Christmas at Pemberley Manor (2018)

Christmas at Pemberley Manor (2018)

Every year I try and review a Jane Austen type Christmas Film. It started with Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe and has just become a tradition since then.

This year I ran a poll on my instagram asking people to vote between my reviewing Sense and Sensibility and Snowmen or Christmas at Pemberley. Christmas at Pemberley was the clear winner as 71% of those who voted wanted me to review that one.

But before I start my review, let me pause and say:

Happy Birthday Jane Austen!

Yes, today marks her 247th birthday, and I thought what better way to celebrate than by reviewing a Jane Austen film? (Although after watching it I may change my mind about that)

I had a really hard time trying to find this film to watch. It’s not on any streaming site as far as I can tell, except on Amazon to purchase. Just trying to watch online seemed imprisons good, so I ended up buying it (I had money from delaying my packages so it only cost me $0.49.)

This film came out back when Hallmark was remaking several classics as Christmas films. It stars Michael Rady as Mr. Darcy, which you may recognize from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants or The Mentalist. It also has Jessica Lowndes as Elizabeth Bennet (spelled Bennett in this).

Elizabeth Bennett is a party planner from NYC and is the type of personality where she is on top of everything and always has every thing perfectly planned out in her color coded binders. She works for Caroline Bingley, the actress is the almost stepmother in The Parent Trap (1998). Caroline Bingley is the preeminent party planner in NYC and is a tough woman to work for (according to Elizabeth but she seems fair to me from the little we see). Elizabeth has always been in the background but Caroline is trusting her to be head of a Christmas festival in Lambton Connecticut. Elizabeth knows the mayor of the town as they went to college together. His name, George Wickham.

Before Elizabeth heads out, Caroline warns her to not forget it is Caroline’s name and reputation in this event. She’s trusting her with both and if things don’t go well, Elizabeth is out.

We then switch over to our Mr. William Darcy, as mentioned before played by the cute Michael Rady. He has an assistant, Travis, who is terrible at his job and supposed to be the Bingley character I suppose? Darcy is extremely kind to his assistant, and the two head to his family’s home Pemberley Manor, in Lambton, Connecticut .

We are in Lambton. George is getting ready to meet up with Elizabeth as he is still crushing he’s on her. As they go to meet her Jane Lucas (Jane Bennet/Charlotte Lucas?) remarks how sad she is that Darcy is selling Pemberley Manor and that it will be turned into condos by a developer. The audience is also told of her doubts for the festival as it previously had only been a one day thing of lighting the tree and reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, but Elizabeth is making it a multi day affair with all kinds of events. The movie is trying to scare us into thinking this is impossible for Elizabeth, but I’ve seen enough movies, I know it will all work out in the end.

I know Christmas films.

So this George Wickham seems okay, he cares about the community, Elizabeth,…but I’ll reserve judgement as George Wickham’s can’t be trusted.

Yes!

George is clearly into Elizabeth, but Elizabeth keeps saying they are only friends although goes into detail about the romantic way they met. She’s giving off serious mixed signals to him. She also is reading to get started so they all decide to grab a warm drink from the only hot drink cart located in this town and stand in a super long line. Like why don’t they just go to the mayor’s office? Or a coffee shop?

Darcy has just also just arrived in town and he wants a coffee. He sends his assistant to fetch him one, and his assistant is so hyper focused on doing a good job he misconstrues a joke and thinks if he fails to get the coffee he will be fired. He goes to the only place in town to get a drink, this one lone coffee and cocoa cart and tries to cut in line to get the drink. Elizabeth decides to be his champion and not only inserts herself into the conversation between Travis and the hot drinks cart man, but she also decides to march on down to Mr. Darcy’s car and yell at him.

Seriously, what’s wrong with her? First of all she doesn’t even know that Travis is telling the truth, he could be lying so he doesn’t have to wait in line. Also what good will it do anyone one for her to march over and yell at his employer. At best Travis could get in trouble, at worst fired. She also goes and starts lecturing him about being a good employer completely projecting her own work related issues onto this stranger. So all that tells me is that she clearly has problems with her boss she hasn’t communicated about, but thinks this man she just met, Travis, is supposed to do what she can’t. How do you know you won’t make things worse for him?

Do the writers think we are supposed to be on her side? If anything this makes me like Elizabeth less as she harasses a complete stranger. Mr. Darcy behaves like a perfect gentleman listening, explaining what happened, and being completely courteous to this woman who is acting like a total jerk.

Girl

I know the writers think this is supposed to make us laugh when they have the later “payoff” scene where the two have to work together but I don’t think it was particularly clever as we already know he is Darcy (they should have not told us his identity), and I’m completely all on poor Mr. Darcy’s side.

Mr. Darcy goes to Pemberley and meets the new caretaker, as the former one Willoughby retired. Darcy is more than ready for the house to be torn down which makes me think there are some terrible memories associated with it. The house being sold wasn’t completely Darcy’s decision as it was left to is Darcy Corp and the board of directors decided to sell it.

Darcy hasn’t been there in years and when he goes inside and looks around he doesn’t seem that overjoyed at being back.

Bad juju…

Back with Elizabeth, she and George are having dinner and the character of Elizabeth is so shallow, they just made her like every other Hallmark female main character. They took an interesting character and made her boring.

Of course the next day the festival is in trouble as the water main breaks and destroys the town square and the gazebo. Of course the only answer is to use Pemberley Manor, which we know won’t go well as she just insulted Mr. Darcy the day before.

The other thing that really annoys me about this version of Elizabeth is that she never listens to anyone. Whenever George tries to talk to her about things she interrupts him and moves on barreling faster than a bullet train.

Elizabeth sees that Darcy is the owner of Pemberley, yet her Pemberley demeanor doesn’t even change. She still forceful and barrels through him. She doesn’t even try to apologize or be kind; instead she just runs roughshod over his thoughts and feelings.

