Friday, October 31, 2008

Titles Nine: Hallowe'en Edition (#5)

Greetings, ladies and gentleghouls - welcome to the Hallowe'en edition of "Titles Nine" or, in this case, Titles Seventeen. You see, today we're going to take a look at my Stephen King bookshelf. As you will see, it is far from complete: I need to get a copy of The Shining; I'm working on collecting the Dark Tower series (although I haven't included the ones I have here since they're not really horror); and I'm behind on his more recent stuff.

For those of you who are new, the "Titles Nine" series is a listing of nine books selected at random from the Mouse family library. I can promise you that every single one of the books listed below are mine and mine alone: I have been a Stephen King fan since the tender age of 10 (when I snuck a copy of Carrie from my aunt's house); Mr. Mouse, however, gets the creeps just looking at the titles.
  • IT - Never liked clowns. Didn't like them before I read IT, liked them less afterwards.
  • Insomnia - This one doesn't classify strictly as horror, but I've got a fondness for it in part because I have slow-sleep insomnia myself. Plus there's the Dark Tower crossover.
  • The Stand - My favorite of the bunch. I love this book and have read it many times - the uncut re-release, of course. I didn't even mind the miniseries and it was there that I developed my crush on Gary Sinise ("Stu").
  • Desperation - This one's just sick and goes hand in hand with The Regulators (written by King as Richard Bachman),
  • The Tommyknockers - There really could be anything out there in the deep Maine woods.
  • Everything's Eventual - Short stories. I think King really shines in his shorter stuff.
  • Nightmares and Dreamscapes - More short stories. "Rainy Season" gives me the willies; "Chattery Teeth" and "The Ten O'Clock People" are great concepts.
  • 'Salem's Lot - Classic. Scary. The vampires in this book are NOT pretty.
  • Dreamcatcher - This one's pretty gross. But "shit-weasel" is hilarious. Awful movie.
  • Needful Things - There's a price for everything.
  • Pet Sematary - I read somewhere that King says that he got scared writing this book, mostly from imagining if something happened to his own children, and how far he would be willing to go.
  • Nightshift - More short stories. There are some great ones in here: "Children of the Corn," "Graveyard Shift," "Jerusalem's Lot," "Trucks," "The Mangler," "Grey Matter" - eesh. (Hey - I wonder what happened to my copy of Skeleton Crew (even more short stories)?)
  • Cujo - I heard that for the movie they had to dress a German Shepherd up in a Saint Bernard costume because they couldn't get the Saint Bernard to act mean enough.
  • Thinner - I like this revenge tale quite a lot. Boy is it icky, though.
  • The Talisman - I liked this one a lot more than its brutally violent sequel, Black House.
  • The Dark Half - George Stark was a bad, bad man.
  • Cell (previously mentioned here) - Zombies! (I knew cell phones rotted the brain.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hallowe'en Treats (no tricks)

Since Fringe is a rerun tonight (c'mon, I totally call bullshit on reruns after only six episodes), I've found some seasonal treats just in time for All Hallow's Eve. I don't recommend handing them out at the door, however.

Three-Pepper Spiced Pepitas, Uovo, NYC (Food & Wine, Jan. 2006)

1/2 lb. raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2 tsp. EVO
1 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. hot paprika
lg. pinch cayenne pepper
kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350. Spread pumpkin seeds in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Bake in oven for about 12 minutes, stirring once, until lightly toasted. Transfer seeds to large, shallow bowl. Add olive oil, toss to coat. Add the paprikas, cayenne and salt, and toss again. Let cool completely.

Peanut Butter Cups from Hell (recipe from my college roomie Sarah)

1 c. peanut butter
1 c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 c. fine graham cracker crumbs
2 sticks butter, melted
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Grease 9x13 pan. Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips in large bowl, mixing well. Press into pan. Refrigerate 5-10 minutes. Melt the chips (stovetop or microwave), and spread over mixture in pan. Return to fridge 'til solid enough to eat.

Vampire (

1 oz. Chambord
1 oz. vodka
1 oz. cranberry juice

Combine ingredients in shaker over ice. Strain and serve as shots.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Heroes – “Eris Quod Sum” S3E7 (airdate 10/27/08)

In Africa, Usutu (is that his name?) watches as Ando and Hiro argue: Ando thinks Hiro should go back in time to fight the four villains Usutu has painted; Hiro is worried about screwing things up if he goes back in time again. In NYC, Mohinder sulks that Tracy and Nathan have ruined everything: he claims he’s still trying to help Maya. If he could have just one more sample ... They refuse (of course) so he jumps like a big sticky spider to his web-wall, tears Maya free, and disappears up through the skylight with her.

Peter is lying unconscious in Pinehearst (yes, I’m now spelling it right), dreaming of family stuff, including the end of the last episode when his dad stripped him of his powers. He jerks awake and his dad tells him to relax - his body is still trying to recover. Arthur also tells him that his powers are gone forever. Peter is sulkily outraged, talking without unclenching his teeth, saying that with or without his powers, he’ll stop his father from his grand and diabolical plan. Arthur rolls his eyes and tells his petulant son that he’s grounded.

Claire and Sandra drive back to their house, Sandra asking if she’s okay. She tells her daughter that she’s proud of how she’s able to stay strong in the face of all she has to deal with. They go inside and the lights are all flickery, plus Lyle is collapsed on the floor. “Bitch is back,” he mutters and Claire stalks forward: “Elle?” Yes indeedy, Elle is there, surfing on the Bennet home PC, electricity crackling all over her skin. “Hello, cheerleader,” she smirks. “Yay!” says FM.

Claire orders Elle out of her house, so Elle sparks up and hits the younger girl with some voltage. She doesn’t know about the new painfree Claire, however, and is shocked (hee – sorry!) when Claire isn’t the slightest bit fazed. In fact, Claire grabs her by the arm and starts to drag her out, so Elle ups the ante, flipping Claire to the floor with a judo move and letting her have it with both barrels. Until Lyle douses her with a bucket of water. Elle screams and collapses into the corner. “I’m sorry,” she whimpers, “I need help.” Claire boggles.

Now at Pinehearst, Mohinder watches Maya as she lays in a much more high tech lab than his. Arthur introduces himself and asks how Maya is doing (terrified). Okay, says Arthur, watch this. He goes into Maya’s room, grabs her shoulders and sucks her power out of her. Oh shit – that is a really bad power for this bad guy to have. Maya is thrilled but still tells Mohinder to get away and leave her alone when he tries to approach her.

Later, Arthur assures Mohinder that no powers are left once he’s sucked them free. He takes the younger man to another part of the lab where there’s a partial formula up on some screens: they want Mohinder to help them finish the formula. Mohinder bravely says that he’s sure that Pinehearst has some hidden agenda but when Arthur calls his bluff, telling him to just leave if he wants to, Mohinder caves (since he still doesn’t have a backbone) and says he’ll need test subjects. Arthur smiles nastily.

At Primatech, Angela is still comatose but she’s dreaming in flashes and somehow telepathically communicating with Sylar. She tells him that Peter needs his help: stop feeling sorry for yourself and get out of this cage; she goes on to encourage him creepily, telling him to show “them” why he’s her favorite. And so he does, waking himself up out of the medically induced coma and TKing the cell door open. He pauses long enough to check on her, promising to help his ungrateful brother.

Claire somewhat smugly (and I can’t really blame her) asks Elle if she’s going to be okay. Elle says yeah, but when she stands up the electricity sparks out all over her. She says that she can’t control her power any longer; Daphne had stopped by and told her that Pinehearst could fix her, but Elle wanted to know more about them before submitting to them and figured Mr. Bennet had all the answers. Claire muses that maybe there’s something wrong with all the Heroes that Pinehearst could fix. Elle scoffs: there’s nothing wrong with you. When Claire complains that she can’t feel pain any longer, Elle spits that she wishes she had that problem. Poor Elle – she’s had nothing but pain all her life. Claire says that the two of them should go to Pinehearst together. “We’re off to see the wizard,” says Elle, agreeing to it.

Daphne strolls into Pinehearst: Arthur, Maury Parkman and Knox are all waiting for her, complaining that she didn’t successfully recruit Matt Parkman. Arthur says fine, but now go back and kill him. She starts to sputter that she’s a thief, not a murderer, but Maury is way ahead of her. Indignant, he gets right in Arthur’s face, saying that his loyalty was in trade for his son’s safety. So Arthur flicks his hand and snaps Maury’s neck. Thus endeth Maury (should have sucked out his mind-manipulation power first though, Art). Daphne is horrified; Knox is gloating, feeding off her fear. “Please,” she whispers as Arthur approaches her, “there has to be another way.”

Parkman and his tortoise are back in his NYC apartment when Daphne arrives, gun in hand. She says that if she doesn’t kill him, they’ll kill her. He tells her to go ahead, it’s the only way he’ll be able to save her. She’s crying, saying that he thinks she’s a good person but she’s not. She tells him to turn around. He does, but he tells her that they get married, start a family, and love each other. She drops the gun, still crying. He picks out of her mind what happened to his father. “I’m sorry,” Daphne says, “it happened so fast there was nothing I could do.”

Arthur and some goons enter Peter’s holding cell. Peter tries to hit his dad with a piece of furniture but since he’s presently just a normal human, his resistance is futile. Arthur notes that it appears his son is not going to help him. Peter says, “Please, you’re going to destroy the world!” Arthur replies that one way or another, Peter is going to help him get this done, and so they strap him to a gurney and wheel him into Mohinder. The doctor tells Peter that his metabolism is primed to accept new synthetic abilities that have to be perfected. Mohinder moves to inject his subject but suddenly the syringe flies out of his scale-encrusted hand.

It’s our new favorite good/bad guy, Sylar! “Hello, Mohinder,” he says calmly, TKing Mohinder out of the way (and also impaling a lab tech on some random piece of equipment). “You came for me,” moans Peter. “It’s what brothers do,” replies Sylar, letting Peter up off the gurney. But before they can get away, Spider-Mohinder pounces on Sylar, pounding his head into the cement floor. Blood spatters and Sylar is unable to fight back. Arthur comes back into the room as Peter sprints away down the hall. Arthur lets him go, instead grabbing Mohinder’s arms. “Do you know how many innocent people this monster has killed?” he wails in protest. Arthur nods yes, but he’s also my son and I’ve been waiting for him. That shuts Mohinder right up.

