End of Prey 14.6

And with that, I’m pretty sure this part of the Arc comes to a close, surprisingly enough without anyone having to dodge Bakuda bombs.

This was very good. I liked the bits of the Protectorate+Wards vs Mannequin+Crawler battle we got, how Taylor contributed to it and the way Weld accepted without hesitation that she wanted to contribute, but the real star of the chapter was the tangent about eating bugs the whole scene with Amy healing Victoria and arguing with the Undersiders (especially Lisa, who seemed to care a lot about the mind-manipulation in play) about the best course of action forward. At least she intends to undo what she did, even if she’s prioritizing the bodily repairs and then plans to run off again and find a job as a rogue healer without working for the government.

Regent was really good in that part. More of that Regent, please.

One thing I didn’t realize until right at the end was how much the Travelers were backgrounded here. Apparently they were present (but perhaps out of earshot?) for the whole healing scene, but they were barely mentioned and none of them said a word. Neither did Rachel, for that matter, but I’m used to that.

Anyway, it seems we’ve found our next destination: An evacuation shelter. I hope it’s the same one Taylor visited during Extermination, though that might be a bad choice on the Nine’s part, since Leviathan fucked the place – and the door in particular – up.

In there we’ll quite likely find Jack, Bonesaw, however many of Bonesaw’s latest victims, and possibly even Siberian. Sounds like fun!

I don’t really have any other predictions for it right now, so… See you there!

End of Prey 14.5

This was another good one. 🙂

I found myself talking to Taylor’s deaf ears a lot regarding two issues: Going back into the fray (though given the trouble Cache was in, it was probably worth it), and her attitude towards Amy after Amy showed frankly not unreasonable restraint in helping villains (not helped by Amy’s reluctant addition to Bailey proving unwanted, though that’s really not Amy’s fault). I’m not sure that’s a bad thing, though. The tension in the chapter is somewhat aided by the knowledge that the Bakuda carpet is coming in time (though presumably only after the Protectorate and Wards get out of the blast zone), and the bits with Amy serve to show Taylor’s harder side when she has things to do and little patience for those who stand in the way of that.

I very much enjoyed Taylor fighting alongside Weld. Not just for shippy reasons, either – my shipping of them has faded to the point where that’s just an afterthought – but because it’s neat to see them silently slip into teamwork like they did, and it’s an interesting break from the team dynamics we’re used to. Weld also cemented his worth as a quite capable fighter when it counts, which was cool.

I do kinda hope there’s an answer for why the cars didn’t stick to his blades, though. That was kind of distracting. I’m guessing I’ll have a few asks about that, unless answering it is spoilery, so I’m looking forward to seeing what you guys have to say about it.

Crawler’s finally getting some significant attention, which is fun. The bigger kitty seems to be a bit of a raging asshole, but that’s to be expected. The Nine can’t all be Bonesaw. Only the ones Bonesaw can perform plastic and brain surgery on can be Bonesaw.

So, next time, I guess we’re going to be dealing with Crawler somehow. Maybe the silk technique could work again, but Skitter is very low on bugs now compared to the millions she had before the bombs, and the surviving spiders might be out of silk.

Also, it might not be next chapter, but I think Grue using his darkness is going to become relevant. “Grue was also using his darkness, oddly enough.” with no further elaboration is very suspicious. Maybe he’ll be borrowing a bit of power that helps him save the day?

So yeah… see you there!

End of Prey 14.4

My prediction that we’d be seeing Greg and Lisa’s first kiss didn’t come true, so this was clearly the most disappointing chapter yet.

…nah, this was a really solid one. Piggot can be beautifully devious when she wants to be, and the tension in the Undertraveler rescue mission was supreme.