The other thing that really annoys me is that she shrugs off all his concerns even though they are valid. He’s selling the manor, he is worried about the liability, and worried about how if something goes wrong not only will he be responsible but his company too as it is a company house. Having put on events for work, I totally see where he is coming from and agree with why Mr. Darcy doesn’t want a festival in his home. But Elizabeth ignores it all and insults him again.

Elizabeth then tries to have George force Darcy to do it. I thinks she’s supposed to be endearing but she is really annoying.

Darcy runs into the caretaker, Kristopher, again, (and he looks suspiciously like Santa Claus), playing Christmas records. I wish they had given Darcy a sister as I feel that works well for his character, it doesn’t have the same meaning with him as an only child. Darcy receives an email from the company purchasing the manor as someone has been complaining about them tearing it down in the community. Guess who did it?

Elizabeth

Speak of the devil, she then shows up and barrels through Darcy with her plan for the festival, not even asking him again. She’s so rude.

So annoying

Darcy and already been convinced by Kris, so they move forward with the festival. Darcy does give her one condition, he doesn’t want any involvement with it. Darcy has been kind, respectful, and a great guy. And I really don’t want him to end up with this annoying version of Elizabeth.

Elizabeth is ready to set up and complains about how much work the paperwork was, and all of can feel is told you so. Elizabeth then forces Darcy to help her, clearly being into him as she “can’t have anyone else help her”.

So annoying

They spend time together where she makes him carry thousands of bags. She also makes fun of him for being head of the his company and always working. Hello, he’s head of the company as he has a lot to do. Like you don’t work constantly, you hypocrite. There is no way someone with that many color coded binders isn’t a workaholic.

Elizabeth reveals she has done extensive research on him, and I think it supposed to be cute but it comes off slightly stalkerish as she never seems to stop smiling. Even when she was angry she just keeps smiling, slightly creepy.

Creepy…

Travis goes looking for Mr. Darcy and runs into Jane and it is love at first sight! The two are cute together, someone understood the assignment.

The one thing I think is odd is that Darcy and Elizabeth went to get supplies but they don’t have shopping bags they have gift wrap bags holding all the supplies. Weird set dressing choice.

I enjoy the Darcy character as I feel that they did make him real, a man who has been grieving and given up a lot after his mom died and finally coming to terms; but the Elizabeth character I don’t care for at all as she doesn’t feel real.

So Elizabeth is crushing on Darcy super hard and it’s extremely obvious to everyone, while Darcy is just moseying along. It’s actually funny because she is like begging him to kiss her and he does not see the signs at all.

The next day Elizabeth is complaining to George and is exaggerating about what happened, making it seem as if Darcy threw her out of the house. What really happened was that they decorated his tree, he shared about his mom, and then said he had to go back to work. Like what did he do that was so terrible? Not kiss her? Who says he has to let her stay in his home for all hours of the night?

Every time she talks about Darcy she rewrites what happened to her to make her a victim. Like she has a serious victim mentality. She even complains about him not wanting to be associated with the festival making it sound as if he was demanding it. Which he DID NOT do. This Elizabeth is not the right Elizabeth. She’s more like Lydia or Mrs. Bennet.

George sets her straight and lets her know that Darcy is a charitable man and gives a lot to the community. He talks Darcy ho and let’s her know he just doesn’t like to be in the spotlight.

Back at the house Darcy and Claus, I mean Kristopher talk. Darcy shares some more positive memories he has of Pemberley and we can see him really healing.

How sweet!

Darcy sees Elizabeth outside working late and alone (yeah hypocrite who’s the workaholic now?) and greets her. She mentions she wishes she could make Christmas cookies and Darcy invites her in to bake. Again he is perfect as he is sweet, kind, and even praises her for being the one who takes care of everything in the background.

Then they are start sharing childhood dreams and he shares that he always knew he was going to take over the family. Elizabeth laughs in his face after hearing that. Wow! Girl you should learn how to flirt, or maybe not as you are going to end up with this guy after all. She also makes fun of his cookies and brings up Santa again. Like almost every other conversation she mentions Santa again. I’m surprised no one finds it odd as I do. She’s a woman in her 30s and can’t stop talking about Santa.

Jane and Elizabeth talk about the men in their lives and Elizabeth insults Darcy again. Why is she so rude?

Then Travis, George, and Darcy meet to talk and head to the only hot drink cart in town to talk. George is again trying to convince Darcy to not sell Pemberley. Travis is an utter trainwreck when it comes to being Darcy’s assistant, losing paperwork again. I know we should like him, but every time I see him I wonder how he even got this job? He forgets everything, is extremely messy, and completely disorganized.

Even though Elizabeth has treated him terribly, Darcy is kind and treats Elizabeth well. He’s not only extremely supportive and caring but he even found a carriage to be used for the festival. Man she doesn’t deserve you. You were written too well and wonderful and she was not.

The two work on the carriage And again Elizabeth is rude and assumes that Darcy only dates models and is one of those type of guys, when it just doesn’t turns out. He listens to Elizabeth talk about her ex, is kind, caring, encourages her and tries to give her hope; he’s so cute and sweet and she is not.

That evening is the festival and Darcy is inside as he does not want to be a part and do anything. Elizabeth keeps pushing him and doesn’t listen to what he says and again I’m like please stop thinking of yourself for five minutes. If he’s out there people might get angry about Pemberley, or what if he has a fear of being in crowds. Like seriously, just stop.

Then Kris gets on his case too. Why can’t everyone just leave him alone, it’s cold outside and he wants to be where it is warm.

Darcy does eventually go out and gets caught by a photographer who gets a great shot of him and Elizabeth.

The next day Elizabeth finds him to apologize about his picture being in the paper and he is all sweetness, kindness, and such a gentleman even after she couldn’t do the one thing he asked of her. She then insults him and tries to push him to try to be someone else.

Santa of course gets sick and they have to get a new one, who turns out to be Kristopher. I bet he’s the “real” one.

George tries to get Darcy to be a part of the festival, but he doesn’t want to. They talk a bit about Elizabeth and how George wanted to be with her but she just wanted be friends. George still likes her which means Darcy is going to step aside as he is a good guy. Man both dudes are oblivious as she is super into Darcy.