I have a problem with this episode: too much Mohinder and no Mr. Bennet. In fact, Bennet has been far too absent for two episodes now. I don’t like that one bit ... but ask and ye shall receive: Nathan and Tracy are still at Mohinder’s lab, waiting for “some guy from the Company” to show up to take care of the bodies stuck to the wall. Tracy tries to help them herself and one of them ungratefully grabs her by the throat. Luckily Bennet has arrived (oh frabjous day!) and tasers the guy into submission. Nathan, seeing Bennet’s new partner: “Meredith.” Meredith, dousing her flames for a moment: “Nathan. See you still have a weakness for blondes.” Nathan has a funny little smile on his face that disappears as soon as Tracy glances at him. Hee.

Oh dear: Claire and Elle have decided to take a plane from California to Pinehearst (New Jersey). Elle is sparking all over the place and looking decidedly queasy: “I’m an anxious flyer.” Claire proves that she is a Petrelli (i.e., about as smart as Peter) and starts pushing some of Elle’s buttons for some reason: pointing out that Elle let the Level 5ers out while she, Claire, captured Puppetmaster Eric Doyle. Elle gets more upset, saying that her father pushed her into this terrible life and Claire should be grateful that she’s had it as good as she has. She sparks up some more and the plane lurches, people crying out. The captain comes on and reminds the passengers to turn off all electrical devices. “That’s you he’s talking about,” hisses Claire, worried that Elle will crash the plane. “If I knew how to turn it off I wouldn’t be here in the first place!” Elle can’t stop, and the plane starts to go into a dive, so Claire tells Elle to grab her hand and pour the electricity into her instead. The distressed girl does, releasing the massive charge, and the plane finally calms down. Elle jerks her hand out of Claire’s, but once again Claire’s proved herself. Good girl.

Parkman paces, wondering why Maury would sacrifice himself for his estranged son. Daphne snaps that he didn’t do it so Parkman could sit around and get himself killed. “We can’t let our fear stop us from doing what’s right,” says Parkman. Well, you better not, because Knox is right outside, feeding on it. He busts down the door and as Daphne turns to zoom away, cold cocks her. Parkman gets mad, ordering him to stop. Knox freezes in place but grits out that Parkman can’t hold him with his power. Parkman retorts that not only can he hold Knox, he can kill him too by digging around in his brain to find Knox’s own worst fear and make him eat himself alive. But Knox says that he’s not the one who’s afraid and then punches his fist clear through Parkman’s chest. Parkman falls to the floor, seemingly dead … but I have a feeling that this is a mind-trick on Parkman’s part. I hope so: I like Parkman and Daphne together.

After the commercial, Knox stares at their bodies then, shaking his head, turns and leaves. And tee hee! The illusion ripples away and Parkman and Daphne walk out of the back room. “That was amazing!” says Daphne, giving him a kiss. Very cute. She’s ready to beat feet out of there but Parkman reminds us (tells her) that he’s a cop and stopping guys like Knox is his raison d’etre. He says that they’ll call Primatech - Bennet will help them. And thus the lines are being drawn.

Back at Pinehearst, Flint (fire-handed guy) tells Arthur that the building is in lockdown but Peter is still on the lam. Arthur sends him to retrieve his wandering son, instructing him to bring Peter back alive (and not extra crispy). Then Arthur turns his attention to Sylar who is floating suspended in the middle of the room. Sylar’s all growly but Arthur brushes it aside, telling his third son that Angela is manipulating him to rescue her actual favorite son, Peter. Arthur goes on to say that years ago Angela had a vision of what Sylar would become and tried to drown him in the tub; Arthur got there just in time to save baby Sylar. Grown Sylar drops to the floor, confused.

Meanwhile, powerless Peter is still trying to get out of the Pinehearst building. He sneaks onto an elevator as Mohinder, wandering the halls, comes up to powerless Maya. She tells him to back off – she doesn’t trust him. Blah blah blah, his feelings for her are real but she says she’s going off to make amends for the wrongs she has done, and he needs to do that too. Goodbye, Maya. I hope we never see you again!

Claire and Elle have made it to Pinehearst. Elle apologizes for being a bitch and thanks Claire for helping her. In turn, Claire thanks her for letting her realize that she wasn’t alone. Aww. In other reconciliations, Peter has made his way back to Sylar, saying that he couldn’t leave his brother behind. He tells Sylar that their father is not to be trusted, just as Arthur nonchalantly strolls up. Peter: “Just kick his ass and let’s get out of here!” But poor Sylar doesn’t know what’s true anymore and TKs Peter out through the window. Unable to fly, powerless Peter plummets.

When he lands, Claire and Elle are there and run to him. They notice immediately that Peter isn’t healing and he tells him that he’s been stripped of his powers. Claire helps him up and starts back to the car. Elle, on the other hand, is quivering at the thought of getting rid of her electricity and rushes headlong into the building. Claire asks Peter how he managed to fall that far and still survive if he doesn’t have his healing power anymore. Good question, Claire! Peter has no idea.

Primatech folks take Mohinder’s websters out on stretchers as Bennet, Tracy, Meredith and Nathan catch up. Bennet recommends that they come into Primatech to make sure that the sedative Mohinder injected them with was only a sedative. Nathan gets a phone call and turns away to take it: it’s Claire. He glances at Bennet, then tells her he won’t say anything.

Sylar and Arthur watch out the broken window, ostensibly at Peter and Claire driving away. Sylar remarks that Peter won’t ever give up and Arthur replies that he wouldn’t expect anything less. They also wonder how Peter managed to fall seven stories and walk away. Then Arthur gets his own phone call: it’s Daphne. She says that Parkman believes she’s on his side and she’ll call Arthur as soon as Parkman reaches out to Primatech. Arthur reminds her that if she screws this up, he’ll stick her right back where he found her. Wonder what that means?

Claire picks glass out of Peter’s back as they discuss his survival. Peter’s theory is that Sylar controlled his fall, saving his life while making a show for Arthur. Nathan and Tracy walk in and Nathan immediately notices that his little brother is not healing. Peter brings him up to speed: no powers, and bad dad’s back. And if they don’t do something to stop him, he’s going to kill them all. Nathan wants to know where Arthur is; Peter won’t tell, but Claire has no such compunction. Nathan and Tracy head off to Pinehearst while Peter glares at his niece.

And, finally, we’re back where we started with Usutu. He’s made a vision quest initiating paste so that Hiro can take a spirit walk to discover his true path. “Vision quest sounds much safer than time travel,” says Hiro, gulping a clot of the stuff, and then he passes out, much to Ando’s consternation. Usutu points out that he did warn Hiro that if he didn’t choose his own path, the path would choose him. Looks like it’s been chosen.

Previously on Heroes / next time on Heroes

P.S. Friend-of-the-blog (and fellow Classics major) Kevin C. helped me with the episode title's translation: the source is from a Roman proverb (Sum quod eris; fui quod es/"I am what you will be; I was what you are") and was used on tombstones; the episode title is more like this: Eram quod es, eris quod sum/"I was what you are, you will be what I am" - which fits in with the episode nicely. Thanks, Kevin C.!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

True Blood S1E8 (10/26/08)

The four coffins lay on the side of the road. Despite Andy’s attempt to keep her back, Sookie runs up to look inside the coffins. They’re full of slushy clotted blood, as though the vamps just liquefied in the flames and heat. She gasps – but amazingly manages to not throw up, which is impressive because ICK – and runs away. She goes home and tries to call Bill again, getting his voicemail again: “Shit!” Meanwhile, Tara has been woken up at 8 a.m. by the ruckus of her mother throwing out all her half-full liquor bottles. Also, her momma has made breakfast. Tara is amazed, happy even. And she’s getting her hopes up, I’m afraid.

Jason and Amy wake up, sated and blissful. They are all googly-eyed over their hopped-up experience together. Amy is still rather full of her pretentious college girl bullshit but Jason thinks she’s incredible. He doesn’t want her to leave town - just stay here in bed with him, having sex and doing V. Wait a minute, says Amy, we were together but we never actually had sex. She shows him that her panties are still on. “Whoa!” says Jason, incredulous. “I told you,” says Amy, “it’s better than sex.” And that’s new for him.

Tara rushes over to the Stackhouse house, bubbling over about her mother’s apparent cure. Sookie is not interested in anyone but herself, full of self-pity about Bill and her grandmother. Then Tara notices the fang marks on her friend’s neck and starts to read her the riot act. Sookie is SO having none of that. They get into a huge fight and Sookie throws Tara out of her house. That was pretty sad.

“I want to not have sex with you so bad you don’t even know,” marvels Jason. Yeah, I get it, replies Amy, but we’re out of V. They talk a bit, Jason actually opening up to her, talking about how his parents died, and then that his grandmother passed recently too. She asks why he doesn’t talk to his sister and he confesses to his and Sookie’s fight: I am the worst brother in the world. Amy goes to him, telling him that he’s a good person and wiping away a tear from his cheek.

Terry drops off some stuff over to Sam’s bar and asks Sam what he might have been doin’ blazin’ buck nekkid through the trees that morning. Sam says nope, wasn’t him, he was working on his car. Terry backs down, saying maybe he’s seeing things again, like he did when he came back from the war. Sam tells him it’s okay, he’s a long way from Iraq now. I think Sam is by far the finest lookin’ man on this here show.

That night, after the thunderstorm, Sookie takes a bouquet to Bill’s Civil War grave. She’s crying, and looks very young. She brushes the leaves from the stone and … why doesn’t she ever wear shoes when she walks around outside? But then I forget about this as a hand plunges up from the earth and grabs her ankle. She screams, but it’s Bill, naked and dirty, animal-like. They grapple and this time it isn’t pretty like when they made love by the fire. He is rough and needy and bites her hard.

