It was reported that JK Rowling’s first adult novel, The Casual Vacancy, was going to be very dark and include adult themes and language. I knew I was not going back to Hogwarts when I opened the book, but I was surprised about the nature of this story. This post contains plot spoilers.

Initially, it seemed like the book was about a sleepy town’s local election from the vantage point of the 40-something generation. It was not a topic that particularly excited me, but I was drawn in by Rowling’s excellent story-telling and the way she subtly ridiculed each of her characters as she introduced them. However, as the plot unfolded, the story became less about the adults’ world, and more about the teenagers and the brazen power that they unleashed upon their parents.

The main families represented included the Prices, the Walls, the Jawanadas, and the Weedons. There are excellent facets of the novel that are related to the Fairweathers, Bawdens, Mollisons, Maureen, and Gavin, but the heaviest drama is related to the four very dysfunctional families I just named. In all four cases, the teens are victimized in some way by their parents and retaliate in some brash way that has permanent consequences. The teens, with their bold confidence and righteousness, hold all the power.

The Price family is plagued by a cowardly thief of a father, who is prone to violence against his wife and children. When Simon announces his candidacy for Pagford Parish Council, he seems to become even more violent under the strain. After he is particularly abusive toward his family one night, Andrew (Arf) comes up with a plan to sabotage his campaign. After he posts the truth of his father’s business deals, there are cascading consequences of his father’s job loss, the family’s move to Reading, and his peers’ copycat posts on the council’s website.

The Wall family is led by Colin, an administrator at the school all the kids attend. Colin is plagued by an OCD-fueled paranoia that cripples him. His adopted son, Stuart (Fats), is constantly pushing his buttons and he too becomes violent against his child. This inspires Fats to publicize his paralyzing fear that he will be accused of touching a student and effectively causes Colin to be unable to work and passively withdraw from the campaign.

The Jawanda family is represented by Parminder, who is stoic and extremely critical of her daughter Sukhvinder. She overtly prefers her other two children and neglects Sukhvinder. Sukhvinder is also tormented at school by Fats and threatened by Krystal Weedon. When Sukhvinder tries to confess her issues with Krystal to her mom, and is berated once again for her shortcomings, she decides to retaliate by posting gossip about her mother’s love for the late Barry Fairbrother on the council’s website. The stress of this post and the election itself causes Parminder to snap and lose her temper at a council meeting and ultimately costs her her job as the town’s General Practitioner.

The Weedon family is essentially led by a teenager, Krystal, who is trying to keep her junkie mother and 3 year old brother together. The mother, Terri, does not do a good job of looking after either of her kids even when she is clean. Krystal has behavioral problems, but she does try to keep her brother in preschool, get herself to school, and keep track of her mother’s habits. After Krystal suffers rape in her own home by her mother’s dealer, she becomes determined to get pregnant by Fats, so she can get a teen mom subsidy and have a safe place to live with her baby and her little brother, Robbie.

When Krystal finds the drug dealer in her mother’s home again, she takes off with Robbie and makes a plan to meet Fats in the park. In her desperate quest to become impregnated there, she takes her eyes off of Robbie and he drowns in the nearby river. With his death on her hands, Krystal intentionally overdoses herself on her mother’s heroin stash.

The adults in this story were all the initial perpetrators of abuse and neglect, but the teenagers made decisions that had extreme and tragic consequences. The adults were always behaving badly while going about their day to day lives. The teens made active decisions to cause changes in their lives. They may not have realized the full consequences of their actions, but they knew they were doing something big and intentional.

Yes, this story has adult themes, but these are themes that impact real teenagers too. The language, sex, drugs, and family drama will not be foreign to most teens. The politics may bore some, but that is just the backdrop to the real story of teenagers and the power struggle with their families. I’d say this is a Young Adult novel disguised as an adult fiction.

Rachel Beard
www.rachelsrandom.com

Doctor Who season 10 finally has an air date and not only that, so does its spinoff, Class!

It’s time to celebrate because we finally know when we’ll see Peter Capaldi back in the T.A.R.D.I.S. as the Doctor! BBC America will premiere Doctor Who season 10 on Saturday, April 15 at 9/8c. Check out the brand new trailer promoting the series, narrated by the brand new companion, Bill:

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Doctor Who season 10 finally has an air date and not only that, so does its spinoff, Class!

