May 2021 Picks
I can’t believe that I’m currently writing this while still in the month of May! That’s a record for me. (Now let’s just see if I post it before June...Wishful thinking...) I feel like I’ve watched a good amount of stuff this past month and these are just some of the highlights. I’m going to include stuff that I loved and some other stuff that I didn’t love that much, but want to vent a little about. So, let’s get started!
The usual spoilers are expected...
SHADOW AND BONE
This watch actually happened at the end of April, but I felt I needed to include it in my May wrap up. To date, this is the fastest Netflix binge I’ve watched. I always try to drag them out a bit because otherwise I’m sad it’s over (especially if we don’t know if the show is renewed or not). But with Shadow and Bone, I couldn’t do that. I was longing for the next episode and couldn’t stop thinking about it. I think we watched it in about 2 days right when it was released (another record for me). I didn’t have any background going into the show. Just a few details from my sister who loved Six of Crows and read the first book in the Shadow and Bone series. She didn’t spoil anything for me, she would just mention when it was a match to the source material (which was impressive how well it did that. We’re not often that lucky with book to screen adaptations). [Side note: I have now started to read Six of Crows. Loving it so far.] I really enjoyed the characters and how they fused the two plots together. I know that the Mal and Alina relationship is much stronger than the books, and I think they did a fantastic job of you rooting for them. I think that’s a great way of proving that the film adaptation can sometimes strengthen the source material. I honestly liked all the ships (other than Alina and the Darkling. Of course, it was great to see Ben Barnes though). I’m excited to explore more of Kaz and Inej AND Nina and Matthias more in the book. (Stay posted for more on that as I read). Lastly, I just want to say how much I loved any scene that the stag was in. I don’t know if it was because I watching this late at night, but there were times where I felt like I could cry seeing it. (That might sound dramatic and I’m shocked I felt this way too. I can’t explain it, so I hope others left that way too.)
Highly recommend this one! I really hope there’s a second season.
This show really snuck up on me and I’m so happy I watched it. I’m also happy that there’s more episodes coming for the second part of season 1. (Now I just want to know when that’s happening.) I love the fusion of the historical genre and fantasy (as I’ve mentioned many times before). I think the characters are great and I like that we got more insight into this world in the part one finale. Although, I was definitely confused watching it. Because we were apart of the future plotline for a good chunk of the beginning, I felt like I was watching the wrong show. I also understand the sci-fi component of the touched abilities coming from an alien presence, but I was also kind of hoping for something else too. (I don’t know what, but I was expecting something a little more different.) I really liked learning about Mrs. True’s backstory and filling in the gaps that were missing. Penance Adair has quickly become a character I would do anything for. I started watching Starz’s Death and Nightingales for Ann Skelly and while it has been good, it’s definitely not the Nevers (which I knew it wouldn’t be, but you can’t help compare when you just watched her as Penance).
I highly suggest this one if you’re looking for a period piece with an HBO flair (it’s not a Victorian Game of Thrones, but I compared it to someone like that because of the type of detailed world building.) ALSO if you want to revisit some of your favorite British actors as many familiar faces make an appearance then you should watch this show. I also LOVE the soundtrack and have been listening to the playlist nonstop on Spotify.
Okay, so we’re now taking a jump to one of my watches that I didn’t enjoy. I wanted to include it on my list because I devoted a good amount of time to it and have some things to say. For a little bit, I thought about giving up on it, but then there would be moments where it looked promising. Overall, I did not enjoy this one. I was not a fan of the parallel storylines of the past and present. Mainly because I felt that they didn’t mirror each other well and that we were either in one or the other for a good amount of the episode. Why not have an episode just dedicated to the past? I read that it’s based on a graphic novel series, but had no knowledge of it going in. I knew it would not be a comedy, but felt it took itself very seriously. I wanted some lighter moments to balance out all the dark plots. I also couldn’t stand Chloe. I felt there was too much of her and I wanted to see a more redeeming development for her. I thought we were going to get there, but then we didn’t (or at least it wasn’t as big as I thought it should have been.)
