Friday, August 15, 2014

Pause

Sorry for the break in the action, er ... "action," more like.  I've watched the next three episodes of True Blood but just haven't been able to bring myself to sit down, rewatch and recap them.  Because I've watched a ton of Orange is the New Black (up to halfway through S2), and then in real life the Tour of Utah descended upon us, and we had to watch that - both in person and on the television.  I haven't even read anything new that I should share with you - recently re-read some Robertson Davies and am currently halfway through Stephen King/Peter Straub's The Talisman for the umpteenth time, just because I've been in the mood for something I don't have to think about (or go to the library for).  Give me a few more days and I'll get back into the swing of True Blood things.  Sometimes a girl just has to take a break.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

True Blood episode recap "In the Beginning" S5E7

After Russell stakes Roman, the Authority HQ does into "level 1 lockdown": UV lights flash until guards can come into the conference room and throw a silvered net on the renegade former King of Louisiana.  In the cells, Nora's skin sizzles in the UV light and she continues to chant to Lilith like the religious nut she is.  When the alarm klaxons cease, no one has been killed (other than the Guardian) and the captured Russell is grinning and chuckling like a madman.

The fairies test Sookie's powers and determine that they are waning: since she is part human, her magic is finite and can run out.  And if it runs out, she'll be human again - fairy no longer.  Sookie takes that under advisement and leaves, Jason in tow, despite the fairies trying to explain that she has additional abilities that she hasn't yet tapped into (current power depletion notwithstanding).

After Sam saves Andy's life, the other deputies do some investigating; meanwhile, Sam rolls around on the floor in the storeroom, picking up scents and discerning some leads as to the other supernatural-murdering rednecks (because he can do that now).  Cut to the supernatural-murdering rednecks' hovel, where Hoyt is "feeling more love and acceptance in this hate group than I ever felt in church."  Heh.  They get him all riled up and ready to go stake some vamps - Jessica in particular.

After a cooling-off period, Bill and Eric have been put back into the Authority cells, where they try to figure out who was behind Russell's liberation, besides Nora.  It isn't until they're brought up to Salome's quarters where a flamboyant Russell is strutting around like a peacock when they come up to speed.  Salome was the mastermind behind it, a Lilith-worshipper like Nora and not a mainstreamer everyone thought.  Russell isn't quite so much a believer, although he professes to be born-again; Salome saved him because he was the only vampire strong enough to take out Roman.  The DVD is skipping like crazy but the jist of it is Lilith will rise again, or something, and the Lilith-worshippers are the sanguinistas and really just want to eat humans like vampires were made to do.  They ask Eric and Bill to join them.  Eric: "Never, you Bible-banging cunts."

On the werewolf side of things, Alcide and Whatshername the wolf bitch who declared herself his second, do some sweating tae-kwon-do training in anticipation of the fight against JD.  Alcide is shirtless (of course) but is wearing some dumbass Rambo bandana - seriously, the less he wears, the better.  They're interrupted by Martha who says that JD supported her husband and her son, when each of them was pack leader, and it's his turn to lead the pack now.

Oh my boring hell.  Arlene and Holly watch Arlene and Terry's wedding video on the world's oldest t.v.  Arlene cries.  Holly says that Terry has PTSD and he may not be making the ifrit up, so she shouldn't give up on him.  FILLER.  Also filler: Andy goes to see former Sheriff Bud for advice on how to deal with the super-murdering rednecks.  Bud tosses him out on his ass and I'm totally not sure why they even bothered with that scene.  Also: Terry and Patrick hang out all night in a pasture, waiting for the ifrit to come kill them.  When the ifrit shows up, it just laughs at them and disappears.  Terry grabs Patrick's gun and tries to shoot himself but Patrick talks him out of it.  Yawn.

Down in Mexico, Lafayette goes to Jesus's crazy brujo father's home.  Long story short, Jesus's crazy brujo father captures him, sews his mouth shut and is about to carve the brujo spirit out of Lafayette's head when his very pregnant and much younger wife stabs him to death and cuts Lafayette free.  Whatever.

Sookie finds Sam visiting Luna at the hospital.  When they go to have a cup of coffee, she asks him if he would ever give up being a shifter if he could.  He doesn't know but he's sure of one thing: a lot more people in his life would be safe - and alive -  if he wasn't "special."  Sookie nods solemnly.  But it doesn't matter: they are what they are.

At Fangtasia, Tara is pole-dancing when her mother shows up just to tell her that she is dead to her.  Pam, sporting a truly HORRIFIC crimped hair-do (I mean OMG it is sooooooooo bad), watches.  Later, Pam gives her sad progeny some advice ("So, your mom's a bitch"): "A hundred years from now, you won't even remember her - this I promise you."  Touched, Tara jumped up and cutely clutches Pam in a hug.  Pam is startled for a bit, then sends Tara back up to dance on the pole some more.

JD gathers the pack around him and says that he's got this vampire friend (unnamed, but probably Russell) who says the end of days is coming: a war between the vampires and the humans.  This vampire will give the wolves his blood to drink and they will fight by his side.  Little Emma is there and JD is about to give her some when Martha rushes in and grabs her granddaughter away, snarling that she used to defend JD but she doesn't know him anymore.

Hoyt and his new supernatural-murdering redneck friends mask up and head out to kill themselves some supers.  Over at the hospital, Sam is just about to leave for the night when he catches a whiff of an orderly who is one of the SMRs.  He jumps the orderly and starts pounding the shit out of him.

Jason stops by Bill's mansion to talk with Jessica.  He wants to talk to her about his parents being killed by a vampire but when he realizes that he's interrupting her having blood sex with a fangbanger, he freaks out.  They tussle, she bites him, he shoots her in the side of the head and she throws him out.  Jessica is having a tough time keeping friends these days.  Over at the Stackhouse homestead, Sookie decides that she's had enough of being fae.  She starts sending huge blasts of fairy magic out into the night, trying to deplete herself.  Jason, leaving the mansion, sees the light in the sky and runs to find out what is going on.

