Lesson learned from working retail: Do not leave your shopping to the last minute, pls. Seriously, guys. This may work for lesser assignments and some midterms, but shopping with a bunch of frenzied people covered in snow, also looking for the same gifts you are?
Not fun. Especially for the clerks.
If I never see another red and green decoration again, it would be too soon.
Okay, complaint over. Weather continuing its usual run of asshat behaviour (meaning lots of snow, then rain, then freeze, then a tiny bit of snow to cover up the ice so we can slip on foot or in cars) so phone people continue being unable to come fix our internet or phone. Yay for public libraries.
As usual, short synopsis above the cut, squeecap of capslocky flail after the link below. (Far, faaaaaar below.)
Merlin Episode 4: The Poisoned Chalice in 10 seconds!
Remember last episode when Nimueh got all annoyed at Merlin for interfering in her plans? Well, this woman likes her poison, because she’s at it again, only with Merlin this time, not the entire city. (Makeup team: Thank GOD.)
Her plan’s still really complicated, though. I mean, the actress is kind of one-dimensional, but her plotting skillz make me all warm and fuzzy. (In a strictly plotwhore way! Am not evil. Yet.) So Nimueh pretends to be a maid in Bayard of Mercia’s staff so she can switch one of Bayard’s original ceremonial goblets for a poisoned one.
Bayard’s the ambassador, if you will, from Mercia to Camelot, and he’s there to sign a peace treaty, which is where the goblets come in. They’re gifts. Imagine how Uther will react when he finds out that the good-will messenger tried to poison his only son and heir? Imagine how the other country will feel when Uther acts on his anger at the poisoning?
It’s such an intricate plot, in fact, that Nimueh was able to make an exact copy of the goblet, take it to her Cave of Evil, poison it with something that doesn’t react with the delicate silver of the goblet, and then hike it back as a maid in Bayard’s entourage. That is mad planning, y’all.
Anyhoodle, back at Camelot: Pretending to be all innocent, Nimueh warns Merlin at the last minute that Arthur’s goblet is poisoned. Merlin, being a hero, then bursts into the hall and tells everyone else, prompting some outrage from Bayard and brow-raising from Uther. He is told to test the goblet by drinking it, and what do you know? It’s poisoned. Merlin topples to the floor and proceeds to suffer a slow death.
Arthur throws a fit du shit about his father forcing poison onto his precious, irreplaceable manservant and rushes off on a quest for the morteus plant, buried deep somewhere in the Forest of Balor [insert eyeroll about the names here]. Apparently the poison can only be cured by using a leaf from the same plant. Uther forbids Arthur to go, but when have you known heroic types to listen to authority?
In the forest, Nimueh again pulls out her innocent baby girl act and totally fools Arthur into trusting her, which is good for her plan to kill him, but it sort of fails because we’re on episode four and the first season is 13 episodes long. So. After she traps Arthur on a narrow ledge on top of a huge chasm with giant spiders chasing after him, the feverish and unconscious Merlin sends a giant shining ball of light to help the prince along. (You don’t have to say it, I know.)
Arthur gets the flower and makes it back safely to Camelot. There hasn’t been enough drama, however, and Uther throws Arthur into the dungeon for disobedience and crushes the flower that his son worked so hard to get. (I feel the need to say that I kind of dig this hardcore Giles Uther.) Luckily for Merlin, Gwen manages to get the flower from Arthur in the dungeons.
So Merlin is cured and people are happy (well obviously with the exception of Nimueh). We are treated to the sight of Arthur barely restraining himself from glomping Merlin.
Warnings: Excessive use of capslock, way too many screencaps to be healthy, and my being an insane fangirl.
Last recap I had Merlin saying, “I want to wear black nail polish now.” to mark his emo-ness at being forced to serve Arthur, but I didn’t realize that he’d already been there and bought the doublet, so to speak.
For those of you who’ve got delicate internet connections that have the vapours if they so much as see one picture, I proudly present (those who want the extended version – scroll down):
Merlin Episode 2: Valiant in 5 seconds!
So Camelot holds its annual tournament aka time when Arthur gets to shine as The Best Knight of Them All While Being All Grunty and Sweating (not that the fans are complaining, mind). Yay?
But there’s this new guy in town and he’s beating the crap out of everyone else, which would be totally fine because Uther likes to resolve his homoerotic tension that way but then we find out that this guy has an evil magical shield. To wit: There are poisonous snakes on the shield that attack anyone this Valiant dude tells them to. [insert your Snakes in a Plane joke here] (And who the hell names their kid Valiant anyway?)