Darcy and Elizabeth go shopping again. How much of the town’s money is being spent on this festival? They have the decorations Elizabeth bosses’ fee, constructing Santa’s village, the stage, presents, etc. Good thing they have Darcy to find things, otherwise this town would be as bankrupt as Eagleton.

Caroline, Elizabeth’s boss, comes all the way down to Lambton and is upset about the photo as she feel it makes her look like a fool. What she is really worried about is that Elizabeth will leave her and start her own company taking a ton of people with her. Caroline decided to take over and change the simple Christmas festival to an elegant “Darcy-worthy” event in hopes of wooing his business.

Elizabeth goes to break it to Darcy but he’s smart enough to have put the pieces together. Caroline comes in and completely grabs his attention and keeps it.

Darcy invites Elizabeth to go on a carriage ride and is such a dreamboat as he is so sweet and supportive. He tries to help her feel better about everything that has happened. Aw, he’s perfect.

How sweet!

That night at the festival the singer’s voice is gone and Elizabeth has to fill in, of course. Darcy goes to gives her words of encouragement and watches her sing, risking the possibility of more publicity.

George confides in Darcy that he is going to ask Elizabeth out and Darcy is a gentleman , and steps aside. After the concert Elizabeth wants to talk to Darcy but gets blindsided by Caroline who snatches up his time. Caroline also insults Elizaveth and tries to remove her from the area as she wants Darcy all to herself.

Kristopher comes in and tries to start something with Darcy as he is trying to push Elizabeth and Darcy together. Man why is everyone pushing Darcy? Poor guy he just wanted some peace and quiet and now he’s had to deal with the festival, Caroline’s constant whining, Kristopher trying to change him, Elizabeth’s rudeness, etc.

Darcy goes to see Elizabeth and spots the two hugging, assuming they are together and going home, not wanting to ruin it. When he gets back he looks at the house but still signs the sale, and makes plans to go back home to NYC.

Elizabeth stops by the festival before heading to her family’s place and finds them taking everything down. The company was willing to work with them for a bit but doesn’t want to risk the liability and has canceled everything. Elizabeth wants to have Darcy fix it but discovers that he has left. She then is completely rude and mean about Darcy, but maybe you should take a breath. You don’t know his life maybe something happened, like an emergency. He might not have family but what about a friend? It’s like she wants to have reasons to think badly if him and hate him but there aren’t any. And her reasoning behind wanting to hate him, because he doesn’t do what she wants. She acts like a child.

Ugh…this guy

Jane calls Travis to try and stop Darcy, and instead of telling him what happened he lies poorly to get Darcy to stay and try so they can use Pemberley. They do a guerrilla style party planning and begin working on putting everything back on. Except, technically yes Darcy still owns it, but what if there is an accident or a fire? Who’s going to have responsibility? Like the fact that Elizabeth doesn’t think about these things as a party planner is mind boggling.

At the manor Kris is missing, their celebrity canceled, and Darcy is stuck in the snow trying to get back to Pemberley. Kris heads out to get Darcy and reveals he “is” the real Santa after all.

And just as all hope is lost at the festival, Santa and Darcy show up in a sled, Santa hands out the gifts and Darcy reads the story. And there is so much snow everywhere, but no one is cold. Yeah right, I’m surprised anyone showed up with the amount of snow heavy is falling.

And we close with Darcy and Elizabeth together although they never resolve if Pemberley will be sold or not.

Was this a good Christmas movie?

This was an okay Christmas movie. There is no real issue in the film as every obstacle is instantly solved. Even Elizabeth’s boss isn’t really that terrible as after Darcy leaves she relaxes and helps put the festival back on. In fact the only villain is Elizabeth as she is terrible.

Was this a good Pride and Prejudice film?

NO. This has nothing to do with the plot of Pride and Prejudice, and the characters resemble very little to the Austen characters. If you want a good holiday Jane Austen film The 12 Men of Christmas or Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade would be better choices.

For more holiday film reviews, go to Can The Shop Around the Corner Be Considered A Pride and Prejudice Adaption?

For more films based on Jane Austen, go to Pup Fiction: Wishbone (1997) or How I’m Trying to Brainwash My Six Year Old Niece Into Liking Jane Austen (and Wishbone)

For more Jane Austen film variations, go to I Watched Austenland (2013) With My 14 Year Old Niece

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Jane Austen Children’s Stories: Pride and Prejudice

For more Pride and Prejudice variations, go to An Appearance of Goodness

Who Kidnapped the Girls’ Soccer Stars?: North Mammon, Criminal Minds (2006)

So Criminal Minds-I was a HUGE fan when it first aired and I watched it faithfully for seven years-only stopping when I moved from the dorms to an apartment that didn’t have cable.

I was so invested in this show as I was deeply interested in behavioral analysis. When I first went to college I studied psychology, hoping to work for the FBI one day…however, I hated the psychology classes as we kept having to talk about ourselves (I ended up switching to history).

One of the other reasons I wanted to watch this show was for Thomas Gibson.

So Handsome!!!

Yes, I was a fan of his from Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas and Dharma and Greg. So when I saw the content of the show with this actor-I was gone. I needed to watch it-the remote is MINE!

I have to watch it.

And to top it all off-Mandy Pantinkin, his most famous role being of course, Inigo Montoya, was also in the show. I love him!

So the show is about the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit which is comprised of the leader Agent Hotchner and Jason Gideon. The rest of the team consists of Elle Greenaway, the sexual predator profiler (who ends up leaving and is replaced by Emily Prentiss). We also have Derek Morgan (played by the very handsome Shermar Moore) and appears to be the standard tough guy, ex-athlethe, charming, ladies’ man-but you find out there is far more to him than what appears at first glance. Spencer Reid is a super genius and the youngest member of the unit. He is only 22 in the first episode but already has three PhDs, two BAs, and has a photographic memory. Reid is utterly adorable.

