Between: War (recap and review)

Jennette McCurdy in Between as Wiley
Last week’s episode, End of the Rope raised the stakes and really put things on the boil for the characters of Between and this week in War, they continue to show just how bad things can get in the beleaguered community of young survivors.

Adam’s father wakes him up in the prison to take him to safety. Pat is eaten up with guilt over killing Amanda and Chuck arms his lads with the intent of arresting the Creekers for his sister’s death. Gord tells Hannah she should have let him know she was married and the Mennonite girl returns to her community. Wiley wants to talk to Chuck and Pat’s sister tells her it is a very bad idea.

Chuck and his police force head to the Creeker residence and the family is not there. They find the car, that Pat struck Amanda with. Frances talks Gord into taking the milk into town for Melissa and the kids she looks after.

Adam’s father tries to take him to the tunnel that he used to get into Pretty Lake. The boy learns that not only is there no cure but that his dad worked on the virus. His father tells Adam that he is not immune and that there is no protection against it. Samantha tells Chuck that she knows the Creekers were responsible for Amanda’s death and tells the boy that Pat is there having confessed.

Adam and his continue to talk. Soldiers arrive and Adam’s dad says that they are early and that the military will kill the kids to prevent the spread of the virus. The soldiers, he says, do not know that their masks will not protect them and they believe they are inoculating the children to save them, not kill them. He coughs up blood and dies. Afterward, Adam stands by a door and looks ready to leave Pretty Lake.

Ronnie, Wiley and baby Jason, along with Tracey show up to save Pat. As things spiral out of control, Chuck takes aim at the elder Creeker to shoot him, Wiley jumps in the way demanding that she be killed for Amanda’s death as well. Gord and Melissa show up and big sister forces Wiley to tell Chuck who Jason’s father is and it is revealed that Chuck’s dad is the father. Jason is his brother.

The soldiers rush to “round up a 1,000 kids” and give them the injections. The group at the church; Chuck and the rest, begin to break up when Adam arrives. He tells them that the soldiers outside are there to kill them all. Chuck argues that it cannot be true and Adam points out the lack of communication with the outside world, no television, land-lines or cell phone signals. He also reminds them of the plane being shot down. The government, Adam says, are cleaning up their mess.

After striking Adam, the soldiers are overpowered and Wiley says that if Adam is wrong, “We’re all screwed.” All the kids are being taken to the prison of their shots and Wiley learns that Adam came back to save the kids. Gord and Adam dress up in the soldiers uniforms to escort the group to the prison and stop the soldiers from injecting the kids and wait for them to die. Mark says he can help them get to the control room at the prison as he was an inmate.

While Gord and his group head for the prison, Melissa and Wiley clear the air about the baby and their relationship. Two more soldiers appear and take them to the prison. The plan seems to be working as Gord and the guys follow Mark to the control room. Meanwhile the soldiers are injecting the smaller children.

As Wiley and Melissa are being transported, the soldier driving begins to choke and he dies. The van crashes. The guys are caught out by two other soldiers and the group split up after overpowering the duo. Adam makes it to the control room and as he begins to lock the prison down, his father turns up, not dead after all.

When questioned about it, Adam’s father explains that they are the only two who are immune to the virus as he used his own DNA to make the stuff. It was never meant to be used but Art Carey “went rogue” and infected the town of Pretty Lake. Adam has to shoot his father to save the remaining kids.

The rest of the show is a race between soldiers dying and kids being murdered and a huge dose of irony.

By the end of Between the price of survival has been dear. Two main characters die and there are a couple of heart-stopping moments when it looks like Frances will be killed as well. Rather interestingly, the whole idea behind the virus is population control, similar to the back story behind another Canadian series, The Lottery.

Adam learns that not only can father’s lie, but that governments do as well. Dad may have come back to get the boy, but at the price of killing the rest of the kids in Pretty Lake and the government knows this is happening. The cell phones come back on so the prime minister can tell the kids about the injections. Like the short lived Canadian series The Lottery, the underlying message of Between is that government’s lie and that we are all expendable for the greater good.

The episode War continues to show just how bad things can get in the contaminated area. This Netflix series has turned the corner from a slow uninteresting start to a show that should not be missed. Jennette McCurdy has grown into her character, Jesse Carere has made Adam believable and the rest of the cast are rocking their roles out of the park. Between should be re-named Unmissable.