After quite a lot of talking at a praise-Lilith ceremony, Salome gives a taste of some holy Lilith blood (reputed) to Nora, Bill, Eric, Russell, Reverend Steve Newlin, the Doctore (from Spartacus) and some other vampires.  [By the way, BARB FROM COUGARTOWN is one of the chancellors.  I just realized this.  That's AWESOME - go watch Cougartown.] They all completely trip out, dancing and snarling around the streets of New Orleans, where they end up in a club and draining an insipid human wedding party.  In the blood-splashed aftermath, Lilith appears, encouraging the bloodlust.  But Eric gets a private vision - Godric - telling him to save Nora from herself.

Previously on True Blood / next time on True Blood

Friday, August 1, 2014

True Blood episode recap "Hopeless" S5E6

While Eric is tangling with Russell, the werewolves attack, dragging Alcide away and separating Bill and Sookie.  Russell breaks free and menaces Sookie a bit, drawn to her by her fairy-ness until she blasts him away with her glowing hands.  Alcide tosses the attacking wolves around, killing - and recognizing - at least one.  Eric tackles Russell and hauls out a stake; Bill convinces him that they need to bring him back to the Authority alive ... but what luck: the Authority has arrived with a bunch of black-suited commandos, Peter Mensah in charge (Doctore, from Spartacus, but I can't be bothered to look up his character's name here).

Back at Fangtasia, Pam finally breaks up the fight between Tara and Jessica.  Jess limps away, grumbling that the friendship is off apparently; Hoyt watches her go.  Pam reminds Tara that this is her bar and she is in charge and, while she did a good job holding her own in the fight, she needs to watch herself.  In Bon Temps, Luna and Sam are rushed to the emergency room, bleeding and screaming (what will human doctors discover about shapeshifters?) while Emma, in wolf-puppy form, runs to Martha's house to safety.  When Luna and Sam are out of surgery, Luna frantic about her daughter, Sam has come out of it better and promises to go back to Bon Temps immediately to find out what happened.  Just then Martha and Emma (now human again) show up and Martha and Luna call an uneasy truce, since Luna needs the older woman to watch after her daughter.

A captured Russell Edgington is a riled-up Russell Edgington.  He is led away in cuffs, ranting about the Authority's blind idiocy in following the cult of Lilith.  After he is gone, Peter Mensah mentions his concerns about the humans (Sookie and Doug) and the werewolf (Alcide) having seen too much.  As PM goes to deal with Doug and the shackled humans down the hall, Eric glamours Alcide so he won't remember, implanting an extra command that he will henceforth find Sookie sexually disgusting even though he will protect her with his life; Bill pretends to glamour Sookie but doesn't really, instead "commanding" her to live her life apart from him, as a human, in the sun.

Note:  the DVD skipped a bit so I've missed something but really, who cares.  I mean, really.  One thing that is a little important, however, is that once the Authority thugs load all the rescued humans, plus Doug, onto a bus to ostensibly drive them home, Peter Mensah steps aboard the bus and in a massive splatter of blood, kills ALL THE HUMANS.  Now, that doesn't seem like it's in line with the get-along-with-humans Authority party line.

In other things no one cares about, Terry and Patrick are driving home, still way freaked out about the ifrit.  Terry flings himself out of the moving car and runs into a field, screaming how they're both dead men.  Oh, harden the fuck up, Terry.  When he gets back to town, he finds Arlene and tells her about the village in Iraq, and how they killed everyone, and how they're now cursed and being hunted by "an evil smoke monster" [Lost shout out?].  He says that he has to leave her and the kids for their safety.  Arlene's like, honey, you're off your meds again, aren't you?  He is adamant, however, and she lets him go.

Lafayette goes to the nursing home to see his momma who tells him that she saw a vision of Jesus's decapitated, mute head.  She tells her boy that his dead lover wants to talk to him but Jesus's father has captured him.  "You gots to go, Lala.  Jesus is in trouble!  You gots to save Jesus!"  When Sookie goes into her next shift at Merlotte's, Jason finds her there and tells her what he found out about their parents' death at the fairy "nightclub."  She's like, you have to take me there, fairies are big trouble.  Also, Sam insists that Andy help him with the investigation into the shapeshifter murders because, as a shapeshifter, he can go places humans can't.  Also, Alcide strides into the wolfpack, accusing them of being V addicts and working for vampires [meaning Russell], and saying that he's assuming control of the pack.  One of the wolves says that he's got to fight for leadership and Alcide's like, okay.  And then a gorgeous she-wolf volunteers to fight at Alcide's side as his second.  I don't know any of these characters' names.  I don't care.

When Bill and Eric return to the Authority HQ, the chancellors applaud their success and Molly the tech takes their iStakes off.  Tina Majorino is ADORABLE here.  As much as I dislike the boring Authority scenes, I hope she gets more to do and sticks around for a while.  Salome informs the boys that Nora has confessed her sanguinista leanings.  Pompous old Roman swaggers in, happy as can be about Russell's capture, with a very old bottle of blood to celebrate.  Blah blah blah.  Salome says she needs to go interrogate Russell some more but Roman is all, don't bother - we're going to execute him tonight, here in the council chamber.  She says she'll give him a half dose of silver to keep him tame and bring him up.  After she leaves, Eric asks for permission to talk with Nora.  Roman's like okay, but don't miss the execution.

Andy and Sam investigate an anti-vampire sporting goods shop.  After being questioned for a while, the clerk gets a little twitchy and Sam ends up shooting him with a crossbow right before the clerk can shoot Andy, saving his life - Sam had "sensed him go into survival mode," because apparently that's something he can do now.  Meanwhile, Hoyt is getting sucked off [not THAT way, perverts] by a vampire in an alley somewhere when some rednecks - quite possibly the same ones who shot Sam and Luna - drive up, stake the vamp and drive off with Hoyt.  That night, Sookie and Jason make their way into the fairy "nightclub," asking about what happened to their parents.  They meet up with one who is actually a little forthcoming, who tells them what he'd heard: that one night long ago, a vampire was drawn to an old bandaid of Sookie's in the backseat of the Stackhouse car - he was attracted to her blood.  Sookie's all, STFU you lying liars!