Rounding out the team is Agent Jennifer “J.J.” Jareau, the liasion between the FBI and the town they move into to help out. She’s sweet, kind, adorable; and when the show dropped her the fans revolted, bringing her back. Rounding the team out is Penelope Garcia, the quirky, adorable computer whiz and annoying Emily Prentiss (I don’t like her).

That’s just how I am.

There are a lot of memorable Criminal Minds episodes, but the one that really stuck in my mind was this episode, “North Mammon”. I think it largely had to do with the fact that it was a “J.J.” episode. Every team member had their “special episodes” were something in a case resonated with them and brought out why they were interested in this line of work and some of the reasons they took the path they did. As J.J. is one of my favorite characters it made this episode extremely memorable.

So the episode starts off in North Mammon, PA. The high school and town are going crazy with a pep rally as the BIG GAME is happening in a week. Having gone to an art school, I never experienced this but I have seen Friday Night Lights-football is huge in some towns.

Three girls are unimpressed and OMG one of the girls is the crazy girl in Accused at 17-the one that murders the girl and then tries to frame her friend. Oh, no…I looked it up. She just looks like the same girl but isn’t. Phew! That wouldn’t have boded well.

The three girls are having a girls’ weekend-house to themselves, pizza, probably movies. Two go in first while the third girl stops to bring in the trash barrels, and is kidnapped. The kidnapper threatens to kill her and uses that to grab the others. All are put in a concrete slab basement. Even creepier-the man knew their names. Why is he doing this? Who is he? One of the girls has a bad cough, and being in that basement only aggravates it.

Their kidnapper wants them to choose: two can live while the third will be murdered, their choice.

So as you can tell, this episode has a lot of Saw feeling to it. Saw came out in 2004, and spanned all kinds of sequels so it heavily influenced the media. Although when I was watching this, the scene with the girls on the basement made me think of Glass, when the cheerleaders have been kidnapped.

So the mom of one of the missing girls contacts J.J. through her friend, J.J.’s aunt-knowing that J.J. was a soccer star like her missing daughter she thinks she’ll understand that her daughter didn’t run off. You see they have been missing for five days and no one is looking for them or taking her concerns seriously.

Such a man!

Brooke Chambers’ father went out of town and her two best friends stayed with her-Polly Holmfeild and Kelly Seymour. The two girls disappeared, but left a message about going off on a road trip-the exact verbatim message.

That’s not a real message, they have been threatened.

When J.J. presents this to the team they question whether the girls just to off-but J.J. shuts them down. She was one of those girls, and knows they wouldn’t mess up full ride scholarships by taking off like this.

Gideon also points out that the message says they would be back on Friday, they only have a few days left to find them.

The team heads out to North Mammon and meets Police Chief Yates, who isn’t worried. They haven’t been able to locate Brooke’s father either-but that isn’t unusual, he often goes on long business trips-he’s a lawyer.

The team immediately knows that whoever this person is has been watching the girls as they know a lot about them-they knew they wouldn’t be at homecoming, that Brooke’s father was gone, that the other girls’ parents were at the pep rally, and that they could have the girls leave them messages, etc. Someone has been stalking and watching them and in a town that small it isn’t an outside-someone in the community.

So which person is a secret psycho?

from Psycho II

I know a lot of people didn’t like it but I thought it was an interesting concept and take. A short of When a Stranger Calls, but with a community instead of house. Most likely the guy will be someone who seems trustworthy or normal.

Hmm…

Gideon starts walking to find a vantage point of where the person was watching them and discovers a spot with a perfect view littered with cigarette butts. There are a ton, someone has spent a lot of time watching.

Hmm…

So the town is still in celebration mode for the homecoming game, Chief Yates is a former football star back in the day and sees nothing wrong with it.

Meanwhile back with the girls they are starting to turn. It has been five days with no food, little waterm trapped in a basement, and being taunted by a man. The girls have started to unravel, unsure of how much time they have spent there. Brooke is growing sicker and sicker with her cough. Polly is by her side while Kelly is seriously going crazy-crazy and angry being trapped in their.

I’m going crazy.

The team finds the girls’ car and search it. They discover the quarterback’s cap, but he’s ruled out as everyone saw him at the pep rally. Mr. Chambers finally shows up (hey-he’s the dad from the Mentalist “Red Tide” episode.) Mr. Chambers comes in during the debriefing and makes a scene. He sure doesn’t look like a lawyer to me or talk like one-sounds more blue collar.

The team shares that the guy they are looking for is a predatory abductor, they usually build a nest before they take someone, and it is always a secret and secure place. They will also inject themselves into the investigation. The person will also, obviously, be missing from the pep rally.

Hmmm…

They run the cigarette butts and the DNA matches with the girls’ soccer coach. They go to get him but Chambers gets there first and starts beating his legs with a tire iron-revealing he’s had a pedophile charge, soliciting an underage minor (she was a prostitute that “lied about her age”) and Mr. Chambers got his old football buddy off.

However, Don was seen at the pep rally and it seems off that kidnapper would leave cigarette butts full of DNA when he was so precise and removed all trace of himself in the house, so someone is obviously framing him.

Yes, whoever this person is wants these community “leaders” to all turn on each other. While the town is doing that-so do the girls in the basement. Kelly has a plan and Brooke can tell it is a dark one-one that doesn’t bode well for her.

The next day the trash guys discover the girls’ soccer uniforms behind the motel. The team moves to the motel and find out that one guy, John Sherman, uses the room once a month and pays an extra $100 to leave no paper trails-its Mr. Chambers. That’s right, he never left town.

Seriously

They then question Mr. Chambers and it turns out he did lie about being away. He was staying at the motel where he meets a friend once a month-a man. It is a small town and he wants to keep that hidden.

So watching this, it is clear that whoever is doing this is trying to turn these “football stars” against each other and reveal secrets. Who could dislike them so much? Is there someone they bullied who is trying to get revenge? Is it someone who never got the recognition they felt they deserved? A fourth wheel to this golden trio? But if it is is to get back at these football stars why take these girls when only one is related to them? What is the plan here?