If there is a second season I will not be watching.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN
I’m doing a bit of a throwback now. Believe it or not, I haven’t seen all these movies. (Well, now I have, but at the start of the month I was missing movies 3 and 4.) I was in the mood for watching a series of movies and really enjoyed the Marvel Rewatch I did last year, so this felt like a good choice. I enjoyed watching them, especially along with my sister. For the most part I liked parts of all of them just the third and last one dragged the most for me. There’s definitely parts that repeat with similar storylines in each one. I think it’s ironic because any time I read a book that takes place on a ship, I can’t get into it, but watching I’m completely fine with it. I heard there’s talks of a sixth movie and I would watch it if it was released.
THE MIGHTY DUCKS: GAME CHANGERS
One throw back to the next. After watching each of the Pirates movies, my sister and I moved on to marathoning the Mighty Ducks movies. These were classics to watch when I was growing up, so it was great to re-live them before watching the new show on Disney Plus. I tried waiting a while to watch the series, this way we didn’t have to wait weekly for a new episode. (Just had to do that for the last two.) I REALLY enjoyed this series. So much more than I was expecting to. I wasn’t expecting so much heart and great acting from this new group of actors. I loved seeing Emilio Esteves once again as Gordan Bombay. While he’s a different Bombay than where we left him at the end of D:3, you quickly learn what has changed him. It’s interesting seeing the Mighty Ducks team as the bad guys. Before watching the show, I thought this would bother me, but it really didn’t. I loved all the throwbacks and Easter eggs and of course freaked out for episode 6 with the return of some of the original ducks.
I really hope that this show gets picked up. This way we can continue to make references from the franchise and without the restrictions from COVID more people can come back. (I’m looking at you Joshua Jackson.)
RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON
I’m so happy to add this movie to my May Picks. I just watched it a couple of weeks ago after it came out on Blu-ray. (Ironically, you can still go see it in some movie theaters in my area.) This was a highly-anticipated one for me. I was excited to learn more about the characters and get into the mythology. It did not disappoint. Similar to Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, this film has a lot of heart. I really liked Raya and so many of the secondary characters. There were a lot of laugh out loud moments. Awkwafina was a fantastic choice for the last dragon Sisu. Her voice was perfect! I loved the animation. I remember hearing that they had to film a good amount of the actor’s recordings at their homes and I think that’s amazing. You wouldn’t have known unless you watched the bloopers on the special features. Definitely add this one to your list!
THE GREAT POTTERY THROW DOWN
Such an addictive show. A must watch for anyone who is a fan of The Great British Bake-off and Netflix’s Blown Away. A friend mentioned this show to me at the start of the month and I instantly got hooked. I know nothing about pottery, but now feel that I do. Originally airing on the BBC, HBO Max is now streaming this pottery competition show. It follows ten home potters as they compete for the top pottery win (maybe money. I can’t remember, but there’s a great trophy). This is the kind of show where I feel apart of the cast and am sad to watch them go. I really clicked with season 1 and season 2 took a little bit, but I grew to love that group too. Now I’m on the finale and am very excited to see who wins it all.
If you need a feel-good, quick watch then you should look no further!
DC’S LEGENDS OF TOMORROW
You’ve heard me say it time and time again. This show is the best in the Arrowverse. I gave up on Supergirl years ago and while I stuck it through with Arrow, I don’t know if I’ll be doing that with the Flash. (I have been behind watching recently, and when I do watch I tend to fast forward most of it because I lose interest.) This season came back at the start of May and has aliens as the main adversary. Currently, I have liked some episodes more than others. I’m not sure if this is because of the alien plot, that I miss some of the OG cast, or I need a break from superhero shows. I also miss Sara being apart of the core group. Last season, she was away for a bit too and while I love Ava’s leader role of the legends (and have gotten really used to it), I want to see them working together. Especially now that they’re engaged! (Well, Sara doesn’t know Ava said yes yet, but I need them to be reunited.) Interested to see where we’re headed for the rest of the season.