It’s time to celebrate because we finally know when we’ll see Peter Capaldi back in the T.A.R.D.I.S. as the Doctor! BBC America will premiere Doctor Who season 10 on Saturday, April 15 at 9/8c. Check out the brand new trailer promoting the series, narrated by the brand new companion, Bill:

No word on if the U.K. will be seeing the same air date but it’s more than likely they will since it’s been like that in years past.

This will be Peter Capaldi’s last season as the Doctor, along with Steven Moffat’s last season running the show. After this we’ll be seeing Chris Chibnall taking the reins with a clean slate, and we’re so curious about how the series will go. How will the Doctor regenerate? Will this be Bill’s first and last season on the show as well? Who’s going to be the next Doctor? We’ve got so many questions! But they’ll all be answered in due time… we hope.

And that’s not all! Fans in the U.K. have already had the chance to enjoy the brand new spinoff series, Class, and after Doctor Who premieres on April 15 Americans will finally witness it as well.

Set to air directly after Doctor Who at 10/9c, Class is helmed by award-winning YA writer and executive producer, Patrick Ness. The series follows a group of students at Coal Hill School as they deal aliens, invasions and awkward social dilemmas.

Having seen Class in its entirety we can tell you that it’s got the perfect Doctor Who vibe and should fit in perfectly after you watch the season 10 premiere. Although not everyone loved the premiere, the series as whole definitely grows on you. You’ll just have to check it out for yourself!

Are you excited for ‘Doctor Who’ season 10?

Can Clarke stop King Roan and his Azgeda army from marching on Arkadia? Find out what to expect in next week’s The 100 season 4, episode 5 “The Tinder Box.”

Clarke makes a desperate plea with a former allied force in an attempt to avoid a war and ensure the survival of her people.

The fifth episode of The 100 season 4, titled “The Tinder Box,” was written by Morgan Gendel and directed by John F. Showalter. Proceed for our spoiler-light preview!

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Can Clarke stop King Roan and his Azgeda army from marching on Arkadia? Find out what to expect in next week’s The 100 season 4, episode 5 “The Tinder Box.”

Clarke makes a desperate plea with a former allied force in an attempt to avoid a war and ensure the survival of her people.

The fifth episode of The 100 season 4, titled “The Tinder Box,” was written by Morgan Gendel and directed by John F. Showalter. Proceed for our spoiler-light preview!

Where last week’s episode “A Lie Guarded” featured an emotional confrontation at Arkadia while Abby’s island team was in imminent physical danger, this episode flips their positions: This time it’s Clarke and her friends whose lives are at risk, while in Becca’s lab, the conflict is of a different nature.

In the first three episodes of the season, Roan was willing to work with Clarke and Skaikru, despite the fact that this threatened his already precarious position as King of the Grounders without a Nightblood as Commander. But after losing the Flame and discovering that Skaikru have been working to build a shelter for the Arkadians and are now trying to make Nightbloods of their own, Roan is (understandably) feeling betrayed.

Related: The 100 season 4, episode 4 review: All of this has happened before

Last week, he took action by capturing Kane and Bellamy and massacring the Trikru forces in Polis, claiming that it was Skaikru, not him, that ended the alliance.

In The 100 season 4, episode 5, Roan makes good on his promise of war, taking an army to march on Arkadia. As the promo reveals, Clarke will try to stop them on the way, and she squares off against their army in a rocky ravine, a picturesque rainbow in the horizon adding the only touch of color to this otherwise grim picture.

The 100 4x05 Clarke

The situation should remind viewers of Clarke’s first meeting with the Grounders on the bridge in The 100 season 1: Like when she faced off against Anya, she’s on her own against a leader on horseback, and she’s once again brought backup in the form of Sky People with guns.

But where season 1-Clarke was on a desperate mission to save her people and tried to feed Anya promises she couldn’t keep, season 4-Clarke has learned a thing or two about negotiating with Grounders.