At the bar, they are getting slammed since Sookie is late for her shift. She rushes in, giddy again that Bill is alive. She’s actually totally annoying, blathering on and on about him. Jason brings Amy in for something to eat – and Amy ends up stepping in and taking Sookie’s tables while she’s mooning around. Amy’s a pretty good waitress and Arlene calls out, “Sam, looks like you mighta found a replacement for Dawn!” Sookie sniffs to Jason: “Looks like you did too.”

Tara walks out back of her house and is dumbstruck to see that Lettie Mae (yes, I’ve finally remembered her mother’s name) has hung out the laundry. In fact, here comes Lettie Mae, dressed up in church clothes and with a church lady friend, who asks Tara why she hasn’t seen her face at services recently. “Uh, ‘cuz I stopped goin’,” is the retort. Anyhow, Lettie Mae is full up with the Jesus spirit again. Tara doesn’t want to hear it – trading one addiction for another.

As Sookie and Amy clear tables, Sookie is kind of a bitch to the new girl: “You know my brother’s a dog, right?” Amy’s tough though and says that she thinks Sookie has underestimated her brother. Tara continues her bad mood at work and Sam calls her into his office. Not to fire her, like she thinks, but for some on-the-job, tension relieving nooky.

The biggest problem with this show, I shall continue to maintain, is that [the actor who plays] Bill has no charisma. I mean, here we are now, in bed with Sookie and Bill, and I’m just bored to tears with whatever he has to say. She wants to know what it’s like to sleep in the ground: not particularly comfortable, but safe. They are interrupted from their snuggles when Arlene drops her children off for the babysitting. Arlene is not happy that Bill is here, but the kids are thrilled that there’s a vampire in the house. Rene is very sweet (I like Rene), reminding Arlene that Bill managed to raise a couple of young’uns his own self. Bill confirms this, and winks at the kids. That was a cute scene, actually.

Sam and Tara, post-snugglebunnies. She tells him that the good thing about sex is that when it’s good, for ten minutes to an hour you can forget about how shitty your life really is. Sam unfortunately provides the corollary: if it’s bad, it reminds you of just how bad life can be – and she immediately wants to know what she does wrong. Sam then compounds the problem by mentioning that sometimes she grunts, athletic-like. Tara goes from 0-60 in about three seconds, furious that he ruined the only ten good minutes of her day (“It was more than ten minutes,” protests poor Sam) and screaming, “Fuck you … fuck everybody!” before storming out of the trailer.

Rene and Arlene get a flat tire on the way home. He gets out to check, and asks her to bring him the flashlight. She does, but it won’t light. He asks her to check the batteries … and there’s an engagement ring inside. On his knees, by the not-flat tire, Rene asks her to marry him. So cute! “Why didn’t you say anything at the Red Lobster?” cries Arlene happily. That’s pretty funny.

This is a dream: in the morning, Bill has made a full breakfast for Sookie when she makes her way to the kitchen. She wonderingly points out that it’s light out and as he turns to the window, he bursts into flames. Sookie wakes up in her own bed, alone.

The coroner is on the phone, crying, as the sheriff notifies him that the fourth coffin contained the remains of his assistant, Neil, the fangbanger that Sookie had glimpsed at Fangtasia. After the sheriff gets off the phone, Andy mutters that Neil was creepy: what nineteen-year-old goes to work at a funeral parlor? And then, “speaking of freaks,” they see Sam Merlotte walk by and get out to talk with him about the vampire incident in his bar. They leave, then Andy comes back to ask about Sam running around naked in the woods. Sam ‘fesses up, saying he comes from a family of naturists (Andy: “Like birdwatchers?” Sam: “No, not naturalists.”). His folks were nudists and once a year he honors their memory by taking a run through the woods like they used to. Boy, that Andy’s a dumbass if he’s buying that.

In the bar’s kitchen, Lafayette and Tara talk about whether or not the exorcism worked for her momma. He thinks she got a bargain for $445, especially if it seems to keep Lettie Mae on the straight path. Jason picks Amy up from her shift at the bar and she is snappish, strung out, needing V. He’s much more in control than she is for a change, and tells her that Lafayette won’t sell to him anymore.

When Bill gets back to his house that evening, Eric has made himself right at home, soaking in the bath and bitching that he’s texted Bill three times with no response. Bill: “I hate using the number keys to type.” Hee – good one, Bill. Eric has a favor to ask (“Favor or order?” pouts Bill): “Honestly, did you think you could keep her to yourself?” Bill looks away uncomfortably.

Jason and Amy are still sitting in his truck outside Sam’s bar. Jason complains that this feels kind of like stalking to him. She’s wigging out a little, saying the hunt is the most natural thing in the world. Lafayette finally comes out and drives away; they follow, headlights off. Lafayette’s got himself a date with a pudgy, dorky vampire … holy shit, it’s Stephen Root! The vampire is all over him, sniffing and rubbing, but Lafayette reminds him that he needs juice first, before they play. Vamp: “I always look forward to Monday nights – first Heroes, then you.” He’s pathetic, asking if Lafayette likes him. After the blood is drawn and packed away in the cooler, they kiss and then Lafayette murmurs that he’ll take care of the vampire, drawing him off the couch and towards the bedroom. Wow. Stephen Root as a gay Southern vampire.

Bill has taken Sookie to Fangtasia at Eric’s behest. She’s a little put out that she can apparently be checked out like a library book but Bill informs her that “Eric is sheriff of Area 5,” a position that carries with it great power. As long as Eric’s requests are reasonable, they should accommodate them. She mentions her dream and he reassures her that he wouldn’t burst into flame in sunlight … right away anyway.

Oh wow again: Tara is back at Miss Jeannette’s exorcism hideaway. Oh dear: Andy has called the naturist community in Texas that Sam said his parents belonged to and the head naked guy has no record of any Merlottes. I guess I have to take back what I said about Andy being dumb.

Eric has called Sookie to his club because he wants her to read the staffs’ minds to discover who’s stolen $60,000 from them. The accountant goes first: he didn’t do it.

Amy watches greedily as Lafayette emerges from Vampire Stephen Root’s house with his cooler. After he drives away, they pull into the driveway. Jason’s worried that the vampire will kill them. Amy pulls off her necklace – a silver lariat – and then takes something out of her purse. “What the hell’s that?” squeaks Jason. Stephen Root is watching TV when they ring his doorbell. He opens the door and Amy throws a silver chain mail hood over the vampire’s head (and the sizzling and smoking start immediately– eesh) and binds his hands with her lariat. He is shrieking and begging as they carry him out and throw him into the back of Jason’s truck. Ooh, Amy, this isn’t good.

Sookie has interviewed almost all the humans on Eric's payroll; the last one is a skanky blonde go-go dancer. She didn’t do it either, although she knows who did – but her memory has been wiped, glamored by a vampire. A vampire? Eric hadn’t considered that. Caught out, the bartender growls ferociously, fangs up, and hurls himself over the bar to wrap his hands around Sookie’s neck. I think he’s the one who took the money, don’t you?

Next time on True Blood / previously on True Blood

Best Movies Ever (according to me)

I am a list maker. I make lists for everything: grocery lists; works-in-progress at my job; books I need to read; errands I need to run; appointments I need to keep; music I want to download; presents Mr. Mouse should buy for me. So when Fletch over there at Blog Cabins posted his "Top 50 Films," I just knew that was something I had to do too.

Now, I don't pretend to be a film scholar and this list is absolutely not a Top Films of All Time compilation (I mean, it's got P.C.U. on it fer cryin' out loud). This list is of my comfort food movies, the ones that I watch over and over again because they're my favorites. These are the movies to which I am drawn like a moth to the flame: whenever I'm flipping channels and I find one of these, I am inexplicably and inevitably sucked in to watch them, no matter what. As the redoubtable Fletch says, they're my Desert Island 50 - if I were to be stuck on a desert island with a working DVD player.

Also, it should be noted that these are my favorites right now at this very instant. I'm sure I've forgotten one or two that I'll be kicking myself for tomorrow, and I expect that I will develop new favorites and have to reshuffle the list. With those disclaimers, here they are; how do they stack up against your top flicks?

Animal House
Back to the Future
Blade Runner
Best In Show
The Breakfast Club
A Christmas Story

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Dark Crystal
Die Hard
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Groundhog Day

The Incredibles
Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
My Cousin Vinnie
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Ocean’s 11
The Princess Bride

The Professional
Quest for Fire
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Reservoir Dogs
Road Warrior
Shaun of the Dead
The Shining
Sin City

The Sixth Sense
Star Wars
The Sting
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Time Bandits

The Wedding Singer
The Wizard of Oz

Pass the bacon and pepper, please

I just found out about this last night and I am desperate, desperate I tell you, to find this stuff: bacon-flavored salt. In three different flavors - original, hickory smoked and peppered - this seasoned salt will take you as close to Nirvana (the state of being, not the grunge band) as possible. Everything is better with bacon, I believe, and having this zero fat, zero calorie, vegetarian and kosher (kosher! Bacon Salt is kosher! the mind boggles) salt to sprinkle on, well, everything, would be bliss. Instead of having bacon and eggs, you can just have eggs that taste like bacon. My baked potato could taste like bacon. Heck, my margaritas could taste like bacon. Wait, that's just silly. But you see my point. I believe that the pig is the perfect edible animal, and that bacon is the perfect part of the pig. With Bacon Salt, I can have bacon all the time, guilt free.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Infection movie mini-review

I have got to stop watching J-horror. I don't even really like it that much. For one, the movies are scary in a creepy, atmospheric sort of way: you just sit there, dread mounting, getting more and more nervous and uncomfortable because something awful or yucky is going to happen. And then there's the jump-scares that always get me. I hate jumping at stuff in movies.

Infection is a great entry into Asian horror films. Literally about a contagious infection rampaging through a down-and-out hospital, turning patients and staff into slushy green goo left and right, there's also a high level of metaphor prevalent about how fear and guilt can infect one's mind and be transmitted to those nearby. And because this is an Asian movie, there are also some ghostly presences and strange old people, as well as non-linear moments that will make the casual watcher go, "Um, what?" Amid the ick and the fear, there is some nice work with color and lighting and effective use of mirrors both in the story itself and in the cinematography. Well, I'm half-guessing about the cinematography as I was watching under the blanket for most of the movie, peeking out from between my fingers and thanking the PTB that I was watching this during broad daylight. Gave me the willies, I tell you.

