I had one less hour to write this, so no intro, sorry.
This week, Pedro Pascal's character and a small child traverse a post-apocalyptic wasteland full of weird monsters. Hmm. Here are my notes:
- I wasn't expecting Djarin to make it to the Mines of Mandalore in the second episode but I'm glad the season wasn't just an extended sequence of gearing up for an expedition. Instead, we got right into things. I am unsure where the show goes from here, but that could be good, given how semi-predictable the past two seasons were.
- The interplay between Djarin and Bo-Katan made for some of the best moments of the episode, as it did during the last season. They're two characters with very different approaches to being Mandalorian. Initially, they held each other in contempt; Djarin saw Bo-Katan as someone who turned her back on the Mandalorian creed, while Bo-Katan saw Djarin as a cultist with only imagined connections to the real Mandalore. By now, though, they have some respect for each other, as we see in the fact that Djarin sent Grogu to Bo-Katan for help, and in the fact that Bo-Katan led Djarin to the waters. Djarin appreciates that Bo-Katan knows more about Mandalore than he does, and Bo-Katan appreciates Djarin's focus on Mandalorian traditions.
- Once again, there were a lot of great creature effects in this episode. The weird cyborg that captured Djarin was the highlight, but even the cavemen and the little dragons looked fantastic.
- Even though Djarin didn't get through his whole recitation, I think that his bathing-in-the-waters counts.
- RIPTIDE v CAPTAIN SHREDDERATOR - Team Riptide really isn't making many friends this season. Brian Nave was genuinely upset that Riptide kept attacking a disabled Captain Shredderator. It's honestly a weird gray area, considering that there's no way to formally cede a fight in the rulebook. Maybe something should be added in before next season.
- DEATHROLL v MAMMOTH - This was a pretty predictable fight. Mammoth can be fun and even win in the right circumstances, but a high-energy spinner like Deathroll is pretty much always gonna win against it.
- EMULSIFIER v BANSHEE - Emulsifier finally had a good fight here, without their drive systems breaking down. Their spinner seems to have the same issue as Cobalt's: it's not far forward enough. It only nibbled at Banshee, which was enough, sure, but it might have won sooner and it might have done better earlier if its weapon was positioned a little more effectively.
- COPPERHEAD v KRAKEN - I'm calling it now – New Kraken isn't ready for TV. It was the same story here as the last two fights: Spurk no idea how to use his bot effectively. He's been outdriven all season.
- HORIZON v SHATTER - I'm not sure what happened here, but Shatter had real trouble traversing the box and keeping squared up against Horizon. Horizon still wasn't great, but it was able to land hits.
- OMINOUS v SHREDDIT BRO - This fight was so devoid of action that the broadcast started showing the hype reels for the main event down in the corner. Ominous also seemed to be having drive trouble; I wonder if omni-wheels aren't working well as the arena floor gets chewed up.
- WHIPLASH v MONSOON - Whiplash finally got a win this season, after a hard back-and-forth with Monsoon. As expected, Whiplash maintained control of the fight, but they still couldn't handle Monsoon the way they usually do.
The Bad Batch
We get back to Crosshair in this episode, as the season starts to build toward an ending. Here are my notes:
- This episode was pretty good; it was the culmination of a lot of things we've seen happening in the stronger parts of this season. We have Crosshair unsure about the orders he's being given, the clone army being heartlessly discarded by the Empire, and something mysterious happening on Tantiss.
- Crosshair turning on the Empire was telegraphed, but him winding up on Tantiss was not. I'm not sure what'll happen to him from there, but I'm guessing now that the Batch and Rex will be raiding Tantiss for the season finale, and will reunite with Crosshair at some point then.
I've played Citrine a fair bit now, and I'm impressed. As a support 'frame, I don't think she's as good as Wisp, but she's better than Trinity and a lot better than Harrow. Like Oberon, she has a balance of buff and offensive capabilities, though her buffs are a little less direct. Her offensive powers are sort of a mixed bag: her 1 doesn't do much damage, but it's an energy and health restore, which is useful. Her 3 is weird; it essentially adds status procs to the squad's weapons, but only for one enemy at a time, and its range is pretty small. Her 4, though, is really good. At low levels it kills groups of enemies and at higher levels the crit chance boost means they'll die anyway from weapon fire. Citrine is a good frame, though I'm not thinking she'll become part of my regular rotation.