As if stopping a war with her words isn’t a big enough challenge for Clarke though, Roan has brought Bellamy and Kane along as hostages, his soldiers holding swords to their throats as they all stare each other down.

Clarke Griffin may have come a long way since she first landed on the ground, but can she stop a war and bring her friends home safely?

The 100 4x05 Riley

Another problem, to add to the growing list, turns out to be none other than everyone’s favorite newcomer (what do you mean he hasn’t been here the whole time?!) Riley, who is one of two characters in this episode haunted by their past traumas and seeking a way to slay their demons.

As the promo reveals, he’s got Roan in the crosshairs of his rifle, seemingly ready to fire. “One shot,” Monty warns in the promo, “and we’ll be at war.” But no pressure or anything.

The 100 Clarke Roan

Where last week’s episode of The 100 was a thrillingly uncomfortable experience — watching Clarke being exposed, while on the island everyone was a hairsbreadth away from being killed by the drones — “The Tinder Box” is a different sort of tense.

This episode is a lesson in war tactics; Morgan Gendel is a master of his craft, having written for countless TV series including Law & Order and Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the way he juggles different character motivations and points of conflict ignition makes it all seem effortless (it’s not).

The three interweaving storylines may seem separate at first glance, but in fact, they are all reflections of the episode’s over-arching theme, with The 100‘s trio of female leads Clarke, Raven and Octavia serving as the respective focal point of each story.

But many other characters including Bellamy, Echo, Abby, Riley and Monty also prove key players in this subtle game of provoking or negotiating conflict. Everyone has the power to save or doom everyone else at any moment, and all it takes is for one character to take a misstep, and it’ll ruin everything.

More than any other episode this season (except maybe “Heavy Lies the Crown”), “The Tinder Box” really hammers home that The 100 is an ensemble piece where every character’s decisions have equal weight in the narrative, and everyone’s actions have wide-ranging consequences.

10 teases for ‘The 100’ season 4, episode 5

The 100 season 4 episode 5 Raven

  1. There isn’t often cause to be happy on a show like The 100, but this week we’re treated to the full power of Lindsey Morgan’s brilliant smile.
  2. Monty is, once again, the MVP of the episode. Why wasn’t he on the list, again?
  3. Bellamy and Echo have a confrontation.
  4. In Becca’s lab, Eric! Jackson gets to be the voice of reason.
  5. Pike may be gone, but his wisdom (?) has not been forgotten.
  6. There’s a frustrated weariness to both Clarke and Bellamy this week; both are visibly fed up with Azgeda’s war-thirsty way of life.
  7. Every season, The 100 finds new ways of exploring the question: What is one life against the survival of the entire human race? This episode sets up more than one potential future dilemma of this nature.
  8. Clarke isn’t the only one whose way with words will come in handy this week: Bellamy will also find cause to break out his motivational speech superpower.
  9. This episode sees the return of both Niylah and Ilian, both of whom interact mainly with Octavia.
  10. Expect to spend your one-week break between this episode and “We Will Rise” theorizing wildly about what will happen next!

The 100‘ season 4, episode 5 ‘We Will Rise’ airs Wednesday at 9/8c on The CW

Want more The 100 content? Check our our recent interview with actor Bob Morley, composer Tree Adams, language creator David J. Peterson and showrunner Jason Rothenberg!

Here are the rest of the promotional stills for “The Tinder Box,” via The CW:

How to Get Away with Murder just dropped a bombshell as we found out the truth behind #WhoKilledWes. However, that reveal isn’t the only moment fans are buzzing about.

Obvious spoilers below.

1. Laurel’s emotional demand

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How to Get Away with Murder just dropped a bombshell as we found out the truth behind #WhoKilledWes. However, that reveal isn’t the only moment fans are buzzing about.

Obvious spoilers below.

1. Laurel’s emotional demand

After confessing to both Michaela why Connor was at the house the night Wes died one of the many shocking reveals of the episode is made. “Connor might have killed Wes.” As it turns out, Connor showed up at the Keating home after responding to Annalise’s plea for them to all meet there. As he arrived he found signs of a struggle, and even more, Wes’s warm body in the basement.