As Salome brings a ranting and raving Russell out from the cells, Eric tries to get Nora to talk to him.  But she is transported with Lilith-ecstasy, saying that God's plan is happening and that everything will come to pass.  Eric's like, WTF is your deal? before realizing that it was Salome who released Russell, who has been orchestrating all of this.  Up in the council chamber, Russell is still raving: you use Lilith to justify your bloodlust for power - "you're a hypocrite!  I want human blood but not because some Bible tells me to. I like it, it's fun, it makes my dick hard!!!"  Roman has heard enough, and shouts that this is about balance and mercy and order and peace.  He presses the remote for the iStake on Russell's chest but it doesn't go off.  Instead, Russell lunges to his feet and slams Roman down on the table, pressing a real stake to the Guardian's chest.  The former King vampire sneers, "Peace is for pussies!" before gloriously staking Roman while Bill, Salome, Molly, a just-arrived Eric and the other chancellors watch.  Down in the cells, Nora leans back and spreads her arms wide, praising Lilith's name.

Damn, everything is better with Russell Edgington, isn't it?

Previously on True Blood / next time on True Blood

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

True Blood episode recap "Let's Boot and Rally" S5E5

Sookie and Alcide go up to her bedroom and start taking each other's clothes off.  But before things can get truly nekkid, she upchucks on his boots and Bill and Eric are there to see it, leering from the doorway.  They have come to enlist Sookie's mind-reading powers to help find Russell, hoping she can de-glamor Alcide's construction worker (Doug) who witnessed Russell's rescue.  Alcide doesn't want his employees mixed up in vampire bullshit and he and the two vampires start yelling at each other.  Sookie just starts laughing, somewhat hysterically, as she realizes her life will never be normal.  "Come on, let's go hunt Russell.  Into the jaws of death ...!"

Lafayette rushes back to his house, feeling extremely guilty about having cursed Sookie's car.  He tries a quick prayer but all the little gods and idols on his altar come to live and mock him until he freaks out and smashes them.  He asks Jesus (his former lover, not the - you know - son of God) for a sign.  He gets it that night: a vision of Jesus's severed head, lips sewn shut.  The same vision appears to Lafayette's crazy mama and she promises Jesus's head that she'll tell her son what he needs to know. Meanwhile, out in North Dakota (or wherever, who cares), the bunker guy ties up Terry and Patrick.  Blah blah blah he's all tormented about what they did back in Iraq blah blah blah he tells them that they've been cursed by an ifrit (evil fire demon) sent by the last village woman Terry killed (under orders from Patrick) blah blah blah he lets them go but just as they're all climbing out of the bunker, the ifrit appears and burns up the bunker guy.  Terry and Patrick run like hell.  The CGI ifrit is laughable and this storyline just sucks.

Back in Bon Temps, Jason has a weird dream about his dead parents and wakes up, startled to find himself naked; on the other side of town, Andy also wakes up naked - apparently the fairy bouncers took their clothes when they threw them out of the fairy club?  Anyway, Andy and Jason have been called to investigate the murder of Sam's two shifter friends.  Andy interviews Sam, asking if there's anything hinky he needs to know.  Sam admits they're all shifters.  They find some wooden bullets and surmise that the murderers maybe were after all kinds of supernatural beings, like vampires, and not just shifters. Jason thinks that all this trouble started when the vampires came out of the coffin - he's getting amped up about vampires having killed his parents.  Sam goes to Luna's house to tell her what happened to their friends.  She is stunned and can't think who would have wanted to hurt them.  When he is leaving, a truckload full of masked rednecks drives up and shoots him in the stomach.  Luna runs out and gets shot too.  Before Sam loses consciousness, Emma runs out of the house, screaming for her mother.  Before the rednecks can shoot her too, she changes into that cute little wolf [husky] puppy and runs off into the woods.

At Fangtasia, Pam has dressed Tara up in a bedazzled bustier and tells her to get behind the bar and pour drinks.  Tara's all, so basically I'm your slave.  When she leans in to bite a human who is flirting with her, Pam grabs her by the throat and promises to silver and gut her if she does that again - in private is fine, but not out in public.  Pam tosses Tara aside just as Jessica walks in.  The red-headed vampire immediately feels some empathy for what the newest bloodsucker is going through.  Over a couple of drinks, Jessica reaches out to Tara and after some initial, typical Tara resistance, Tara opens up.  It's very cute, these two baby vampires, bonding over how all the old ones like Bill and Pam just don't get it.  They decide to be friends, which would totally work until Hoyt shows up, ridiculous in guyliner.  Tara ends up sucking off his neck in the bathroom; Jessica is in the next stall, drinking another human and she hears Hoyt ask Tara to slow down.  Suddenly insane with jealous rage, she attacks Tara, pulling her off Hoyt and crashing through the doors into the bar proper.  The two baby vamps proceed to beat the shit out of each other while Pam watches from across the room, bemused.

Sookie gets some images from Doug's glamored brain, figuring out that a female member of the Authority is the one who dug Russell up.  Bill turns on Eric immediately, sure that it must have been Nora.  Eric's all, I never told her about Russell so back the fuck off, Bill.  (Back at Authority HQ, the chancellors are getting impatient and Salome issues orders that Bill and Eric have until morning to find Russell or they're to be staked.  Molly (Tina Majorino) calls them to let them know that their countdown has started - their iStakes are set to go off at dawn - and if they don't make it, it's been "rad" serving them.)  Sorting through Doug's fuzzy memories, Sookie leads the group to an abandoned lunatic asylum and they start searching.  Doug is scared, remembering carrying a badly-burned Russell through the corridors.  They find a bunch of severed body parts and drained humans.  They also find a room full of humans, alive but strung up in straightjackets and dangling from hooks.  The humans all scream and chatter, begging to be released.

While the Guardian - his name is actually Roman, so I can stop calling him "the Guardian" - drones on in voice-over, Sookie, Alcide, Bill and Eric keep searching.  They finally find Russell, wan and pale on a hospital gurney.  He drawls that it's about time they found him, "What an infernal racket you people have been makin'!"  I have missed Russell Edgington.  Eric looms over him, saying that he's here to finish what he started.  As werewolves growl from the corridor and Alcide and Sookie look around worriedly, Russell just grins and tells the Viking to give it his best shot.

