Movie Review: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019)

Film Title: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Summary: When Hiccup discovers Toothless isn’t the only Night Fury, he must seek “The Hidden World”, a secret Dragon Utopia before a hired tyrant named Grimmel finds it first.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. There are a lot of characters in this movie who we know and love from the previous two movies. I’m not going to particularly talk about them all because while they’re cool, they’re not as important to me as the ones I will talk about.
  • Jay Baruchel as Hiccup. I’ve always thought his voice was a little weird, but it works for this character. Hiccup is the new chief of Berk and the initial trainer of dragons. He has big dreams for his people, he wants them to save all the dragons, but he also knows that their home has become a bigger target, so he intends to find this Hidden World, his father spoke of, and move them all there to live in harmony away from other humans who want to hunt dragons. In this movie, he has a lot of growing up to do, but not in the “be a man” type of growing he’s had to do in the past, but more along the lines of “there are hard choices to make that will be painful but they have to be in the best interest of those you love” kind of choices. I think his arc has come full circle beautifully in this film. I love Hiccup. He is such a likable character and you want him to succeed but you also know he’s going to have a hard time of it.
  • Toothless. He is not voiced by a person but Toothless is just as important as Hiccup. Toothless is like a brother to Hiccup more so than a pet or anything like that. In the first movie he’s the last of his kind and no one knows anything about them or what they really look like. When Hiccup brings him down, he loses a tail wing, so he can’t fly but Hiccup helps him and Toothless does his own thing. Eventually though they become friends and Toothless is a ride or die. In this movie, he is still the Alpha from the last movie and it’s clear that he and Hiccup are mostly on the same page but when he sees the Light Fury (that’s what Astrid called her), he’s into her because Night Furies mate for life and its super cute. Toothless is adorable and hilarious to watch and his emotions are so clear on his face that it’s like dialogue, but we just don’t need it for him. I love Toothless.
  • America Ferrera as Astrid. She is badass okay. She is an excellent fighter and in this one, Hiccup’s fiancée. She is a strong woman on her own but also in support of Hiccup who probably leans on her more than he does anyone else (other than Toothless). She is also willing to follow him and support him and speak up and question him when she’s not sure of his plans. She clearly loves his ingenuity and passion for his people and the dragons and it’s great to see how she looks at him (kudos to the animators who worked on her). America Ferrera’s voice works well in this character, it’s light and welcoming but when she’s being fierce you know she’ll kick butt, not to mention, the way she says certain dialogue pieces work so well.
  • F. Murray Abraham as Grimmel the Grisly. He is a dragon hunter and he’s after Toothless. I mean… who isn’t lol? But this was a good villain. All the villains in these movies, the main ones, have been really good and his intention is not to necessarily rid the world of dragons but to finish what he started all those years ago with the Night Furies. I liked that he didn’t have such big ambitions, he knew his advantages and he used them. The voice work was also great for his character.
Supporting Characters.
Cate Blanchett as Valka. Craig Ferguson as Gobber the Belch. Jonah Hill as Snotlout Jorgenson. Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Fishlegs Ingerman. Kristen Wiig and Justin Rupple as Ruffnut and Tuffnut Thorston. Kit Harington as Eret. Gerard Butler as Stoick the Vast. They all reprise their roles from the first two films and their characters are still hilarious, the voice acting is good and the moments with Gerard Butler and a young Hiccup played by A.J Kane are sweet moments.
Beautiful Animation. I think DreamWorks has beautiful animation in general for their movies, minus Shark Tale (shudders), but this movie is so beautiful because the Hidden World in general is such a feast for the eyes. I really wish I saw this in IMAX or something because I feel like it would have done it justice. But the characters look even better than before, the animation for Toothless and the Light Fury is clearly handled with care, even if Toothless looks like Stitch lol. Even the villain had such an interesting look and the animation on his facial expressions were great.
Emotional Story. Listen, I pretty much had tears in my eyes the entire time but the last act of the film I cried. This is such a good trilogy with such a strong story arc and an emotional crux in Hiccup and Toothless’ relationship that you are so invested in their bond.
Friendship between Hiccup and Toothless. Going off the last point, one of the strongest things about the movie, about all the movies, is the friendship between Hiccup and Toothless. We are invested the moment Hiccup puts his hand out and turns away to allow Toothless to make the final move. You know that iconic moment…
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But once that moment happens, you are invested in their bond. They both have gone through hell to save and love the other, it’s such a great brotherhood, friendship shown on screen. Probably one of the best in a long time. So, to see that continue and grow even more, with lessons being learned by both characters in different ways is such a treat.
Hiccup and Astrid. Another strong relationship in the movie is the one between Hiccup and Astrid. In the first movie, we see their friendship bloom and grown and the second one it’s a romantic relationship. In this one, it’s been a year since the last film, and their relationship is even stronger. She trusts him and believes in him wholeheartedly, but she also is willing to be the one to help him to talk things out and to make Hiccup think through his problems and give him a firm hand. I love the fact that Hiccup’s mother gives Astrid advice on how to work on being there for Hiccup and while it’s a “supporting” role, she’s still very much in the forefront because she’s the one he leans on. I loved that about them.
Cons:
I don’t particularly have specific cons and I was trying to figure out if anything really stood out to me that wasn’t as good as everything else and I settled on the fact that the movie is great overall and a great ending, but it was predictable. I knew what was going to happen and I was prepared for it because it’s emotional, but I totally called it from the beginning. I think it’s hard to close out such an interesting story with interesting leads in Hiccup and Toothless and it not feel weaker than some of the other elements. Not to mention, the stakes didn’t seem nearly as high or the tension wasn’t fully realized as it wanted it too. In the first movie, being that the villain was Hiccup’s dad, kind of and the other adults made it much more personal for Hiccup. While this villain’s intention was to get Toothless, it’s been that way for each movie so it’s a little old.
Overall, I love this entire trilogy and I think Hidden World was a fantastic ending to a basically perfect trilogy. The characters are still great, mostly the main three in Hiccup, Toothless and Astrid (the others are fine but mostly comic relief). I think the growth in both Hiccup and Toothless has been a joy to watch and the animation remains beautiful. Oh, and the music is glorious. It’s such an experience to see on the big screen. The Hidden World alone is such a treat for the eyes. I love the emotional story because this is the end of the trilogy and they must go out on a bang. I cried y’all. A LOT. I love the friendship between Hiccup and Toothless because the movie, all of them, have banked on that relationship and it’s so strong that it’s more than just a friendship, it’s a brotherhood. I also really enjoyed the strong relationship between Hiccup and Astrid… relationship goals! My minor issue if that I think the plot lacks tension and stakes like it wanted to build. The villain was a good one and I liked that he didn’t have these huge motives, but I never really felt that he was going to be this huge threat. You know? I mean it’s been the same motive for each movie. In the end, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is a great ending to a great story!
Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy? Have you seen The Hidden World yet? Check it out and tell me if it’s worthy to be considered one of the best trilogies of all time? I would think so.
Thanks for reading!
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Trailer Reaction: Aladdin (2019)

You guys! The official trailer for Aladdin dropped and I think it’s glorious!
As I said in “My Thoughts: Live Action Aladdin“, I’ve been hopeful and optimistic for this movie ever since it was announced. I love Aladdin, it’s always been on my favorite Disney movies, favorite movie of all time. I think it lends itself to live action really well, it just depends on the people involved and how it’s handled. The teaser trailer made me smile but I was like “okay, this is cute” but THIS trailer has me rejuvenated and I’m so excited to see it. Now May is a tricky month, usually a lot of big blockbusters come out but I think Aladdin has some nice cushion that it won’t be dogged out by other larger movies. Plus, it’s Disney, plus it’s a live action reimagining so… I think it’ll be fine.
Now, I’ve only done this one other time and it was when Beauty and the Beast came out, you can look at that reaction here. I won’t do it all the time, but maybe just for the Disney ones, I don’t know. But I knew I wanted to do it for this.
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So here is Agrabah, at least the lower levels and I think it really gives this world some depth and I like how not only does it remind me of the animated film, but it kind of makes its own way.
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Here is our resident street rat doing awesome parkour stuff, which he should be able to do considering he knows the marketplace like the back of his hand and he must be able to escape from the palace guards whenever he can. It makes sense that he can do these cool awesome things. Plus, Guy Ritchie does action scenes well, so I’m hoping that the beginning with him running through the marketplace coupled with “One Jump” that it will be a fun opening, not to mention all the action that happens at the end when Aladdin returns to save the day!
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So I’ve always liked the foreshadowing in the animated film when Aladdin takes that rug and uses it to escape at the beginning only for him to find a living rug in the Cave of Wonders and it helps him escape then. So, I think it’s rather cool that they have him holding it like he’s going to use it but then he doesn’t, maybe it was a diversion?? lol I don’t know but it made me laugh when I rewatched the trailer. Not to mention, the rope he’s using also holds up the scaffolding the guards are standing on, so two birds one stone.
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The guards fall into a big thing of flowers, instead of cow dung lol and the flowers fly and slowly fall around Jasmine and I think it’s a really beautiful moment. Naomi Scott looks great in that scene and I love her slow turn with the flowers and then Aladdin’s “Whoa” moment upon seeing her. I know, she pretty lol.
THEN DISNEY LOGO. Side note, does anyone remember the old Disney intro with Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey Mouse using magic to make the Disney logo appear? If I find it while writing this, I’ll add it to the final edit.
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FOUND IT!

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So then we see Jafar walking towards a barred door with Iago flying in the background. Probably his secret lair where he finds out who the diamond in the rough is and he’s talking in the background to Aladdin. He’s appealing to Aladdin’s desires, which is of course super smart because you get someone to do the dirty work for you who is willing to do whatever.
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As he’s talking to Aladdin in the desert but the big difference I see here, is that Jafar is talking to him as himself. Which in the Broadway play, he doesn’t disguise himself as that old man, he just saves him from being killed by the guards and sweet talks him into helping him. So perhaps they’re going that route with this which I think is interesting because then when he sees him later, will he be quick on his feet about recognizing him and thinking he’s no good? I’m curious.
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Gosh her outfit is beautiful. Now we have Aladdin on the camel following Jafar and his people out into the desert to the Cave of Wonders and it looks really cool! I mean it’s built right into the side of the mountain and I wonder if it’s always there or if they have to summon it. I like the fact that it’s always there, just maybe not awake?
But he gets in there and the inside looks really cool! He’s climbing on giant rocks to the lamp and we get the shot we got at the end of that very first teaser.
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I like the way he’s looking at the lamp. It’s like wonder and awe but at the same time he’s really careful. He’s lived on the street all of his life, he’s surrounded by treasure and I’m sure he was told not to touch anything else and he’s probably like “Okay… nice and easy… don’t do anything crazy” because that’s exactly what I would be thinking while trying to pick that up. Plus… is it heavy? Aladdin is looking at the lamp and the details on it is very beautiful. He rubs it and here comes the blue smoke!
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He looks so good coming out of that smoke! So he’s putting on this booming voice and talking about working for the master and the wishes three and all that normal genie stuff… you know I have to say, I think since Robin Williams was pretty much Robin Williams while portraying the genie and it was iconic, it makes sense for them to allow Will Smith to do the same and I think he’ll do a great job at it. But he was kidding and then “Friend Like Me” plays and I wonder if it’ll be more like a rap. I mean the beat sounded the same but it had a bit of extra spice in it and I loved it. I can’t wait to see the animation and CGI in this scene. It has to be better than the “Be Our Guest” in Beauty and the Beast because while I liked it, it was a little lackluster.
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Definitely has some of that Fresh Prince flair to it doesn’t it? I’m actually here for it more than I was before.
Aladdin and Genie are overlooking the desert and carpet looks awesome! Genie snaps them back into a little shelter and he’s now looking like a regular Will Smith human. I really do like the costuming on his human form. Aladdin asks Genie if he can make him a prince and the Genie tells him there is a lot of grey area in “make” instead of “wishing” because make could mean… make a prince and he makes a prince lol.
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See the prince in the background? lol he just made him appear instead of “creating a prince persona” for Aladdin. I like this kind of personality he seems to have. I like that while he seems to be fun-loving, he also doesn’t use a joke for everything he needs to say. Not saying that it wasn’t great in the animation to see that Genie do that, but it’s nice that he’s already appearing like his own character. I also loved Aladdin’s reaction to seeing Genie magically appear in a different place than he was before. It was cute.
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He’s turning him into a Prince! I think this is such a great clip to show us. We get to see Will Smith more in the blue and it’s a lot less jarring than it was before, it fits and I like it. Not to mention, we get to see both Abu and Carpet hanging out and we get a nice little glimpse of his Prince Ali outfit which I wondered how it would look because it’s an iconic Aladdin look. AND LET ME TELL YOU….
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I AM EXCITED FOR THIS ENTIRE SEQUENCE. YA’LL BETTER DELIVER! I mean the colors! It looks fantastic and the Prince Ali outfit is amazing. I’m really curious about Jafar in this though since he’s a much younger guy. Like I said in “My Thoughts”, he’s a younger guy so is he just a young upstart who moved up in the ranks too fast? Will Aladdin be even more competition because they’re not to far apart in age? I’m really interested to see this version of him and to see the rivalry they have.
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So this looks like there is a party instead of a one on one kind of thing for Jasmine’s hand. Like a Cinderella like ball which is cool and I like this look from both men. Aladdin looks all clean and cute and I like the colors on Will Smith. The costumes are truly beautiful. HAVE IT COSPLAYERS! The Genie tells Aladdin that while he changed what he looks like on the outside, he didn’t change anything on the inside which is an important message. You can make yourself look beautiful but if you are nasty on the inside you’ll always be nasty and vice versa. Aladdin’s lesson to learn is that his outward appearance doesn’t matter because he’s a good person regardless of his circumstance. Not to mention, Jasmine falls for him because of what he shows her not because his clothes or standing. He just so happened to also be a “prince”, a fake one but still lol you get my point.
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SO BEAUTIFUL! LOOK AT THE OUTFIT!! ANYWAYS, Genie tells Aladdin it’s time to do his thing, he’s all like “No, I’m in charge, I say when I go” probably being a scaredy cat so the Genie uses magic to send him Jasmine’s way and its super cute. They talk, he’s shocked that she’s not allowed to go wherever she wants.
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Ya’ll it’s getting real out here! He asked her if she trusts him and she slowly slides her hand in his and the music is swelling and I’m smiling like an idiot because I’m so excited. I mean, I think I’m a little more excited than I was when the official trailer for Beauty and the Beast came out lol. I’m not sure but I was stupid excited for that too and I can’t even! She climbs up on the carpet and the music is swelling and
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A WHOLE NEW WORLD!! I think they sound really good together. I’m really interested in this scene too, so iconic. I keep saying that but it’s so true! The carpet looks great, she looks great, he looks great. *sighs* I need this movie now.
So while this song is playing, we see a couple of other clips. One of Aladdin and Jasmine dancing and I love her peacock shawl thing, y’all I’m drooling over the costumes.