Of course Merlin can tell because he’s speshul liek dat, and he freaks out and ohnoes at Arthur, who believes him because he’s a woobie underneath all that armour. Then their witness dies of SNAKE BITES which apparently destroys their case in Uther’s eyes. (Uther = not only stubborn, but somewhat dumb as well. Like father like son?)
Therefore Arthur has to fight Valiant in this climatic battle to the death while the girls bite their nails and Merlin headbooks until he figures out the way Valiant makes the snakes come alive.
So then the snakes come alive, everyone = HOSHIT, Arthur = DAMMIT NO SWORD, Morgana = CATCH, Arthur = I KEEL YOU NAO, Valiant = DED.
Uther = I WAS NOT WRONG. I AM NEVER WRONG. FOR I AM KING, ETC.
Everyone else = WE CAN HAS PARTAY?
[ETA: I would like to point out that Valiant, with the way he was smacking Arthur around, probably would have made it without the Crazy Shield of Death anyway, but what a shame.]
(And now readers who’ve followed me since the Hong Gil Dong days can pass out in shock at the brevity. But wait! What recap through yonder link breaks? Usual warnings – capslock, gay subtext, picspam – apply.)
I’ve made an introductory post about Merlin already, but that one was more squeeblage and incoherency than anything else. So here’s a précis: Merlin is a magical, magical boy who gets sent to Camelot for training under the court physician Gaius. There’s a catch – King Uther is utterly nuts in an execute-this-peon way about magic, and his son Arthur is a bullying ass. Unfortunately, the Great Prophetic Dragon of Doom tells Merlin that his destiny is to help Arthur become the best king ever. Lots of people apparently want to kill Arthur, and Merlin has to save him with his sekrit magical skillz, albeit reluctantly. (Also, if you drank every time they mentioned magic, you’d be under the table by the first 15 minutes.)
Historical accuracy need not apply.
Last week, flyingcrispi said that she didn’t get the Merlin/Arthur subtext, to which I went, LOLWHUT UR KIDDING ME RITE and immediately started to formulate an appropriate response. Somewhere along the way it turned into (wait for it) a recap (one of 13, actually) and um. Yeah. I can has one more recapping project, apparently. (Those of you who are worried about BV, it is coming. Just slower because it’s not as fun as Merlin.)
So… moving on!
First, we have boy Merlin, who is younger than Arthur. And has no concept of social tact. He’s played by relative newcomer Colin Morgan.
Then Gaius of the ever-raised brows, ye olde wise sage. Played by the adorable Richard Wilson.
Maybe some Arthur.
Okay, a lot of Arthur. (What? He’s an attractive man.)
He’s ‘one of your big, strong warrior types’ but is secretly a woobie. No, really. Played by Bradley James (who was in Dis/Connected, and was a bit of a … manwhore there).
And then the lovely Morgana, who is totes not related to Uther, Arthur or… anyone, supposedly. Wtv, writers, I see right through you.
Guinevere, also called Gwen, who makes the best awkward speeches evar! Also a blacksmith’s daughter, handmaiden to Morgana and not a princess at all.
Just for the heck of it, Uther the control freak. He has Issues. (If you haven’t recognized him yet, this is Giles from Buffy.)
Are you curious yet? Click on the linky for some fun and picspam. A word of caution: not for those faint of heart, on dial-up, or homophobic. That will be all.
(From a special episode to raise money for charity. Cuteness! Left to right: Morgana, Guinevere, Merlin, Arthur, Uther and Gaius.)
OMG ANOTHER SHOW ABOUT ARTHURIAN LEGEND!!! (Was a total Arthurian Legend whore in high school, can you tell?)
Except, you know, not so much because Merlin is the same age as Arthur, looks like a skinnier, less chiseled version of Tom Welling and has magical powers that have to do with glowing eyes. He’s way too kind and has no sense of social structure, which leads to him mouthing off to Arthur and this does not lead to the best first impression ever, especially as Arthur is being a bully.
Arthur is a blond and bullying ‘royal ass’, according to Merlin himself. He’s also hunky and … a decent guy, if you peel off the layers of jock. Also, he goes through monsters, a sorceress and evil giant spiders to get Merlin a flower. (It’s to save the guy’s life, but still, most people wouldn’t do that for their servant, yunno?)