Previously on True Blood / next time on True Blood

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Straining

Because I am pathologically drawn to schlocky horror television, I've got Guillermo del Toro's new FX television series, The Strain, all locked into the DVR.  I watched the first episode, directed by del Toro himself, and am of two minds about it.  I liked it because it has some gruesomely scary moments, has a nice cadre of genre actors like Francis Capra (Veronica Mars), David Bradley (Broadchurch, the Harry Potter movies) and Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings), and because the vampires are nasty, horrible, terrifying creatures - there's no sparkling sex appeal here.  I didn't like the boring, predictable characters and their boring, predictable dialogue ... but I also didn't much like the source material either.  I shall stick with it, however - because there's not much else on of interest these days, plus I'm hoping for lots more icky, creepy, darkly funny bits like the heart beating in time to "Sweet Caroline."  If The Strain fully embraces the scary-weird like that, it'll be worth watching.



Sunday, July 13, 2014

True Blood episode recap "We'll Meet Again" S5E4

Picking right up where we left off, Pam vamp-zooms over to the salon and pulls Tara out of the tanning bed.  The baby vampire is a mess, burned and bubbling, and she spits hate into her maker's face.  Pam goes uber-bitchy and commands her, as her maker, to stop trying to kill herself.  Tara is furious but helpless.  Looks like Pam is going to have to be a little more hands-on with her obstinate progeny than she had hoped.

Lafayette comes out of Merlotte's right as Alcide drives off in a fury, leaving a weeping, guilty Sookie behind.  Lafayette is pretty furious too, saying that all he wanted was for her to keep her mouth shut.  He snaps at her that she's the fucking angel of death, leaving a trail of bodies behind her.  She whimpers, feeling sorry for herself, but the thing is, Lafayette is not wrong.  Sookie flails about, getting people to save her, and she always makes it through, but she brings death and destruction wherever she goes.  Next, she goes to Jason's house and confesses to killing Debbie - she's freaking out but she asks her brother to arrest her.  He tells her to calm down and stop acting crazy.  She keeps talking, telling him about Lafayette being there, and Tara getting shot and turned into a vampire.  Then Jessica comes into the room, wearing Jason's sweats:  Tara's a fucking vampire?

After having let Bill and Eric go to start tracking down Russell, the Guardian and Salome discuss what to do with Nora, who is shrieking in a basement cell.  He wants Salome to get Nora to open up, give him some names of accomplices who have infiltrated the Authority.  Yawn.

Pam takes the rapidly-healing Tara back to Fangtasia and is surprised (and thrilled) to see Eric there.  She's less thrilled to see Bill, of course.  While Eric and Pam talk - and Eric gets a little nasty, trying to learn if Pam knows anything about Russell Edgington, but Pam knows nothing, and cries, telling him that she is loyal only to him, and he relents, but doesn't tell her anything about the Authority - Bill and Tara go into the club's office.  He talks to her a little about what she's feeling as a newbie, then he asks if Sookie is okay.  Tara tells him to stop, stop asking about Sookie and worrying about her, gotta move on: "She's always safe, because there's always some fool there to take a bullet for her.  Always."  Out in the club, Pam steels herself and lashes out at Eric, snarling that she would die for him and if she means so little to him - if he trusts her less than Bill, "or a werewolf, for Chrissakes," then he should release her and let her go.  Later, Eric and Bill regroup, trying to figure out who knows about Russell since Pam and Tara know nothing.  Tomorrow they'll cast the net wider.

At the Bon Temps sheriff's office, the mayor swings by and, to thank Andy for clearing a ticket for his son, invites him and Jason out to party that night.  Over at Merlotte's, Sam notices a couple of his shapeshifter friends in one of the booths.  They invite him to go for a run with them tonight and he agrees to meet them later.  When he does meet them, they're both death with bullet holes in their heads.  Oops. Sookie tries to get through her shift at the restaurant but she can't block out all the customers' thoughts as they see her and think about what happened to Tara.  (How did the whole town find out?  Small town gossip, I guess, after Tara busted out of the walk-in.)  Meanwhile, Lafayette goes outside for a smoke and see Sookie's little yellow car.  Before he can stop himself, the brujo demon bursts out and it looks like he curses Sookie's car.

Alcide finds Debbie's parents at their motel and tells them what happened to Debbie.  Well, he doesn't really: he lies to protect Sookie.  He says that their daughter was killed but tells them it was Marcus who did it and that he killed Marcus for it afterwards.  Everyone gets all upset and Debbie's dad starts to wolf out, lunging for Alcide's throat.  His wife talks him down, telling Alcide to get out and leave them alone.

And then we have this epic fail of a scene that is so out of place for this foolish show.  Patrick and Terry are driving through South Dakota, looking for the former squad member who may be setting the fires, when Terry has a flashback to Iraq.  Through a terrible mistake, his squad ends up killing a whole bunch of innocent villagers.  Then Patrick shakes him and Terry snaps out of it.  The scene is so jarring and so far removed from any of the regular True Blood silliness.  Not cool.  Hopefully this storyline won't take up too much more time this season.  At any rate, they find the guy's bunker and, judging from the weaponry and the general decor, he's batshit crazy.  Also, he's behind them with a big ol' gun.  Oops.

Back at the Authority, the cabal of chancellors is keeping an eye on Bill and Eric's GPS markers, while the Guardian and Salome interrogate Nora. Y A W N.  Lots of talking but then Salome gets in close, coaxing, and Nora whispers in her ear.  In Bon Temps, as Sookie drives home after her shift, her car's brakes fail and the accelerator floors itself.  She jumps out of the car just before it slams into a tree.  Sookie is shaken but okay. She makes her way home on foot and starts drinking.

When Jason shows up at Andy's office that evening to go out with the sheriff, Andy is ranting about the Debbie Pelt case.  Jason tries to calm him down but Andy is all het up ... until Jessica vamp-zooms in and glamours Andy into forgetting all about Debbie.  She did it to protect Sookie and Jason thanks her for it, calling her a good friend.  After Jessica leaves, the mayor shows up in a limo with three hotties.  The girls put bags over the men's heads so they can't see where they're going.  This is because the girls are fairies and they take the men to a "club" in the fairy dimension, full of light and color and sexy dancers.  Fuckin' fairies.  Andy finds that one fairy woman he made love to last season, while Jason forgets ALL about his new celibacy with a gorgeous fairy.