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We have them throwing Aladdin over the cliff, looks like he’s tied to a chair. Word lol. Clips of Genie during the “Prince Ali” sequence. Aladdin running atop the buildings in the marketplace, most likely from “One Jump”. There’s a scene of him climbing and being awesome on some icy mountains which I wondered if that’s from when Jafar sends him away to die from the cold.
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Here is Abu trying to catch the lamp which makes me think it’s the part at the end where they’re fighting Jafar for the lamp and he gets turned into a toy. Probably won’t happen the exact same way but I’m hoping for a large action sequence at the end. MAKE IT BIG AND AWESOME because I had this chance to see an awesome live action fight between Aladdin and Jafar and Once Upon a Time had that opportunity and messed it up!
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Dunno what’s happening in the picture above but perhaps it’s the climax when he takes the lamp. I love the red though and his staff looks red here as well. Maybe it’s during the final battle. There are some clips of Raja maybe protecting Jasmine? The Genie dancing during “Prince Ali” and we get this shot with even more beautiful clothes.
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I think that’s Iago in the background as a giant bird and he’s chasing down Abu and Aladdin. I do wonder if Iago will talk, I would prefer if he didn’t because I don’t think he needs to, if anything Jafar talking to his bird makes him even more crazy. It’s better than having the bird actually talk back to him. But Run Boy Run! Iago is chasing them on carpet and then a shot from inside the Cave of Wonders again before we get the awesome logo where it looks like the hilt of a dagger.
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Ya’ll let me tell y’all how excited I am. I mean, I think it’ll be good. I’m not sure how good but I think it will be worth the watch because this trailer was everything. I like the casting, I LOVE the costumes and from what we hear of the music I really like that as well.
No matter what you think of the whole reimagining into live action, there are some things to be added and newly experienced for these new movies. Also the official poster is dope.
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So that’s my “reaction” to the official trailer. I’ve seen a lot of people saying that they’re more interested in it now because of this trailer and I think that’s great news because I think it deserves a chance.
What are your thoughts on the Aladdin trailer? Let me know your thoughts down below!
Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

TV Review: The Umbrella Academy Season 1 (2019)

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Summary: A disbanded group of superheroes reunites after their adoptive father, who trained them to save the world, dies.
READ the graphic novel. Your local library probably has it. If you have access to Hoopla Digital then it’s free through your library. It’s really good and funny. Illustration is a little odd but it grew on me. That is all.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. So, we have our main six characters with some minor main characters throughout the show. I don’t think there’s really anyone I dislike dislike. In the comic, I really only liked Five. But Five and Klaus are my favorites in the show but the others I actually like as well.
  • Tom Hopper as Luther Hargreeves / Number One. So, we meet Luther, he’s living on the moon for reasons we find out later. He’s lived there for four years as a mission from his father. He would be considered “the good son” as he’s the only one who did not leave the team nor moved out of their house. During a mission he was severely injured and Reginald saved him with science. I won’t go into it further because it’s a nice reveal. Luther is a bit naive in that he hasn’t lived in the real world so he doesn’t really know how to handle certain things. He’s supposed to be the leader and he really tries to act like one, but he is really self-conscious about not only his appearance but I think of his skills as a leader. He’s “number one” which is something he says often but he doesn’t always act like one. I think that’s from a general thing of not really knowing his family anymore or knowing how to handle this world he was never really part of. For a while, it bugged me because I knew the actor looked familiar, I figured it out though, he was in Game of Thrones as Sam Tarly’s younger brother. He’s fine in the role. I mean, he’s tall and broad and a boy scout ultimately. He kind of reminds me someone, or like he was trying to channel Chris Evans as Captain America or something… but he’s fine. He had nice chemistry with the other actors.
  • David Castañeda as Diego Hargreeves / Number Two. He’s the one I probably like the least (both in the show and the comic, especially the comic). He’s a rebellious and he can curve the trajectory of anything he throws, his weapon of choice is knives. He’s the typical “angry one” of the family. The one who holds the grudges, who is the loudest when he doesn’t agree with something, and the one who always runs off to be a vigilante. He’s almost like an unlikable Raphael (TMNT). He did have a nice relationship with their mom which was probably the heart of his character, mom and Patch but things happen lol. I do like that he’s pretty much down for anything though, if it has something that allows him to throw his knives or bust through doors… he’s down. I recognized the actor from Switched at Birth and I wish he had a bit more charisma in general. He’s also fine in the role and some of the emotional moments are probably his best acting but I think he’s the weakest actor out of the main characters.
  • Emmy Raver-Lampman as Allison Hargreeves / Number Three. She’s from Hamilton! It was driving me crazy because I knew I knew her. She also reminds me of Kylie Bunbury. She has the ability to manipulate reality by lying with the phrase “I heard a rumor…”. Now that she’s an adult, she doesn’t use her power much anymore because she’s used it in situations that had consequences. She is also an actress. Allison is determined and her relationship she tries to save and foster with Vanya, I thought was a really strong part of the show. She was the only girl on the team and along with Vanya, the only sisters. She feels connected to Vanya and really tries to strengthen their relationship and in some instances, I think she succeeds. I like Allison. I like that she speaks her mind and doesn’t back down just because she’s outnumbered by her brothers. I do wish she had a bit more character though and maybe in the second season we’ll see her be fleshed out a bit more. I like Emmy Raver-Lampman. She was also fine in her role, I liked her clothes, her energy was always good and I thought she stood out among the guys. I think the last two episodes were her strongest.
  • Robert Sheehan as Klaus Hargreeves / Number Four. Definitely one of my favorite characters. He’s flamboyant and just lives his best life. However, he is a drug addict which dulls his ability to communicate with the dead. He’s afraid of his powers so he drinks and does drugs to make it stop. However, there is one ghost who is always around no matter what. I quite like their relationship but I don’t want to spoil it. Klaus does his own thing but it’s clear he also likes to tag along with his siblings because whenever they’re going, he wants to be with them. Now at first it might have been because he wanted to get money to pay for drugs but as the show goes on, I think it’s because he wants to be included. He even says at one point “I’m the one person in that house who no one would notice is missing” which is true and a shame. He is the heart of the show and I really loved him. I’ve seen Robert Sheehan in one movie I think but he’s so good in this role. I liked Klaus enough in the comic but I LOVE him in the show and that’s a tribute to Robert Sheehan and what he did with this character. His quirks, his reactions to things and just the energy he had. I can’t wait to see more of him.
  • Aidan Gallagher as Number Five / The Boy. Now HE’S my favorite. I liked him the most in the comic and I love him in the show. He has the ability to jump through space and time. He is the catalyst for the plot of the show as his appearance kicks everything off. He traveled to the future and ended up in a post-apocalyptic world and got stuck. He managed to survive for years on his own before doing lots of things and then returning. We learn a LOT about him so I can’t give anything away. He’s soooo interesting and entertaining. This kid is so good in this role as he is playing a 58-year-old man in a 13-year old’s body. His mannerisms and facial expressions, even the way he talks just works so well for him. I liked him a lot in the comic, he was the one who made me laugh the most because it’s so crazy but I liked him even more in the show. He’s condescending, really smart and just does things because he’s the only one who gets shit done. Sure, it doesn’t always work out but at least he’ll do it and not sit on his hands talking about it forever. I think Aidan Gallagher does a great job! Like I said, the way he moves, plus the way he uses his powers is super cool. I just liked his character. I hope we continue to see more of him and that they don’t age him up because I’m not interested in that.
  • Ellen Page as Vanya Hargreeves / Number Seven. She is a meek and insecure violinist with no supernatural abilities which has alienated her a bit from her siblings. Vanya is around a lot when the siblings get together but more often, she is by herself or with the guy she meets. I don’t dislike Vanya but she is super annoying because she’s dumb. Like, I get that they all have their issues since their dad was pretty abusive in ways but be smart girl. Anyway, her and Allison have a lot of great scenes and I think Ellen Page has great chemistry with Emmy Raver-Lampman.
Supporting Characters.
  • Mary J. Blige as Cha-Cha. She is part of a duo of ruthless assassins. She is the more brutal of the two it seems and one of the best in her field. She’s there to do her job and follow protocol because that’s what she’s supposed to do. We do see some interesting growth from her though. MJB is fine overall. Some of the action stuff is pretty cool. I really loved her suit.
  • Cameron Britton as Hazel. He is Cha-Cha’s partner and the milder of the two. He seems to be losing interest more and more in his job and he’s pretty likable. He and Cha-Cha both. He has a nice little side story line as well. I’m not sure how invested I was in it, but I thought it was cute. I like this guy, he has likability about him.
  • John Magaro as Leonard Peabody. He’s learning violin from Vanya and without spoiling anything, he is kind of important to Vanya’s storyline. He’s annoying though and I did not like him. Also, his voice is super annoying but I guess he’s fine.
  • Jordan Claire Robbins as Grace. She is their mom for all intents and purposes. She’s really sweet and very attentive to their child. I think she’s very likable and her relationship with everyone is really nice, especially the one she has with Diego. Sometimes her smile is a little creepy though lol. Jordan Claire Robbins is good in the role.
  • Adam Godley as Pogo. A chimpanzee and Reginald’s closest assistant. He’s like an old sage who knows a lot of Reginald’s secrets and slowly reveals things to the kids. I see why people have mixed reactions to him but I think he thought what he was doing was right. The CGI on him is very good and Adam Godley has a great voice for the role.
  • Colm Feore as Sir Reginald Hargreeves. The Umbrella Academy’s adoptive father.  He manages to get seven of the 43 kids who were born on the same day and he raises them to be superheroes. He was very distant from them though and they all pretty much hate him, though I think they also secretly love him because he’s the only father they knew. Anyway, the flashback moments we have of him are so interesting and we don’t know what his real deal is. He does have a great scene later in the series and I wonder how he felt for his children. How did he feel when Five never returned? He did erect a giant portrait of him. He erected a statue after Ben’s (Number 6) death so I wonder his true feelings. I didn’t realize Colm Feore was in many things I’ve seen but he’s good here and the pompous like voice he puts on fits this role.
Use of Powers. Throughout the show the only person whose powers we really get to see on a regular basis is Five’s since he has his own thing going on. He seems to have the most use for his. I mean, Diego has this whole vigilante thing going on but his knife throwing power (skills really) are more like cool than something I would be like “oh yeah his power is dope”. Klaus has his thing but we don’t really see him accept it and get into until towards the end. Luther is strong so sure and Allison doesn’t use her powers. I like that we got to see some flashbacks of them as kids using their powers and I just hope in the second season they show us the Eiffel Tower mission because that’s the first one we see in the comic and we really can see them use their powers more. So ultimately, I like how Five uses his abilities and the last two or three episodes definitely has some cool power stuff going on.
The Action Scenes. Y’all these action scenes are well choreographed and the music is paired so well with them. In the first episode we get this awesome diner scene with Five, then in episode two we get another action scene with Five in a department store. The fight scene in the house was pretty good. Oh! The fight scene with Five in a later episode that I don’t want to spoil is also really good, quick but good. I wish we saw a little more but perhaps in season two they’ll give us more action scenes to great music.
Very humorous. I’m currently watching it a second time and I still find certain things funny and I even laugh at things I might have missed in my first watch. I think it’s a very funny show. Klaus and Five have a lot of great moments. Hazel and Cha-Cha are also really funny, especially when they’re together and mostly in the first two or three episodes they are in. Some of the humor can be dark, some of it like dirty humor. I laughed quite a bit. One of my favorite funny parts is when Five goes to this lab trying to find something and he jacks this guy up who calls him “Young man” lol and then later in that same lab with Klaus. Plus, the bowling scene with that mom and her kid going up to Five. HAHA I die every time. It’s some great stuff.
Interesting Story. It differs a little from the comics but it’s still an interesting story. Their “father” has died and there is a mystery around his death. Then Five returns and he’s raving about the end of the world and he has his mission and it takes a little while before the others put stock in what he’s talking about. Then you have Hazel and Cha-Cha who are after Five so you don’t know what they’re going to do lol. Then Allison has her plot with her family and her trying to connect to Vanya… I mean there’s a lot going on and I think the shows handles each story line well. I think everything manages to get the same amount of attention enough to make you care about what that character has going on.
Sisterhood.So, I think the crux of the story is the relationship between Vanya and Allison. We see flashbacks here and there of their childhood but we didn’t see them really interact so we don’t know if Vanya’s solitude was from them directly or indirectly through their father. It’s implied but ya know. Allison really tries to connect with Vanya  because it’s just the two of them in a sea of their brothers who have a lot going on. I really like it and I hope we get to see more of it in season two because regardless of what you think of Allison or even Vanya, Allison was really trying to be a sister to Vanya and she may not have always gone about it in the right way (but who’s to say ‘the right way’) but she always tried. Especially towards the end, they share this smile that I thought was super sweet and, in the end,  Allison is the one who might have made the best decision for their family.
Emotional Moments.There are a few in the show and I think they are handled extremely well. Some of the ones that stick out to me is the one with Allison and Luther in the phone booth. I actually teared up a little bit. It was emotional but the acting from both actors was really good in those moments, especially Emmy Raver-Lampman. Klaus has a few moments in the latter half of the series. He goes to a bar after something big happens and just the quiet moments… wow. Diego has one with his mom in the middle of the series where he makes a choice to do something and the acting was good between both actors in that scene as well. Towards the end, Vanya and Allison have a great moment in a cabin and that is all but such a great scene and well-acted by both actresses.
The Soundtrack. This show uses music so well that anytime it came on, it didn’t feel out of place. There was of course musical score but they also had a lot of songs integrated into the show as well. The very first fight scene with Five in the diner has a song “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” and I don’t know why but it totally fits the scene. In the second or third episode, there’s another scene with Five in a clothing store and Hazel and Cha-Cha have caught up with him, that song fit that scene so well too. There’s ANOTHER fight scene in the mansion with the siblings and Hazel and Cha-Cha that also had great music. Also, one of my favorite scenes is when Five leaves the mansion in episode two, this is when he is actually 13 and the song “Run Boy Run” comes on as he is walking down the street and going through time… it was so good. Listen, the music is used so well here, it rivals Guardians the Galaxyof best use of music lol.
Cons:
Broken Records.BRUUUHHH if I heard Luther say “I’m Number One” one more time, I’m going to punch him. There are TOO many times in this show where characters repeat themselves like we didn’t just hear you say that last episode. Your dad was a jerk, okay great, you’re number one… super. You don’t rumor people anymore, awesome. You were told you were ordinary all of your life. Great. Awww, you believe in her when no one else does… fantastic. I mean sheesh. All the time! Shut up! The audience is not stupid, we do not have to be reminded of that kind of stuff all the time. We get it. Trust your audience to know what was said last time. Trust that we’re keeping up and if someone isn’t, that’s not your fault, they can re-watch the show.
Overly-Dramatic. So, I like that these are people who happen to have superpowers, that’s cool that them being super isn’t the main thing about them or the show. However, sometimes it just feel like their problems are extra and they need to get over it and move on. Probably because they spend so much time talking and talking and talking about it all the time… all the time that it becomes annoying. Luther and the whole thing with being on the moon and not feeling like he’s important boooyyy, Diego and trying to compete with Luther (even if he tries to act like he’s not) and this whole brooding thing. Allison with Patrick and Claire and Vanya with her whole. Honestly, I was with Five in that whole “you have no idea what’s important”. I’m not discounting their problems but SHEESH.
Slow Pacing. There are a few times, mostly in episodes 6 and 7 and the scenes with Vanya and Leonard that I thought were really slow. There are parts of 6 and 7 that are really good but overall, they slow down compared to the rest of the show. I mean 8-10 picks up the pace and never lets up until the show ends. So, it kind of sucks that you have the first episode which is slow and then it picks up for a while and then slows back down. I can imagine some people having a hard time really finishing the show because of that.
Acting Abilities. While I think everyone is overall fine in the show, there are some who stand out against others who aren’t as good, at least all the time. I think Robert Sheehan, Ellen Page and Aidan Gallagher were really good in their roles and their characters had nice quirks because of them. Emmy Raver-Lampman was mostly good, there was a few times I was like meeehhh. Tom Hopper seemed to me like he was trying to channel Chris Evans’ Captain America and I couldn’t help but to think that the entire show and it kind of irritated me. I don’t know if that was intentional or just him… but I didn’t like it. Stop it Tom. David Castenada is probably the weakest to me acting wise out of the siblings, he’s not like the worst ever but compared to the others he does stand out in his abilities. Maybe it’s just his character but outside of the emotional scenes I’m like ehhhh. Also, I enjoyed Mary J. Blige as Cha-Cha but she’s also not that great either. I don’t think she was as good as she probably needed to be for this role because there were some moments with Cha-Cha towards the end where I feel like she couldn’t pull of the “introspective” thing or “vengeful murdery woman” as well as she should.
Overall, I really liked The Umbrella Academy. I think it’s worth the watch for anyone who is into superhero materials or comic books. As I didn’t really like any of the characters in the comic, I think it’s a great service that I liked them for the most part in the show. Number Five and Klaus were my favorites in the show. I think all of the characters though are interesting in their own rights, whether or not we got to see everything to know them. The music was well chosen and utilized in the show, especially in the first two episodes with all of Five’s scenes. It’s a very funny show and even on the second watch, it’s still funny. I liked the emotional moments, particularly the phone booth scene and the scene with Diego and Grace. One of the strongest aspects of the show is the sisterhood between Allison and Vanya. It starts off rocky but we watch it grow and we watch how Allison really tries to connect with Vanya and this relationship comes full circle towards the end of the show. As for the negative, I think the characters can be very whiny and overly dramatic with their issues. They are also broken records! SHUT UP! I do think the show has pacing issues particularly in episodes 6 and 7. Lastly, all of the acting isn’t the greatest. Anyways, Five is still my favorite followed by Klaus so watch the show if anything FOR THEM and the MUSIC lol. It’s a good show though lol.
Rating: 4 out 5 stars.
Have you seen The Umbrella Academyon Netflix yet? What are your thoughts on it? Who is your favorite character? Least favorite? Do you have a favorite episode? What are you looking forward to see in the second season?
Let me know your thoughts down below! Thanks for reading!