Hmm…

The girls are growing worse and Kelly tries to convince Polly to give Brooke up to be killed so they can be free. Polly refuses because she will not sacrifice her friend. But how long will that last?

Kelly tries to use the love Polly has for her mom to convince her-after all Brooke is cick-she is going to die anyway. Kelly works on her and wins her over. Kelly calls to the kidnaper who throws in a hammer to the room. They not only have to choose who will die, but but kill them.

The next shot we see Polly wrapped in a blanket and another girl coming out of a basement wrapped up in a blanket too so we can’t see her. Is it Kelly? Or Brooke?

Hmmm…

Meanwhile the parents are going insane. They are supposed to be working together on finding out who the kidnapper could be, but are just gossiping, yelling, and blaming each other. J.J. has had enough and yells at them all.

I know a lot of fans didn’t like this episode as they felt it was unrealistic, but in this moment it reminded me of the Twilight Zone episode “Monsters on Maple Street”, how a little thing that causes mistrust can make people turn against each other.

The unsub drive the girls to North Mammon…weird.

Meanwhile, the agents have decided enough is enough-time to split the guys up. Before they can, Brooke Chambers’ phone turns on and they get a hit. The two girls were dropped right outside the police station.

Man this unsub is ballsy. Just right in front of them-no fear this sicko.

The first girl is Polly, as we all knew, and the second one is Brooke-Kelly is dead.

Ohhhh?!!! What happened? I can’t say I’m sad as Kelly proved to be an awful friend as she was going to kill her friend.

Kelly’s father brings up that they all played football together-the championship being tonight. J.J. thinks that might be the clue they need-maybe someone on the team?

Hmm…

The girls are in shock, but J.J. speaks to Polly. J.J. is the heart of the team and relaxes and reaches out to her-calming her and bringing her to the present.

Meanwhile, Brooke is sharing what happened with the police and other agents- they were hungry, thirsty, and cold. Kelly was trying to get Polly to help her kill Brooke. Meanwhile, Brooke hits Kelly with the hammer and collapses.

Poor Brooke-hearing your friends plan to kill you and then having to kill someone to save yourself-someone you thought was your very best friend.

These girls are going to be needing double the therapy.

Polly picks out their kidnapper from the football photo and it is Marcus Younger-the garbage man who found the girls’ soccer uniforms. It turned out he was the former star of the team until he blew his knee out-right before the championship game.

They find his house and check the storm cellar-and there he is, just waiting. Just sitting there with Kelly’s dead body waiting or the FBI and police to find him. This to me is one of the creepiest scenes-he is smug, relaxed, calm, even delighted to be found-and chilling next to a dead body.

He smugly tells them I never touched the girls or came into the room, I just revealed their inner nature.

What a jerkwad! He wants revenge for how he was treated when he got hurt-how he was tossed aside and forgotten. His teammates weren’t his true friends, and he wanted to show that these girls they are teammates that are also not true friends, that when the chips are down they would betray you.

What a jerkwad crazy psycho man. They don’t make it clear whether he has been plotting this for a while and waiting for them to get to the right age, or if it was just seeing them and the cheer for the championship that he snapped.

I know a lot of people didn’t like this, but I found this to be a very intriguing episode and unsub. Definitely one that sticks with you.

Wow!

J.J. is upset over everything on the plane home as all the memories from her childhood are coming back. I really like this post scene as Hotch encourages her to be a profiler, and J.J. shares she prefers being where she is, as she likes being the one the family can turn to, and the one to choose the next case. It is really touching as we the viewer and the team all got to know J.J. better and see into more of who she is.

I enjoyed it as it was so different from the other episodes and a real look into J.J.

For more on Criminal Minds, go to Fantastic Fantasies

For more horror TV episodes, go to To All the Ghouls I’ve Loved Before: The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo (1985)

The Mysterious Triangle

MentalistDeadIcecream

11) Something You Want to Do Before You Die

No I love ice-cream, don’t get me wrong, but that’s not exactly on my list of things to do before I die. The biggest thing for me is that I want to go to the Bermuda Triangle.

Say What

I know, it’s seems a weird place to vacation, but I’ve been obsessed with it ever since I was a kid and am dying to check it out for myself.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

So the Bermuda Triangle is an area of water between Miami, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico.

Bermuda_Triangle

Thousands of ships and planes have passed through there, only to completely disappear and nobody knows why.

There are a gazillion theories ranging from aliens, secret resting place of Atlantis, it being a black hole, a gate way to Hell, a time warp, a doorway to another dimension, the home of wild monsters, the resting place of monstrous sea creatures, a magnetic pull, a maelstrom, and more. As one who has been obsessed with the mysterious and unknown, I just have to go there.

A lot of people just say that there is nothing there or try to explain it away, but we know there is something more.

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I mean a boat went through there, disappeared, and then reappeared years later with all the food, supplies, clothing intact but no people. They were all gone. And their was no sign of struggle. Why would a group abandon a perfectly good boat and supplies? Why did it turn up so many years later?

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I have to find out for myself!

Some say that by doing this “foolish thing” I’d be throwing my life away, well at least I’d be happy to finally have answers. It’s weird and unusual, but definitely a big item on my bucket list.

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to Musical Madness

For the previous post, go to Clothes Make the Woman

Always There For You

In this life, there are few things we can actually depend on to help when things go bad. One of these is food.

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I’m sure you’ve all felt this way at one point. I know that when I get really angry I can scarf done so much, it’s crazy!

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After all, food is always there for you.

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Yep, food will always be there to help you get a better perspective.

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For more of my thoughts on food, go to I Before E, Especially After P

For more Sabrina the Teenage Witch, go to It Doesn’t Exist

Please Excuse My Dear Fan Lady

LifeofaFangirl

Yep another Fangirl post, chock full of all the things I love. Be sure to check out a few of these as they are awesome and you are sure to enjoy them almost as much as me.

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Eureka

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Eureka is a show that is The Twilight Zone merged with Twin Peaks. Now I know most of you are probably scratching your heads at those references, but I will be talking about them later in a future post.