Pam finds Eric waiting for her when she gets up for the night.  He tells her that the mission he and Bill are on is doomed and that he has to protect her.  She is his only progeny, his one legacy, and he is going to release her so the Authority won't come after her.  It's a very sweet scene, and they are both very good and sad about it.  Eric says the words to sever their blood ties, to renounce his dominion over her, to release her.  Pam bursts into tears when it is done, clutching at him.  "You were born into greatness," he tells her, gently, "You're a maker now.  Our blood will thrive."  Meanwhile, Bill goes home and he and Jessica tear the place apart, looking for listening devices.  Jessica tells him that she believes that he and Sookie are good together and that he should check on her, because she's a mess over what's happened with Debbie and Tara.  Speaking of Tara, Pam wakes her up and brings her a willing human victim.  Tara is reluctant at first but Pam encourages her (commands her, actually), teaching her to drink without draining, whispering about the power and glory of being a vampire.  Aw, Pam's being a good mommy!

The Guardian and Salome join the chancellors.  Without too much ado, the Guardian announces that Nora told him the name of the traitor in their midst.  He walks over to one of the chancellors, the one that is the little kid (the others are the Doctore from Spartacus, the Texan woman and the scary Swedish dude from Hell on Wheels), and promptly stakes him, splashing blood and gore everywhere.  Whatever.  We didn't spend enough time with these vampire chancellors for me to give a shit about losing one, even one that looks like a child.  I don't know if this is supposed to make the Guardian seem scary or unhinged, but really it's just making me dread every scene set at the Authority.

Sookie is pretty drunk - cutely singing the wrong words to The Pina Colada song - when Lafayette calls to see if she's okay.  She tells him what happened and he realized that it was the brujo demon. He wants to tell her the truth but then Alcide shows up and she hangs up on Lafayette.  Alcide: "You smell like mint and peaches."  Sookie: "And you smell like Aqua Velva."  They talk and she starts pouring him drinks.  After quite a few of them, she climbs on top of him and they start going at it, because Alcide has always liked her.  Just then, Bill and Eric show up, noting that Sookie seems okay.  He decides that they're going to interrupt her (because she might be "useful" in the search for Russell) because he's a jealous dick.

Back at the fucking fairy club, Jason runs into his cousin Hadley who lets it slip that this place is a safe haven for fairies hiding out from vampires.  She also lets slip that vampires killed his and Sookie's parents, not a flood as the Stackhouse siblings have always been told.  Other fairies whisk Cousin Hadley away, ignoring Jason's questions.  He gets agitated, Andy has his back and they both get thrown out of the place, landing flat on their backs in the meadow.  They both yelp as two fairies appear, hands a-glowing and aimed right at them.  End episode.

Previously on True Blood / next time on True Blood

Thursday, July 10, 2014

True Blood episode recap "Whatever I am, You Made Me" S5E3

Ugh.  For a blood- and sex-drenched show about vampires, werewolves and various otherworldly creatures, some of these episodes are awfully tedious.

Tara finds herself out in the woods.  She heals rapidly from the aerosolized silver, runs away from the chasing Sookie and Lafayette and then pounces upon a girl whose car has broken down.  But she is overcome with guilt and remorse before she actually bites the girl.  It must be difficult to be a vampire when, until very recently, you hated vampires with every fiber of your being.  Yay self-loathing!

Back at the Authority HQ, the chancellors are freaking out about the possibility that Russell Edgington is still alive.  Some of the chancellors want to just off Bill and Eric and be done with it.  The Guardian sends them away, saying he take all their points under advisement.  When Bill and Eric are alone with the Guardian and Salome, they are given their assignment: bring Russell in or die trying.  Our heroes are dismissed and the Guardian is all, send in the new Nan Flanagan.  Who should arrive but Steve Newlin.  Oh yeah, that doesn't have disaster written all over it or anything.  The Guardian tells Steve that he's got some PR patchwork to do.  But he uses a LOT more words - blah blah sanguinistas blah blah fucking savages blah blah potential civil war between humans and vampires.  On the SUPERPLUS side, Tina Majorino is an IT vampire working for the Authority who puts tracking/remote staking harnesses on Bill and Eric.  Don't fuck up, she grins adorably at them, "you're too cute to be goo."

Sookie goes to Fangtasia, asking Pam to step in and help her new progeny who is missing.  Pam is not in the mood - fuck Tara and fuck you! - so Sookie hits her with some shiny fairy hand power, knocking her over.  That didn't improve Pam's mood at all.  Back in Bon Temps, Tara finds Sam and begs him for help, groaning that she's hungry.  He takes her into the bar and feeds her a bunch of True Bloods, which she gulps down.  She tells him not to call Sookie and Lafayette or tell them where she is, then she passes out.

Ugh.  Scene at the sheriff's office.  Holly's delinquent sons put a picture of a naked, asleep Andy on Facebook.  Andy's rant is interrupted when Debbie Pelt's parents come in to talk with him about their missing daughter.  On the other side of town, at the grocery store, Jason runs into a former teacher of his.  She's kind of plain, but blonde and he seems genuinely excited to see her - like, gently flirty.  Apparently she took his virginity way back when: "You taught me the only thing I ever been great at."  He gets himself invited back to her house - she's divorced - and after a while, slides his hand up her skirt.  She demurs at first but who can say no to Jason Stackhouse?

Sookie and Lafayette show up at Merlotte's, asking about Tara.  Sookie corners Sam in his office and despite his trying to only think about her boobs, she manages to read his mind and learn that he has stashed Tara in the walk-in freezer, the only light-tight place available.  Sookie: "Is she okay?"  Sam: "Hell no, SHE'S A VAMPIRE!!!"  Heh.  Sookie and Lafayette start their shifts, doing their best to keep people out of the walk-in.

Flashback.  Pam the madam displays her girls to Eric but he's come to see her.  She asks him for a favor first: roust out the two vampires who are currently draining one of her whores upstairs.  What a coincidence: those two troublesome vampires are Bill Compton and Whatshername, his maker.  She knows who Eric is and apologizes for trespassing on his territory.  Eric tells them to apologize to Pam - who tacks on a charge of $500 for every girl they killed.  They acquiesce and skedaddle.  Pam looks Eric up and down and says she believes they have a debt to settle.  Smooches!

