Shit has been going down in the Critical Role fandom lately, leaving my poor heart battered, confused, and hopeful all at the same time. With the sudden torrential downpour of feelings, I knew immediately after watching the most recent episode that I had to go looking for fic. For fear of spoilers, I can’t reveal much in this beginning paragraph. What I can say, however, is that if you’re looking for a complex dive into the weaving and grieving of different aspects of families, both found and otherwise, look no further than this fic.
Massive spoilers for Critical Role beneath the cut.
HBO promotional image of Matt Jamison (Christopher Eccleston)
As it prepares for its final episodes, it’s time to revisit HBO’s The Leftovers, where past years of struggles and miracles give way to a looming cataclysm. In brief, the show depicts the aftermath of the Sudden Departure, a Rapture-like event where 2% of the Earth’s population vanished in an instant. The first season focused on the immediate aftermath of the event in a small town in upstate New York, and the second turned to a community in Texas, which was spared altogether.
Having already moved most of the cast across the country, the final season moves most of the action to Australia, in the days leading up to the seven-year anniversary of the Departure: a growing consensus sees this occasion as the likely beginning of the End of Days. Simultaneously darker and funnier than its predecessors, the show is very conscious that this season is its last. Absurdity and grief pair together as the characters realize that their quest to make the Departure meaningful approaches its final hour.
While the other seasons largely focused on community responses to tragedy, this final season has been atomically individual. After all, we each go into death alone, even though we are all going to die.
I love me some musical theater. So while I had heard from a friend that Dear Evan Hansen had a deeply unpleasant storyline, when my mom offered to buy me and my brother, who was visiting from my hometown, tickets, I figured I’d give the show the chance to prove itself. I headed into the theater last Saturday night knowing none of the music and with only my friend’s brief synopsis of the plot to go on. What followed was two and a half hours of the most disgustingly tasteless story I have had the misfortune to experience in a theater. I spent the entire first act feeling like I was actually going to be sick to my stomach, and found no real solace in the second act, which was frustratingly absent any repercussions for the title character’s reprehensible behavior.
I wrote a review for Final Fantasy VII: Advent Childrena while back. In it, I went over some of its problems—it panders, has too many characters for its running time, and breaks its suspension of disbelief more than once. I also briefly touched on Cloud’s depression, which I plan to talk about in more detail today. Advent Children has a lot of things wrong with it, and as a whole, the movie simply does not work. Cloud’s character arc is one of those things. The movie doesn’t know how to handle mental health issues, and that makes Advent Children more than a little painful to watch at times. Cloud suffers from depression, but his depression never contributes to his character arc in a way that matters. Advent Children uses it to set up his internal conflict, but it never resolves his issues. Instead, Cloud’s depression is little more than a gimmick, and the way the movie handles it really drags on the story.
Upon finally finishing Mystic Messenger, I’ve come to one conclusion: I’m dead. Emotionally dead. As far as otome games go, Cheritz’s Mystic Messenger has some of the best writing I’ve ever seen, and a plot full of more twists and turns that I would have ever thought possible from a freemium-styled mobile game. While the game does have plenty of cute moments and funny interactions, as well as drama, these are all to be expected. What I wasn’t expecting, however, was a deeper look into the tragedy of mental illness, and how even the best intentions can lead to an ultimately harmful ending for more than one person.
Major spoilers for the game, especially both of the secret stories, beneath the cut. Additionally, a trigger warning for mentions of suicide.
Dearest Readers, writing for Black History Month is difficult. There is a difficult balance of focusing on concepts vs. people, discussing people that are strangers vs. people you are friendly with, and characters vs real people. To further the complication, there is an urge to spend the whole month celebrating and spotlighting things that deserve praise. But at the same time, I find it absolutely necessary to discuss less enjoyable topics.
A lot of exciting things happened to me this Christmas—I saw Star Wars four times, got a Lego Millennium Falcon, and went into anaphylactic shock. Twice. It was an eventful time for me that I thankfully survived, and as my break started coming to an end, APerigren told me about this amazing scary movie called The Babadook that came out in 2014 and was both written and directed by Jennifer Kent as her directorial debut. Despite hating horror films because they give me nightmares, and disregarding the potentially fatal medical issues I just suffered through, I decided to traumatize myself even more by giving The Babadook a watch. This was a bad idea.
Regardless of my low tolerance for scary monsters and the subsequent nightmares the story gave me, I will concede that The Babadook is one of the better movies I’ve watched. The Babadook is a psychological thriller about a monster called the Babadook who terrorizes and possesses people. It’s also a giant metaphor for depression and grief.