Movie Review: Greta (2019)

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Summary: A young woman befriends a lonely widow who’s harboring a dark and deadly agenda towards her.
This will be a short review.
Pros:
Acting talent. Isabelle Huppert is fantastic in this. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her in anything even though I really wanted to see Elle. But she was sooo good. There was a scene in the restaurant that was my favorite scene and she does it so well. I also really like Chloe Grace Moretz and I think she does a good job in the film as well. She has good chemistry with Isabelle Huppert and that’s the crux of the film and when things get crazy, she really acts the way I would think someone in shoes would act.
Interesting Story. I think the idea is interesting of this woman who is lonely and preys on young girls who might also be lonely. It’s a different take on the stalker story (with the usual beats) and I liked how they set up the story. I liked that we got to see Francis and Greta have this relationship before things got crazy.
Scary moments. This movie isn’t scary, it’s a thriller but it’s not scary. There is a lot of tension in scenes which works because of the nature of the story. Whenever someone goes into Greta’s house once the other shoe drops it’s scary because you don’t know what’s going to happen to the person. The entire second half was scary because of what’s going on not because it’s scary.
The Restaurant Scene. I think that was the best part of the movie. Francis works in a restaurant and Greta shows up and Francis ends up having to wait on her. Greta is being all extra about her wine and then she freaks out at Francis. Now, I had NO idea what she was saying for the most part lol, but I loved the tension in that scene and I think it’s probably one of the best scenes in the movie.
Cons:
Extremely Cheesy. Soooooo cheesy and in ways over the top that might take a viewer out of the film. I think the first half is much stronger than the second half because the first half is setting things up, getting the tone of the movie down and when the second half happens once Greta gets what she wants, it just feels absurd. The dialogue also might make you want to chuckle a bit because I know I did lol.
Random Moments. I say this because there are some moments that are just random and made me go “why is that in the film?” For example, someone that Francis works with makes a comment about her stalker situation and it was extremely insensitive. It wasn’t like the girl didn’t know the situation and said something because she knew and I’m like… what was the point of you saying that? She already feels like crap and I wonder why that was included. Then there was this whole thing with a detective and I’m sorry, that was just plain stupid. People are kind of stupid in this movie too lol. THEN Francis and her best friend Erica, have this argument earlier on and it comes out of nowhere. I was confused, and I think I laughed a little.
Weak Second Half. As I mentioned before, I think the first part of the movie was good and strong, but the second half is where things not only go full speed but go a little crazy. Once Greta gets what she wants, she really starts to put on the ham and cheese and Isabelle Huppert was clearly having fun doing it. But people are extra stupid in the second half and even when they think they’re gaining the upper hand they’re stupid and I rolled my eyes on several occasions.
Overall, I very much enjoyed Greta. I think it’s a fun movie. I think the acting from the main two actresses is very good, especially Isabelle Huppert who is clearly having fun in her role. I think the first half is very strong and the relationship created between Greta and Francis was handled well just for it to PULLED OUT FROM UNDER US lol. I liked the story and I think while it has the same beats as other stalker stories, it takes it in a little different direction. The restaurant scene is also a great scene because it’s full of tension and the acting there is great. Now, on the other hand, it is very cheesy, and the dialogue is silly at times where you might laugh. There are some random moments that don’t add anything or don’t add much to the film and the second half is weak compared to the first. It falls into silliness instead of maintaining that thriller vibe it was aiming for in the first half. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Greta.
Rating: 3.79 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Greta? It’s worth the watch and you should give it a shot, especially if you enjoy thrillers. Let me know your thoughts down below if you have seen it.

TV Review: The Shannara Chronicles (2016)