Back in the now.  After sex, Jason's former teacher is feeling much, much better about herself.  Jason, however, is feeling very bad about how he's not good for anything but sex.  Meanwhile, Debbie's parents - who are also werewolves - go to Shreveport and track down Alcide.  He tells them that their daughter was back on V and running around on him so he abjured her and threw her out.  They ask him to see what he can find out about what happened to her.  Also, Andy is investigating Debbie's disappearance, asking Sookie about her relationship with Alcide and Debbie.  This freaks Lafayette out but Sookie's all, Andy doesn't know anything, so be cool.

OMG so much talking.  Salome talks with Bill, tasked by the Guardian to find out what he knows.  She is the Salome from the Bible, a symbol of dangerous female sexuality.  And she uses that dangerous sexuality: she and Bill bone standing up, pushing their clothing aside.  Yawn.  This is better: Jessica is trying on dresses in a boutique when a young man comes in to pick up an order for his sixteen sisters.  Jessica sniffs the air - "You smell awesome!" - and the young man bolts.  She chases him to a field where she finds his abandoned car, but no sign of him.  Oh great.  More fucking fairies.

OMG Hoyt makes his way to Fangtasia, wearing eyeliner, a mesh shirt and desperation.  Pam watches him and then flashback to post-coitus, where she asks Eric to make her into a vampire.  She dreads growing old and used up.  "If you had any idea of the life that awaits me, you wouldn't hesitate to turn me," she bitches.  He replies that if she had any idea of the responsibility that comes with being a maker [of vampires], she wouldn't dare ask.  So she calls his bluff: getting out of bed and slashing her wrists with a knife.  She stands before him, weeping and bleeding out and asking for his help.  Eric stares at her and then his fangs pop out and he moves to her.

Back at the Authority HQ, Salome moves on to Eric, bringing him to her chambers for his seduction.  A few levels down, Nora is being tortured by the Sharon Osborn-looking chancellor.  When the other vampire threatens to stake Eric and Bill, Nora screams her confession to being a sanguinista.  Later, Bill and Eric compare notes (Eric grumping about getting seconds), wondering what it was that Salome wanted from them.  What she wanted was to report back to the Guardian that she believes they are not sanguinistas and she thinks they can be trusted.  Holy hell is this Authority stuff BORING.

Jessica shows up at Jason's door, still all ramped up from smelling the fairy.  She starts pawing at him but he can't go through with it.  He's sad - I ain't some mechanical bull you can come ride on whenever you feel like it - and empty inside and he doesn't know how to deal with what he's feeling.  Jessica immediately switches gears, saying she's going to change into some of his sweats and they're going to sit down with some beers and he's going to tell her what happened today.  "Maybe I'll have some advice and maybe I'll just listen."  It's actually a cute scene, Jessica showing Jason that she wants to be friends with him as well as fuck-buddies.

Over at Merlotte's, a crazed Tara busts out of the walk-in, outing her new vampire-dom in front of Alcide, Arlene and all of the restaurant's customers.  After she leaves, Arlene is super-bitchy to Lafayette about what he did to Tara.  When she goes out to her tables, the brujo demon inside him momentarily emerges and pours a bottle of bleach into the gumbo cooking on the stove.  Lafayette wrestles control back and dumps the gumbo out, saying no-no-no all the while.  Outside in the parking lot, Sookie tells Alcide the truth about what happened with Debbie.  He is understandably furious with her - but she presses her luck, asking him if he's going to tell anyone.

On the other side of town, a despondent Tara breaks into a salon, climbs onto a tanning bed and flips the switch.  She sizzles and screams.  Miles and miles away, Pam, who is doing some accounting work at Fangtasia, looks up when she senses her progeny's pain.  "You stupid bitch," she snarls.

Previously on True Blood / next time on True Blood

Monday, July 7, 2014

Mini book review: Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey

Chalk up another one for my coworker S: he recommended Leviathan Wakes (and its successors in The Expanse series, which I have not yet read, all written by "James S.A. Corey," the pen name of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) to me and, once again, like his successful recommendation of Joe Abercrombie to me earlier, knocked it out of the park.  I tend more towards fantasy than science fiction but I loved Leviathan Wakes.  Bravo.

The novel's scope is huge, beginning with an alien organism taking over a blue collar space hauler, then moving to intricate world building (where Earth has colonized Mars and further small interplanetary bodies, collectively known as the Belt) and political tensions.  There is a binary of point-of-view characters: Miller, a jaded, world-weary detective tasked with tracking down the errant daughter of wealthy parents; and Holden, the loyal, righteous, charming XO of a doomed spaceship, who stumbles on a massive, destructive secret.  The chapters alternate with Miller's and Holden's storylines until they merge, brought together by the burgeoning galactic war.

Holden and Miller are well-developed characters, Holden's remaining three person crew (Martian pilot Alex, Belter engineer Naomi, and Earther mechanic Amos) only slightly less so.  The world-building is so huge, however, that the corporate and political organizations got a little fuzzy to me - I just couldn't keep track of who was who, who hated whom, who was sabotaging the other.  Didn't really matter - still a lot of fun.  Leviathan Wakes definitely has a Firefly vibe to it, with the repartee among Holden and his crew, the galactic conspiracies and the interplanetary colonies' struggles against the richer, stronger inner planets.

The next book in the series is Caliban's War.  I can't wait to pick that one up and dive back into The Expanse.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

True Blood episode recap "Authority Always Wins" S5E2

The newly-arisen Tara attacks Sookie and Lafayette as Pam looks on, amused.  Before she leaves to get to Fangtasia, Pam orders the new vamp not to kill the two humans.  She tosses Tara into the house, wishes Sookie and Lafayette good luck and takes off.  Sookie and Lafayette stare at each other, unsure of their next step, as a crazed Tara starts smashing up the windows.  I can tell right now that Vampire Tara is going to get old very quickly.

Bill, Eric and Nora are brought to the Authority stronghold in New Orleans; housed in what looks like an abandoned warehouse, there are multiple levels below ground, many seeming quite bureaucratic.  A swanky vampire named Salome meets them and brings them downstairs, tossing them in adjoining cells.  Before long, UV light starts shining down on them, sending them to their knees, screaming and sizzling.  There is nowhere to hide in the cells.  The UV exposure is brief but enough to blister and burn the captive vampires.