Connor could smell gas, but still he persisted in trying to resuscitate Wes through CPR. For over a minute he cried and pounded on the dying boy’s chest until he heard a crack of bone, a fractured rib. He fears he might have punctured a lung. He fears he might have been the one to strike the deadly blow.

Once the confession is made the Keating crew reacts. Oliver pleads for understanding. Annalise reassures Connor that he didn’t do this. Bonnie tries to play mediator, keeping everyone calm. Finally Laurel, in a blindingly emotional rage, instructs Connor to go and kill himself. Saying such action will be the only good thing he will ever do with his life.

2. Annalise’s hidden voicemail

Connor and Oliver were adamant that nothing on the copy of Annalise’s phone was incriminated. Then why would she ask Oliver to erase it? Well when Connor is about to be arrested for Wes’ murder fans find out just what Annalise was so afraid of. he discloses to Denver the location of the copy, and Annalise comes forward with what she wanted to hide.

The night that Wes died he left her a voicemail, explaining ADA Atwood’s plan to take her down for the murder of Sam and Rebecca Stutter. His exact words are “I can’t let you go down for what I did.” He begs her to come home, to talk about it, to discuss their options. But he died before any arrangements could be made. In fact, he was taken down moments after the call was made.

What is truly shocking however isn’t the voicemail itself. The kicker is how Annalise uses the voicemail to pin it all on a new suspect to clear her own name. Wes. Out of context, the voicemail sounds like Wes is confessing to killing both Sam and Rebecca. Annalise is able to twist the story to make it look like Wes took his own life out of guilt. She tarnishes his reputation forever.

3. Oliver’s shocking request

After Connor answers the burner phone Denver used to stay in contact with Atwood throughout Wes’ death, he goes missing. He is caught by Denver and taken to a hidden location where he is held against his will.  While held, he is questioned about his involvement with Wes’ death. He is accused of murdering Sam. He is threatened to be held for more than the legal 48 hours.

Meanwhile, Oliver heightens to a frenzy. In a panicked state he obsesses about the whereabouts of his boyfriend. He brings up the severity of the situation almost every time his face shows up on our screens. While most (Laurel) believe that Connor has taken Wes’ immunity deal, Oliver remains convinced that Connor is in immediate danger.

He isn’t wrong. Connor is nearly arrested for the murder of Wes. Luckily, after the voicemail comes to light he is released. When he arrives home the two boys engage in a moment of passion, literally ripping the clothes off of each other. They talk about safety, moving to California, making babies, and loving each other forever. To Connor it’s all tied to the sex. To Oliver, however, it’s much more. He’s serious. He asks Connor to marry him.

4. Michaela’s oddly-timed confession

In the heat of everything going on Asher declares his love for Michaela. He calls this year the most awful of his life. He can’t let another moment go by without telling Michaela how he feels. As he spends a few tender moments showing Michaela his heart she pretends to hear Laurel from the other room. She effectively flees the situation.

Michaela doesn’t feel she can honestly answer that question. She doesn’t know. In fact, she doesn’t know if she has ever been in love. However, when it comes down to it, as Michaela has to pretend she wants to go home with Charles Mahoney she realizes something. She does love Asher. Or at least she thinks she does. That’s right, the girl who has always held her true intentions hidden deep inside finally opens up in a women’s public restroom, no less.

5. Wes’ murderer revealed

As the final episode of season 3 came to a close we felt pretty sure that the mysterious hitman was in cahoots with Denver. He never denied it, he almost seemed to confess as Annalise threatened to take him down. As she accused him of having a hand in Wes’ death in some way he seemed so guilty. It had to be him. The very last moments of the episode revealed a very different story, however.

As Laurel began to run down Charles Mahoney who awaited Michaela at a cab she ran into a similar face. Although, she and the audience had much different reasons for recognizing him. To her this man was Dominique, a family friend. To the audience he was the hitman who injected Wes with the lethal substance that took his life.

In one final flashback we see Connor running past the hitman’s car as he talks on the phone. He confirms that the deed is done. Wes is dead. But he doesn’t relay this news to Denver. He is speaking with Laurel’s father. The orchestrator of this all.

What moment stood out to you most in the ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ season 3 finale?