to be mature and give other people space and let them decide if they can trust me again, while at the same time, wanting to push things, and be wrapped up in their arms, and hear that she's forgiven. It's an intriguing balancing act.

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