And then there’s Amy giving Skitter a flying mount by merging many small bugs into one big bug (that Taylor has to micromanage in flight because it doesn’t know how to function)! That was awesome. I’m looking forward to seeing Taylor incorporate her new steed into her tactics, and maybe even bonding with him. I wonder what she’s going to name him – Buzz Lightyear is a bit too untaylorish and unwormish. Buzz Aldrin might work a little better. Fly-int Coal? Beetle Ray Cyrus?

But nah, Taylor’s not one for silly names, so she might just call him Boberto Francesco or something serious like that.

The end of the chapter unexpectedly left the question of whether the Undertravelers were out of the blast zone as a cliffhanger, rather than give us an action hero explosion escape shot (or at least showing the explosion in this chapter), so I guess they’re still not quite in the clear. Time to dodge Bakuda tech? Though Taylor has a major advantage with flight capabilities, she’d still need to find a way to help the others.

Maybe she could do that by having the bugs (try to) catch the bombs in silk nets? Or failing that, at least fill the air above her friends with bugs so she can sense the bombs’ trajectories and give them signals regarding where to move?

It’s also worth noting that the Undertravelers are moving way faster than Amy is, so if they’re not out of the blast zone, I worry for her.

Whatever the case, the Undertravelers are going to have a serious bone to pick with the Jirector of the PRT when this is over and the Nine are defeated, if not before.

So yeah! Next time we make sure we’re out of the blast zone and maybe tell Jemily than “we lived, bitch”. Also Leviathan invites the Undertravelers to some tea and cakes. See you then!

End of Prey 14.3

This was a fantastic chapter! I love everything to do with Amy in it, and the chase scene was really good too. And then the more mobile members of the Protectorate and Wards showed up, along with Glory Girl for extra Amy goodness. Fortunately, rather than bombing them (I suppose this is too different from the plan to go through with that just yet), Piggot wants to talk to the Undertravelers, and for some reason she (or Chariot, if Piggot didn’t specify) went with Tattletale as the Undertravelers’ spokesperson in spite of all the data that tells them to avoid talking to her. That might backfire.

I suppose Piggot wants to know what they mean re: Siberian’s “creator” and how they found out, but there’s gotta be more to it. It wouldn’t warrant a dramatic chapter ender if there wasn’t. Maybe this is how they begin to set up the trap?

There’s also the issue that Siberian and the other Nine are still running around nearby, and who knows what the situation is for the other part of the Undertravelers, now that the PRT is involved. Hopefully we’ll find out next chapter.

Fuck, this situation is such a mess.

Amy. Amy, Amy, Amy. I love Amy’s character so much these days. If things do – this is against the odds but currently very possible – end up making her a permanent Undersider, I’m gonna have a new favorite on the team.

In this chapter, we got to see her development with Taylor pay off as she admitted things she wouldn’t say to just anyone, actively chose to help the Undertravelers out, and even – after a questionable pep talk by Lisa – joined them in the race against Siberian. This is major character and relationship development and I love it.

So… yeah. Next chapter, it’s time to talk to Jemily, hopefully find out how the other members of the Undertravelers are doing, and see Greg and Lisa’s first kiss. See you then!

End of Prey 14.2

This was quite solid! Siberian was kept at bay for the most part, but the sense that she was a big threat was nicely kept up throughout the chapter. 🙂

I was bamboozled, but I’m not complaining. I’m all for more Amy (to a much larger extent than more Colin), and while she didn’t get the chance to do much besides run and hide, the third thing she ended up doing could lead to some excellent developments: She had to trust Skitter and let herself be saved by other villains. I wonder how that’s going to make her feel when it comes to her hangups about heroism and villainy, but first and foremost I’m hoping it’ll lead to more amycable relations between Amy and the Undersiders and, through that, more Amy.