I think I'll ease off the J-horror and give myself a break for a bit. Luckily I have A Nightmare on Elm Street (the original) waiting for me in the DVR. That's not scary, it's just fun!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pumpkinhead - mini-review

I recently had the opportunity to see the 1988 horror classic, Pumpkinhead, written and directed by special effects wizard (and recently RIP) Stan Winston. In addition to running nonstop fright flicks the week leading up to Halloween, AMC Fearfest also has several horror classics online. Pumpkinhead is one of them and, despite the small screen and dark transfer, I got a real kick out of finally seeing this movie.

And why not? Who wouldn’t love a hillbilly vengeance story, starring a young and ripped Lance Henriksen (mmmmmm!), and featuring an enormous, implacable pumpkin-headed (sort of - looks like a cross between an Alien and Jack from The Nightmare Before Christmas) demon whose tenacity would put a Terminator to shame. Henriksen is a single dad hillbilly, raising his cute (but not too cute) son and running a farm stand out in the very rural hollows of Nowhere, U.S.A. Their bucolic, if grubby, lives are horribly disrupted when a group of six outsiders – three young couples from the city, out to ride dirt bikes and party for the weekend – accidentally kill the little boy. The father goes to see the local witchy woman and she helps him raise Pumpkinhead, whom legend tells will wreak vengeance for those wronged. The demon singlemindedly tracks and shreds the city folk while the local yokels cower in their hovels and wait for the vengeance to pass.

The cool thing about this movie is that it isn’t as straightforward as you would expect a 1980s era horror movie to be. The city kids are not all jerks; only one of them is, in fact, while the others show fear, remorse and regret at their actions. Henricksen’s character isn’t a saint either: when the witch helps him raise the demon, she warns him of the price he’ll pay – he becomes linked to Pumpkinhead, both seeing and feeling the killings as the monster carries them out. The question then becomes who is the real monster: the demon, who is only doing the job it was summoned to do, or the man, who did the summoning.

The Pumpkinhead effects are great; the whole movie is shot in dark and atmospheric tones; and there’s a nice little twist at the very end. Pumpkinhead is a perfect old school horror movie if you’re looking to get some pre-Halloween scares on. And kudos to AMC for offering it up there to the masses for free!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fringe recap S1E6 (10/21/08)

Milford, MA: A van pulls up and guys wearing HAZMAT suits dump a woman onto the street. She’s staggering, sick. She sees a diner and goes inside; there are a few other people in there. She sits at the counter, coughing a little. The waiter brings her a bowl of soup and she picks at it. A cop comes in, called by the waiter who is concerned for the woman. He starts asking her some questions but she’s confused: “I don’t remember … they did things …they gave me a red medicine, and a blue medicine.” She starts to get agitated and the cop cuffs her. Suddenly, everyone in the diner is screaming and bleeding from the eyes. The woman backs up against the window, her eyes bleeding too – and then her head explodes, red all over the glass. Eeeeeuuw.

The next morning the Fringe team is on the scene. Walter is strangely humming at the power lines. Olivia finds it annoying – she’s a little on edge. The diner is quarantined, HAZMAT workers inside because of the high levels of radiation. The young woman, Emily, had been missing for two weeks and the radiation level in her body is three times that of the other bodies. Also eeuw: Walter takes the temperature of a dead body using a meat thermometer via the ear canal. Time to take the bodies back to the labs.

Olivia heads over to see Emily’s doctor Patel who had been treating her for some fatal autoimmune disease. This disease had recently and strangely gone into remission, but not for any medical reason Dr. Patel knows about.

Walter is dissecting Emily’s headless body at his lab. He confirms ligature marks and subcutaneous injection sites on her arms: she had been getting medication against her will. Walter thinks that Emily was perhaps a field trial, to see how the experiment did out in the real world.

Another woman with the same autoimmune disease has been discovered missing. Olivia and Charlie go to Acton to talk to the husband, Ken. He claims to not recognize a photo of Emily, saying that they didn’t know anyone else with the same disease. His wife Claire also went into remission about six weeks ago – Ken begs the agents to find her.

Claire wakes up in some sort of lab, being injected with a blue medicine. “The last one was a test,” remarks some suit, “This one counts – is she a candidate?” A female lab tech pulls off her HAZMAT helmet and confirms it. Looks bad for poor Claire.

Walter has decked out a papaya (not a paw paw) with Mr. Potatohead features and zaps it with high-energy microwaves until it “goo-ifies” and then explodes, just like Emily’s head. The theory is that the radioactive isotopes in Emily’s blood were supposed to time-release enough medication to cure her disease, but went a little too far and released all at once. Olivia wonders if Patel could have been involved; she’s going to talk to Emily’s parents. Peter says he’ll come too.

Peter notes that this case is again about humans being used as guinea pigs – part of the Pattern, perchance? Peter also notices that they will be interrupting Emily’s wake but Olivia has her resolve face and won’t be dissuaded. Once in the house, she rushes up to Emily’s room and starts searching. Emily’s mom bursts in, angry. But when Olivia says Claire may be in danger, the mother softens. In fact, she shows them a picture of Emily with Claire and her husband. Ooh, Ken lied!

An annoyed Olivia and Peter return to Claire’s house and confront Ken. Emily and Claire started working together to find alternative therapies for their disease – and Patel was, indeed, involved. Peter asks for a sample of Claire’s miracle medicine to go.

Back at the evil lab, Claire is now getting an injection of red medicine to make her better … and also blue medicine to make her “special.” Claire whimpers.

Patel confesses that he gives Intrepus (a drug company) updates on his patients, that’s all. He warns Olivia to back away because these Intrepus people are scary. When she presses him for a name, he pulls out a gun and points it at her. “You want a name? David Estabrook!” he shrieks and then he shoots himself. Scary indeed.

Olivia wanders back to FBI HQ, looking a little in shock. As she pages through her mail, Charlie has found an ID for David Estabrook: he’s the suit from a few paragraphs back. He’s a proponent of controversial techniques: human/animal hybridization, germ warfare, etc. Olivia decides to go after him, tracking Estabrook down at some function. She is charming and earnest and tries to draw him out. He tells her that what he does is not about the money – it’s about the results. Then she tells him that Patel is dead and that she’s onto him. And he threatens her in return, saying that she’s young and attractive and it would be a shame if anything got in the way of her having a family in the future. Presumptuous much?

When Olivia gets back to Harvard, Broyles dresses her down for not being subtler with such a high profile suspect. She insists that trying to save Claire trumps politics. Broyles retorts that Olivia is too emotionally involved and says he’ll take her off the case if he has too.

The tech releases a hairless rat into Claire’s room. Claire starts to panic off screen and there’s squeaking. Estabrook asks the tech if the capsules in Claire’s blood could be triggered remotely. The tech confirms this and Estabrook says he’ll notify his client. The rat is crawling around on Claire and sneaks under the covers as she wails. Then the sheet turns wet and red as the rat, uh, dies.

Peter tries to figure out what it is that’s got Olivia so cranky today. She ‘fesses up: her step dad used to beat her mother and one day, when Olivia was nine, he broke her mother’s nose. Olivia found his gun and shot him a couple times; he was not supposed to make it but he did, and every year on her birthday he sends her a card to rub it in. Today is her birthday. Peter is sympathetic and suggests that if she really wants to get something on Estabrook – who is clean on paper thus far – she should ask Nina Sharp over at Massive Dynamic. Olivia scoffs – why would Nina tell her anything?

So Peter finds Nina himself. He wants to know where Intrepus might do their off-the-grid testing. Nina will tell him the exact location but the deal is that she gets a favor from in return, no questions asked. (Said favor may have something to do with some dealings Peter’s had with certain tribal peoples somewhere who don’t like to deal with outsiders … but I wasn’t really paying attention about the details and also don’t care.) You know Peter’s going to make that deal.

Walter discovers that methyl something or other is what causes the radioactive capsules to explode all at once: it’s “definitely a blue compound.” Peter finds Olivia moping around in the corridors upstairs. He’s got the location of the testing facility – and lies to her about his source – so they grab Claire’s antidote from Walter and head off, FBI teams following. This also is becoming typical for this foolish show: bringing in the cavalry to save the day in the third act.

Olivia and her agents find Claire but they can’t go into the room because the radiation levels are too high. Olivia slides the syringe with the antidote into the room, telling Claire she’s got to give herself the injection. Claire is screaming, her eyes pouring blood and the radiation monitors are off the charts. In the nick of time, Claire grabs the syringe and jabs it into her own neck. I will admit to being relieved not to have seen yet another exploding head – one per hour is plenty.

Afterwards, Olivia confronts Estabrook at the Intrepus building, saying that his tech admitted to his hiring her to make Emily and Claire into human weapons. He waves his money and his big law firm on retainer at her but Olivia doesn’t care, slapping cuffs on him. She has to go to the principal’s office for this but she doesn’t back down, telling Broyles that her emotions are what motivate her and what make her a better agent.

She catches up with Peter as he and his dad are heading into their hotel, saying that she’s figured out that he got his information from Massive Dynamic. She’s worried about what price he will have to pay, but Peter chuckles, telling her not to worry. He asks if she got a card today and when she says no, he tells her happy birthday.

Olivia finally goes home (to a very nice apartment) and finds an envelope left under her door. It’s unsigned and says “Thinking of you” inside. That’s kind of creepy.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Heroes – “Dying of the Light” (S3E6) airdate 10/20/08

It’s a replay of the "Hiro kills Ando" scene: but Hiro stops time long enough to get novelty swords and blood from a joke shop – sneaky! Thinking him a murderer, Daphne is furious with Hiro but accepts his application to be a bad ass. She gives him his assignment: go to Africa and catch the precog that had been helping Parkman.

In Costa Verde, Claire dashes off to help rescue Meredith from the puppetmaster; Sandra insists that she’s coming too, “one of us, one of them.” The puppetmaster’s name is Eric and he is very smitten with Meredith. She is frustrated and scared, particularly as he makes her stab herself in the neck with a broken wineglass. He plans to make her love him.