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Summary: Series of adventures, war, and evil that occur throughout the history of the Four Lands.
The interesting thing with this show is that when it first came out, I wanted to watch it. I knew it was on MTV, but I had no idea when it came on, so I never caught it. I was interested because I like high fantasy shows like this and it was accessible being on regular TV instead of something you had to pay extra for, plus I liked Austin Butler enough from Switched at Birth (read that review here) that I wanted to follow him to be a leading man on his own show.
I forgot about it for ages and picked it up recently on Netflix once I watched The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (review here) and wanted to watch something else. I watched the first episode at work and then I fell down the rabbit hole of the show. So interesting thing, once I finished, I wondered why it was cancelled after two seasons, in ways I kind of get it but after researching it, I see, but I still want it to continue. I feel like Netflix should just pick it up, or Amazon since both Networks have their own “fantasy” like shows and being that their streaming, it would help the show’s viewership. It needs at least a third season to finish what was started in the Season 2 finale. IT’S NOT RIGHT TO END ON A CLIFF HANGER! STOP CANCELLING SHOWS WITHOUT MAKING SURE THEY HAVE A PROPER FRIGGIN ENDING!
Anyways, on with the review and there will be some spoilers because I have a lot of feelings and thoughts on the show, but I don’t know if I can get it all out in this review. Oh yeah, get to use the word “consistently” because I’ll be using it a lot.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. I think it’s important that I say this. I didn’t dislike any of the main characters at least not consistently, they annoyed me sometimes but what character doesn’t. I feel like they all had the potential to be interesting and I think they were but also stupid and… well anyway lol while I have this in the pros, I’ll probably mention cons too just because I’m talking about the characters.
  • Austin Butler as Wil Ohmsford. He is a half-human/half-elf who is the last of the bloodline of the ancient Shannara family. He is destined to help save the Four Lands from demons. He possesses three Elfstones, which belonged to his late father, Shea Ohmsford. So, Wil is basically a farm boy, who grew up in a small town, used to people treating him like crap because he is half elf, which shows in his ears, even if they are short tips. When his mother dies, she tells him of his destiny and he ends up being thrown into something he never thought he would be a part of. The usual hero trope, reluctant and all that. He’s awkward, passionate, stubborn, determined but also reluctant. I like Wil overall, I think the show could have done better with his characterization because there are times where he does things that makes me roll my eyes because I think he’s being extra and it’s dumb. I like his snarky and sarcastic comments about certain things, he does play the role of the audience sometimes where he says what we might be thinking but that comes and goes, it’s not consistent and I think it should have been for him throughout. If there’s a chance for a third season to come about, I hope his stint in the Forbidding (which is where I think he is after his wonderful sacrifice in the finale) kind of helps his personality. I feel like Wil could have been extremely annoying if Austin Butler wasn’t playing him. I don’t know what it is about Austin Butler but not only is he physically dreamy, but I love every character he’s played, and I feel like those characters aren’t always meant to be likable. I think he looks like an elf lol, and I think he makes some of the best facial expressions and he’s always so smirky. I like smirky. I feel like he’s the reason why I enjoyed Wil because if it wasn’t him, I can’t say I would like him as much.
  • Poppy Drayton as Amberle Elessedil. She is the Elven Princess and the first female to be accepted as one of the Chosen, a group of elves responsible for protecting and caring for the Ellcrys tree. In the beginning I was like “oh yeah, here’s Amberle making new moves for female Elves” because she was the first in a lot of things in her kingdom. She remains as such mostly, she is determined to save the Four Lands and wants to protect the people she loves. She’s a bit wise and tries to be smart when it comes to dealing with people. I like that she knows how to fight and that she has this big destiny that she must choose or choose love. I mean, it’s also a little meh because really, choose love or duty… but I liked how it was handled. It was a choice but at the same time, you know throughout the show there might not really be another option for her because of what she wants. I’ve never seen Poppy Drayton in anything when I saw the show but she’s likable and a good “reacting” actress. She makes some crazy faces sometimes but tis just her face… can’t be helped lol. I thought she had nice chemistry with both Austin Butler (which means a lot) and Ivana Bacquero for the friendship that develops.
  • Ivana Baquero as Eretria. She is a human who is raised by Rovers, a band of thieves. We meet her when she saves Wil from a troll and she basically doesn’t leave a good impression because she flirts, lies, drugs and then steals from him lol. She’s untrustworthy for a while in the first season but ends up becoming an ally. I think it’s clear that she grows romantic feelings for Wil and I think that even lasts into the second season even though she’s in the relationship with Princess Lyria. I had a little hard time liking her until probably midway through the season. I thought she was trying too hard and maybe that was part of the character, but it was a bit annoying to me. BUT when she started to truly show up for her comrades, I was like yasss girl! Ivana Bacquero is cool in the role, I like her badassery and she does well with emotional moments.
  • Manu Bennett as Allanon. He is the last druid who has been in a Druid Sleep for the last 300 years. He awakens and sets out to find Wil. He becomes a guide and a mentor for the group. Allanon has a lot of secrets and it really becomes his downfall in later episodes but it’s clear he cares for Wil just like he cared and befriended Wil’s father. Allanon is the type of character who you’re not sure if you like because of their off-putting nature. He always seems a bit indifferent as well when it’s like “dude! Show some emotion!” but it’s usually being shown in his eyes. We learn a ton more about him in the second season with his connections to Mareth and what he feels about certain things. I’ve seen Manu Bennett in Arrow and he was like Allanon when we first meet him on the island which I was like “oh hey look at you” lol. I think the old wise man thing he does well, and he also later plays the villain in the second season (not Allanon but a different character) and he was okay in that role, I get why they did it, but I wish it was someone else.
  • Aaron Jakubenko as Ander Elessedil. He’s the youngest son of King Eventine who has a reputation for being irresponsible. He blames himself for his brother’s death Aine (Amberle’s father) and he really takes her under his wing and encourages her in everything she does. He ends up having to take on a more responsible role and I really grew to like him as the show went on. I liked him so much that I am still upset with what happened in season two. I’ve never seen Aaron Jakubenko in anything but he’s a likable guy.
  • Marcus Vanco as Bandon. An Elven boy with the gift of a seer, meaning that he can see possible futures when he touches someone. When we meet Bandon, it’s sad because he’s chained up in the barn, but I never really trusted him. I thought something was up with him from the beginning. He is afraid of his ability because he was taught to by his parents (or the people who raised him) but Allanon tries to take him under his wing to help him and it becomes a huge mess. In the second season, he goes down a dark path and I think what ends up happening to him was either a cop out or it was just lame. I feel like he wasn’t as much as a threat as they wanted him to be and I was a little annoyed by him and his naivety. Marcus Vanco did a great job though whenever Bandon was going through his emotional states. The indifferent scary thing though was kind of meh for me lol.
  • Malese Jow as Mareth Ravenlock. A half-human/half-elf searching for Wil in season two. She has magic and basically becomes his partner in crime. She has her own reasons as to why she wants to help him, and I don’t really want to reveal it, so I won’t but it’s an interesting development. I just think the casting was an interesting choice but sure it works. I like Mareth, she’s strong in her own way and determined to do what it takes but you also understand her position. I recognized her from The Vampire Diaries and I was like ‘oh lord, will she be whining here too’ and she did a few times, but I liked her overall because while Mareth had things she was going through, she played it up on her face. Plus, I thought she had nice chemistry with Austin Butler and I really thought she had her time to shine in the last two or three episodes.
  • Vanessa Morgan as Lyria. She is human who is in a romantic relationship with Eretria. I mean she plays her role, but I don’t think we really get to know her or anything to really care about her. You care about her because you care about Eretria, she also brings in some diversity, but I was kind of meh on her. I wanted to include her here because she’s likable and I think Vanessa Morgan is fun to watch sometimes but otherwise sure.
  • Gentry White as Garet Jax. He is a bounty hunter who starts out looking for Lyria for her mother. I was a bit unsure about him in the beginning because I thought he was basically going to play the role that Eretria played in the first season, which he kind of did but I enjoyed him. He not only brought in some much-needed diversity, he was one of the few people on screen who could fight lol. I liked Jax overall and I thought Gentry White played his role, he was cool, sympathetic when he needed to be and quite badass when it came to any physical stunts. I just wish we saw more of him and that towards the end he was a bit smarter, he was too trusting too easily.
Special Effects. I was a bit surprised to see how good the effects in the show were for where it started on MTV. OUAT’s effect had a charm even though most times it was kind of bad so this show having better effects was shocking. The prosthetic on the demons and the gnomes were really kind of great. Of course, the elf ears, both the short tips and regular ones were nice and looked authentic. Whenever someone used magic, looks kind of cool, I mean sure just beams of light but still kind of cool. All the wraiths and what not. I was really impressed. Good job show.
Setting and Aesthetic. It’s set waaaaay into the future and the world as we know was basically wiped out. Instead of moving forward with the idea of grand technology and all that kind of futuristic stuff, it seemed like the world went backwards with magic and even the coupling of science at times. The world is overgrown with plant life, there are fallen homes, trucks, cable dishes that are now covered with foliage. Bridges are fallen and rundown, it’s really kind of cool that you have our world, but it’s evolved differently than how it’s normally portrayed. We don’t really get the chance to see a ton of places that looks different, but the staples are: Arborlon, the Elvin Kingdom, Leah (a human kingdom which we see in season two).
Friendships Built. At first, I was worried there was gonna be a love triangle and it was there… a bit, but it was kind of one-sided. It’s hard to say really lol but Wil meets Eretria first and it was clear he was a bit into her and she was into him. Then Amberle comes into the picture and clearly Wil was waaaaay more into her and Eretria felt like she was overlooked but girl lol, you and Wil were meant to be friends. Anyway, Eretria and Amberle had a rough go at it in terms of being friends but by the end I believed they trusted each other. They’re no Golden Trio or anything, far from it, but by the end I felt like they trusted each other. I liked their unit. I also liked the new friendship unit that was built when Amberle was gone and Mareth came into the picture.
Consistent Storyline. I’m going to mention this in the cons too, I feel like contradicting about it but full transparency. Tunnel vision. It’s basically the through line the entire show which is cool. I mean, while I wish we got to see more of the characters in other adventures than just the main one, I like the fact that show makes sure we know there is a goal at the end.
Cons:
Locations. In ways the show traverses a lot of different villages and what not, but they generally all look the same or we don’t see a ton of them to really know they’re different locations. We know the difference between Arborlon, the Elvin Kingdom and then later Leah which are the two main kingdoms we see but the smaller villages, or places we pass through, it’s like “oh yeah we’re back with the healer gnomes… Storlock I think” but I would only know that if I saw a gnome lol. I feel like they should have made them more noticeable or did something to make them be their locations even if the people in those villages just threw something together.
SIDE QUESTS PLEASE! This show had tunnel vision lol. I can’t think of any filler episodes or anything that was a lapse in the main story, there might be two, but the fate of the world was always there. That’s not necessarily a bad thing I just wish we got to sit with the characters a bit more, see them in different situations that didn’t deal with the fate of the world hanging over their shoulder. I mean, shoot, Dean and Sam always must save the world and they always take the time out to go save a random family from a werewolf or something or killer clowns. I feel like The Shannara Chronicles could have done that too because then we could have seen Eretria, Amberle and Wil do something else where we didn’t hear “We all have our roles! We have to save the Four Lands!”.
Where’s the Humor? It tried to be funny, but it bordered on lame lol. Wil was probably the only one who really was funny but in that awkward kind of way, mostly in the first season. Plus, I think Austin Butler makes some of the best facial expressions and since he’s the fish out of water in the first season, it makes for some comedy in the first season. But outside of that, it feels like it’s forced, and I think it would be funnier if they didn’t try so hard.
Inconsistent Acting. Oh boy, there are times when I cringed at the acting. I think everyone was solid but there were some points where it was kind of bad. I feel like the biggest perpetrator of this was Ivana Baquero in the beginning of the show. I think she got better, but I cringed a lot at her acting. Poppy Drayton was a little better but there were times when I rolled my eyes at her as well. I think Austin Butler was the best out of the three consistently, but he’s not perfects lol even though he physically is *bounces eyebrows*. Also, Prince Ander had these moments where he would make this dumb face and I would be like “boy make a different emotional expression!” And Vanessa Morgan is okay mostly, she makes the same faces a lot too and I’m like GIRL (I feel the same way about her as Toni Topaz in Riverdale). Overall, I don’t think anyone’s consistent throughout the show when it comes to acting and it can be pretty cringe.
Cheesy and Awkward Dialogue. SO CHEESY!!! I rolled my eyes so many times at the dialogue in the show. I think a big part of it though is the fact that the way the younger characters spoke was very modern. I know the show technically is set in the future, but it was hard to take the aesthetic seriously when you have the young character saying things like “sloppy seconds” and then you have the adults who talk a little more in tune with the world. It was a bit jarring. I got used to it after a while but in the beginning, I was like “wait… what? not what I’m expecting.” I get why they did it, they wanted to appeal to the younger demographic, but I doubt that’s the group of people who watched the show. I don’t think this show had to do the language like that. I don’t think it had to be Shakespearean, but they could have taken it a bit more seriously to fit more into the world they were trying to create.
Nobody Can Fight. The show relies heavily on confrontations and people fighting, whether it be with swords or their fists, but NO ONE can fight. I mean it’s pretty bad. In the first season, it made a little more sense why Wil wasn’t that great because he grew up as a farm boy or whatever, but there was no reason why Amberle couldn’t fight when she grew up with an uncle who trained her for the gauntlet. I feel like she should have been able to hold her own a bit more than she did. Too many times did people like throw her around and hold swords at her neck. I mean… it was laughable. I think Eretria was the only one who could really kick butt. Even Allanon who was a druid and trained got his butt kicked A LOT. *sighs* Everyone needed a bit more training lol on the bright side the fighting choreography was actually pretty good.
Weak/Inconsistent Character Development/Stupid. I wanted this to be last because this is the biggest thing the show suffers from. All the characters don’t get a lot of development outside of Wil, who I don’t think got as much as he should have gotten, and the show is named after him! But Eretria and Amberle had their characteristics but they were inconsistent (I’m using that word a lot, I know but the show is inconsistent) because Eretria is the “tough” chick and that she feels like she can’t make her own choices or something, and we’re basically told that ALL THE TIME. Amberle starts the show out by wanting to run the gauntlet and she makes it a new thing for Elven women to run the gauntlet and is the first woman to become a Chosen but wow. She kept talking about destinies and it was her thing throughout the show. She had some development when it came to figuring out how to make her best choices but she had one track and I wish we could have seen a bit more from her even while she was on the path she was on. Lastly, Wil, I love him lol, he’s the hero of the story and we do learn about his history and he’s the reluctant hero throughout both seasons, we know that he cares about those he loves but outside of accepting who he might be, we don’t see much change. Plus, some of the development he might have gotten was trash because of the whole “boy stop flirting with both these girls and officially pick one”. I don’t know, I just don’t think we got to know our main three heroes as much as we should have.
Overall, I really liked the show. I think I watched it twice or at least a few episodes a couple of times. I like the characters overall; the special effects and aesthetic of the world was cool. I was really into it. I liked the chemistry between the main characters and the friendship that was built between our main three heroes. I think that’s so important for a show with three leads. I liked that the show knew there was a main story and it focused on it throughout the show. It didn’t falter much, and the task was completed at the end. I thought was great. You KNEW you were going to get some answers. Now on the other hand, I think the acting was inconsistent throughout the show. The dialogue could be cheesy, and I could not take it seriously just because the actors were trying to make it sound serious. Nobody seemed to know how to properly fight and it was super irritating that everyone got their butts kicked constantly. I wish we got to see more location, they were very limited and the ones we saw there wasn’t much that stood out about them. The character development was either extremely weak or nonexistent. If we had some side quests or fillers, it might have helped flesh them out more, but I can think of only two and I don’t think those really aided in the development. I just we got to know these characters a bit better other than the broken record phrases they kept saying. “I’m not my father!” “It’s my destiny!” “I want to be free!” Yeah, I know… show me something else. But fun show. It’s on Netflix, give it a whirl if you like genre shows like this.
Rating: 3.3 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen The Shannara Chronicles? This review is late but better late than never!
Let me know your thoughts below! Who was your favorite character in the show?
Thanks for reading!

My Thoughts: Live Action Aladdin

So, listen, I’ve wanted to do a piece on what I thought about Disney’s live action trek through our childhood memories. I did one a couple of years ago when Beauty and the Beast was coming out. You can read Disney Remakes Thoughts and the Beauty and the Beast review.
It’s no secret that I am optimistic for these remakes. I don’t have a problem with it and I will get into all of that when I talk about that. This piece is to specifically talk about the live action Aladdin movie before it comes out and I do my official review. These are my thoughts SO FAR. There isn’t much to really talk about since it’s not out yet but I’m going to touch on the casting and the costumes mostly because that’s what the promo photos have been for.
The Casting
So obviously I thought it was important to have a cast full of people of color for this movie because of where it’s set. Sure, Agrabah is a fake country but it is based on real places. I remember back when they officially announced it, everyone wanted Avan Jogia to play Aladdin.

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Obviously I get it, I mean back in the day, I would have been like yasss, but I like the guy they got to play Aladdin.
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I think he’s super cute and I follow him on Instagram and he seems to have great energy for the role. I just hope the direction and the writing allows him to be great. Sometimes actors can’t shine when the material won’t let them so I’m hoping it does because the animated film is so great. I think Mena Massoud is a fine choice physically, so we’ll see how it is acting wise.
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Now when Naomi Scott was cast as Jasmine, there was a lot of backlash because she’s not brown enough. Listen, I get it because representation is important, and I agree. It would have been nice to have someone who is browner to play such an iconic princess who is the first Disney princess of color. I get it completely. However, my issue came with the fact that people had such a problem with her when she is of Indian descent on her mother’s side, but everyone wanted Avan Jogia to play Aladdin when his father is British-Indian. It was so crazy to me. I often defended her casting whenever it came up in a conversation because it’s not like she not a person of color at all. But that’s over and done, I think she looks great in the role. I’ve only seen her in Power Rangers and a few episodes in shows. I think she’s a fine actress. I just hope they allow Jasmine to have a bit more character growth. She is my third favorite Disney princess, but I never really thought she had the best writing in the animated film. She’s a great character but she’s a flat character, which is why I hoped they took notes from the Broadway show. She has a lot more character in that and I think it’s important that we get to know Jasmine as more than just “I don’t want to marry someone I don’t love” just like we get to know and love Aladdin.
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As for Will Smith, I’m okay with this casting overall. I was a little skeptical when it was first announced, and I am not necessarily skeptical but curious now. I like Will Smith, he’s a likable guy but I can never see him as his character… he’s Will Smith. I think the only time I was like “wow that’s the character and not Will Smith” was probably Hancock just because that guy was a jerk and a bit different from the characters Will Smith plays that I have seen anyway. I know no one can fill Robin Williams’ shoes but I hope they don’t try to copy that iconic character but allow Will Smith to make it his own. Now, in the trailer, the way he started talking sounded like The Fresh Prince and I was like ummm… so I just hope it’s not too jarring outside of his physical appearance. I think he’ll be fine overall, but I’m just like… okaayyyyy.
The Costumes
I think they are beautiful. At least all the Disney remakes have had beautiful costumes, no matter what you think of Cinderella’s huge blue dress or Belle’s yellow dress. I think they’re both fine. I didn’t care for Cinderella’s dress at first, it grew on me but overall, it’s fine. I’m in the minority but I really liked Belle’s dress but ya know, whatevs lol.

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But I think the costumes in Aladdin look so good so far.
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I like Aladdin’s look mostly. Mena Massoud has great hair and it just looks weird, I don’t know if it’s because he’s supposed to be “dirty”, so his hair is greasy, I don’t know but that’s what throws me off the most. I mean, I know in the pictures he looks really “clean” as I have seen people say but I mean promotional pictures aren’t technically stills from the film. I think he looks better in the second photo with the genie. I can’t WAIT to see his Prince Ali look because it’s iconic and I can imagine the detail on it. *heart eyes*

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Jasmine’s costumes are so beautiful! I think her clothes are my favorite of our live action heroines so far. The attention to detail, the colors, how the blue outfit resembles her iconic outfit but puts a new twist on it. I think she looks amazing. The picture with the Sultan is a new one I discovered, and that yellow is everything. LISTEN, I don’t care, I think Naomi Scott looks great. The Sultan also looks good in that picture.
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Jafar’s costume also looks nice. I think his hat is a bit big lol, but perhaps he’s a young guy who moved up quickly in the ranks and obviously wants to be Sultan. I mean, in the animated film it was gross because he was a smarmy old man and he wanted Jasmine to be his queen lol. So, with this younger actor, I hope he acts super smarmy so make up for being a beautiful man lol.
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As for The Genie. I already said what I had to say on the casting, but I think the blue is a bit jarring. Perhaps when I see the movie it won’t be as weird because I’ll already be immersed in the world and when it happens, maybe it’ll look better. Maybe they’re still putting some work on his final look. I think the second photo looks better than the first photo. Maybe him being large helps this look. I don’t know but I prefer the more “human” look like in the picture above with Aladdin. Apparently, the human look is his disguise when he’s out in the world, but I wish he looked like that all the time. I mean, perhaps his hands turned blue, or maybe whenever he used magic it was blue to pay homage, but I’m not really feeling it. This is probably the first time I’m like…
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But I’m still optimistic. Update: I started writing this on 2/12/2019 and I have to say the blue look is growing on me. It’s still jarring but it’s growing on me.
The Music
This is the last thing I want to touch on. We know and love the songs from the animated film and I can’t wait to see how they do them in this version. I’m excited. I am however curious about these new songs. There is a new solo for Jasmine and Aladdin and Jasmine have a new duet, which is called “sweet”. I really wanted the two original songs from the Broadway show in the film, “Proud of Your Boy” which Aladdin sings in his home and “A Million Miles Away” which Aladdin and Jasmine sing together (but not together). I really wanted both of those in the movie, but I guess they’re not, instead there are two new songs. So, I’m curious to hear those and I’ve never really heard either lead actor sing, I know Naomi Scott was in Lemonade Mouth, but I never saw that, so I’ll just be waiting for the film.
Overall, these are my thoughts right now for the upcoming Aladdin movie. I am excited. As I said, I am generally optimistic about these live action remakes, I don’t think they’re useless, I think its kind of cool and I’m interested to see what they continue to do. I hope Aladdin does a great job!
Thanks for reading my quick thoughts on the upcoming Aladdin movie! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Are you not impressed? Why not? Are you excited? Tell me why! I’m interested in hearing from you!