And, looking forward to what's coming in the next update, we have DevStream 168. This was our first serious look at what the Duviri Paradox will be, beyond the concept art and animatics that we've seen at the past couple of TennoCons. (Speaking of, TennoCon 2023 will be in-person again. I will not be attending, but I'll be watching TennoLive and covering that for RC.) Here are my notes on the DevStream:
- Before we get to Duviri, it was announced that Hildryn would be the next Prime frame. We just had Baruuk, so this isn't too surprising. People really seem to hate the look of Hildryn Prime; I don't, on an aesthetic level, though on a practical level, I worry about that big headpiece blocking players' views of what's in front of them. She'll be coming with primed versions of the Larkspur and, weirdly, the Shade. There's already a Prisma version of the Shade, and, while that sentinel can be useful, I don't think improved stats will help it, so I guess it will be just down to looks whether you want to get it or not. Honestly, Hildryn herself isn't in a great place at present. She's a pretty classic example of a frame hurt by a kit that tries (and fails) to replace weapons rather than working with them. No rework was announced, though.
- The Duviri Paradox, as we've seen before, will be focused on the Drifter. So it's quite the surprise to hear that the quest will be available to brand-new players, since the Drifter is a bit of a spoiler, not just for the New War but also for the Second Dream. It seems that DE is treating Duviri like a missing other half of the game, a parallel story that ties together in the New War quest, which is certainly a novel approach. In any case, any Warframe player at every stage of the game will be able to play Duviri at launch.
- Playing in the Planes of Duviri is looking different from usual Warframe gameplay. Playing as the Drifter will be melee-focused, and enemies will come one-at-a-time or in small groups rather than in waves. Warframes will be used, but the Drifter doesn't have access to the Tenno's full arsenal. Rather, a handful of 'frames and weapons will be drawn randomly from the game's full list. If it's gear your Tenno has, that's the gear the Drifter will get. Otherwise, they'll get (unmodded?) loaner gear. This is the most interesting part to me, as it is the first real incentive to actually collect and master all the game's weapons.
- Overall, I'm really looking forward to playing Duviri. There looks to be a lot to do right from the start, and there also looks like there's room for the game mode to grow if it takes off with the player base.
Bird of the Week
Y'know what? It's high time for another waterfowl around here; it's been since September. The Cotton Pygmy-goose is the smallest of all the members of the duck-swan-goose family, measuring less than a foot from nose to tail. It lives in South Asia, across Southeast Asia and Indonesia into northern Australia. They are a sort of perching duck; that is, they can sometimes be spotted high in trees. They nest in cavities, as do other small ducks such as the wood duck, bufflehead, and hooded merganser. They otherwise live in shallow ponds, where they feed on aquatic vegetation.
The cotton is one of three species of pygmy-goose, the others being the green pygmy-goose (of Australia) and the African pygmy-goose (of, well you know). All three species are characterized by small size, short, goose-like beaks, and emerald-green wings. The cotton pygmy-goose is so named because of the white feathers or the males especially. Females are similarly colored, though their white is less bright and they possess dark stripes running back from their eyes.
The term "pygmy" comes from Greek myth, which spoke of a nation of dwarves from south beyond Ethiopia, who were only as tall as a Greek man's forearm was long. This was likely a tall tale based on encounters with the short (but not that short) people of Central Africa, whom later Europeans collectively called pygmies, a name which has stuck (albeit with some controversy) to this day. More generally, "pygmy" has come to describe any creature that resembles another creature in miniature, such as the pygmy hippopotamus or the pygmy sperm whale. Pygmy-geese are so named to the anserine appearance of the African pygmy-goose especially. Their genus is Nettapus because while they have the heads of geese they have the feet of ducks.
The cotton pygmy-goose is sometimes also called the cotton teal or the flower teal (as they live in lotus-covered ponds). To science, it is Nettapus coromandelianus, with the species name ultimately deriving from the Tamil "Cholamandelam", or "kingdom of the Cholas". The Chola Empire ruled southern India and Sri Lanka from the 800s to the 1300s, and they held influence in lands further west, meaning that the Chola dynasty at one point controlled the core of this bird's range.
These Gorgeous Photos Capture Life Inside a Drop of Seawater | Jennie Rothenberg Gritz & Angel Fitor, Smithsonian Magazine
A collection of close-up photos of tiny ocean creatures. Fascinating stuff.
What Is Worcestershire Sauce, and Where Did It Come From? | Matthew Zuras, Epicurious
“Culinarily ubiquitous and a perpetual tongue-twister, Worcestershire sauce is one of the great food enigmas of the past two centuries. Inky brown, sweet and salty, funky and fishy, peppery and piquant, the sauce’s exact ingredient list was kept secret ever since it was first sold in Worcester, England, in the mid-19th century.”
Which Way Is Down? | VSauce
[VIDEO] Like most VSauce videos, this rambles through various ideas, but the gist is that it is about gravity. (25 minutes)
Nightfall | Isaac Asimov
[FICTION] Asimov's legendary 1941 story of a world tracing a path between multiple suns, where night only falls once every couple of millennia. Often called the greatest short story in science fiction, "Nightfall" is here preserved by Stony Brook University.
See the full archive of curations on Notion