I remember when SciFi, or SyFy as it is now called, first brought this show on TV. I thought it was an interesting idea and happy that they set it in Northern California as people always forget that there is a lot more in California than just San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. I wasn’t into it, but my sister would watch it. It wasn’t until Amazon put it up on Prime that I started watching it and getting into the series.

So U.S. Marshal, Jack Carter, is bringing his daughter home to Los Angeles from who knows where she had run away to. It is late and raining and the two get lost, crashing the car. They walk into the nearby town of Eureka, Oregon (I don’t know why they didn’t just use Eureka, California). With their car messed up, they have to stay in the town a few days and discover that it isn’t any regular area. It is a town full of scientists, giving them a place where they can work and create in privacy. Nearby is the company Global Dynamics that employees most of the scientists, contracting to the military. While they are there, one of the townspeople are creating a time machine that causes a huge rift in time and almost destroys the town. Jack Carter is able to come up with a plan to help over come it, and due to his efforts is promoted from U.S. Marshal to Sheriff of Eureka.

What I like about Eureka is that the Sheriff is very smart but also very much a regular guy. This makes him extremely relatable and also allows him to solve the hard cases, with help, in that he has a different way of viewing things than anyone else. Each episode revolves around a crisis involving an invention, along with giving us clues to a mystery that runs the whole season. It is a very fun and good show and I highly recommend it to anyone into science and mysteries.

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Make It or Break It

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I started watching this show because I loved the film Stick It and had wished, too late, to be a gymnast. If I could go back in time I think I would try it, whether or not I would compete and try for the Olympics. Anyways, this show is about four girls trying to achieve the dream of Olympic gold, while at the same time dealing with family, friends, and regular teenage girl stuff.

First we have Kaylie Cruz (Josie Loren), who is rich as both her parents used to be famous and are rich. She is secretly dating fellow gymnast Carter, which has to be a secret as dating is not allowed in the gym or by her parents. Carter ends up sleeping with Kaylie’s best friend Lauren, as Kaylie wouldn’t sleep with him. Most of the first season is Carter trying to keep it a secret, Lauren trying to win him, and Kaylie being oblivious. When she finds out she is pissed, but eventually forgives Lauren. Kaylie goes on to win the National Chap and has a better chance at getting the gold. Afterwards, Kaylie feels a lot of pressure as everyone had expected Payson to win, and feel as if Kaylie didn’t deserve her title as Payson was out with a back injury. She constantly feels as if she has to defend herself and her talents. The gym brings on Austin Tucker (Zane Holtz), who I really liked, but Kaylie dislikes. Kaylie also becomes anorexic as the pressures from the gym, her father and mother, her parent’s divorce, and a need to be in control. Now a lot of people made fun of this as abcfamily was trying too hard or something, but I thought this was done very realistically and well in regarding what it is like to be anorexic and how other issues can compound into it. Austin sees what is going on and helps her come to terms with it and seek help. While Kaylie is recuperating, she starts singing and hanging out with Damon. She eventually is ready for worlds, bringing in the gold. The third season sees Kaylie on the team in London, getting ready for the gold and Austin’s girlfriend.

Payson Keeler (Ayla Kell) is from a middle class family that is always struggling to get the money to support their daughter’s dream. Payson is extremely focused on her goals, being the best of all the girls on the team. In the first season Lauren‘s father blackmails their coach, getting rid of him. Sasha Belov is brought in, and Payson is ecstatic as he is one of her idols. When they hear of a party in the area, Payson does not want to go, but ends up coming too as she wants to make sure the other girls stay out of trouble. She has some back problems, but conceals it from everyone. She ends up damaging herself and loses her chance at worlds and messes up her back completely. In the second season she starts a relationship with Nicky Russo, played by Cody Longo. This didn’t go far as he ended up leaving the series. I was sad about this as I LOVED him. I was also sad as every guy Payson started to get with, ended up disappearing shortly after they proclaimed their feelings. Payson was the best as she worked through her trauma and disappointment to try other things, and was brave enough to try an experimental project, restoring her. When she comes back, her body isn’t exactly the same and she finds herself not being able to do the same things, changing to be one on grace. She gets involved with Max, Austin’s friend, and they start dating, but then he left to be the lead guy on Revenge. She goes on making it to London, and meeting a guy there.

Lauren Tanner (Cassie Scerbo) is the rich, spoiled, princess as she is the apple of her dad’s eye and used to getting anything she wants. She wants Carter, and his constant denying her for Kaylie makes her incredibly angry and want him more. Kaylie finds out and is angry, but the two work through their issues and become friends again. A new guy, Max, comes into the gym and is into Payson, but Lauren wants him and bad. She constantly tries to seduce him, not always getting the responses she desires. On one of their dates she gets in a car accident, she’s okay but Max is out of the competition. She eventually focuses on her gymnastics and sees herself setting off for London.

Emily Kmetko (Chelsea Hobbes) is a girl from the wrong side of the tracks. She has a single mother who does nails, and later works as a waitress at a strip club to make ends meet. She also has a younger brother in a wheelchair. She has been trying for years to get into a gym, and eventually scores a scholarship. She faces the most issues out of the girls as she has money she is trying to earn to stay afloat, trying to take care of her brother, and trying to befriend girls who have been friends for years and hate her. Eventually, they all become friends, but it takes quite a while. She meets this guy, Razor at work and kind of likes him; but when he goes out of town, his best friend Damon fills in for him. Damon was the best character, and when the series got weird and too silly, he was the anchor I loved, the reason I watched.

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Yep, he was awesome. He was always there for her, he helped her practice, he got her family to Nationals, he brought Radiohead, when she wanted to wait to have sex he was all for it, when she decided she wanted to be with him and ended up pregnant (the actress was pregnant in real life) he went after to her to help raise the baby. He was awesome and hot…and I love him. 🙂

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Michael Crichton

History

For me the love of this author began with one book Jurassic Park. You see I have always loved the series, it is one of my all-time favorites, (and you can read a review here). After one of my constant viewings, my mother mentioned it was based on the novel. I decided to start reading his book, buying every one I would find in a book sale. I still have one to go, The Andromeda Strain, but besides that I have read everything he has ever written. I love all his writings as the characters are great, the plot always suspenseful, and I love the melding of science-fiction and technology with horror, history, etc. Almost every book has been turned into a film, but sadly I have yet to view how they all were done. Each one is amazing and I recommend them all.