 

The Heart Speaks in Whispers

Sooooo I hope you have enjoyed the pieces of the soulmate story I have posted. Since I have finished the last part, I decided to post them all together in one post so you can just read straight through without having to click on different posts.
Please leave your thoughts in the comments below. I would love to hear some feedback on this short story. I have worked on this for a long time but I’m sure there will be a few mistakes that slipped through.
Please enjoy!

 

One and Only (Part I)
It was an interesting concept, one he never really questioned. Not until recently to be honest. The idea of having words tattooed on your body… words he didn’t choose, in a place he didn’t want, and he cannot remove. They’re just words, right? Well, no. They’re words that someone else will say.
“Are you okay?” 
That’s the phrase that wrapped around his forearm, from his wrist to his elbow. How many times has he heard those words? None of them were the right ones. How many times could he bump into someone and they ask him those three words? How many times must he be clumsy and fall over and someone asks those questions… how many times!? It’s so frustrating. Was he going to be one of those people who never ran into their soul mate? To never hear the right person, utter those words?
Besides, what will happen when he does? Is there a feeling? Do the words go away? Do they glow? He doesn’t really know because no one seems to really know how to explain what happens when it happens. He dated this one girl for a long time, she wasn’t the one and he knew it. Those weren’t the first words she said to him and he didn’t say her words.
If he was honest, it hurt when she found her soul mate and left him. Well, it wasn’t as bad as that, but it felt like it. They dated all through college and then she suddenly met the guy, and he supposed it wasn’t their fault that they found each other. It hurt, and he wanted to make it work but why would he deny her her soul mate just because he wanted her? Was it selfish? He wasn’t sure then and he wasn’t sure now.
When would it finally be his time?
He continued to walk through the grocery store, he had his mind-set on buying some junk food, it was going to be a night in with video games, movies and food. His mind was on other things, he thought about his parents and how in love they were, their soul marks matched. His older sister was getting married to the person who matched her soul mark, was he going to be the only one not finding his soul mate? He turned the corner and without realizing it, he knocked right into someone, their shoulders collided so hard that he stumbled back into the shelves behind him.
“Seriously?” He steadied himself, but his side ached. Great. Just great.
“Are you okay?”
There it goes again. Those same three words… wait…his arm tingled. What just happened? His dark brown eyes snapped up to the person he knocked into and he couldn’t help but to stare. She did the same. It was like everything around them came to standstill and it was just the two of them in the room. Her eyes were a light brown, her skin was a beautiful shade of brown, like it was bronzed by the sun. Her hair, curly and large, was styled into a fro-hawk. She wore dark jeans, and a blue tank top. He couldn’t help but catalog everything about her. She was beautiful. She was perfect. He felt it. It had to be her. He also understood why no one could ever tell him what it felt like to find the one. How could he ever explain this?
“Um…” she started awkwardly. He blinked quickly and pulled himself from his stupor. What does he say now? What should he say now? He scratched the back of his head and she moved closer to him, her hand touched his arm. “Hello?”
“Oh yeah! Sorry, yeah I’m good.”
“Are you sure? We hit each other pretty hard, you went back into the shelf.”
“Yeah no, I’m mean, yeah. It hurt. But I’m good. Nothing I can’t handle.”
She smiled. It was perfect. “Okay, well that’s good then.” She gathered the things she dropped and started to walk away.
As she moved, he spotted it on her shoulder. The beginning of the word ‘seriously’. It looked like “Ser” in an interesting script. It was his word. It was her.
“W-wait!” The young woman froze her shoulders hunched. She had to know. Right? It can’t be one-sided can it? He walked over to her and faced her. Her eyes were wide, she HAD to know. He refused to believe that she didn’t. Those brown eyes looked up and the feeling he felt, it intensified. He wanted to reach out and hold her, to kiss her, to know her. Why would she walk away without even trying?
“I can’t do this.” She said. Her eyes shifted away but he wanted to gaze into them forever.
“What are you talking about?”
“You know what I’m talking about.” Her voice was a whisper. He knew exactly what she was talking about.
“Can we at least talk about this?”
She shook her head. “There’s nothing to talk about.” What should he do? Get on his knees and beg? Just when he thought he would never find her, she shows up. In the grocery store. On the yearly anniversary of when his girlfriend told him she found her soul mate and couldn’t continue their relationship. The poetry and irony of the situation was not lost on him.
“That’s not true and you know it.” He gambled and lifted her chin to look at him. He could feel the fear radiating from her. “We’re not required to get married right away. We don’t have to do anything now.” He released her. “I just want to talk.”
She released a heavy breath. Please think about it. He begged silently. He just wanted to talk.
“Fine.”
He almost broke out into a large grin, he wanted to but he didn’t want to freak her out any more than she already was.
“Thank you.”
He waited for her patiently outside once he purchased his items. His insides were buzzing with anticipation. He didn’t quite know what he was feeling, but he was sure it didn’t mean they had to love each other right away, they still had to get to know each other. He felt something though.
“Oh, you waited.”
He pushed off the bike rack and walked towards her. “Yeah, I didn’t want to overwhelm you.”
“Well… can I see it?”
“Huh?” She arched an eyebrow. “Oh! Yeah.” He pulled up his sleeve and showed her the script on his forearm.
“Wow. How many times have you heard that?”
He laughed and pulled down the sleeve. He shook his head trying to think the amount but there was no way. “Too many to even count.”
She nodded.
“I’m Michael by the way.”
“Theo. Well Theodora but Theo.”
Interesting name. Must be a family one. It suited her. He nodded and then the awkward silence set in. He wasn’t much of talker on the best of the days, so this was torture. She seemed to be much more of a social butterfly, but he could see the awkwardness in her as well. He wanted to ask her if she wanted to go someplace where they could talk, but…at the same time, it was so weird. It’s just like meeting her and asking her out. Get it together. Right. He could do that. So, he took a deep breath.
“So, about this whole soul mark thing-“
“I have a boyfriend.”
Oh.
Falling Fast (Part II)
It was always there, as far as she knew. Her memory only put it back to about twelve years old when she first noticed it. As a little girl, she knew about the words on her shoulder-blade, but she didn’t know the meaning until she was older.
“Seriously?”
That was what was written in an interesting scrawl on her shoulder-blade. She didn’t know what it meant, until her mother explained it. Her parents were soul mates. They met in college and have been together ever since. Their words matched. Her mother’s soul mark was on her lower back, a place she hated by the way, you’re pretty when you yell. It was the first thing her soul mate said to her after he accidentally hit the back of her car. She got out and said Are you blind!? and those words were printed on her father’s leg.
Neither one of them could truly tell her how it felt after they said their words to each other. Her parents couldn’t put it into words, so she didn’t know what to expect. All her life she heard people say “Seriously” in various ways, but none of them were the right one. She never had a feeling that she couldn’t explain. She had friends who found theirs, some in high school, which put a whole new meaning to the phrase “high school sweethearts”. She wasn’t jealous, but she couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if she never found her soul mate. What if instead she fell in love with someone else whose words didn’t match hers? Would the words go away?
They didn’t.
When she met Steve, they had a great conversation and hit it off right away. They talked more, spent more time together and she found herself forgetting and ignoring those words on her shoulder because as far as she was concerned, she found her soul mate. She loved Steve. He was a good man. Smart, had a stable job, a car and ambition that he pursued. Two years they dated, they often talked of moving in together and she barely thought of her words.
Every now and then, someone would say Seriously? and she would freeze thinking it was for her, but it never was. She moved on. Fate would not dictate to her who she had to love and who she could be with. No. She made her own future.
At least until she slammed into the body coming around the corner in the grocery store. She was looking for some goodies, she and Steve had a reservation for dinner and then a movie later. It was going to be a good night. But fate apparently had other plans.
“Seriously?”
Crap! She dropped her items. She scrambled to pick them up while glancing up to address the young man.
“Are you okay?”
Her shoulder tingled, like someone just barely caressed it. Her eyes widened as she looked at the guy who stumbled into the shelves behind him, her items forgotten. What…? His dark brown eyes snapped to her face and she couldn’t help but to stare. He was tall, his skin brown like coffee, hair cut short, but she could see the curls. He was well dressed even though he seemed to just be grabbing goodies himself. A nice shirt, with dark wash jeans, a jacket. He was handsome. He was perfect. She could feel it. It was him. It had to be. Now she understood why her parents couldn’t tell her what it felt like because it was like nothing she ever felt. How could she ever explain this?
She yanked herself out of her stupor. She had to. “Um…” he continued to stare. What should she say now? So, she moved closer and touched his arm to get his attention. “Hello?”
“Oh yeah! Sorry, yeah I’m good.”
Those dark brown eyes blinked rapidly as he seemed to get himself together. He wouldn’t stop staring though and she found herself…curious. She wasn’t uncomfortable, but she wasn’t comfortable either.
“Are you sure? We hit each other pretty hard, you went back into the shelf.”
Her eyes flickered to the shelf behind him, though he hit it pretty hard, nothing too bad happened. Nothing that would cause a bad reaction from an employee.
“Yeah no, I mean, yeah. It hurt. But I’m good. Nothing I can’t handle.”
She smiled at his awkwardness. He seemed to be the type to not say much, he seemed to be someone who observed, which was clear due to how much he stared. But she couldn’t fall into this. Steve. If she was honest, she could have stared into those brown eyes all day, but… Steve. He was good. She told herself. He’s a good man. She thought of his face. His darker skin, bald head, which she always teased him about, his strong arms… Steve.
“Okay, well that’s good then.” She quickly grabbed her things and forced herself to walk away. She would run if she could. She couldn’t deal with this. Nope. She wouldn’t. Fate would not force her into anything, no matter how much her stomach may twist into knots, or how her heart feels like it’s aching. Nope.
“W-wait!” She froze. It was her words. He saw them. He had too. She didn’t even think to look for his words, because she knew. She felt him walk closer, he stood before her and she refused to look at him. If she looked at him, she would fall deeper, and she didn’t want too.
“I can’t do this.” She said. She looked away. She couldn’t do this. Steve.
“What are you talking about?”
“You know what I’m talking about.” She could only muster a whisper.
“Can we at least talk about this?”
No. They couldn’t talk about it. What was there to say? Nothing. She made her own fate, she was with someone else. But she couldn’t help but to think of what would happen to him if she refused to accept this. Now that he knows, would he just be… alone? She shook her head.
“There’s nothing to talk about.”
“That’s not true and you know it.” She felt his fingers touch her skin, she tried not to shiver at the electricity that occurred from his touch. He lifted her chin and he made her face him. She could see it in his eyes that he wanted to talk. “We’re not required to get married right away.” MARRIED?? Now she really wanted to know all his thoughts. “We don’t have to do anything now.” He released her. “I just want to talk.”
After a moment of silence. She couldn’t think of anything else to say that would refuse him. Besides, she wanted to talk too.
“Fine.”
“Thank you.”
She went through the store to get the rest of her things. Now her mind wouldn’t stop buzzing. What happens now? Gosh. She was losing her mind. What was she going to do? Part of her hoped he went home. But he didn’t.
“Oh, you waited.”
He leaned against the bike rack near the entrance of the store. When she walked over, he pushed off and came towards her. She felt her entire body stiffen with anticipation.
“Yeah, I didn’t want to overwhelm you.”
Too late.
“Well… can I see it?”
“Huh?” She arched an eyebrow. Come on. He obviously saw hers. “Oh! Yeah.” He pulled up his sleeve, and she could see the script on his forearm. That looked just like her handwriting. Is… do the words match the handwriting of the soul mate? She needed to see his handwriting.
“Wow. How many times have you heard that?”
If he only knew how many times she’s heard “Seriously?”
He laughed and pulled down his sleeve. He shook his head and it seemed like maybe he was trying to remember but it was a loaded question. He couldn’t possibly remember.
“Too many to even count.” Right, that makes sense. “I’m Michael by the way.”
It was perfect. Everything about him was perfect. She wanted to know how his arms could feel around her. No! Steve!
“Theo. Well, Theodora but Theo.”
He nodded, and it got awkward. Theo shuffled her feet, unsure of what to say next. Perhaps it was time to go. She needed to get back home to get ready for tonight. But he had something else to say.
“So, about this whole soul mark thing-“
“I have a boyfriend.”
It came out before she could stop herself. Steve’s name was lodged in her throat and she couldn’t not tell him… Michael, that she was already with someone. She loved him. Her thoughts were like a broken record today, she would not let fate tell her what to do. She felt bad for Michael, but she loved Steve.
His eyes widened in shock but at the same time, she could see the resignation on his face.
They stood in silence, brown eyes staring into brown eyes. A connection between them that neither could truly explain or deny. What were they gonna do?