Morgan le Fay is not Arthur’s half-sister anymore, she is an Irish princess/lady under the guardianship of King Giles Uther Pendragon and smoking hot to boot. (Well she was always smoking hot to begin with, and we’re not entirely sure she’s not evil either.) And to avoid all confusion with the guys running around named Morgan, they’ve changed her name to Morgana, so you know, we don’t think she’s a guy or anything. (Those long flowing locks and that scrumptious figure could have fooled me.)
Guinevere is suddenly not fair-haired nor even a princess. Instead she is a maidservant of Morgana’s and keeps trying to get it on with Merlin, who’s all angsty that he’s stuck serving Arthur (which mainly seems to involve helping Arthur put his clothes on, and no, brain, you are not allowed to go there, noooooo!) Somewhere, poor King Leodegrance is sobbing.
King Uther is a total nut when it comes to magic (see: trauma to do with his dead wife, Ygraine, only in this version, agggh the canon is being killed) and chops heads like I eat chocolate. Which is to say, extensively. So there’s this whole, Merlin keep your magic secret no Merlin do not levitate the what are you doing MERLIN STOP!!! (Mainly it is the audience saying this, because the show has still not gotten the hang of longer episode arcs and has a pattern of Evil Magical Thing of the Week. Who all want to kill Arthur. Who in turn needs to be saved by Merlin. With magic.)
Poor Gaius is Merlin’s mentor, and seems to be getting a lot of exercise via brow-raising. He’s the court physician and the king’s best friend, though their friendship is always tested by Uther’s bull-headedness about magic. He’s the wise old man of the show, you could say.
There is also a dragon who’s trying to get Merlin and Arthur to admit that they’re really soulmates. No, really. He says things like, “Merlin, it is your destiny to be with Arthur”, and “The half cannot truly hate that which makes it whole”. We call him the Shipper Dragon or the Slash Dragon. Also, judging from the cave he lives in, Camelot might just be built on a giant abyss. Which is known for its great foundational qualities, yeah.
I think there’s a plot in there somewhere, let me check.
Despite my puritan streak when it comes to source material, this show is so great for the lulz. Also, Arthur and Merlin are destined to be together forever!!
[ETA: This Nano thing, it is not getting done. Dammit.]
The live action is officially AU now, I think. I much prefer this version to the anime, though Long Ma needs some work. (By work I mean a large hammer and lots of humility, but character rewrites will do.)
Correction: The coach’s name is actually Lin Qi, not Tian Qi as previously assumed.
Episode 5: In Which There is Yet More Angst, Will It Never End?!?
Tao Chen Wu and Hai Tang exercise at the same time, as much as to snark at each other as to actually build muscles. Cheng Wu urges Hai Tang to retry the match, while Hai Tang looks down on him for being too enthusiastic about everything and everyone. (Yeah, but how else is Long Ma’s cold, neglected little heart going to melt?)
In the school caf, Xiao Peng grabs Long Ma for an interview, only to have him walk off when it’s apparent Xiao Ying won’t show up. Xiao Peng is chagrined. (Serves her right.)
In English class, the rest of the team muses on whether they like having Long Ma around (answer: obvious no) – angst about Inui and Kaidoh ensues. The two don’t really help, as they do their soulful gazing thing in the gym. I would like to remind them that it’s not the end of the world – just one ranking match, dudes! There will be others, like, next semester. Aww, brotherly bonding (or not, you slashers, you) totally occurs.
zOMG Zhen Zhi breaks down and says that data isn’t everything. OMO. Hai Tang feels cheated, and super under pressure. Also, he dislikes Long Ma. What a newsflash.
Having realized that, hey, they use Chinese names, I thought it would be a better idea to start using them too.
So just for your reference:
Coach Tian — Ryuzaki
Long Zheng Nan — Nanjiroh, Ryoma’s papa
Long Ma — Ryoma
Guo Guang — Tezuka
Zhou Zhu — Fuji
Hai Tang — Kaidoh
Zhen Zhi — Inui
Ju Wan — Eiji
Da Shi — Oishi
He Chun Long — Taka
Zhou Yu — Yuuta
Tao Cheng Wu — Momo
Xiao Ying — Sakuno
Xiao Peng — Tomoka
Xiao Bo — Street Court dude
Seigaku — Qing Xue
Hyoutei — Bing Di
Episode 4: In Which Heavy Objects of an Angsty Nature Fall
It’s been a long time, folks. Gomen, gomen, was not really in the mood until now.