Knox has brought Adam to Pinehurst to see Arthur Petrelli. Petrelli thinks something at Adam that makes him very afraid, which in turn amps Knox up enough to be able to hold Adam still in front of Petrelli’s bed. Adam is shrieking – no! I can be of use to you! – but Petrelli clamps down on his hand and quickly sucks the youth and vitality out of him. Before our eyes, Adam withers and crumbles into dust, while Petrelli is now able to sit up in bed and breathe on his own. So much for any more recurrences with David Anders.

Daphne is waiting at JFK for Parkman. She tosses the files into the trash and Lindeman immediately appears, threatening her if she doesn’t stick with the program. Oh goody, there's Parkman and he’s brought his turtle with him. Parkman sees Daphne at the base of the escalator. He greets her by name, which surprises her, but then she asks if they can go somewhere and talk. Seeing her working on her assignment, Parkman’s dad slinks away around the corner and out of sight. Parkman tells Daphne about their future vision – marriage, baby, happiness – and she is suitably wigged out. She says she has a bunch of stuff to do but asks him to wait for her. She’ll be back.

A suspicious Mohinder lets Tracy and Nathan into his lab. He thinks she’s Niki but they set him straight. They tell him about Zimmerman’s work, altering their genes. Tracy asks if he can remove her power; Mohinder creepily says that they can be of use to each other. He injects each of them with “genetic tags” ostensibly to track their mutated DNA … but since he’s Evil now, what he’s given them knocks them out.

Sylar is sitting in his cell when Daphne shows up to spring him. He doesn’t want to go, saying he isn’t a killer anymore. Daphne tells him that the man she works for doesn’t want to change him like the Company does. Slipping a Pinehurst card into his hand, she grabs another Level 5er (the fire handed guy?) and zooms away. Sylar goes into Peter’s cell and swipes the tube from his nose. He says he needs Peter’s help – their mother is in trouble.

Hiro and Ando teleport into the African precog’s home. Ando is reluctant to kidnap an innocent man, but Hiro says they’re just borrowing him so they can get in good with the villains, and steal Hiro’s father’s formula back. Trouble with precogs is that they’re hard to sneak up on: the African bops Hiro on the head with a shovel.

At Eric the puppetmaster’s, he is making Meredith waltz with him as Claire and Sandra bust in. Sandra’s cover story is that she’s looking to book some puppets for her son’s birthday; Claire is sneaking in around back. Unfortunately, Claire is a klutz and knocks something over. Eric seizes control of Sandra’s body and walks her into the back room, easily taking control of Claire’s body too. Well, that worked smashingly, ladies.

Next, Daphne pays a visit to Mohinder (after checking in to see if Parkman is still waiting for her – and he is). She hears a noise when she’s handing over her little card and zips behind the curtain, finding Nathan and Tracy moaning and barely conscious, not to mention the wall of cocooned bodies. Indignant and skeeved out, she turns to Mohinder, sneering that he’s just as bad as the rest before zipping out of there. Now his little secret is not so much secret.

Eric has the three women seated around a little table, a pistol with one bullet resting upon it. Eric tells Claire that she has to choose and shoot one of the older women, not knowing that Meredith is really Claire's mother. Eric forces Claire pull the trigger on Meredith: empty chamber. Now it’s Sandra’s turn to shoot – at Claire. Luckily, we know something Eric doesn’t know. Sandra fires twice, the bullet firing on the second trigger pull and knocking Claire to the floor. Eric chuckles, “that was fun,” but unkillable Claire rises up behind him and whacks him on the head with something. She’s done playing around.

Angela Petrelli lies on a hospital bed, trapped inside her own body. Peter takes a look inside his mother’s head to find out what’s wrong but all he sees is the helix … from the Pinehurst card. Peter is all for storming the castle but Sylar thinks that’s a bad idea. He tries to stop him but Peter administers a first class beat-down onto his newly found brother.

Mr. Bennet arrives to wrap up Eric. Meredith tells him that Claire was the one who ended up incapacitating the bad guy; he is impressed but Claire snits off. When Sandra runs after her, Bennet enlists Meredith to help him in tracking down more escaped baddies.

At Mohinder’s lab, Tracy tries to talk her way out of Mohinder’s clutches, offering empathy. A conflicted Mohinder takes her hand, and she starts to put the freeze on him. Screaming, he flings himself away. Tracy gets out of her restraints and frees Nathan. Mohinder throws a table at them, snarling that their business is not yet finished.

It’s late at night, and poor Parkman is still waiting for Daphne. She finally shows up, saying that she’s supposed to recruit him for Pinehurst but he wouldn’t fit in since he seems like a really sweet guy. He tells her that he came here to save her, that he can tell that she doesn’t fit in at Pinehurst either. She’s tempted to trust him, but whatever Pinehurst is holding over her head is too big, and she tells him goodbye, and runs away.

Finally, after many abortive attempts to catch the African seer, Hiro and Ando come face to face with him. He shows them a painting of four villains – Knox, Firestarter, possibly Arthur Petrelli and one I don’t recognize – and tells Hiro that he can either deliver his assignment to the baddies, or find his own path.

Meanwhile, Peter has found his way to Pinehurst. Petrelli has called a meeting with his team of bad guys and Peter bursts in uninvited. Petrelli is unfazed but Peter is wigging a little bit. His dad is supposed to be dead, after all. Petrelli opens his arms and pulls his son into a hug. “I’m sorry it’s come to this,” he says, and then Peter screams and collapses to the floor. He flings up one hand, intending to electrocute his father. But the elder Petrelli just shakes his head and wiggles his fingers, sparks dancing on his fingertips: he’s just sucked all of his son’s powers into himself.

Previously on Heroes / next time on Heroes

True Blood S1E7 (10/19/08)

After impaling Sookie with his fangs, Bill goes on to more nether regions. This is a heck of a first time for our girl, who seems to be experiencing equal parts pleasure and pain. Afterwards, they take a bath together. When she sees his reflection in the mirror, this leads to a discussion about the various myths vampires perpetrated about themselves: holy water (just water), crucifixes (geometry), garlic (irritating but nothing more harmful than that). Sookie is glowing, thrilled to have found a man to be with whose thoughts are quiet; Bill, for his part, tells her he is honored to have been chosen. Suddenly Sookie flashes back: Uncle Bartlett molested her when she was a little girl and that’s why Gran ran him off. She hates that she just had this incredible experience with Bill and Uncle Bartlett is whom she ends up remembering. Bill pulls her back into him and tells her she’s safe. As the sun comes up, Bill shows her where he rests during the day (in a little hidey-hole under the house) and she kisses him good morning, sad that they can never sleep beside each other.

Lafayette is doing a striptease for his web cam when Jason stops by for more V. Lafayette bitches him out for not being able to handle the stuff and kicks him the hell out. At Tara’s momma’s house, Tara is trying to get her mother’s bills in order. Her mother starts in again on needing $445 to get her demon exorcised. Tara snorts that the demon is nothing but alcoholism.

When Sookie returns to her house, she finds Jason ransacking the place for stuff to sell. He sees that she’s been bitten by Bill and calls her a damn fangbanger. She is horrified that he’s planning on selling their grandmother’s jewelry and silver and chases him off.

Tara swings by Sam’s place (saying, “Hello, dog” to the mutt out front) and finds Sam trying to do some repair work and cussin’ up a storm. He’s cranky and ready for a fight. She apologizes, saying she doesn’t know how to be with somebody – “maybe I’m unboyfriendable” – and he backs down too. They’re having a nice moment when Tara’s phone rings: her momma is down at the bank trying to get a loan for her exorcism. She fetches her mother home and puts her to bed, face desolate. Once her mother lies down, however, Tara pulls out some money that she’s hidden – I think her momma’s going to get that exorcism after all.

At the bar, the place is jumping as usual. The blonde floozy calls Jason from the payphone, hoping for a date; when he tells her he’s going to the vampire bar in Shreveport she hangs up on him, saying she doesn’t hang out with people of low character. Ha. Sookie is in a great mood, however, wearing a scarf to hide Bill’s bite marks. Unable to control her happiness, she tells Arlene about having been with Bill. Arlene is horrified, and tells Rene and Sam what she just heard; Rene says she needs to be supportive of Sookie, now more than ever, but Sam rushes over to Sookie and rips off her scarf, calling her a damn fool. She is outraged. As the whole restaurant watches, she snaps that yes, she did have sex with Bill and, since Sam is too chicken to ask, it was great – she enjoyed every minute of it and if he doesn’t like it, he can just fire her. The bar patrons all go “oooh!” and Lafayette just giggles.

Jason swaggers up to the vampire bar, all nervous and sexy. The lady bouncer questions him closely, working a little glamour on him to get the truth as to why he’s here. “I want some vampire blood,” he stammers, “What time do you get off work?” What a putz. She has recognized his name from his ID and sniffs that he’s nothing like his sister, but lets him into the club anyway, murmuring, “Good luck getting out.”

Back in Bontemps, Uncle Bartlett takes the trash out. Bill stops by, fangs a-blazing, and bites down hard, exacting some vengeance on Sookie’s behalf. The girl in question is talking girl-talk with Lafayette, babbling on about how wonderful sex with Bill was. He tells her to be careful, what with the blood play and all, but she’s all in love. Sam overhears and gets even grumpier.

Meanwhile, Tara and her mom walk down a dirt road. “Miss Jeanette” comes out of the bushes: she takes Tara’s money and promises that the demon will not inhabit her mother after tonight. “Let’s get this shit over with,” mutters Tara. At the vampire bar, Jason is shaking and sweating, jonesing for V. A pretty hippie girl (the actress looks really familiar) grabs him before he can get himself killed, saying she knows what he’s looking for. They go back to her place – her name is Amy.