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Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park- In this book, a genetic company has decided to try to bring back dinosaurs. By using frog DNA to fill in the gaps, they have created new versions of the creatures. John Hammond, the head of the company, has asked a group of people to visit and review his island. Ready to review is paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant; paleobotanist, Dr. Ellie Slatter; Ian Malcolm; and Hammond’s two grandchildren. Of course, “life can find a way”, and these creatures do what they want to; causing havoc on the island. This has quite a few differences then the film, with the dinosaurs escaping the island; a pterodactyl fight, more deaths of the group, and no relationship between Dr. Grant and Dr. Slatter. However, I think both are done very well and could watch the movie or read the book again and again.

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The Lost World- Now when I first watched the movie, I thought it was okay and denoted it as my least fav in the series. However, after I read the book,  I had to agree that the movie was better. This book was okay, it moves much slower than the original and doesn’t have as many lovable characters. In this book, Hammond reveals that there is a second island of creatures that survived from the previous book. He sends in Malcolm with a crew of people, and two stowaway kids. This isn’t a horrible book, but just pales in comparison to the original.

Timeline- This is one of my mother’s absolute favorite books, and she would constantly talk about how great it was. I decided that this would be the next book that I would read of Crichton, and it was AMAZING! I love this book so much. We have group of graduate students and archeologists, all working in Medieval history. One is focused on architecture, one on technology, one on fighting, etc. They find an amazing discovery, and are immediately swept off to a secret organization that has produced a technology allowing traveling through time, right back to medieval times. The group goes to find a friend sent before, and find that living history is fun, but also incredibly dangerous. The film was also really good, starring Paul Walker and Gerard Butler, the only thing I disliked about it was that in the book each person encountered what they were studying, helping them further their research. In the movie they cut that out, sadly.

Airframe- Just an ordinary day and an ordinary flight from Hong Kong to Denver. That all changes when it crashes with a hundred injured and three killed. What happened to the flight? It’s up to investigators to discover who was at fault; the plane, the airport, or the pilot?

A Case of Need- This was Crichton’s first novel and utilizes his medical training. The book is set in a Boston Medical Center, where a patient receiving surgery is killed. Is it just an accident or murder?

Congo- Deep in the Congo, near the ancient city of Zinj, eight American geologists are brutally and mysteriously murdered. Karen Ross, the project supervisor back in America, watches video feed of the massacre. In San Francisco, primatologist Peter Elliot has been able to teach a gorilla named Amy over 600 signs, finger painting, etc. Lately, Amy has been acting strangely and painting horrible things, that Peter thinks maybe it is time to take her home. A map from the 17th century supposedly leading to Zinj matches up with Amy’s finger paintings exactly. When all three parties intersect, a strange expedition sets out to discover what holds Zinj. This was made into a less than stellar film, of which I will review in Horrorfest IV.

Disclosure- This is an interesting book, although it doesn’t seem like it in the beginning. Thomas Sander has had a bad day. He is passed over for a promotion by an old flame, and his new tech is having some glitches. When his boss asks him over for drinks, she immediately comes on to him. He refuses, and leaves. The next day she is charging him with sexual harassment and Sanders is fired. Luckily for Sanders, he accidentally recorded what happened and tries to turn the case around and sue his boss. But Sanders start wondering, why would his boss do that? Was she so upset that he turned her down? Or is there more to this case then meets the eye?

Eaters of the Dead- This is a retelling of Beowulf told from the point of an Arab courtier, who finds himself unwilling dragged along a quest to destroy the monster, Grendal. This too was turned into a film I have yet to watch, but starring Antonio Banderas.

Five Patients- This is a non-fiction volume that tells of Crichton’s experiences as an intern at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

The Great Train Robbery- This is another novel that I love. Based on the historical event, Crichton once again is able to meld the account with amazing characters. In this, the charming and persuasive Edward Pierce easily moves through society in Victorian London, all the while plotting the crime of the century…The Great Train Robbery.

Prey- This one of my all-time favorite books. The way Crichton writes it, it is so haunting and amazing. I don’t want to give too much away as you REALLY should read it.

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Jack Forman lost his job and took on being the one taking care of his daughter and the home. His wife works at Xymos Corporation and has been acting weird. Other things start to seem strange, but Jack thinks it is nothing but his imagination. When his wife hires him on, he discovers that the mirco-bots that Xymos produces are not as benign as he was told. In fact, there is much more horrifying things happening than Forman could ever imagine.

Rising Sun-During the grand opening celebration of the new American headquarters of a Japanese company, the dead body of a beautiful woman is found. The investigation begins, and immediately becomes a headlong chase through a twisting maze of industrial intrigue and a violent business battle that takes no prisoners. This two was turned into a film I have yet to view.

Sphere- This book always makes me think of the film Forbidden Planet. In this a spaceship on the floor of the ocean is discovered. Scientists prepare an expedition and head down to the ship, discovering a ship over 300 years old and holding a power much stronger than any could imagine. This power gives them increased abilities and paranoia. One scientists starts using his power to attack the ship and people, but which one? I really, really loved the book and couldn’t stop reading it the first time I had it. They turned this also into a film, of which I have had problems getting my hands on it. When I do see it, you can bet it will be a part of a future Horrorfest.

State of Fear- In this book Crichton spins a tale of political conspiracy. As eco-terrorists and global warming are the biggest issues ands causing all kinds of destruction, one investigator starts wondering if whether this is just a smokescreen for something far more sinister.