Episode 3: In Which Fuji Angsts and Ryuzaki Spits Out Her Tea
Momo and Kaidoh get into another off-the-sides match. Inui and the rest of the team watch on the sides, commenting that with the arrival of Ryoma, the team has felt the pressure of the ranking matches. Tezuka comes in at an intense point in the match to stop them and to award the rest of the team with laps. Disciplinarian and moasochist? Maybe.
The next day, Momo meets Ryoma in the locker rooms and tells him to do well, and Ryoma shows his arrogance once more by muttering that he had wanted to be in the same group as Tezuka and Fuji (otherwise known as the ‘Death Block’ for obvious reasons). When he finds his rackets stolen by jealous teammates, he goes into snark-competitive mode. And skips practice. (Genius, dude.)
When Ryoma skips practice, he goes to Sakuno’s art room. (And they say romance is dead.) He compares his skill and confidence to her assurance in drawing, yada yada yada, he is sure of winning, what else is new?
Penultimate episode! Omg. Will Evil Matsumoto be defeated? Will Joo Hee reconcile with Bong Joo? Will Bong Joo realize the errors of his ways? And, most importantly of all, will Sung Chan and Jin Soo kiss again?
We start off with the funeral of chef Oh. Joo Hee fights back tears, Sung Chan and Bong Joo greet the mourners. Director Yoon arrives, which infuriates Ja Woon (half drunk and feeling terribly alone). Despite recent actions and words, Yoon isn’t hard-hearted, and genuinely grieves the loss of his friend.
Ohh. Matsumoto and underling comes, but Sung Chan and Bong Joo both refuse them the right of bowing down, as chef Oh would not have wanted it. Matsumoto looks affected by his death (though the overemphasis of fish eyes makes it hard to discern any sort of emotion). He and his underling go away quietly.
In the funerary procession, Sung Chan clutches the photo of his father numbly.
Everyone’s very sombre as they escort chef Oh’s remains down the hill of Un Ahm Jung. Sung Chan thinks back to all the times he’s spent with his father (have Kleenex ready), oh man. Bong Joo thinks back to … all the arguments they’ve had, which are much less happy than Sung Chan’s memories.
The procession itself is an interesting show of Korean culture.
It’s interesting to see that Jin Soo is standing in the same row as ‘family’, as in Joo Hee and Ja Woon.
From far away, Matsumoto watches the procession in his car.
Omg. Today the high is 38C. Have been staying inside. Woe.
On the topic of the show, Bong Joo is an ass.
We start off with a replay of what happened in the last episode, which was basically: Doom! Disaster! Food gone bad! Etc.
Bong Joo doesn’t think the bad fermented soybean sauce base that’s being used for all the food necessitates the closing of the restaurant. Um. I’d say it does, but he’s kind of more looking to the commercial side of things and worried that the branch restaurant will suffer. Anyway, Sung Chan bursts in, all ‘I discovered the cause!’ Bong Joo glares at him – if looks could kill, honestly.
Tension abounds. Sung Chan is too buoyed by his success with finding the bad soybeans to do much damage control, and Bong Joo just storms out – well, he does it pretty restrainedly, but the message is there: so you substitute him for me?
It’s been a while since I posted about Gourmet, yeah? Well, it looks like Un Ahm Jung’s going to close down after threatening to do it every two episodes or so. Wonder how they’re going to reconcile everybody… and in the case of Sung Chan and Bong Joo, whether they’ll reconcile at all.
Sung Chan is driving around, and we see him flashback to visiting various suppliers who give him their best produce. He’s taking care of himself and his truck, mostly availing himself of nature’s resources (and no soap in water source, good boy). Being a good cook really doesn’t hurt as he bachelors (is that even a word?) his way through life. I envy his ability to eat fresh veggie and have ramen every day.
As he eats, he thinks back to Joo Hee telling him about her engagement and Jin Soo’s partial innocence in the circumstances. Food for thought, yep.
Sung Chan brings in a prime watermelon for Jin Soo, at her workplace, only to discover that she quit her job. As a matter of fact, she’s waitressing at the place she and Sung Chan were scheduled to meet. She hears Sung Chan’s shouts for customers outside the shop and totally loses her ability to concentrate on her tasks.
Jin Soo comes out to look, but she walks back to work after hearing him sell ‘Jin Soo’ watermelons. She’s angry at being played around with, while her boss makes the connection.