Back in Bon Temps, the pack is disgusted when Alcide refuses to feed upon Marcus's body and take over as pack leader.  Being the bigger dog, Alcide refuses to rise to the bait when they call him a coward.  The bad CGI cold air breath smoke is distracting.  Also distracting: when my DVD player freaks out and skips around - but I don't think we'll miss anything important, not with this show.  When Pam gets to work, she is dismayed that Eric has not called in, and then we get a flashback to Olden Days when Pam was a human.  She was a madam (some time in the 1800s, I guess) and we get to see the first time she meets Eric: when he saves her from a would-be murderer out on the street.  Whatever.  I like bitchy, powerful, vampire Pam better.

Luna has taken Sam home to tend to his wounds.  When she goes to check on Emma, there's a knock on the door.  It's Martha, wanting to see her granddaughter.  Luna screams at her and tosses her out, ignoring Martha's protests that the little girl may be a werewolf and not a shifter.  When Sam tries to calm Luna down, she screams at him too, tells him to fuck off and throws him out.  Sam's head is spinning but he goes.

Blah blah blah.  The sun is about to come up and Sookie and Lafayette manage to trap Tara, wrapping her in silver chains and putting her in Eric's basement vampire bunker for safety.  Oh christ.  Andy Bellefleur and Jason Stackhouse talking about the fact that Andy had sex.  They also find dead Debbie the werewolf's car, abandoned in the middle of nowhere.  Andy finds a vial of V [vampire blood, in case you don't remember] and he is tempted [because he used to be a V addict, in case you don't remember] but gives the V to Jason, who dumps it out.

At Merlotte's, Terry has a flashback to Iraq and nearly knocks Arlene's head off when she approaches him.  Then he runs out, leaving her shaken.  At Sookie's, she is installing colloidal silver misters over the doorways when she hears Lafayette thinking about staking Tara.  She runs to the vampire bunker and talks him down, even though they both know that Tara hated vampires more than anything - they both want her in their lives more than they want her to be at peace.

Back at the Authority HQ, Bill and Eric are interrogated separately.  Each of them is hooked up to an IV with [science] liquid silver.  When they don't give the answers their interrogators want, the IV lines are opened.  It hurts a lot but neither of them squeals.  We do get to hear about a Vampire Bible, blah blah blah, Lilith, blah blah blah, vampires are supposed to eat humans - contradictory to the official co-existence/main-streaming party line of the Authority.  The Authority is trying to root out the fundamentalists who believe in the literal interpretation of the Vampire Bible - the "sanguinistas."  Heh.

Reverend Steve invites himself over to Jessica's latest keg party.  He is a massive dork.  But what he wants is a private conversation with Jessica: he offers to buy Jason from her for $10,000 cash.  She leads him on for a while, getting him to up the offer to $20,000, before snarling that Jason is her friend and she doesn't sell her friends and throwing him the fuck out of her house.  Then she kicks all the college kids out too: "Humans, you're boring me.  Get out of here before I eat you."

Arlene goes to see Patrick to find out WTF is going on with Terry.  Patrick won't tell her anything, though, and then Terry shows up.  She leaves, telling the two men to fix whatever is wrong here.  Terry tells Patrick that the guy he's looking for (the purported firestarter) is still alive, just off the grid.  Patrick is all, then let's go see him.  Across town, Luna hears Emma banging around in her bedroom, long after bedtime.  When she opens the door to scold her daughter, there's the cutest wolf puppy sitting there, draped in Emma's pajamas.  "Holy fuck," breathes Luna.  At nightfall, Tara wakes up and comes out of the vampire bunker.  She tells Lafayette and Sookie that she will never forgive either of them for what they've done to her, then she bolts out of the house, getting painfully sprayed by the silver mister in the process.

Over at the Authority HQ, we meet Chris Meloni, some high-up vampire muckety-muck.  While a demonic choir sings on the soundtrack, he administers some of his blood to a council in a very church-ish ceremony, before getting down to business with Bill, Eric and Nora.  Also, it appears that Oenemaus from Spartacus is on the council.  This is supposed to be serious and imposing and all but holy shit is it BORING.  In fact, I fell asleep the first time I watched this.  Chris Meloni lists all Bill and Eric's fuckups, including rocket launchers in town and that disastrous Festival of Tolerance, plus the whole killing Nan Flanagan thing.  He asks them if they belong to the sanguinistas: Bill's like, I don't know what that is; Eric says he tries to stay away from politics.  Chris Meloni [WTF is his character's name? this is annoying] drives home the point that mainstreaming is vital and he will not stand for any fundamentalism in his vampires.  He is about to pronounce the sentence on them when Bill pipes up: he offers an exchange of their lives for that of Russell Edgington, who is in fact alive and is now broken free.  Chris Meloni is skeptical but intrigued, since Russell could bring down the whole mainstreaming agenda.  Of course, he also almost stakes Bill in a moment of extreme crankiness.  In the end, the Guardian (Chris Meloni) lets them live and we close with a particularly nasty close-up of a burned but healing Russell, sated on the blood of many recent victims.

Previously on True Blood / next time on True Blood

Thursday, June 26, 2014

True Blood episode recap "Turn! Turn! Turn!" S5E1

What happened last time/season on True Blood?  Damned if I can remember ... oh yeah: Sookie broke up with Bill and Eric; Bill and Eric killed Nan Whatshername and a bunch of Authority vamps; Reverend Steve came back to visit Jason, this time as a vampire; Alcide killed Marcus the werewolf leader and saved Sam's life; Jesus is dead and Lafayette is a full-blown medium; and Tara got shot in the head during Sookie's confrontation with Alcide's girlfriend/jealous werewolf bitch Debbie, who also got shot in the head but more conclusively.  So, this season on True Blood:

We begin with some slight re-running of the events of last episode.  Eric cleans the mess he and Bill made with Nan and her soldiers while Bill leaves a message for Jessica, saying he'll be out of town for a bit.  Sookie walks into her kitchen and is confronted with an off-camera Debbie.  Both Bill and Eric notice Sookie's spike in fear and Bill is all, "Sookie!" while Eric, even better, is all, "Fuck Sookie! You heard what she said to us.  Plus, we gotta get out of here before the Authority nabs us."  [Paraphrased.]  But it's too late and the Authority nabs them, using silver nets, and stuffs them in the trunk of a car.  Back at Sookie's house, Sookie and Lafayette are wailing over the dying Tara.  Pam shows up, looking for Eric.  Lafayette begs Pam to turn Tara to save her.  "Turn her?  I don't even like her," Pam snaps, continuing, "I can't be the only one noticing she's missing half her head ... it's entirely possible she'll wake up fucktarded."  But Sookie says she'll mend fences between Pam and Eric plus still owe Pam one, so against her better judgment, Pam feeds Tara her blood.  Which should go over SO well since Tara hates vampires - some eternal self-loathing from her should be a treat.  [Sarcasm.]