 

Hello Heartache (Part III)
How did he even get so lucky? He didn’t have an answer and he was sure that no one could answer that question for him either. He had the most beautiful girl in the world by his side, she loved him, even though fate said they were destined to be with another. That didn’t matter. The words printed on the inside of his arm didn’t matter. He found love on his own. She was beautiful.
He remembered the day he met her.
There was a used bookstore he liked to frequent. They often had great stuff in there for a cheap price, and he liked things that were good quality and cheap. He was looking at their book selection when he heard someone humming in the next stack. It was just humming, everyone could hum, at least in tune, but he still chanced a look. He acted like he was moving into the aisle to check out the shelves, but when he saw her, he was immediately taken.
There she was, with headphones in, her hair out in a curly afro, intensely reading a book. He could barely see the cover, but she was into it. Her head bobbing along to her music every now and then. Everything about her drew him in. He moved a little closer, hoping to see what she was reading; his hazel eyes shifted slightly to catch the title of the book. He couldn’t see the cover, but he could just make out the title printed on the top of the page. A throner? Nice.
“Winter is coming.” He said aloud, moving a bit closer to her, enough where he wouldn’t freak her out, but enough for her to know that he spoke. She noticed him, and with an arched eyebrow turned her head towards him.
“I’m sorry, what?”
Um, maybe her headphones were too loud. He nodded towards the book in her hands.
“Winter is coming.”
She glanced at the book and it took her a minute before she laughed. It was a beautiful sound and he was already into her. Her brown eyes looked back to him, a twinkle in them… her smile though, wow.
“Yeah, it sure is. I can’t take it already.”
“You read the books?”
“No, not yet. I’m buying some of them today. I was reading the first chapter. I watch the show though.”
“Me too. This last season, man, it killed me.”
“I know right! I cannot believe they ended it with Jon’s death. I’m so upset right now.”
He watched her as she spoke about the show in an animated fashion. She was obviously very passionate about it and it showed, in her facial expression, in the movements of her hands and the speed of her words. He was locked into watching her talk. He could do that all day to be honest.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to talk your head off like that.” She said with an awkward chuckle. She closed the book and moved to lift a stack off the shelf. It was the second and third book of the series. He hadn’t read them before either, but he did have the first book on his desk. He’d been meaning to read it since the second season of the show. He was slacking. She was already ahead of him.
“No, it’s not that. I just never met anyone who loved the show like that.”
“Oh yeah. It’s great. I can’t wait to see how different it is from the book.”
They stood there and talked for a few minutes. He honestly lost track of time. It was interesting to say the least and he enjoyed talking with her. She was animated, opinionated and passionate. It was kind of funny at how easily they fell into this kind of easy conversation. He never really talked with a woman this way. He found himself wanting to keep in touch with her. He never wanted to leave her presence. She was mesmerizing.
Later, he asked if she wouldn’t mind joining him for a sno-cone. It would be his treat. He was ecstatic when she accepted. As they talked, he couldn’t help but notice the scrawl on her shoulder. Oh yeah. He always forgot about these damn things. He saw the beginning of the word or phrase. “Ser”. What was the first thing he said to her?
Winter is coming. 
Damn. He wasn’t her soul mate. But they were perfect for each other. He could feel it. At least he felt something special. He had no idea how it would really feel when he finally met her, but this had to be close.
Yeah, he thought about that constantly. The day he met her. It was supposed to be a special night tonight. They were going to go to dinner and then a movie and just spend time together. They’d been talking of moving in together, well, he talked about it more than she did, he was ready for it, but she always had a reason as to why they should wait.
He checked his watch. It’s been a while since she went out to get groceries. It’s almost been an hour. He hadn’t heard from her, and even when he called, she didn’t answer. Was everything okay?
Seriously? 
Those words popped into his head. No. Surely, she would have said something if someone said those words to her, at least to the point where it wasn’t just a regular question. But if he was honest, he already knew who his soul mate was. He met her. He was jogging, and she was walking her dog. He watched as her dog spotted a squirrel and took off after it. The leash was yanked from her fingers. She called after her dog, but he was quicker and went after it.
He managed to grab the leash and calm the dog down. He always loved dogs and this stranger’s dog took to him immediately. She jogged up to them, her face scrunched in irritation.
“Cute dog.” He said with a grin, as the dog continued to lick his face and enjoy his rubs.
“That damn dog.” She said with a light laugh, kneeling next to him to scratch behind her dog’s ears. That damn dog. It was his words, the ones on the inside of his arm. Shit. He looked at her and she stared back at him, the dog between them panting, probably with a pleased expression on his furry face.
No. No. No. NO! His insides twisted, it almost felt a little painful considering what he knew. There was a sharp intake of breath, but whose it was, he didn’t know. They just stared.
“It’s you.” She finally breathed out.
No, it’s not me. He wanted to say to her, but something inside stopped him. What was going on? After all this time, NOW? He’s with Theo. He loves Theo. They play video games together; most times she hogs the controller and he swear she cheats when they play Mario Kart. They watch Game of Thrones and Supernatural together. They go to the movies together. It’s Theo, even without their matching soul marks.
Her expression killed him because he knew, he knew he was going to shatter whatever fantasy her brain and heart cooked up.
“I’m sorry.” He said.
“What do you mean? It’s you.” He watched as she removed her shoe. Her sock followed, and he recognized his own slanted handwriting on her foot. Cute dog. It was right there on her foot. He stood up. She followed. “Wait, please.”
“I can’t. Look, I know what this means but I have a girlfriend.” Her eyes widened, and he turned away.
Electricity surged through his body when he felt her hand on his shoulder.
“I- I’ve been waiting for this my whole life. To find you. For you to find me and you’re telling me you’re going to ignore this?”
“Didn’t you hear me? I have a girlfriend and I love her.” He said firmly. As far as he knew, Theo hadn’t found her soul mate, nor did she ever mention the word on her shoulder. Theo was always determined to make her own way. She marched to the beat of her own drum and he admired that in her. He wanted to be like that. He needed to be like that.
“But-“
“I can’t.”
He shrugged her hand from his shoulder and he started to walk away. He didn’t understand it. His parents warned him when he met Theo that this might not turn out very well. Soul mates were hard to ignore once found and though it’s happened before, though people never find their soul mates, it’s not impossible to be happy with someone else. They were still human after all.
“Please…at least take my number.” He could feel the worry in her voice. What would happen to her if he refuses to even acknowledge their connection? Would she give up? Especially since she’s been waiting for this forever. He hated to be a disappointment.
He found himself looking at her contact information in his phone.
Ebony James (704) 931- 8979
He never reached out to her; it was the only viable solution to keep himself from falling in love with her. He even refused to give her his number but for some reason, his mind wouldn’t let him stop thinking about Ebony. Why today of all days?
“Steve?”
Steve jumped up from the couch hearing her voice come through the front door. He calmed himself down before casually walking into the kitchen where she was busy putting things away. He leaned on the bar counter watching her. Something was wrong. Something was off. She wasn’t buzzing with energy like usual. Instead she was reserved, something Theo never is.
“Hey, what took you so long. You were gone for nearly two hours.”
“Yeah. I got caught up.”
“Is everything okay?”
She stilled, her back to him, the door to the freezer open. Something was wrong. The nagging feeling in his gut continued to build and he felt like it wasn’t going to be good, whatever it was that she wanted to tell him.
“Theo.” Nothing. He could see the words on her shoulder. “Theodora.”
She reacted to hearing her full name. He heard a heavy sigh be released before she turned around. Her eyes held a weight in them, her energy was off, everything was wrong. But he knew… he knew what happened because he felt the same way when it happened to him. She was about to tell him, but he didn’t want her too. He didn’t tell her when he met Ebony. He couldn’t.
But Theo, she would tell him. She told him everything.
“I met my soul mate today.”
When It’s All Over (Part IV)
“I met my soul mate today.”
Those were not the words he was expecting her to say. He didn’t know why but he couldn’t react. Not at first. He just stood there. Silent. Say something. But he couldn’t, he didn’t know what to say. What should he even say? He knew this day would come, he didn’t know when and he didn’t know what it would do to her and just by looking, he could tell it was killing her inside.
What should he do?
“Steve?”
Hearing his name snapped him out of whatever he just disappeared in. He cleared his throat and took a step back trying to regain his balance. Theo moved forward but stopped herself, her eyes darting away from him. He could see on her face that she was confused. He could see on her face that she was in pain.
This is why. This is why he never put stock in the whole “soul mark” thing because of reasons like this. She’s hurting, and he knows he can’t do anything to help her, not really. This is why he admired his parents for making it through this society full of matching soul marks because they are still in love. He never knew if they met their soul mates or not, but regardless they’re together. They’re in love. He wanted that regardless of matching soul marks. He knew Theo didn’t care either, she always wanted to make her own way. So why was this so hard? Especially for her?
“Steve…”
“Just…” He waved his hand asking her to stop. Just don’t. He wasn’t angry, not really. Steve didn’t really know what he felt. It was confusing. He turned his back on her and gripped the back of her navy-blue couch trying to stable himself. What does this mean for them? He wanted to move in together. He loves Theo. He doesn’t want to lose her to… “What is his name?”
“What?” Her voice was shaky, almost a whisper. He didn’t want to see the look on her face because who knows what he’d see.
“What is his name?”
Silence. Steve turned to look at his girlfriend. She stood there, her head lowered, her arms crossed, like she was trying to close herself in. Theo had walls up before, he worked hard to get through them, but it was like she was trying to pull them back up.
“Theodora… what is his name?”
“Michael.”
Michael. He wanted to know what he was like. She was gone for a long time, perhaps they got better acquainted. That burned him up inside, it felt like something red-hot was trying to claw its way out of his chest. Jealousy maybe? He never thought he would feel this way. Theo looked at him, her brown eyes wet. Was she crying? Oh god, he can’t handle a crying Theo. She is always so strong, so tears were a rarity.
“Tell me about him.”
“There’s nothing to tell Steve. He doesn’t… I mean, we didn’t… it wasn’t like a full conversation. We just talked.”
She stepped towards him again and he would have moved away but he forced himself to stay. He could smell her perfume as she moved closer. The honey lavender scent wafted into his nose and it centered him. He always loved the way she smelt. The smoothness of her hands touched his arms that tightly gripped the back of the couch behind him. He watched as her hands moved up his arms, rising to his shoulders…his heart beat so painfully in his chest but he couldn’t help himself. He wanted to kiss her. Her hands moved to his neck, they rested on his face and she stood on her toes. Her full lips touched his and he didn’t know if the sharp intake of breath was his or hers.
Steve released the couch and pulled her closer to him. Her body touching his…but something was wrong. Something was off. There was an alarm going off somewhere in his mind. When they pulled away, his breath was heavy, her eyes stared into his eyes and he knew something was wrong.
“Theo I-”
“Something’s wrong Steve.” She pulled away completely, her movements frantic as she began to pace back and forth. She touched her fingers to her lips, her brow furrowed as it did when she was in thought.
“It’s the soul mark.” His voice was quiet. It was the only explanation. But why would they feel different just because Theo met her soul mate. Nothing changed when he met Ebony. Why has it changed now?
“No. Why would it be different for the both of us and not just me? I don’t understand any of this. It’s so annoying and I hate it. I love you Steve. I know I do but I just feel… so confused that I don’t know what to do.” He watched as her pacing picked up speed. Her face was full of agony and she occasionally stopped to look at him her brown eyes wide.
“No one truly understands how soul marks work Theo.”
“Maybe not but I don’t… I hate this. I hate it. When I heard my words…” No. I don’t want to hear this. “…I, I wanted to fight it. I did fight it, but it wasn’t good enough. I’m so sorry Steve. I never want to hurt you.”
“I know.”
“You know I never wanted to meet my soul mate. I just… I want to be with you. I just can’t decide what’s going on inside of me. If you meet your soul mate you’ll know exactly…”
“I’ve already met her.”
Theo stopped moving, her body rigid. She turned to look at Steve even more confused than she already was. Steve looked away. Today has been ruined. He shouldn’t have said anything, he should have kept everything to himself. He shouldn’t have asked in the first place.
“What? You have? When?”
“About six months ago.”
Theo’s eyes grew large. Steve wasn’t sure what that expression was, but he knew her mind was going through all kinds of scenarios. She stood still. She was so silent. He felt like he should have moved forward, maybe he should reach for her, maybe he should reassure her that it meant nothing. Yeah, he thought about Ebony, but not like constantly. It just happens every now and then.
“That’s why.”
What? It was so quiet that he almost didn’t hear what she said. He asked her to repeat what she said, but she finally looked at him. Her brown eyes watery once more but soft.
“Is she pretty?”
What? 
“Tha- that doesn’t… that doesn’t matter Theo.”
“Is she pretty Steve?”
He sighed. This is so painful, and he didn’t want to make it worse. Why should it matter if his “soulmate” was pretty? It didn’t matter.
The woman of his dreams stood there in front of him. Her eyes a beautiful light brown, seeming brighter because of her tears. Her beautiful brown skin always glowed from the light she carried inside her body. Her large curly hair styled in one of her favorites “go-to” styles of a fro-hawk. Her dark jeans and blue tank top. Everything about her was what he wanted. She was perfect.
But… there were times when he thought of Ebony James. It happened randomly. Not often but randomly. He remembered how she looked when he stopped her dog from running too far.
Ebony had her hair pulled back into a ponytail, it was black and straight with wisps escaping and curling around her forehead. Her skin was dark, he imagined it was beautiful in the moonlight. She had almond eyes, dark as well and a beautiful smile with full lips. She was beautiful and sometimes her face appeared, and he always pushed it away.
Sometimes it lingered for too long though.
Ebony doesn’t look a thing like Theo. But he couldn’t deny his own confusion, but he could push it away a lot easier than Theo apparently could. He didn’t know Ebony. She seemed nice, but he didn’t know her.
Shit. He’s been quiet for too long.
“Yeah, she was pretty.”
There was a sharp intake of breath, but he didn’t see anything accusing or hurt in her eyes. There was understanding, and he hated that. She was perfect and he’s sitting here upset that she met her soulmate, like she planned it.
He sighed and moved towards her.
She wrapped her arms around him and they just stood there entwined. He could feel her heartbeat against his chest, and he really wished everything before this moment could be erased but he knew it was going to be different.
At the end of the day, it’s Theo’s choice.
Isn’t it?
Thinking Out Loud (Part V)
It’d been days since he first met her.
She was on his mind every day regardless of how many times he tried to push her out.
She has a boyfriend.
Every time she invaded his thoughts he had to remind himself that she has a boyfriend.
Torture. That’s what it is. Every day he thinks about her, her eyes, her beautiful smile, the brown of her skin, the way she smelt, the curl of her hair and he knew he was losing his mind. He always saw her brown eyes, they were a rusted amber color that had to be created only for her. He remembered the way she looked at him when she realized just who he was and what they were supposed to be. Forever. Soulmates. She went through so many emotions in such a short period of time. He committed to memory every expression. He felt it as soon as she said her words and he knew she felt it too, she had to, but she fought against it. After she ran off… it kind of hurt. He didn’t want to admit it, but it hurt like hell.
His mind constantly drifted back to the conversation they had after their first meeting; it was extremely awkward. However, the longer they sat in each other’s presence, it felt natural, like they were falling into an easy rhythm. He liked that. He hadn’t had that in a while. Not even with Natalie. With Natalie, there was excitement, but she was analytical where he was creative. They worked but there were many times when they didn’t. He could see it now.