Uh-oh: those three scary vampires walk into Sam’s bar. They’re thirsty but Sam doesn’t want to serve them. Malcolm sees Sookie and fangs up. Sam and another local try to defend her and get tossed around the room for their trouble. Across town where he’s dumping Uncle Bartlett’s body in the swamp, Bill senses that his girl is in trouble. He explodes into the bar, telling the other vamps to stand down, as it’s him they want. They want him to join their nest (“Mainstreaming’s for pussies.”) and party like they used to; they’ve just bought a house in town and are looking forward to being locals. Bill gets all intense and says, okay let’s go. Sookie is horrified, pleading with him to stay, but he reminds her that he’s a vampire after all. She does realize that he’s doing this to keep the situation from deteriorating into a bloodbath. Or, maybe Uncle Bartlett’s blood went straight to his head.

Miss Jeanette works her voodoo, laying sacred stones on Tara’s mother and beating a drum. There’s a possum in a cage: that’s where the demon is supposed to go when it leaves her body. The drumming and chanting get more and more intense; Tara’s mother jerks and flails; suddenly the possum starts squealing and hissing, and Miss Jeanette plunges its cage into a tub of water, drowning it. Tara sits, terrified, eyes huge.

Back at the bar, the rednecks are getting riled up and want to go after the vampires. When Sookie asks Sam to step in, he says it isn’t his fight, and Arlene chimes in that they should just kill all the bloodsuckers and be done with it. But Bill’s different, cries Sookie.

Amy, a college girl from New England, is very impressed with Jason’s Southern authenticity. She’s a little weird and flaky, and a lot smarter than he is; he’s really anxious to take the V. She mixes the vampire blood with a couple of aspirins, powders them, and they snort it. Things get trippy immediately. And then they get nekkid.

As Miss Jeanette sees her customers out, she says that she can help Tara with her own demon. Disturbed, Tara drags her mother out of there.

Sookie goes out to Bill’s house to warn him about the lynch mob. He’s not there. Meanwhile, the three rednecks get some Molotov cocktails going and attack the vampires’ new house at dawn. As they run away, we can hear unearthly shrieking and wailing from inside the house.

Detective Andy is out fishing with a buddy when they see a naked Sam running through the swamp. They can’t dwell on that for long, however, because Andy gets a call about the house fire. Sookie hears the sirens too: there are four scorched coffins being brought out of the house.

Next time on True Blood / previously on True Blood

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Movie mini-review: 30 Days of Night

I have a hard enough time coping with the reducing sunlight this time of year, as it gets dark at 6 p.m. right now and soon will be dark around 4 in the afternoon - during Maine winters it sometimes seems as though we never see the sun; I can't imagine living up above the Arctic Circle where they get weeks upon weeks where the sun never lifts above the horizon. That's horrific enough. Throw in some decidedly unromantic vampires reveling in the month-long darkness and you got yourself a pretty good horror movie, you betcha.

30 Days of Night is set in isolated Barrow, Alaska, during the one month out of the year that the sun don't shine. Many residents have left for lighter climes, dropping the small town's population to 152. That's more than enough for the score of vampires who have arrived at the last sunset, ready to feed and lay waste. It is up to the young sheriff, Eben (Josh Hartnett - who has never looked so good as he does here, scruffy and haggard and silly hair covered in a watch cap), to gather what survivors he can and try to wait it out until the sun rises again. That's your basic plot, right there: it's a cat-and-mouse game, with the humans trying to survive for thirty days and the vampires trying to eat them all because dead people tell no tales.

These are not pretty vampires like Lestat, Angel or Bill Compton. These are scary, scary beasties with mouths full of shark teeth and smooth, alien features. They don't talk - except for Marlow, their leader, and he speaks some subtitled nonsense that actually slows the movie down as what he says doesn't make any difference - but screech and wail eerily. These vampires are very brutal, shredding their victims' throats with those teeth, and the streets of Barrow (well, there's really just one street) soon runs red with blood. Were the citizens of the town not quite such hardy Alaskans, this would have been a very short movie indeed.

I liked 30 Days of Night quite a bit, aside from my quibble with the subtitles. The bad guys are bad; there's plenty of blood, but director David Slade (who also directed the incredible Hard Candy) doesn't overwhelm his audience with gore, preferring to show just a portion of the horror and letting our imaginations fill in the rest. The casting and acting is believable. And it looks damn cold there in that movie, despite having been filmed in New Zealand with faux snow for the most part.

The movie was adapted from the graphic novel of the same name and, like 300, I'm guessing that there were some shots that were taken verbatim (is there a word like "verbatim" but referring to visuals as opposed to words?) from the book. The featurettes showed enough of the artwork from the graphic novel that I think I'd like to check it out.

Final verdict: if you're looking to snuggle down under a blanket on a chilly winter night and watch a bloody, jumpy horror film with vampires that are actually scary, 30 Days of Night should fit the bill just fine.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

True Blood recap S1E6 (10/12/08)

With my humblest apologies for the delay, I give you the latest episode recap of True Blood, cusswords and all:

There is blood everywhere. Gram is in the middle of it. Sookie falls to her knees, shaking, until Bill appears and grabs her up. She doesn’t recognize him at first and then she clings to him fiercely. There are footsteps outside and Bill fangs up: it’s Sam, and he doesn’t appreciate Bill’s hand around his throat. Sookie tells Bill to let Sam go (his fangs retract ridiculously). Sam sees Sookie’s legs covered in blood and wants to know what happened.

Next time I buy music on iTunes I’m so getting this theme song.

Later, Sam is solicitous as the police do their thing in the kitchen. Sookie can’t help but listen in to all their minds – I got blood on my boots; must’ve been stabbed thirty times, throat wide open; them damn crazy Stackhouse kids didn’t deserve this; we got a serial killer in town – and decides she should get some air. Sam follows her onto the porch and tries to apologize for losing his temper, but she is not in the mood to hear it right now. Anna Paquin looks really gorgeous in these scenes, by the way. Sookie asks for Bill and Sam goes inside to find him, taking advantage of the situation to tell Bill to stay away from her. Bill tells him this is not the time for him to mark his territory. Sam misses the reference, doggone it, and threatens Bill, saying that he’ll stake him if anything happens to Sookie.

The coroners and the cops bumble around, amazed at the violence of the crime. Detective Andy Bellefleur thinks Jason Stackhouse might have done it; the sheriff is suspicious of Bill. They ask Bill if they can ask him a few more questions, such as: what are you doing at the Stackhouse home so late? Did you see or hear any other vehicles coming from the house? Isn’t it interesting that all three dead women, Maudette, Dawn and Adele, were “gracious” towards vampires? Bill doesn’t think that Gram was the murderer’s intended victim.

Still on the porch, Sookie thinks she should call Jason but Sam offers to do it for her. A sleeping, drunk, nekkid Jason, facedown on black satin sheets in a king-size bed with a facedown blonde, throws his ringing cell phone through the window.

The coroners and police take the dead woman away (the coroner’s assistant worrying in his head that Sookie might recognize him from the vampire bar, the sheriff thinking that she’s lucky it wasn’t her). Bill has to go because it’s almost sunrise and Sam struts about, “I’ll take it from here.” After Bill leaves, Sookie asks Sam to fetch a mop for her: her grandmother took a lot of pride in her home and wouldn’t want it to look like it does. Alone, she starts to wipe up the huge puddle of blood – I might have soaked it up with towels or newspapers first before starting in to scrubbing.

The wake is hoppin’. Tara and Lafayette are not impressed with the quality of the casseroles arriving. When a busybody pulls a half-eaten pecan pie out of the fridge to make room, Sookie freaks out, screaming that “that is Gram’s pie!” and the woman is not to touch it. The crowd murmurs until Tara sweeps Sookie away upstairs for some girl time: “C’mon, Lafayette!”

Upstairs, it’s slowly sinking in that Sookie’s grandmother is gone. Tara says that it doesn’t matter what those people downstairs think is appropriate behavior – “this is not an appropriate event” – and she should just feel what she feels whenever she feels it. Sookie is struggling with hearing all the homefolks’ thoughts and Lafayette says he can help with that, pulling out a baggie of pills. When she demurs that she doesn’t do drugs, he chuckles, “This ain’t drugs; this is Valium.” Heh. He gives her one to put on her bedside table just in case.

Radio blaring, an oblivious Jason blows into town, ready for some road crew work. Rene asks him what he’s doing here, then realizes that he hasn’t yet heard … Jason storms into his house, up into Sookie’s room, and slaps his sister across the face, sending her reeling. “It’s your fault Gram is dead!” he shouts, “It should have been you … screwin’ a vampire!” Tara pulls him off his sister and kicks him out. Sookie shakes, and then takes the Valium Lafayette left for her.

Detective Andy is waiting for Jason outside the house, wanting to know where he was last night. Jason doesn’t really remember and asks Andy if he thinks he killed his own grandmother. Then he shoves the detective, hard, sending him flying into a car before driving off in his own truck. “You’s a stupid bitch, Jason Stackhouse,” mutters Lafayette, seeing this display of V strength.

Shortly thereafter, Tara kicks all the folks out of the Stackhouse home, insisting that Sookie needs to be alone. “That means you too, Sam.” Later, as they survey the ruins of the buffet, Lafayette marvels: “what the fuck is it with white people and Jell-O?” Upstairs, the floor creaks and then two male hands clutch at Sookie’s throat. Choking, she whispers Bill’s name, and he hears her in his own house – but it isn’t quite sundown and he can’t rise yet, even though he can hear her. As soon as the sun goes down, he flashes at superhuman speed to her bedside, shaking her awake. But she’s fine: it was only a dream – which he was having.

Bill stands guard outside. Watching him, Tara wonders if vamps are capable of lovin’ a person. “Who knows what they’re capable of?” muses her cousin. There’s another shot of watchful Bill and this time the dog is standing guard with him.

The funeral: Some old guy in a wheelchair is brought to the graveside. Sookie whispers, “Uncle Bartlett, what are you doin’ here?” The old guy pouts that Adele was his sister but Sookie spits that he hasn’t been part of the family for some time. Then it’s her turn to speak about her grandmother. Unfortunately, the townfolks’ thoughts come crashing into her consciousness as she tries to express herself, mean and nasty thoughts. Sookie finally snaps. “All of you, just shut the fuck up!” she shrieks to the silent crowd and then runs off. Jason runs after her.