The Terminal Man- Harry Benson suffers from horrible seizures that cause violent outbursts. He is experimented on and has electrodes placed deep in his brain’s pleasure centers, effectively short-circuiting Harry’s seizures with pulses of bliss. The surgery is successful, but while Benson is in recovery, he escapes and his violent impulses have grown; leaving a horror in his wake.

Travels- An account of Michael Crichton’s travels abroad and all over the world.

Next- This is his last complete novel and is an amazing story. In a world where we focus on our genes, what diseases we might carry, taking apart our genome; Crichton speaks on how such technology can get out of hand. A man going in for tests ends up having his blood and genes patented and in a sense sells his children into slavery of a company. A man who wins custody from his wife on the basis of her high possibility of becoming afflicted with deadly diseases; and an ape human born of gene splicing.

Pirate Latitudes- This was Crichton’s last book, but was unfinished. It was a “complete” manuscript, but was missing the special Crichton charm that each story has. Jamaica in 1665 is the home of people willing to go after gold and riches of the Spanish and Portuguese. If caught they are pirates, if they make it out with the wealth then England gets a cut and everyone is happy. Captain Edward Hunter is one such type and decides to go after the dangerous island of El Trinidad. A crazy scheme that will have enormous bounty if it succeeds, or incredible death if it fails; leads Captain Hunter and his team on a a swashbuckling adventure.

For more on Michael Crichton, go to Just Follow the Screams: The Lost World (1997)

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The Mentalist

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So I started watching this show on accident. The episode “Red Handed” came on after something else I was watching. In the episode “Red Handed” the CBI (California Bureau of Investigations) team discovers a right hand straddling the California and Nevada state lines. After measuring it, they discover that it is inside the California boundary, and therefore the CBI’s responsibility. After that I was hooked. I caught up on the previous episodes and became a big fan.

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So the series is about Patrick Jane, played by the incredibly handsome Simon Baker, who is a “psychic” consultant to the CBI.

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Patrick Jane has such style. He only drinks tea, he has an Aston Martin, and always dresses amazingly sharp. Anyways, Patrick Jane isn’t really a psychic. He is extremely intelligent and observant, a sort of kind, sweet, and charming Sherlock Holmes. He never went to school, but was raised by his swindler father who touted him a psychic in his carnival show. He married a woman from a similar background and the tweo had a daughter, Charlotte. He went on to make millions off his “psychic ability”. It gained the attention of Red John, a serial killer, who murders his wife and child. This brings Jane to consulting with CBI as he does it from his guilt and in order to get a view of the official files. Red John becomes Jane’s Moriarity as in each season Jane continuously searches for him.

The team is lead by Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney), who is a no-nonsense cop. She is the perfect foil for Jane as Lisbon is tough and serious; while Jane is comedic and more fanciful. They have a platonic relationship, but like Bones and other cop shows there is something simmering under the surface.

Then we have Kimball Cho, who second to Jane is my favorite character. Cho is always reserved and speaks in a monotone.

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But he is very intense as well. He is honest, straightfoward, observant, and altogeether awesome. We later find out that there is a lot more to him than meets the eye. He used to be a baseball player, gang member, and Special Forces.

Then we have Wayne Rigsby who is absolutely adorable, sweet, and charming. He was raised by a dad in motorcycle gangs and coming in and out of prison. He’s more relaxed than Cho, but more serious than Jane. He is also in love with fellow team member Grace Van Pelt. Grace Van Pelt is tough, but sweeter than Lisbon. She has a famous father, and tries to live up to his name. She is always focused on the job, but Rigsby constant infatuation starts her thinking of maybe more with him.

I used to watch this every Thursday without fail, but school got in the way and I am way behind in desperate need of catching up. The show just ended this last February, which saddens me as it was an awesome piece of TV.

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Midsomer Murders

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So I love the library.

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When I was in college I would spend hours in the library; working, reading, watching movies or TV shows. The library had a great selection of movies and TV shows that I really utilized. But that library wasn’t enough for me. I also went to the city library for books and films. Every time I went there I would see the DVDs for the show Midsomer Murders and wanted to check them out, but never felt I had the time. This summer as I would write my blog posts on my computer, I would also watch movies and TV shows on my phone. Or at least try to as I had a little screen. One day Midsomer Murders popped up in related videos and I was estatic watching them. Now youtube doesn’t have every episode and I watched them out of order, but I really, really enjoyed the show. When I got another free month on Netflix I started rewatching the episodes and loved it all over again!

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This series is based off a book series and set in England. How their Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI) teams works is that they have a county in which they travel all over investigating, sort of like the Sheriff’s department. Tom Barnaby (John Nettles) is head of the Midsomer unit and is extremely intelligent and excellent at his job. Unfortunately for his wife, a murder tends to occur whenever she wants to do something, causing Barnaby to miss it. He also has a daughter,  Gillie, who is in college and studying to be an actress. He starts out with his assistant being Sgt. Gavin Troy, who I didn’t like as he wasn’t that bright, and same for his second assistant Sgt. Dan Scott. I really liked his third assistant Ben Jones, because he was very smart and actually helped solve the mysteries. The series is ongoing, but I don’t really like the newer episodes as Tom Barnaby retired and his nephew, John Barnaby, took over. He was good, but Tom was way better. Tom had a way of gathering information that made you not realize how intelligent he was until the end when he is the only one who has put the whole picture together. The mysteries were amazing, and often times really puzzling. The only thing that I kept questioning was, how do these small country towns survive with so many deaths? I highly recommend this for any mystery fan.

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Murder She WroteMurderSheWrote

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this show. I grew up watching it and wish they had still played it on TV as I got older as I truly love this show.

Angela Lansbury plays J.B. Fletcher, former high school teacher and now famous mystery author. Every episode Jessica (the J in J.B.) will be minding her own business working on something or visiting a friend and get caught up in a mystery. Usually she can either get someone to share info with her, or is able to have some kind of insight that solves the case. If you love mysteries, then this is a show for you!

For more Murder She Wrote, go to At the End of the Rainbow: 17 More Irish Heros

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w:outFandoms

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For the previous fangirl post, go to A FANtastic Voyage

Stay tuned for part 11

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