Of course, she had something to do with her boyfriend, so she left, and it was like… something inside of him left with her. He missed her, and he didn’t even really know her.
It was because of his alleged constant “moping”, that he was dragged out for a night downtown at the new Jazz club The Broken Spoke. Blake and Eric insisted that he tag along with them, it was Open Mic Night and they wanted to be there because women turn up for Open Mic Nights. He was an artist, but creative writing was not a strength besides he was more of an illustrator, a painter, a sketch artist…
“Hello! Earth to Mike!”
He blinked in surprise as Eric waved his hand frantically in his face. Blake watched him with a cool expression while Eric tried to stifle a loud laugh. Their eyes focused on what Michael doodled on the pad he always carried around. He’d been absentmindedly doodling, and he finally glanced down at his pad and immediately felt embarrassed.
“You’ve been doodling her name for weeks.” Blake murmured as he slipped his hands in his pockets.
“This is sad.” Eric said as he slid into the booth and draped his arm around his best friend. “You have to get over this.”
Blake was mysterious and “dreamy” as Natalie used to say and Eric was so cool and open. It annoyed the hell out of him. He could never be like either of them. Michael was always the reserved one, always had been. Reserved. Not mysterious.
“Look, could you at least go and get a drink? Act like you’re going to have fun? Cool?” No answer. “Cool.” Eric pushed himself out of the booth and walked off, not missing a beat in his mingling.
Sometimes he hated Eric. They’d been friends since freshman year in college and it was because of him that he got out of his comfort zone. Blake came along some time around senior year and he just mixed right in. He was quiet but apparently there was something alluring about him. Eric was the shortest of the three, but he stood tall. Michael watched as he moved over to a booth full of beautiful ladies. They flirted. Eric was brown skinned with light eyes and girls seemed to just swoon. Always the lady killer.
His eyes fell on the girl at the far right in the group. He jumped to his feet thinking he saw… but in the end, it turned out not to be her. He stood there awkwardly for a moment before taking a wary glance at Blake who regarded him with dark green eyes.
“You should go and get a drink.”
Michael plopped back down with a loud sigh. “I don’t want to get a drink.”
Blake ran a hand through his dark hair and leaned forward, resting his elbows on the table. “Listen Michael. I know you can’t stop thinking about this girl, but, there’s nothing you can do. She has a boyfriend, and, in the end, the choice is hers. Right?”
Michael wouldn’t look at his friend. Eric was charismatic while Blake was observant and seemed to just understand everything. They both knew what happened and they had different takes on what Michael should do.
“Alright.” Blake stood. Michael didn’t even remember seeing him sit down. “We’re here to have a good time. There’s good music, a cool atmosphere. Do something other than draw.” He walked away, and Michael wilted. He shouldn’t have left the apartment. He looked down at his pad, looked into the eyes he couldn’t forget and closed the book.
He forced himself to walk to the bar. It was long with three bartenders. There wasn’t a ton of people in The Broken Spoke, but it seemed to be popular as all the bartenders were busy, so he slid into a seat at the end. After a few moments of waiting, the tall bald bartender stopped in front of him.
“Sorry about that. There’s always a rush around this time. What can I get you?”
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know in as you’re not much of a drinker or you don’t have a preference?”
“Both.” Michael wasn’t much of a drinker. He’d go out with his friends and have a few, or Eric would throw a party and he might drink but that was never a vice for him. He never knew what to order. The bartender nodded and seemed to think for a moment.
“Okay. I’ll give you something simple.” He turned around and did his bartending magic and slid a tall glass of dark liquid to him. “This is a rum and coke.”
That was one of his dad’s drinks. He tried it and it was… okay.
“Good?” The bartender asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Yeah.”
“Cool.”
The guy moved away to help someone else. Michael sipped at his drink and watched the people in the building. Someone was singing on stage, people were chatting in booths, chatting at tables and some were dancing to the girl’s song. It was nice.
He could see Eric swaying with a leggy girl on the dance floor. He glanced around till he found Blake leaning against a wall talking with a redhead girl. Some people just had it.
“You good over here?”
“Yeah. Thanks.”
“Are you here alone?”
Silence. Awkward shuffle.
“I might as well be.” He nodded to where his two friends were. “They’re doing their thing.”
Blake was tall and long, with his dark curls and green eyes. Girls just loved him. He and Eric were opposites, but they had the same effect on people and neither one of them cared about soulmates.
“Not much of a ladies man?”
Michael turned away from his friends and leaned his elbows atop the bar. The bartender watched him with dark eyes. It was intense.
“What, you going to be my therapist now?” Michael chuckled.
“Well you know, we do do that sometimes.”
Silence.
Crap.
The intensity cracked when he chuckled and swiped a few glasses left on the counter. Michael always wondered if that was a real thing and apparently it is.
“Everyone doesn’t do it, but I enjoy it. I went to school for psychology. People are interesting.”
“Is that why you became a bartender? To practice?”
Another chuckle.
“Nah., I like bartending and it just so happens I can talk to people. I wear a suit and tie during the day. Not much interaction with different people.”
Michael didn’t have to worry about not having people to talk to. He worked in a museum as a tour guide on the brink of becoming an educator. He saw hundreds of people a day. He loved art and wanted to be as close to it as possible. One day, he wanted to see his paintings, old sketchbooks, original comic drawings put into a museum to be seen by people forever. He always loved the idea of “forever”.
The bartender was called away, so Michael sipped more at his drink and turned back to the crowd. Eric was now sitting at a table with three different girls. One of them seemed intrigued by him and the other two were watching and talking amongst themselves. He searched the room for a tall figure and found him talking to the same redhead he was talking to before and even from far away, Michael saw something different in Blake’s body language. Michael watched for a moment and like he could feel the stare, Blake’s green eyes cut in his direction and they were wide. He’s never seen that look before, not on Blake but in the reflection of Theo’s eyes.
Did Blake meet his soulmate tonight??
Jealousy crept through his body at the thought. At the sight. It clawed its way from his stomach through his chest and he tore his eyes away from them and he tried to push it away.
“Ready for another one?”
He jerked hearing the voice of the bartender walk up to him.
“What?” The words caught up with him and he noticed his empty glass. “No.”
Silence.
“I think you do.” The Bartender mixed another drink. It seemed stronger this time.
“It’s so easy for some people.”
“What is?”
“Everything.”
He had no clue if that was Blake’s soulmate, or if she was single, or if she was even interested in falling into that black hole that was fate. But it was the fact that someone who is indifferent to soulmates, someone who is so casual and so unbothered looked so…
“Hey.” His eyes snapped up to face the tall man before him. The Bartender’s expression seemed a bit worried. He wasn’t angry, at least he didn’t think he was. “I don’t what happened in the two minutes I was gone but get it together.”
“You don’t know me.”
“No. But you’re different now. Why?”
Michael clenched his jaw. This man was not his therapist and he didn’t have to tell him anything. Plus, it wasn’t like he was that much older than him, it wasn’t like he was this adult who had all the answers. The bartender’s eyes flickered away from him for a few moments before settling back on him.
“So, you buy into this whole soulmate thing?” Silence. “Look. We’re human and we have free will. It’s not true love.”
“Yes, it is.”
“No, it’s not.”
“How do you explain the feeling then? You must not have met your soulmate.” Forget the sip. He drank.
“I have actually.”
Michael arched an eyebrow at the bartender’s words. It was impossible for him to have met his soulmate if he was so nonchalant about it. His parents are soulmates and they were in love. They argued because they’re human, but they loved each other like they need each other to live.
“Then how can you say that? If you’ve met your soulmate then you know how it feels to hear your words and feel like every breath in your body–.”
“Because I make my own way. Just because I met my soulmate does not mean that I’m going to fall for her. She’s a stranger to me.” The Bartender rested his hands on the bar and spoke with a calm demeanor which irritated Michael. “I work in an office because it’s what I have to do but this is what I prefer to be doing.”
“So, what?” Michael’s eyes narrowed. “Are you saying that fate pushed you into your office job, but you go against it by being a bartender?”
“We choose our own path. Just because the universe says you’re supposed to do this with your life, or be with that person, doesn’t mean you have to listen.”
Ever since he was a little kid, Michael knew what he wanted to do with his life. He loved art. He did different kinds and wanted to be around it as often as possible. That’s never changed. Michael liked signs. Whenever he felt there was a sign, he’d follow it. It led him to greatness in many ways. Maybe not right away but life isn’t perfect. He ended up in the museum because he met someone randomly one day who worked there. He took it as a sign and applied. Look at him now, he’s moving up and he loves the museum.
“Maybe, but that doesn’t mean that you have to ignore it when a sign does come. People ask for signs all the time.”
“If you can’t find direction on your own–.”
“So, you’re one of those then? One of those people who just ignore it when something is put right in front of you for a reason?” Michael ran a hand through his hair at the thought. The Bartender watched him. It made him uncomfortable. Michael wrapped his fingers around his sketchbook tightly, trying to maintain the stare.
The moment broke. The Bartender pushed off the counter and turned away from Michael. He spoke to the brunette bartender who nodded and smiled. He turned back to the young artist and rolled his shoulders.
“Taking a break.” Silence. Stare. Moves around the bar to take a seat next to Michael. “So, it’s obvious you’ve met your soulmate. I can only assume that it wasn’t happily ever after for you?”
“She has a boyfriend.”
Now that he was sitting next to him, he couldn’t see his expression. Not that he really wanted to anyway. He heard the man make an understanding noise. It was quiet again. The only thing making a sound was the band playing in the background. He was sure Blake was still enthralled with the redhead and Eric was still making his way through the lounge. Here he was, sitting next to a bartender who clearly doesn’t agree with him and he hasn’t moved yet. Maybe he just needed someone who wasn’t close to him to talk with. They always say it’s easier to talk to a stranger about personal problems.
“There’s nothing you can do about that.”
“I know.” Two drinks appeared in front of them and he took one like a thirsty man in the desert. Drink. “But what happens to me if she doesn’t choose me?”
He didn’t want to end up like his aunt. She found her soulmate, according to her, the woman was beautiful and everything she wanted in a partner, but she was engaged to another woman. The woman chose to be with her fiancé instead of his aunt. Aunt Sharon was still single. He loved his aunt, but she always seems sad… would that happen to him if Theo chose her boyfriend and not him? Would he be sad for the rest of his life?  How could anyone ever measure up?
“I wish that it wasn’t like this. I’m an artist, I agonize in general,” Soft chuckle. “But I don’t want to be in pain for the rest of my life.”
“You have to make waves for your own life. I mean, what if you have to wait five years or ten years before you see her again? You make your own choices. Life doesn’t happen to you. You happen to life.”
Ugh. He didn’t even come here for this. He came here to have a good time. Well try to have a good time. He’ll probably be up late tonight sketching again. He might have to break out the big guns and cover up that hole in his wall with a new mural or something.
“This whole soulmate thing has people doing things they probably wouldn’t if they didn’t think their life was mapped out for them just because of some magic little words on their body. If we didn’t have them then none of this would be a problem.” Pause. “I think you have to just live your life man. My parents aren’t soulmates and they’re happy.”
“My parents are soulmates.”
“Good for them. That doesn’t have to be you though. Artists always make their own way. I don’t think it should be any different for you.”
Michael also couldn’t help but to think about her boyfriend. If Theo did choose him, then what will happen to that guy? He’s been in that position before where he wasn’t the soulmate and he wasn’t chosen. It hurt like hell. Michael didn’t think he was a bad guy and of course he wanted Theo to choose him but… god this is so hard.
Silence loomed over them again. How could he love someone he didn’t even know? That’s what this guy was saying. That’s what kept him from making the choice of going after his soulmate. Michael wasn’t sure if he could do that though. Even without the matching soul marks, he felt a connection to Theo, he knew he could love her no matter what.
“Hey man.” Eric sat on the barstool on his left and released a huge yawn. “I’m beat. You wanna go?”
“Where’s Blake?”
Eric waved his arm somewhere behind him without turning around to see. “He’s talking to that redhead over there. I think she’s his soulmate. I’ve never seen him look like that before.”
“That’s what I thought.” Well good for Blake. He took a deep breath and allowed himself to come down from being wrung so tight due to the extreme jealousy he couldn’t help but to feel. Once those feelings drained away, he felt exhausted.
Eric looked past him at the man on his right. The Bartender nodded at him and downed the rest of his drink.
“Steve!” One of the girls shouted from behind the counter. He made an annoyed noise and jumped to his feet rolling his neck.
“Guess I have to get back to work. It was cool talking to you man. You finished?” Michael pushed the empty glass to his outstretched hands and watched as he walked back around the counter. “Good luck in everything.”
Michael stood to his feet and stretched his limbs, he noticed that Eric was trading eyes with the brunette behind the bar. Michael shook his head and patted his shoulder.
“Come on man.”
He grabbed the back of Eric’s shirt and he stumbled back off the stool. He made a “call me” sign at the girl who winked at him. Michael shook his head.
“You okay?” Eric asked once he got himself together to catch up with his taller friend. Michael shrugged and stuffed his hands in his pockets as they moved towards the door. Blake was waiting for them with a mystified look on his face. “You get that girl’s number Blake?”
He nodded, his green eyes looking through his friends. “Yeah. Her name is Delia.”
Yep, soulmate. Michael knew because he acted the same way when he told them about Theo. Eric laughed and nodded turning Blake away towards the door. After he had a chance to get his life together, Michael smiled. He was happy for Blake. All the ladies could eat their hearts out.
Just as they got out the door, he realized he’d forgotten something.
“Oh, hold up, I left my book. I’ll be back.”
He turned back made his way back towards the bar. He narrowed his eyes seeing The Bartender standing there flipping through his book. Michael didn’t mind people looking at his work but he’d rather if he was showing it instead of them stealing looks. As he got closer, he noticed The Bartender’s eyes were intensely focused on the pages.
“Hey.”
The Bartender had a tight hold on his sketchpad. After what seemed like forever, he looked up at the young man before him, his eyes a mixture between confusion and anger. He slammed the book down on the counter and slid it towards him. With a downward glance, Michael saw just what he saw.
Her eyes.
“Are you Michael?”
Only Forever (Part VI)
“He’s been drawing you.”
What? She frowned as she pulled herself into a sitting position. It was still dark in the apartment, with only the light from the television illuminating the tall man standing by the dining room table. He looked so rigid. She would never particularly say that he was easy-going, but he wasn’t uptight either. This posture was out of character and it worried her.
“What are you talking about?”
“He’s been drawing you.” It was a little louder this time, but the words still made no sense. “He’s been drawing your eyes and your face. The likeness-“
“Steve what are you talking about?”
He turned sharply in her direction like he finally realized she was there. He may have been talking aloud before but not directly to her. She couldn’t really see his face, but she was sure there was a crease between his eyes that appeared whenever he was distressed. He was silent again and Theo couldn’t help but to want to fill the silence, but she needed to know what he was talking about, so she didn’t.
After a few slow moments ticked by, she moved. She climbed off the couch, her feet moved across her wood floors to her boyfriend as he stood there, his body tightly coiled. Something happened tonight. She’s seen him like this before, holding tight to the anger restrained in his body. However, unlike last time, she had no idea how to soothe him because she didn’t know the problem.
She stood in front of him, careful not to get to close, even though she knew he would never do anything to hurt her. Her curls fell into her eyes as she looked up at him, his eyes staring at the ground.
“Steve.” He made an unintelligible noise in his throat and she wrapped her arms around his and pulled his body into hers. “Steve.” She felt his body shudder as she continued to whisper his name with the hope of pulling him back from whatever place he was pushed too. She didn’t stop even when she felt his arms circle her back and hold her to him. But something was still wrong because he held her like she might float away.