Vampire Reverend Steve manages to glamour his way into Jason's house.  He is such a twit, even as a vampire.  Steve ties Jason up, erases his memory of what happened, and de-glamours him.  He then comes out to Jason - he's a religious gay vampire American!  And he's in love with Jason.  Jason, very diplomatically, says thanks but no thanks, as "this dog don't bark that way."  Steve gets a little cranky at that but before he can bite Jason, Jessica shows up to stake [heh] her claim.

The werewolves have surrounded Sam at his trailer.  One shifts back into human form and asks where Marcus is (they don't know he's dead yet).  Sam suddenly remembers he's a shapeshifter and shifts into a hawk, flying away.  He flies to Luna's house to warn her about Marcus's pack.  She's all, but Alcide killed Marcus so why are they after you?  Sam's like, Alcide helped me out and I'm not going to throw him to the, um, wolves [my pun].  The werewolves show up at Luna's and threaten her daughter so Sam agrees to go with them.  Meanwhile, Pam, decked out in "a Wal-Mart sweatsuit," has Sookie and Lafayette bury her with Tara for the turning.  She's not happy about any of it.

Through some shenanigans with an umbrella, Bill and Eric manage to poke a hole in the car's gas tank and blow it up, freeing themselves.  Luckily, one of the Authority vampires who were transporting them is Nora, Eric's "sister," upon whom he plants a big, wet, open-mouthed kiss.  Bill rolls his eyes.  Nora is working for the Authority, true, but she saw an opportunity to save Eric; the way they are brother and sister is through Godric, their shared maker.  The three of them go to ground in a shipping container for the day to wait for Nora's people who will get Bill and Eric new identities.  And by "go to ground" I mean Eric and Nora knock one out in spectacular fashion while Bill wishes he were anywhere else.  "We fight like siblings but we fuck like champions," Eric grins afterwards.

Back at Sookie's house, she and Lafayette clean up the blood and Debbie parts splattered all over the kitchen.  Afterwards, she drives him back to his house so they can deal with Jesus's body.  But when they go inside, the body is gone - ostensibly because the actor had to go over to be a bad guy on Arrow.  Lafayette says good-bye anyway, in case his boyfriend's spirit is lingering.  In a storyline I care NOTHING about, Sheriff Andy Bellefleur and Holly get caught in flagrante delicto when her sons come home early from their hunting trip.  Over with the other Bellefleurs, Terry's Marines buddy Patrick is having breakfast with Terry, Arlene and the kids.  Terry is testier than usual.  Apparently Patrick is interested when he hears they lost their house in a fire.

In another storyline I don't care much about, Hoyt is still refusing to talk to his former BFF Jason because Jason slept with Jessica after she and Hoyt broke up.  Later on, Alcide stops by Sookie's house.  She's a little panicked that he'll figure out that she killed his girlfriend.  He tells her that Russell Edgington is not, in fact, dead but has dragged himself out of the concrete grave Bill and Eric put him in.  He's 3,000 years old, she exclaims, what were they thinking leaving him alive?  Alcide is all, you're in danger and you should come stay with me so I can protect you.  Sookie's like, you're not going to want me to stay with you when you find out what I did ... but Lafayette busts in before she can confess to killing Debbie.  He asks Alcide how the werewolf plans on protecting Sookie from an ancient pissed off vampire when all werewolves do is piss off vampires.  He's had enough of supernatural bullshit - vampires, witches, maenads and motherfucking werewolves - and tells Alcide to get the fuck up out of his face.  Alcide growls a little but doesn't press the issue.  Later he does call Eric to let him know about Russell, however.

On the other side of town, the werewolf pack is beating Sam to try to get Marcus's body's whereabouts.  Sam won't 'fess up though.  Marcus's mother Martha, a hard-lookin' woman/werewolf, comes in to talk with him next.  She says they need Marcus's body back to transition to the next packleader.  She promises to protect Luna and Ella if he takes them to the body.  "Let's go, "says Sam.  Over at Merlotte's, Terry is trying to enjoy a cigarette when Patrick shows up, telling him that he's been investigating a rash of fires that have been plaguing members of their squad - it's because of what happened "that night in Iraq."  Terry does NOT want to talk about it.  Patrick is looking for one particular member of their squad; Terry says he doesn't know where the guy is.

Jason busts in on a party Jessica is having with some college kids.  He gets jealous when she starts flirting with another guy but when one of the sorority girls offers herself up, he turns her down, trying to be a good guy for once since he's still hung up on Jessica.  He drives her home, saying "Do me a favor and put on that sweatshirt because you are in some kind of shape and I don't need to see that shit." Heh.

The werewolves dig up Marcus and are about to kill Sam for his murder but Alcide shows up, claiming the kill for his own.  The pack is all, you're the leader now and Alcide is like, um, no.  Then a bunch of the weres shift to wolf form and start eating Marcus's body,  Ick.

Over on the waterfront, Nora has just handed Bill and Eric their new identities when the Authority forces descend on them.  Oops.  Guess they won't be getting away quite yet.  Back at Sookie's house, Pam digs herself out of the ground, grumbling that there is dirt in her bra.  Did it work? Sookie asks and Pam's all, I don't fuckin' know.  Sookie digs frantically, uncovering Tara's face, but there is no movement.  Sookie starts crying.  Lafayette comes out of the house, takes in the scene and just stands there, disconsolate.  And then, because you knew this was going to happen, Tara bursts out of the ground, looming hungrily over the shocked Sookie.

Previously on True Blood / next time on True Blood