Next chapter, we need to keep Siberian from fucking up the other half of the Undertravelers. I’m interested in how this will be presented. We’re definitely not just going to make a phone call and wait to hear how things went, so we’re probably looking at either a) the group we’ve been following arriving at the scene at the beginning of the chapter with Siberian already making a mess of their plans (especially anything that targets Bonesaw), or b) an Interlude from the perspective of someone on that scene before and after Siberian’s arrival. Probably a Traveler if that’s the case, though it is worth noting that Trickster and Sundancer are out of the running since they’re in the wrong group. Genesis, perhaps? Ballistic would be nice too, but Genesis’ power would be more interesting to get a first-person description of.

Of course, there’s also the rest of the Nine to watch out for.

So yeah, that ought to be fun. See you next time!

End of Prey 14.1

Huh. I suppose Siberian is the prey now. Among others. Honestly I think everyone is prey in this Arc.

This was a very nice chapter. It started out quite casually with a cozy breakfast and adorable shipping fuel, neatly segued into Cherish trying to manipulate the Undersiders, and gave us the revelation that Siberian has a vulnerable male body for the Undersiders (and probably the Travelers) to go after. We also got a scene of Rachel taking the initiative to understand Taylor for once, which was nice.

Even as the tone got a little darker, he content less breakfast-centric, and Cherish’s attempts at manipulation sent off icky vibes, the chapter stayed pretty casual right up to the end, which I appreciate. It’s a calm between the storms, and hoo boy we’re in for a storm.

This isn’t going to be anywhere near as easy as “show up nearby, find Siberidude (Dudeberian? Siberiman.) with the bugs, off them and go home”. There’s got to be complications, and I’d say the monochrome Siberian counts as a big one. Her prey might also cause trouble in his own way. Please tell me he’s not trying to fight her head on…

He’s trying to fight her head on, isn’t he.

Come on, Colin. She’s very close to an Endbringer in melee power, and you’ve already used up aaaaaaaall the luck against one of those. It didn’t work out for you then.

Anyway, this ought to be a wild ride, and I’m looking forward to it. See you soon!

End of Interlude 13

Well, that was interesting. Certainly less PR-focused than I was expecting.

We got some insight into what makes Jirector Jemily Piggot tick, though her apparent distaste for parahumans ultimately stayed more implicit than I thought it would.

Siberian is likely in the spotlight next Arc, I think, given her importance in the Case 01 scene. It was neat to see a bit of the original four-person Protectorate in action, and hear Alexandria speak. I think I’ll like her if she gets to speak in the future.

We learned about Legend’s orientation, which I had been spoiled about, and more importantly the fact that he’s happily married or partnered and has adopted a son! Regardless of the genders involved, this is so far the purest ship we’ve had since the needle gals. 🙂

Skitter’s message arrived, but she might’ve been unlucky with who made the plan for the attack she invited them into making. Piggot turned scary at the very end with her plan to cluster Bakuda bomb the villains of Brockton Bay when they come to help against the Nine. Holy fuck, Piggot.

Next up… I don’t actually know if there’s another Interlude here, or if it’s Arc Thoughts. Hang on, people who don’t actually need to hang on because I’m posting this and the next paragraph together.

Fuck, I tried to check the link of the next chapter for the word “Interlude” without looking at it and almost succeeded. I should’ve gone for my original plan of asking Sharks or LHC (since Sharks seems to have gone to bed) after all. But I didn’t, and now I know the title of the next Arc, unless it’s been changed like seemed to be the case with Sentinel.

Prey. A title that could refer to a lot of people right now.

I’ll have to speculate more on that in the Arc Thoughts post tomorrow. Honestly, I’ve thought about moving the Arc title speculation to those posts anyway.

Oh yeah, Arc Thoughts tomorrow.

This post is breaking down fast. So yeah, see you soon for that!

End of Snare 13.10

S.S. Taylor x Brian is back from the depths!

This was a good dénouement. We got to learn what the hell just happened with Brian’s new power, singular, and while it did lead to some hurt feelings along the way, we got some excellent relationship development between Taylor and Brian. I’m not just talking about their romantic relationship, here – I mean their relationship as a whole. In the process we also learned how Brian’s holding up after all he’s just been through: Not great.