When the preacher asks if anyone else would like to say some words, Tara’s mother staggers to the front over her daughter’s protests. “Oh my fuckin’ word, girl,” moans Lafayette, “this about to get ugly.” Tara’s mom says Adele was nothing but kind to her, a good, God fearing woman who took care of Tara when she herself was unable to. After the funeral, her mother tries to reach out to Tara but the daughter pushes her away.

Jason catches up to his sister. She wants to know if he’s going to hit here again, tell her she should be in the coffin. She also wants to know why he invited Uncle Bartlett. Jason protests that he has a right to be here and that any enmity Adele and Bartlett had between them doesn’t matter anymore. His sister shouts that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Jason pleads with her, saying family is all they’ve got now but she replies that they’ve got nothing.

Sookie walks aimlessly through the cemetery and finds Bill’s gravestone. She finds that to be a little off-putting. Later, Sam finds her as she watches her grandmother’s coffin get lowered into the grave. He offers to walk her home and she takes his arm. She thanks him on the porch, saying she needs to be alone. He meets Tara coming up the driveway: she does not want to be alone, and neither does Sam.

Jason, meanwhile, is struggling as the townsfolk stream past him, paying their respects. It appears that he’s coming down off the V and it’s a bit rough. He rushes to his truck and almost takes the last tab of V from Lafayette before trying to stay strong and throwing it out the window. Then he changes his mind and scuffles around on the ground, trying to find it. He can’t, and shakes and sobs. He’s looking bad.

Sookie takes the pecan pie out of the fridge and sits at the kitchen table. She eats, crying and crying.

Tara and Sam go to her place (a motel) and she offers him a warm beer. He thought she was staying with Lafayette; she laughs, saying that her cousin has a web cam in the bathroom. Sam says she should have told him she needed a place to stay but she is prickly and defensive when he tries to be nice to her. He isn’t in the mood for teasing and tries to leave but Tara backs down, asking him to stay. Sam doesn’t want to play games: he wants something real in his life. “You think I don’t?” she replies. They start to kiss and this time they mean it.

Sookie has finished the pie. She’s not crying anymore. She changes into a flowing white nightie that raises her boobs up under her chin and, at sunset, runs to Bill. He senses her approach and meets her outside, scooping her up and kissing her.

With a loud gasp, Tara and Sam fall back on the bed. “Holy shit!” exclaims Tara, and Sam, grinning, decides to take that as a compliment. They can hear voices through the walls, another couple making up after a fight. Suddenly, she freaks out and says she’s got to go; she goes back to her momma’s house and embraces her mother. Back on the black satin sheets, the blonde floozy from the last episode is riding Jason for all she’s worth, while he squinches up his face and wishes for a drop of V.

At the Compton mansion, Bill undresses Sookie in front of the fire. He is gentle with her, but his fangs pop out uncontrollably. He is embarrassed by it but she reaches out and draws him back to her. (Anna Paquin’s boobs are real – good girl!) Sookie offers her throat to Bill – “I want you to do it” - and after a slight hesitation, he plunges his fangs in. Blood spurts and he laps at it, hungry.

Next time on True Blood / previously on True Blood

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Don't poo-poo the pawpaw!

The parental units just returned from a trip to the midwest where they spent some time with my mom's cousins in Columbia, Missouri. My dad, who never met any kind of food he didn't like, brought me back a pawpaw which are apparently in season out there right now. I'd heard of pawpaws - that song, "pickin' up pawpaws and put'em in your pocket" - but I'd never eaten one. Until tonight.

Pawpaws are potato-sized and -shaped, with thin green skins the texture of mango skin. Although related to the papaya, pawpaws are actually a fruit known as a "custard apple" like a cherimoya, with large flat seeds and a soft, pale, creamy, tangy vanilla-scented flesh. I sliced the little pawpaw in half and scooped it out with a spoon, and truly, the flesh has the consistency of custard (which is a little weird in a fruit). Quite tasty (the flavor is described as a "mix between pineapple, mango and banana") although I'm not sure how you could eat a pawpaw other than raw - it doesn't seem to lend itself to cooking, but I'm just hazarding a guess.

At any rate, if you get the opportunity to partake of a pawpaw, please do, as a nice plump pawpaw is perfectly palatable and pleasantly perfumed. (Photo by K. Pomper, Kentucky State Univ.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fringe recap S1E5 (10/14/08)

Worcester: Case-of-the-week Joe is gonna be late for work since his alarm didn’t go off. He records his temperature and his pulse upon arising and then his mother nags him out the door. At work, Joe has an ad for “Better Health, Better You” up in his locker; his supervisor hassles him; and he may be stalking the receptionist at an office where he makes deliveries. She’s nice enough to him but doesn’t really know he exists. When she flirts with a coworker in front of him, Joe gets annoyed and suddenly her computer crashes. And then, when she catches him in the elevator, she sees her picture in his phone. Joe gets agitated at being discovered and suddenly the elevator plummets to the bottom of the shaft. Joe survives somehow (no one else does), but I’m thinking this may have been his Worst Day Ever. As he walks away from the elevator wreck in tears, all the cars in the parking garage start up, headlights flaring and car alarms blaring.

Boston: Olivia tells Charlie that Dead John visited her in her apartment last night when she was having cereal and scotch for dinner. She says John disappeared when she grabbed for her gun – she knows he wasn’t there, really, but still. Charlie reminds her that she ‘s been through a lot: next time John stops by for a nightcap, she should offer him a drink, and give herself a break while she’s at it.

Walter’s basement Harvard lab: Peter complains again about not being able to sleep the night before; Walter couldn’t sleep either, thinking about the man who tortured his son with the electric nose plugs. Broyles and Olivia come in and tell the Bishop boys about the Worcester elevator accident. What’s weird is that the elevator didn’t fall: an electrical surge drove the elevator to the bottom of the shaft. The Fringe team is sent to Worcester to investigate.

They learn that although the brakes should have slowed or stopped the car, the motors kept going because of the surge of extra energy. Walter notices thermo-electrical exit wound burns on the bodies of the victims still in the elevator car. They also discover an abnormally high electromagnetic residual charge still in the car. Walter takes the bodies back to the lab for autopsies. Fringe science bit: human bodies are alterable electrical systems and Walter did some experiments back in the day about it (of course). His theory is that a human person with such an amplified electromagnetic charge in their body crashed the elevator.

Back at work, a shell-shocked Joe wanders around until he runs into his mean boss. His boss reads him the riot act for skipping out on work and fires him. Joe begs for his job but the boss won’t relent. Joe gets upset and then his boss gets pulled into some sort of machinery that starts chewing his arm off, rather like Stephen King’s “The Mangler” short story. Icky.

Olivia works late, as seems to be her wont. Broyles brings her some coffee. She tells him Walter’s theory. Broyles tells her that in the course of other Pattern investigations, they’ve discovered “off the grid” clinics that do illegal (and immoral) human experiments – like pumping a test subject full of stimulants and keeping them awake for a year (wasn’t that an X-Files case- those soldiers who never slept?); he names a doctor, “Jacob Fischer,” as the diabolical mind behind one of those clinics.

After Broyles leaves, Olivia continues her research until the lights go out in the building. She prowls the halls with her flashlight and finds John in an elevator. She panics slightly as he tells her he’s here to help, but they don’t have much time. He tells her that she’s on the right track but Fischer is looking for her target as well – and she needs to find the guy before Fischer does. Then Not So Dead John takes the elevator down.

Olivia races to the Bishops’ hotel room, with questions about a weight differential noticed by the crashed elevator’s weight sensors: a person must have walked away from the crash – the guy they (and Fischer) are looking for. They realize that their target may be unaware of what he is doing and so they should be looking for small electrical anomalies, not necessarily large ones.

Joe comes home and tries to talk to his mother about what happened to him at the clinic he went to. He says they changed him but she scoffs and pushes him away. Joe shouts and begs for her to listen, and the lights flicker, and his mother clutches her chest (pacemaker malfunction perhaps?). The phones don’t work for 911 either. Poor Joe packs a bag and runs out of the apartment … straight into Fischer who says he’s here to “adjust [his] medication.” Which he does by jabbing Joe with a hypodermic needle and knocking him out.

Olivia and Charlie manage to track and identify their target by multiple incidents at his workplace, Bicoastal Parcel. When they get to his house, they find his dead mother. Yup, pacemaker malfunction – I am so smart. Olivia calls the Bishops to check in and Walter, poking around in the elevator evidence, tells her to come back to the lab: he’s found Joe’s Walkman and can identify Joe by the residual electrical trace he imprinted on the cassette tape. Oh my god, now Walter says he can train carrier pigeons to track Joe’s electrical signature – so Olivia gets on the phone to order up some pigeons. This stupid faux science is enough to drive me nuts. Walter zaps the pigeons, straps GPS chips to them, and sends them off to find Joe.

Joe wakes up in Fischer’s lab and gets another shot for his trouble, even as he begs and pleads and causes the lights to flicker.

Meanwhile, Dead John stops by the Harvard lab again. I think he’s stalking Olivia. And then he kisses her, quieting her protestations that he’s not real. Honey, you’re kissing a DEAD GUY. That’s called “necrophilia.” Icky again. Peter finds her out in the corridor and – poof – John disappears. Peter never saw him.

While Olivia and Peter chase pigeons in their SUV, Joe screams in the lab as Fischer makes some adjustments to him. Olivia and the feds follow the pigeons to Fischer’s lab, telling Peter to wait in the car. Fischer, upon notification of the feds’ arrival, tells his henchman to take Joe out through the back. The henchman puts Joe in a car, which Joe starts remotely and uses to run over the henchman. Charlie nabs Fischer while Olivia finds Joe, chasing him through a construction site. He sets off every piece of equipment he runs by, until a hidden Peter clocks him with a crowbar. This is starting to be a regular gig for our Peter. In the aftermath, Fischer gets stuffed in a cop car while Joe, heavily sedated, is taken to the hospital for treatment and testing. Olivia will question him later.