Sleepy Hollow Season Two: War What Is It Good For

Sleepy Hollow Season Two: War What Is It Good For

Sleepy Hollow season two opened with This is War and like the song says, “what is it good for?” in this case it beneficial to show where everyone fits in the scheme of things overall. The second Horseman “War” who is Ichabod’s now immortal son, who has a bone to pick with not only dad but mother as well, is subservient to Moloch. At one point later in the show when Henry fails at a specific point of his mission, he falls to his knees and answers to the entity who tells him to get up and keep going.

Burning the Middle Ground by L Andrew Cooper A Battle for Control

Unknown

Written by L Andrew Cooper and published by Blackwyrm Publishing, Burning Middle Ground is a supernatural cum horror cum occult novel. Featuring a religious zealot that will make you think immediately of that Westboro bunch, the book disturbs as much as it scares.

The book’s prologue deals with the murder/suicide of and entire family sans one, Brian. After the events on this tragic and horrible day, Brian doesn’t speak for an entire year. When he is released out into the community and he decides to move into his old house, feelings are mixed in the tiny burg.

The story is about small town USA and it’s a town split by two very different Christian factors. Investigative internet reporter Ronald Glassner goes to the small town of Kenning, Georgia to cover Brian’s return and besides fall for one of the local sheriff’s deputies, he gets caught up in a battle of wills between two churches. One of which is practising a religion older than Christianity and it’s very powerful.

Once Ronald arrives in the small town, strange things begin to happen. Animals run wild, impossible events become common place and people are acting very weird.

All the characters in Cooper’s book are likeable. I felt like I could identify with each and every one and they did a brilliant job of not just representing the denizens of the southern hemisphere of America, but they also had enough quirks and foibles to seem real.

Ronald has the acerbic wit and a sort of radar that helps him to sense when things are not right. He also tends to joke too much when he is stressed. As the third person narrator of the story he is charming, funny, scared and sensible.

The books main “bogey-man” Deacon Jake Warren is an outsider who has made Kenning his home and base of operation. He soon enlists the aid of Reverend Michael Cox a local “fire and brimstone, eye for an eye” man of the cloth. Soon Cox’s wife and the local sheriff are part of his plans for Kenning as well.

In the opposite camp you have Jeanne Harper who runs a church that practices a more peaceful and loving religion she counts, among her flock, Brian and his girl friend Melanie and a small handful of locals who don’t like what Rev Cox preaches. Especially as it was one of his sermons that appeared to have set off the stream of events at the beginning of the book.

With imagery that would not look out of place in a Stephen King or Peter Straub book, Cooper has created a world that, despite its nightmarish aspect, is very cinematic and easy to picture in your mind as you encounter it. I became quite attached to all the main characters and as they struggle to the conclusion of this story, I felt bad when bad things happened to them.

This is obviously the beginning of what promises to be a brilliant series and I cannot wait to see what Mr Cooper has in store for the survivors of Kenning.

LAndrewCooperTourBadge

Bravery, a State of Mind or Being…

Lieutenant Mamo Habtewold

I read an article today about an Ethiopian soldier who was awarded the US Award for Gallantry. In 1951 he was part of a force sent by the Ethiopian King Haile Selassie as a show of support for the American lead United Nations force that was fighting in Korea.

Selassie was a man who practised what he preached. He had in the past poured scorn on the UN when it failed, as the League of Nations, to send help when his country was invaded by Italy in 1935. Being a staunch ally of the US King Selassie thought that the ‘call to arms’ sent out by the UN to help South Korea in it’s battle against North Korea and the Chinese was the perfect opportunity to show how support should be given.

King Selassie sent in excess of 3000 troops. Most of whom were drawn from his own imperial guards. After speaking to the men and telling them that he expected them to bring their flag back with them. The three battalions left to become part of the US 7th Division.

These battalions fought in a large number of battles in Korea including the infamous ‘Pork Chop Hill‘ which claimed so many lives from both sides.

The soldier who received the US Award for Gallantry was, then, Lieutenant Mamo Habtewold. He says that when the first Ethiopian troops returned in 1951, they all spoke of the battles they’d taken part in and pretty much boasted about their time there.