I also appreciate that Brian called out some of Taylor’s self-destructive behavior. Honestly, out of everything at this point, that’s the thing that’s pulling me back towards the ship the most. Taylor needs someone to remind her to live for herself, not just others.

Maybe this would work better as a moirallegiance.

So yeah, now the two of them will have to figure out what the hell they are to each other. Let’s not rush them, though.

Next chapter, I’m pretty sure we’re going into an Interlude. Who did I speculate on us reading the perspective of, again? Oh yeah, one of the Travelers. There’s been so many signs that we’re about to find out about their past that I suspect we’re going to find out before Taylor does, in the upcoming Interlude.

Which I’m going to get started on shortly, so stay tuned! See you there!

End of Snare 13.9

This was pretty good, though I could see it being controversial for giving Brian a bunch of new powers that were super convenient for the situation, almost out of the blue.

It is convenient, but in a way that matches my theories for how trigger events work. There were quite a lot of the powers – which is a little more iffy and might cause misguided accusations of Brian being a Mary Sue – but that was pointed out by Taylor and will likely be addressed further, so I’m not too worried about that.

Bonesaw was somewhat less on the funny side this time than I was hoping she might be (I was prepared for the fact that this might be the case since it was a very serious situation), but she still had her moments. Such a precious little monster.

She also didn’t get anywhere near as far into fucking up the Undertravelers’ bodies as I was expecting. That’s a good thing for the Undertravelers, of course, though I was actually kind of hoping for more on that front too, mainly for the character development as they deal with the consequences? However, the exposition on how powers and brains interface, the Dandelion scene and especially Brian’s powerup make up for it.

In other status quo news, Burnscar is dead (and less importantly, Hack Job, though that might be something I’d missed from a couple chapters back). That means there’s a second open spot in the Nine, signalling that the nomination game plot is likely getting moved away from in favor of taking out the Nine gradually.

That’s probably a good thing to do. If they just took out Jack, I do think the Nine would fall apart (though Siberian and Bonesaw would probably stick together), but I’m not sure the six or seven remaining Nine running around Brockton Bay individually is that much better.

Next chapter: The wind-down, I think. First they need to get out of here and fetch Regent and Bitch (Regent can let Genesis know she should dissolve via Shatterbird), though. We’ll likely learn more about Brian’s state, either from him or from Tattletale, and maybe hear Imp’s story from the horse’s mouth.

See you then!

End of Snare 13.8

Bonesaw is so good and so horrible, I love her so much. Not as a person, mind you, but as a character she’s fucking fantastic.

Trickster’s plan worked pretty well, but they came too late for Grue to be in particularly good shape, and in an effort to get Bonesaw to fix him, Taylor, Ballistic, Trickster, Tattletale and Sundancer ended up at Bonesaw’s mercy. Damn, that’s a shitty situation to be in.

But hey, at least they found Imp?

The situation reminds me a lot of when Bakuda got her hands on the Undersiders, with our protagonists being paralyzed at the mercy of a crazed villain who intends to fuck with their bodies. The stakes are higher, though, because of how Bonesaw does things, and this time, I don’t think they’re coming out with just a concussion.

I do think at least three of them are going to make it out of this situation alive, not counting Grue, but there’s little chance this isn’t going to lead to permanent changes for at least one or two of the protagonists, unless they somehow manage to convince Bonesaw to fix things without using that to her advantage.

Which, incidentally, is the only way we could get Grue home.

Regent is are out there still, but he has no reason to believe something’s wrong inside yet, so I doubt he’s going to be coming to their rescue. I suppose it’s possible that a stray light blast from Purity could cause an opening for the Undertravelers somehow.

I’m guessing there’s either one or two chapters left in this Arc (not counting Interludes). The next one’s probably going to be horrifying and hilarious and I’m very much looking forward to it.

See you then!