I’ve been sharing a lot of my Nancy Drew reactions after watching the new episodes, so you can definitely find those on my page. I CANNOT WAIT for this finale tomorrow night. SO MUCH HAS TO HAPPEN TO WRAP EVERYTHING UP! I know Nancy has to be okay (because the show’s been renewed for a third season), but who knows what’ll happen. I am also desperate for more Nace content.
Kung Fu is another show on the CW that’s been killing it recently. I cannot believe that bombshell that Nicky’s mom revealed at the end of the last episode. What! How do we move forward? Also, can Nicky and Henry please make-up? I’m not sure my heart can take it.
I’ve missed you in the month of May. Can’t wait to watch more new episodes.
Just started season 2 on Amazon Prime Video. Just the historical/period piece, mystery I needed. I also love me some James Norton. (Although, I’m kind of done with the will they won’t they with Sidney and Amanda.)
Time for another Disney Plus telenovela. 80 episodes seasons; I’m back!
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Summary: If Penance were the one Amalia met in the asylum.
Read it on AO3
The new patient came in sopping wet and wild, her eyes darting about the asylum as if she were a feral animal. She wore day clothes, not a swimming gown, and Penance’s heart sank as she watched the orderlies drag her in. This woman had tried to kill herself. She was sure of it.
Their eyes met for a moment before the woman slapped the matron and Penance’s nurse hurried her along out of the stairwell. She wanted so badly to greet the newcomer, to give her a chance to explain her situation to someone who wouldn’t judge her for it, but she didn’t dare resist the direction of the staff. She was still new herself, but she’d already seen the horrors committed within these walls. If she made herself small and obedient, they wouldn’t hurt her. She wished the others could do the same; a piece of her broke every time another patient was punished for misbehavior, no matter how inane or how “justified,” as if hurting people in one’s care could ever be justified. They were all just people who needed help, trapped in a prison bent on denying it to them.
The rumors formed quickly, before Penance even caught sight of the woman again. “She threw herself in the river,” one girl said, voice hushed. “I heard she’s a widow. Bet she was just torn apart by her husband’s death.”
Then, her companion: “They say she’s Scottish, lived most her life here though. But I heard her in the halls and she talks like an American. A real angry one.”
“Aren’t they all angry? Anyway, she won’t last long like that. Matron’ll put her in her place.”
Penance’s mounting discomfort with the conversation snapped and she turned on the girl. “That’s a nasty thing to say,” she said. “She’s hurt, just like you and I. It’s not very productive and certainly not kind to push her away before you’ve even met.”
The two girls started on realizing they had an evesdropper, then shamefully looked away. She couldn’t blame them, really. It seemed the harder it was to make friends, the easier mean-spirited gossip made it.
Penance sighed and went back to fiddling with a loose curl of her hair. She could see the energy tighten as she pulled it down and watched it snap back into place on release. It was a strange phenomenon, but she’d been seeing all kinds of odd things since last night. She found herself more focused on exploring it than worrying that she might truly be going mad.
But even with her new plaything, she couldn’t keep her mind off of the woman from the river—Molly, someone had mentioned her name was. Her dark hair, her deep eyes. She was beautiful, and so was the energy that had buzzed around her when she’d come in. It was different from what she saw in the other patients and the asylum staff. Everyone’s was different, at least a little, but it swarmed around Amalia violently bright as if she’d come from a children’s picture book. She wondered if anyone else could tell.
That night, the orderlies finally brought Amalia back in from the infirmary and cuffed her to her dormitory bed, drugged beyond recognition to keep her docile. Her energy hummed low now, soft and quiet, but Penance was still inexplicably drawn to it. She glanced back at the resident nurse paying little attention in her corner with her book, then slid out of her own bed to sit on the edge of Amalia’s.
She wore a standard nightgown now, and her hair had dried, and Penance’s stomach turned. She hated admitting to herself that someone might actually be better off here, but she couldn’t help but be grateful God had spared this woman’s life and placed her somewhere she couldn’t make an attempt on it again.