Olivia stops by the lab and Walter, in a moment of lucidity, notes that she hasn’t seemed herself lately. When she admits to not sleeping well, he tells her that she’s been seeing John – and these visitations are not hallucinations. He’s not sure exactly what’s happening to her but that perhaps when she was in the float tank, a part of John’s consciousness crossed over into hers and lives there still. Walter tells her that this is her brain’s way of exorcising this second voice from her head – but does she really want John to go away? Later, Olivia sees John as she’s driving home. She gets out of her car and follows him into some tunnels under the street. She finds a storeroom full of files – Pattern-related files that John had been working on himself.

Broyles also found some of John’s personal effects in this storeroom, things intended for Olivia, and gives her a small box full of photos, other memorabilia … and a big ass diamond engagement ring. Better late than never, I guess.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Heroes recap: "Angels and Monsters" (S3E5) 10/13/08

Sorry I'm late on the True Blood recap; we were out of town for Sunday night and although the episode is in my DVR, my heart belongs to Heroes (since Deadwood and Veronica Mars and Firefly have all been cancelled ...) and that's the show I'm going to do first. Bill- and Sookie-fans, please be patient and I promise to get back on schedule as soon as I can.

In Central Park, a twitchy Mohinder accosts a drug-dealer although it’s not actually for the drugs. In Level 5, Angela interrupts Peter as he’s snapping Sylar’s neck in the cell. Peter screams like a madman for his mother to spill the rest of her secrets – what else has she kept from him, aside from Sylar being is his brother. Peter then starts to cut the top of his mother’s skull off but Sylar stands up, reconnects his own neck, and TKs Peter hard into the wall. As Angela trembles over her unconscious son, Sylar finds Mr. Bennett in the hall. Bennett has identified another escapee; Sylar asks if he should suit up. In Costa Verde, Sandra Bennett has discovered that Claire is not at a cheer retreat. After seeing some of the very bad Level 5 escapee guys in Bennett’s files (which are just lying out there for anyone to see), Meredith says she’ll go find Claire before she gets herself in any more trouble. Claire has in fact found one of the escapees, a vortex-creator who is trying to track down his family. She sneaks up behind him and zaps him with a taser, dropping him with a small, self-satisfied smile.

In Japan, Hiro and Ando release Adam from his coffin prison. When Adam promises to behave, Hiro tells him about the stolen formula. Adam chuckles, saying he knew that would come back to bite them in the ass. He says he can give them a name. At the “Pinehurst Company,” Lindeman asks Daphne if she would assist him in recruiting for a new world order of powered people. Lindeman gives her some files of people he wants her to recruit – including Knox and Mohinder – and while she’s not psyched to get her hands dirty with some of these guys, she takes the job. When the camera pulls back, she’s talking to an empty couch.

Claire’s target wakes up, begging her to let him go so he can find his family. He says he was taken from his home in the middle of the night; when she calls him a monster, he spins a little black hole, snatching the taser from her hand, and snarls at her to listen to him. Mohinder returns to his lab, dragging the drug dealer by the foot. How very Neanderthal. Maya pops in, whining that he didn’t come home last night. He nuzzles her neck (euw), saying he can make her happy (eeeuuww), but she sees some smeared blood on the floor and runs away, saying she should let him get back to his work. There’s been a missing person flyer stuck in the lab door: his neighbor has been missing for a few days; as Mohinder goes into a back room, there’s the missing neighbor, stuck to the wall with a sticky web a la Aliens. How very original. I can’t stand Mohinder.

Claire sits nervously as Vortex Guy paces. He quickly deduces that she’s not with the Company. She’s read in his file that he killed his neighbor during a fight over a broken lawnmower but Vortex insists that it was an accident, and that the Company locked him away without a trial. He just wants to see his family just one more time, just wants to be normal. When he says he’s going to just let her go without any trouble, Claire is confused, as any self-righteous high school kid would be. Brow furrowed, she says maybe she can help him.

Nathan wants to know why Tracy was trying to kill herself. She confesses to accidentally killing that reporter. She says she needs to turn herself in and Nathan thinks that’s probably not a good idea. He tells her that God has a higher purpose for the Heroes but Tracy scoffs that God didn’t give them these powers – a doctor in Racita did. Nathan goes “hmmm.” Claire pulls out Vortex’s file and gives him his wife’s phone number. Before he can finish his call, Bennett and Sylar bust in. Claire is outraged that Sylar is there with her father. Vortex, on the other hand, thinks Claire set him up and starts another vortex, a big one this time, and runs off. Just as Claire is about to get sucked into the vortex, Sylar grabs onto her.

After the vortex closes down, Claire yanks her hand out of Sylar’s. Bennett asks where Vortex (“Canfield”) went and she snaps to leave the man alone - he doesn’t want to hurt anyone. When Bennett insists that Canfield is dangerous, she points out that so is Sylar, and how dare her father work with the man who cut her head off. Sylar tries to apologize and Bennett snarls at him to never speak to his daughter again. She begs her dad to help Canfield and when he promises he will, she tells him where he can find his escapee.

Adam has brought Hiro and Ando to a bar, saying it’s been a while since he’s had a drink. David Anders is soooooo pretty. He tells Hiro that this bar is the go-to place for “specials for hire” and is likely where Daphne found her employer. In short order, a brawl breaks out, Hiro is knocked unconscious and Adam scurries away. This show really needs to start making Hiro less gullible – it’s just annoying all the time now.

Back at Level 5, Angela brings Nathan up to speed with (1) Peter’s assumption of Sylar’s ability/hunger, (2) his attempt to slice off her head and (3) his subsequent medically induced coma. Nathan then awkwardly introduces Tracy to his mom but Angela already knows everything about her. Tracy threatens to go public about the powers and, sighing, Angela tells them that the Racita doctor was hired to develop the synthetic abilities with which Tracy (and her sisters Niki and Barbara) was implanted. Also, Angela goes on, so were you, Nathan.

Maya returns to the lab to find a huge sticky cocoon full of all sorts of nasty things, including the still-living neighbor. She tries to cut him free, but Mohinder comes home so she hides. Under a table that is not quite covered with a sheet. Then she lets loose with the black gooey eyes of death. Kill him! But he talks her out of it, saying he knows she doesn’t want to be a killer again. When she whimpers that he’s turned into a monster, he says that he wishes she hadn’t said that and advances on her. Kill her! What can I say - I have equal-opportunity dislike for these two twits. Where’s Elle? I miss Elle.

Hiro comes to and he and Ando run out of the bar, right past the dumpster where Adam is hiding. But Knox is there, and as poor Adam climbs out of the dumpster he knocks him out with one punch. Knox speaks into his Bluetooth: “It’s done. What do you want me to do about the Japanese guys?”

Angela has given Nathan and Tracy files to read. Nathan is horrified that his own mother would use him as a lab rat. She points out that his father had been disappointed that Nathan hadn’t been born with powers but figured his genetic makeup would make him a good candidate for the synthetic ones. Working her manipulations for all she’s worth, Angela goes on to say what the Company did to Tracy and her sisters was wrong, she knows that now, and then she asks for their help to get the formula back. Nathan tells his mother to go to hell: “Who else did you use as your own personal guinea pig?” Nathan and Tracy storm out, Nathan telling her that they’ll go to see a scientist who can help them. When Tracy asks if he can be trusted, Nathan smiles, “Suresh? He’s harmless.” Back at the lab, Ol’ Harmless finishes gluing Maya to the wall.

Claire finds Canfield and tells him that her dad will try to help. He is despondent, however, because his wife was a no-show. “Maybe I am a monster!” he cries, and then Bennett steps out of the shadows with a gun. Bennett gives Canfield a choice: send my partner (standing by the car out of earshot) into a vortex and I’ll let you go. Claire looks at her dad like he has gone completely off his nut. Canfield says he can’t do it. They’re taking too long, however, and Sylar starts to get suspicious. Canfield shakes, and cries, and says he won’t be a monster, and steps into his own vortex as everyone watches, shocked.

Hiro and Ando commiserate over a bottle. Ando says that they’re the worst heroes ever (ah, yup!). Just then, Daphne and Knox stroll in. Hiro says they want to join with Daphne’s crew since they also are bad-asses now. Daphne wants them to prove it; Knox tells Hiro to kill Ando since he’s useless, and that’ll prove Hiro’s a bad ass. So Hiro takes a sword that just happens to be hanging on the wall of the bar, apologizes to his best friend, and stabs him in the heart. Incredulous, and bleeding, Ando collapses. Daphne’s jaw hits the floor.

Bennett drops Claire off at home. She’s pretty ticked at her dad. Sylar’s pretty ticked off too. Sylar points out that Bennett used Claire to find Canfield, and then used Canfield to try to get rid of Sylar. Claire thinks that Sylar, monster that he is, has a point. She lies to her dad that she understands, and then she goes into the house. Sandra is so glad that Meredith found her! “Meredith?” wonders Claire.

Ah yes, Meredith. She’s having dinner with a fat, skeezy Level 5 escapee who seems to be controlling her every move, as she stiffly raises and lowers her own fork in sync with him. He tells her to give him a kiss and she does, horror and disgust in her eyes but her free will completely overridden. He’s so gross. The room they’re in is full of dolls and marionettes – and so we’re to understand that he’s a puppet-master.

Back at Level 5, Angela hears a bloodcurdling scream and rushes into the corridor to find Peter and Nathan and Tracy dead. She also sees another man, with bloody hands and a signet ring that the camera lingers on, who tells her that since she sees the future, she’ll have to go. She snaps out of her vision, frozen at her desk. Who was that guy?

Daphne speeds herself back to this Pinehurst Company, late for a meeting with Lindeman. She says everyone is on board so far but she’s very unhappy about the recruiting methods, insisting “I’m not a killer.” Lindeman says there’s one more recruit she needs to get: Parkman. In the meantime she’s figured out that Lindeman isn’t really there – although she doesn’t seem to mind. After she speeds off, Parkman’s dad comes out of the shadows and goes into the Pinehurst building to report on his progress with manipulating Nathan and Daphne to someone in a fancy bed with lots of breathing tubes. This personage is Nathan and Peter’s dad, Angela’s husband (and possibly the man from Angela’s vision). It would appear that he’s the one who’s behind this building of the empowered army.

Next time on Heroes / previously on Heroes