When the Ethiopians joined the newly ‘de-segregated’ 7th Division they were given an elevated status from the US black soldiers already there. Mama said that discrimination was not an issue.  “You know Ethiopia has a 3,000-year history as an independent country. We Ethiopians were proud and boasting that we were Ethiopians. We don’t care about any colour. The Americans didn’t call us ‘Negro’ as we would be angry,” he says.

Mamo went on to say, “We were the best fighters. The three Ethiopian battalions fought 253 battles, and no Ethiopian soldier was taken prisoner in the Korean War,” he says. “That was our Ethiopian motto: ‘Never be captured on the war field.”

Peace talks were stalled and Mamo and his men were part of the Division that was assigned to the hilly territory that included Pork Chop Hill. The fighting was long, bloody and fierce. On one night in May 1953 Mamo lead a 14 man patrol down the hill to scout out the land below. They had one American soldier along and very soon the 15 strong patrol was surrounded by Chinese forces that were 300 strong. A ratio of twenty Chinese soldiers to each one of the Ethiopian patrol.

Four Ethiopians were killed along with the American Corporal. Everyone else was wounded. Using weapons taken from dead Chinese soldiers, Mamo searched throughout the night to find a working radio so he could call in the Artillery units for support. After a long search, Mamo found a radio and Artillery was called in and support came from other troops.

When the remainder of the 14 man patrol came back to their base camp, only Mamo was able to stand. He alone walked back to their bunker while his comrades were sent to the medical units for treatment.

When the war ended, the Ethiopians returned to a heroes welcome. Through the entire conflict they had only lost 120 men and had no men taken prisoner.

Mamo says that at one point during the long night of battle with the Chinese, he thought of killing himself. He had given his pistol to another soldier and when he asked for it back, the soldier refused. That action was what prompted Mamo to search for Chinese weapons to use against the forces attacking them. He did not, apart from that one moment, think of suicide again.

All of which begs the question: What exactly is bravery? I’ve heard it described many ways. The best I’ve ever heard is this, ‘Bravery is knowing that all the odds are against you, but you carry on anyway.’

Of course the above definition of bravery suggests that the individuals being brave are aware of it. In other words they are aware that they are being brave. I don’t really feel that this is the case.

In Mamo’s story, at one point he wanted to end it all. It was only when his soldier refused to return his gun that he changed his mind. But the way he tells it, it was a ‘moment’ an instant of decision that came and went just as quickly. He then continued his battle against incredible odds until they were rescued.

A rescue only possible because Mamo found a radio that worked. So in his instance at least the bravery he exhibited was more a combination of a state of mind and being.

I think of men in battle like Mamo and wonder at their courage and bravery. I wonder if I could or would have acted so well under fire.

I had a great uncle who was a runner in the WWI. He was a message runner for Col MacArthur (later General MacArthur). My uncle would take the message and put it into the dispatch case and head out through the forest towards his objective. By the time he would reach his destination, he had been through his own personal hell.

General MacArthur circa: 1930

My uncle would arrive with the case clutched firmly in his hands. His uniform had been blasted off his body by bombs and shrapnel. He was numb and deafened by the sounds of the explosions. He would hand his message over and after resting and getting re-outfitted he would head back with the reply. I cannot imagine such bravery as this.

He had to know that each and every time he was used as a runner that this would be the likely result. Yet as far as I know, he never refused. This bravery cost him dearly. By the time he was mustered out of the army, he was shell shocked and obviously suffering from post traumatic stress which was not understood in those days.

To get him through each day, he drank. Copious amounts. It was thought that he was just a ‘rummy’ a drunk and he was looked down upon by a lot of people. It was only years later that the family learned of post traumatic stress syndrome and it’s toll on the people who suffered from it.

The fact that this man would get up everyday and face his inner demons with the help of alcohol is another form of bravery. He had no one to help him and no one who understood. Yet, like the running he’d done in the war, he still did it.

Why?

Is it because  he felt a sort of duty or because he could not think of any alternative?

What do you think? Is bravery a state of mind or is it a state of being. Do we consciously decide to be brave, or is it something we just do?  I’d be willing to bet that neither Mamo Habtewold nor my great uncle could tell you.

*For more information on Ethiopia’s role in the Korean War follow this link:  An Ethiopian hero of the Korean War*

During battle, soldiers ran the messages, instead of ‘calling it in’