On Bates Motel episode 7

Q: How great is Bates Motel every week?
A: Super great.

Tonight’s ep., “The Man in Number 9” sees Jere Burns check into the motel. Is he connected to the sex trade stuff or his mystery something different all together? Only time (and maybe next Monday’s episode) will tell.

I love the continued use of Norman calling Norma Mom when he’s normal and Mother when he’s freaking out.

Cons: Norma is a little too creepy for me. She hears her son is interested in a girl and she pictures them having sex against a wall?

Pros: Jere Burns! Huge fan of his work. I didn’t see where the dog subplot was leading, until Norman said he was taking the body to Emma’s dad, the taxidermist. That’s a big part of the Bates mythology and I love seeing it connecting to the series.

Cannot believe we’re past the halfway point and already.

This is Elliot Arthur Cross looking forward to next Monday.


On Survivor Winners Ranking part 8

Here we have another player brought down a notch or two for a poor returning performance.

18: Tom Westman (Survivor: Palau, season 10)

Tom led the Koror tribe (a diverse group) against Ulong (a tribe of young, athletes). On paper, it looked like Ulong would dominate, yet Koror won every immunity challenge in a season without tribal swaps or even a merge. Tom and Ulong grew so comfortable and close that the game really only started around day 24 for them. Not only was Tom the father figure in the tribe, but of the seven individual immunities, he won five, leaving him only vulnerable twice. Still he received no votes against him and brought Katie to face off against the jury. He crushed Katie 6 to 1 as he was the god-like Tom, and she was the only contestant to ever play Survivor and gain weight. Not sure why they didn’t bring her back for Heroes Vs. Villains along with Tom.

On Tom’s second outing, the Heroes tribe faced a losing streak that fractured the team. Unable to play the god-like Tom card, he was forced to save himself with a hidden immunity idol on the Heroes’ third tribe to tribal council. He was unable to turn the tide and was swiftly voted out at the next tribal council. Overall still a strong player, but unable to form the right alliance with others who knew how to play the game.

This is Elliot Arthur Cross failing to come up with a rhyming tease for place 19. It’ll be J.T.

On Sony eReader availability

Just realized I haven’t mentioned an entire market my books are available at on my endless quest of making it really easy for anyone to find.

Sony’s Reader store has both Ask Me No Questions and The Keysmith, as well as a function to notify you when other books by the same author are released (and there’ll be a lot more coming your way).

For new readers, Ask Me No Questions is a M/M erotic murder mystery and The Keysmith is an M/M adult ghost story.

This is Elliot Arthur Cross wishing you happy reading.

On Survivor Winners Ranking part 7

We continue our scientific countdown of the best Survivor Winners with a popular player.

19. Parvati Shallow (Survivor: Micronesia – Fans Vs. Favorites, season 16)

The first time Parvati played, she used the classic sex appeal angle and became a late juror. She was brought back for the first Fans Vs. Favorites season, where she lead a woman’s alliance of mixed fans and favorites. She demonstrated much better strategic skills and game aptitude than her first season, being one of the few replaying players who didn’t repeat past mistakes. She beat out Amanda in a 5 to 3 jury vote. Seen as a masterful villain, Parvati came back for Heroes Vs. Villains, where she faced off against Russell and Sandra. Parvati only managed 3 of the 9 jury votes.

While all of this is impressive, let’s examine some of the key factors to Parvati’s win. She had the experience of being a returning player working for her, but several lucky factors played into her victory that she didn’t have anything to do with, such as James’ hurting his finger so the game went to a final two instead of final three, in which Cirie may have won.

Near the end of the game, Cirie suggested Natalie trick Erik into giving up his immunity necklace. Had this not happened, Erik may have won the game. Johnathan Penner was medically evacuated. This changed the entire course of the game. Penner had formed an alliance with Kathy and Eliza (who had Jason on her side). His leaving was also the last straw that pushed Kathy into quitting.

And of course, Parvati was nearly the first person voted out of the season. Johnny Fairplay brilliantly orchestrated it, but then his pain from a recent neck/back injury flared up and he quit the game, saving Parvati. She owes Danny Bonaduce a million bucks for injuring Fairplay before filming. It also helped Parvati that only half of the “fans” actually were, and the other half were clueless.

This is Elliot Arthur Cross hinting that placeholder eighteen was a challenge-winning machine.

On Bates Motel episode six

This episode of Bates Motel, called “The Truth,” really captured the pilot’s frantic feeling. Picking up seconds after the last ep ended, we follow Dylan dealing with running down that addict and Norman finally retrieving the evidence from Keith Summers’ murder.

And then the last half was all-out action. I’ll miss Mike Vogel’s presence on the show, but it was either him or Norman, and the show isn’t called Zack Shelby’s Motel.

Just as suspected from the pilot, we finally get to see how Norman’s father died and I still hate that his name is Sam Bates. Homage to Psycho‘s Sam Loomis? I guess so.

Speaking of homage, that last shot was perfect. A stone-faced Norman Bates sitting in a car with police lights flashing. Goosebumps.

This is Elliot Arthur Cross looking forward to Jere Burns’ appearance next week as the first guest of the Bates Motel.

On Survivor Winners Ranking part 6

This is a player who routinely makes top ten lists, but he barely makes my top 20 winners.

19: “Boston Rob” Mariano (Survivor: Redemption Island, season 22)

In Survivor: Marquesas, the Robfather affected a mafioso bullying style that devastated his tribe. Having to be the alpha male, he orchestrated the ousters of smart, athletic tribemates, which lead to a losing streak. He was promptly voted out at the merge.

Despite not even making the jury, Rob was brought back for Survivor: All-Stars, in which he bullied his way to the end and made (and broke) meaningless alliances out of spite or twisted fun. The poor interpersonal skilled cost him the victory against coat-rider and paramour Amber. He made it personal for people in a way that went overboard and cost him the game.

His mean-spirited gameplay secured Boston Rob a spot in Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains. Rob quickly took the alpha male role as previously and became the villains’ leader, which of course clashed with the ego of Russell Hantz, who orchestrated a blindside. Rob was the third voted from his ten person tribe.

The Russell/Rob rivalry was played up for Survivor: Redemption Island, in which both of them returned to lead opposing tribes. Rob’s celebrity status allowed him to lead his sheep-I mean tribe-like a cult, propelling him to an easy win. Rob’s dominance of this season is impressive on its own, but when viewed as a ten year, four season whole, not so much. He even lost a jury vote to Special Agent Phillip.

This is Elliot Arthur Cross hinting that place 18 is another player who returned as a fiend.

On Hemlock Grove

I was so excited for this series. Netflix produced the amazing House of Cards, and the upcomingly brilliant Arrested Development, so I hoped that this horror/mystery/drama would be just as fantastic.

The cast is wonderful and it looks great. But there was a major flaw. The first episode felt like it should be the second.

Remember the Mary Tyler Moore pilot, when Mary gets the job at the new station and meets her new co-workers? Remember the pilot of Fringe when Olivia gets assigned to the Fringe team and meets everyone? How about the pilot of Buffy when she moves to a new town and meets everyone?

The pilot of Hemlock Grove acts like you already know everyone. I don’t. In the words of Joe Schmo, “What is going on?”

I don’t know if monsters are accepted as existing in this world. I don’t know what the rich family’s company does. I don’t know why Norman brought the cop to see some doctor at said company.

I’m semi-interested in seeing if it all comes together at least. I’ll let you know if I get through it and what my thoughts are afterwords.

This is Elliot Arthur Cross waiting for the return of the Bluth and Funke families.