Penance took Amalia’s hand ever so gently and bowed her head to whisper a prayer for her. It wasn’t until she finished and opened her eyes that she realized Amalia was awake.
“You pray for all the girls here like that?” she said with a lazy drawl. “It’s not gonna help. We’re all fucked in this dump of a universe.” She paused. “You know, people used to look down on this century. Joke’s on them.”
Penance frowned. “What?”
Amalia stared at her for a moment, then shook her head. “Nothing,” she said. “Keep it up, I guess. Optimism’s a rare commodity where I’m from.”
“I thought you were from here,” Penance said carefully, drawing from the rumors she’d heard earlier.
Amalia sighed. “Long story.” She studied Penance for another moment and tilted her head. “You don’t seem insane. So what’s wrong with you?”
“Oh.” Penance shrunk a bit under the sudden question; she hadn’t expected someone so buried in their own misery to be so forward. “Well, I don’t know, really,” she said. “It’s just—I’m always hurting. If it’s not my head then it’s my arms or my legs or my chest...only the doctors say there’s nothing wrong. So they put me here. They think I must be crazy.”
Amalia’s brow furrowed. “Of course they did,” she said. “Fucking nineteenth century quacks.” She tried to make a move to sit up, and then she must have realized her wrists were bound as she froze and stared down at them. She kept staring, and her breath grew heavier, and her energy lit up again in her sudden panic.
Penance instinctively took Amalia’s hand again and squeezed it. “What’s wrong? Do you need a nurse?”
“This isn’t right,” Amalia murmured, her hand shaking under Penance’s touch. “This isn’t right; I—I died. I’m supposed to be dead. Who am I?”
Penance flinched at Amalia’s words and her heart ached for the woman. “No, no,” she said, pulling Amalia into her arms as best she could through the restraints. “No, it’s all right. You’re all right. I’m here.”
She didn’t know how well the statement would comfort Amalia—she was a stranger, after all—but it was all she could think to do to offer herself up as a soothing presence. It seemed to work after a few moments and Amalia sank into Penance’s arms, crying like a scared child. Penance quietly stroked her hair and shushed her until she calmed and pulled away.
“Fuck,” she said, wiping her face on her shoulder. Penance had to fight the urge to reach out and dry her tears for her. “Jesus fucking Christ, what am I here for?”
“You were given a second chance,” Penance said gently. “So...I suppose you’re here to enjoy it as best you can. It’d probably have helped if you’d ended up somewhere else, though...but still. Maybe if you get better they’ll let you go.”
“And then what?” Amalia scoffed. “I get married off to some brute and play housewife until I die of tuberculosis? Maybe Molly—I—had the right idea about the river.”
“No,” Penance said so forcefully that Amalia shut her mouth in surprise. She lightened then, but she still held a firm note in her voice. “I know I just met you, but there’s something special about you. And sure, there’s something special about everyone, but you...I can’t explain it. I just know you’re meant to be here on this Earth. I can’t let you put yourself in danger again.”
Penance felt oddly short of breath after her spiel, but it was worth it for the way Amalia’s expression softened. “Cute that you think you could stop me,” she said quietly, but she offered the barest hint of a smile which Penance returned tenfold.
“My name’s Penance, by the way,” she said. “Penance Adair.”
Amalia raised an eyebrow at the name, them shook her head. Unbeknownst to Penance, she considered for half a second giving away her real name. It was insane, but so was everything else in the world. She considered it—but no, not yet. For the first time in her life, though, she looked at Penance and thought maybe one day. Maybe one day, if she really were stuck here, if Penance and her silly but true name stuck around, if they grew as close as her suddenly hopeful heart told her they would—maybe then she would share her name. But for now, she’d give Penance the next best thing: the name she wouldn’t use in this place, the name that could be more her than Molly.
“Amalia,” she said. “Amalia True. It’s good to meet you, Miss Adair.”
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