“I don’t know what to do.” She hummed giving him a moment to decide if he’ll continue on his own. He did. “I didn’t know who he was. He was just some kid, some artist who needed advice and we talked, and I liked him.”
“What did he do to make you so upset?” Her voice was gentle as she questioned the broken story, her hands smoothing up and down his back. He breathed into her hair and he held on tighter.
“He’s been drawing you.”
“The kid you talked to tonight?”
“Yeah.”
“Who is he?”
He was silent for a little while. The lights from the TV flickered across his face as she waited for him to continue. She had no idea who this person was. Maybe some weirdo saw her on the train and was inspired. Or perhaps it was someone she massaged before at work. Customer service allowed for her to see many people a day. She couldn’t possibly keep track of every client.
“Michael.”
Her movements froze hearing the familiar name. It couldn’t possibly be him. She hadn’t talked to or even seen him in so long. He was an artist? Did he mention that when they spoke the first time? She couldn’t remember. Even still, the fact that Steve and Michael happened to meet? No. There’s no way the universe would do that to her. To them.
Silence. Ugh, she had to stop letting the silence overtake the moment because now it was uncomfortable. She carefully moved so she was looking up at him again.
“So?” The word hung in the air and again she waited. He huffed and pulled away from her. Cold air rushed into the space where he just stood. She wrapped her arms around herself to fight against it.
“So? He’s been drawing you Theo. That means he’s been thinking about you. The likeness was amazing.” He folded his arms across his chest. “I can’t even take his talent away because they were so good. You have to see where I’m coming from.”
“No, I don’t see. Just because some guy I met months ago, has been drawing my face and my eyes, which is a little weird if you ask me, doesn’t mean anything.”
“He’s your soul mate.”
Theo couldn’t help the twist in her stomach when he said it. When she met Michael, she was so confused, and it bothered her for days. It bothered Steve for days and she wished it never happened. They had a little bump in their relationship where it seemed like things were different between them and while they both acknowledged something was… off, it didn’t change how they felt. She loved Steve. He loved her. That wouldn’t change just because they both met the person the universe said they were supposed to be with.
“That doesn’t mean anything Steve. I’m with you. I haven’t even seen or talked to him in months. There’s no way for us to communicate.”
He started to pace, his shoes sounding heavy against the hardwood and all she could do was watch. If she was honest with herself, she understood his frustration, if she met that Ebony girl and found out she’d been drawing pictures of her man, especially after having a pleasant conversation, she would probably be in the same place as Steve. She understood. She did. But, at the end of the day, she’s with Steve. She loves Steve. Michael may be her soul mate, but she didn’t choose him.
He stopped pacing so abruptly she saw his body lurch from the impact. He turned to her, the muscles in his arms flex and his voice sounded strained.
“I know that! But the fact that he’s thinking about you! Of your face and your eyes–it’s–it’s killing me.”
“Steve, listen to me please.” The light from the television flickered across his dark skin, she needed him to stop thinking about this before it ruined everything. She ran her fingers through her curls, pushing them from her face and she gave him a gentle smile. “I love you. We know we make our own way, and we have no idea what the future holds, but in this moment… it’s me and you.” Her smooth hands held his face and she brought his lips to hers.
That moment sat in the forefront of her mind as she walked towards the cafe where they agreed to meet. She checked her watch and quickened her pace. She didn’t want to be late.
He sat at one of the outside tables, a book flipped open on the table, but it didn’t look like he was reading it. His eyes stared at the pages, but they didn’t move. She couldn’t help the smile that crept onto her face seeing him there.
“Interesting read?”
He looked up startled at the familiar voice.
“Um… it was when I was actually reading it.” He held up the book for her to see the cover. She smiled seeing it was the book she was excited about a while ago, Children of Blood and Bone. She saw it on Instagram before its release and he probably heard her mention it many times. She bought the book, hadn’t read it yet as she didn’t have the time, but it was on her list. “It’s good but I haven’t really focused on it much today.”
She sat across from him and quickly put in an order as he talked about his day. Getting his call surprised her. She hadn’t heard from him in a while but according to her best friend, he’d been doing well for himself. She was truly happy for him. Marcy was into the soulmate thing, but it never stopped her from being a social butterfly. She says she’s not actively looking for someone but if a man manages to catch her eye, she wasn’t going to ignore him. However, Marcy is ready for her destiny. Theo couldn’t help but to roll her eyes as her mind wandered through topics.
According to Marcy, Steve was busy and making moves. He’s always had big ambitions and often talked about his plans. He worked in finance but wasn’t happy in that role. It paid the bills and gave him something to do during the day, but he always liked the night life, not necessarily living in it but being the reason why people went out. The Broken Spoke was nice, but he always wanted to have his own, to be in charge and create his own way. It was one of the things she loved about him.
“What?” He said with an awkward chuckle. Theo found herself looking him over amid their silence. He looked the same, same chocolate brown skin, same bald head that she still remembers massaging whenever he had a hard day. He was strong physically and those eyes still showed so much emotion. She remembered how they always held the answers, so much passion and they meant safety for her. It surprised her that they still meant that for her.
“Oh nothing. Still bald I see.” Laughter filled the silence slicing through the fog that was settled between them.
“So, I saw that you’re in grad school.”
She inhaled deeply, sipping the water the waiter placed before her. She wondered just how often Marcy still talks to Steve. She said once before that until she met Michael, if she ever met him, she was #TeamSteve. It made sense that she might share updates. Marcy-always trying to pull people together.
“Yeah, I decided to stop thinking of getting my MFA and actually do it.” She picked at the fruit brought to her as she talked. It felt nice catching up with him. “I thought about doing it online since you know, I have a major fear of rejection and I don’t want to see people’s faces while criticizing my work but-“
“But you decided you should actually meet with people because it would get you out of your comfort zone. But then you decided to do it online anyway because it fits better in your schedule and baby steps.”
She wondered if it was Marcy who shared that information, or did he figure it out on his own?
“The fact that you even got that right is amazing.”
“Well, I know you pretty well Theo.”
Silence.
“Congratulations on your bar by the way.” Marcy showed her the photos on Instagram. It looked like Steve found someone to go into business with him if the guy whose hand he was shaking in the picture made any indication. Marcy said that it was turning out nice for him.
“I’m sure Marcy probably saw,” she smiled at his knowing smirk. “But I think it’s going to be really great. It’s in a part of town where they’ve been trying to bring some creativity back and I think The Doors will help that.”
The Doors? He’s played around with the name for a while but to hear that he settled on that one left her flabbergasted.
“That’s… really good Steve. I’m happy for you. I’m glad your dreams are being realized.”
She was happy. A year and a half did him a lot of good. They walked away from each other for a reason and though it was hard to be back in his presence, she found that she was okay with how she felt in that moment.
She was forced to walk away from him once more. The conversation turned from them catching up, to him talking about them being together. He wanted to give it another try. Theo could only listen and watch him as he spoke. She could hear the sincerity in his voice, the love in his eyes and her heart lurched in her chest. It was like a caged bird wanting to break free, but she couldn’t. At least not freedom with him.
She spent a long time thinking about them after their break up. It was painful but mutual. It was his idea, but she’d been thinking about it. She’d ran into Michael a few months after the conversation she had with Steve about him and it wrecked her life more than their first meeting. The universe was cruel, and she hated it. She tried to fight it for as long as she could but as fate would have it, she started to dream about Michael. Almost every night, she’d wake up with his face at the forefront of her mind. There were even times she’d wake up in Steve’s arms with Michael’s face there. It was too much. She couldn’t take it.
The day Steve said he wanted to take a break, it was on the tip of her tongue as well. She knew it wasn’t her fault, but it felt like it. They talked for a long time that night and in the morning, through teary eyes and a growing migraine, she watched Steve close the door behind him. She missed him so much that her heart felt empty but as she got ingrained in her writing and in her master’s program, her life became full again.
She moved on.
She scrolled through Instagram as she walked down the road towards Marcy’s place. Her headphones were secure in her ear and she bopped along to the Michael Jackson. She did a little dance step to shake off any negative or fleeting feelings that tried to invade her heart and mind. Theo liked different kinds of music but there was always something about Michael.
Michael…
She shook it off and matched her footsteps with the music. She saw the body moving towards her but for some reason, she couldn’t make her body move out of the way fast enough. Their shoulders collided, she grunted in discomfort at the hard contact and she stumbled backwards. She planted her right foot to catch herself before she tumbled to the ground. That would be horrifying.
“Sorry!” She said as she straightened herself.
“My bad.”
She froze. That warm voice invaded her senses. Her eyes zeroed in on the tall frame standing across from her. He stood there in his light wash jeans and dark shirt. Her eyes trailed over him as she cataloged everything about him, reminding herself just how good he looked. He was tall, his skin brown like coffee, full lips, his hair was a little longer now and the curl was more pronounced. His eyes, that deep mahogany that stared at her with what looked like disbelief.
Whatever he was wearing closed the distance between them, she could only pinpoint the faint scents of rosemary and jasmine but this… whatever he was wearing, it enticed her. It assaulted her, and she kept her feet planted to keep from moving towards him.
“Theo?”
It was then she realized he’d been talking while she was being pulled in just from him standing there. It was so strong, and she didn’t want to fight it. The feeling was different now. Was it because she was no longer in love with someone else that this was no longer clouded? Was it because she fought against it so strongly that now it came at her full force? There’s so much she didn’t understand but she knew she didn’t care that much. She just stared.
“Sorry. I-I must have zoned out or something.” She pulled one of her headphones from her ear. “What did you say… before?”
“I said, I haven’t seen you in a long time. You… look great.”
She noticed he watched her too. Those brown eyes tracked over her body and normally she might have been offended at the brazen look, but she found she didn’t care. She wanted his hands to mimic his eyes.
“Thanks, so do you”
Theo felt in her bones that she was meant to be with him. She wasn’t against it anymore. She wanted to tell him that she dreamed of him almost every night. She saw his face at random times. They’d only seen each other three times, including this encounter, but she knew she could never forget him.
“I draw you all the time.” It was quiet, but she heard it, however, his tone did not match the intensity in his eyes. The awkwardness she felt from him in their first two meetings was long gone. She remembered Steve coming back to her apartment distraught at Michael’s apparent drawings. She thought about it constantly. She wanted to see what caused Steve’s fear and how Michael saw her.
“Can… I see them?”
Without hesitation, Michael showed her the worn, leather book she just noticed was in his hands. She took it and flipped through the first pages that held sketches of random people he may have seen on the street, people with eyes and facial features that resembled his own. There were landscapes and birds. Then… she paused, the gasp caught in her throat.
Wow. I’ve never seen myself like this before.
The sketches going forward were of her, with a few ones of nature, but they were all her.
“You’re beautiful.” He muttered moving closer to her, they were on the sidewalk after all.
“I dream of you every night.” It came out before she could censor herself. She’s had dreams where she’s walking through a large crowd, something she hates, but all the colors were drained from the people’s faces, their clothes, everything. It always made her  uneasy however, in the distance, there was a flash of color. He was always drawing, painting…something and the colors were so vibrant. It would vary but it was constant.
“I’ve never stopped thinking about you. I tried to stop because I know you were with someone else.” He took a step forward, “I met him a long time ago.” She remembered. “I’m trying to care about the fact that you’re with him-“
As he spoke, the impulse rose up from her stomach, it spread to every nerve. Her skin tingled, and she closed the distance.
“I’m not.” Before she could stop herself, her hands came to rest on his arms. Theo felt the strength in them, she slid them up to his shoulders, feeling the muscle and ridges his arms. She grazed the skin of his neck, his pulse jumped beneath her fingers. She needed him, and she hated the fact that she was falling into the black hole that was fate, but she didn’t care anymore. She didn’t. Without saying a word, Theo used her grip on his shoulders to pull him forward, her lips brushed against his.
It was electric.
Lighting reverberated through her body. His arms wrapped around her waist and he pulled her flush against his body.
Fire! There was fire everywhere. She was lost in the flames, but she was okay. This felt so right, and she wanted to be lost in him, his taste, his smell and his arms. She understood now. She loved this feeling and she wanted to continue feeling it.
Forever.
She wanted to know him. She wanted to be lost in him. Michael. Theo couldn’t believe she was missing this for so long. The young woman inhaled deeply, pulling him in as much as she could. He seemed to do the same.
WAIT!
Theo pulled back breathless. Her mind warred against her actions. She couldn’t believe she just kissed him like that! That she was doing this! She didn’t even know him! His forehead rested against hers. His breath came out heavy across her face. Peppermint.
She shook her head, their skin hot as they rubbed against each other. “I- I don’t just kiss…”
“I don’t either but…” It was amazing. How could just one kiss feel like this? A kiss with a stranger? What did fate want her to do? Just run into the sunset with him and they’d live happily ever after? They were still human after all. Her mind tried to make sense of it all, but even the most dedicated scientist didn’t seem to understand how the universe worked. Not in this way. “Theo, I want to get to know you.”
And she wanted to get to know him.
“Me too.” His lips brushed against hers, “But-“
“No. No.” He lifted her chin, his eyes focused on hers and she found herself getting lost in those eyes. She had nothing to fear. “I know you feel like you’re being forced into something and I would never do that to you Theo.” He ran a hand through his hair, but he didn’t let go of her waist. “I want to be with you. I want to know you the way no one else has never known you. I want to know what your voice sounds like in the morning.” He caressed the side of her face, her skin tingled in the wake of his touch. “I want to be able to look at you every day and discover new planes of your face. I want you to be my muse.”
She felt her face warm at the words, however, she couldn’t help the smile that crossed her face. Theo tried to suppress the giggle, but it bubbled from her lips. It turned into a full-blown laugh. Michael’s expression turned indignant.
“I-I’m sorry. That’s hilarious.” She noticed the expression but still laughed, “I don’t mean it in a bad way Michael. It’s so just so cheesy.” The indignation smoothed into fondness.
He cracked a smile.
“Yeah,” Michael moved his arms from around her waist, “But it’s what I want.”
She could tell. No matter how lame it came off, she wanted all of that and more. Michael held his hand out to her. Theo looked at the outstretched hand, her eyes then traveled to his face and he was waiting.
Her mind ran through so many thoughts. She knew she was ready for whatever happened between them. She knew she wanted to know him, to see his face every morning, to look at him and be inspired to write. Theo knew fate, the universe, God… she didn’t know what it was, created them for each other and pushed them together when it got the chance.
Before, she wanted to make her own path in every part of her life. Theo always knew or had some idea of what she wanted and that would never change. She will still march to the beat of her own drum, but this was a part of her life that was always full of uncertainty. It always landed back on those word on her shoulder. It pulled her away from Steve, but it led her to Michael. She never realized that no matter what kind of free will she had, certain things were always meant to be. She couldn’t dwell on the how or the why but the hand waiting for her.
So, she took his hand.