Monday, August 30, 2010

Book review: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

George R.R. Martin’s novel, A Game of Thrones, was published in 1996 but seems to be making the rounds now, for some reason. Book One in the epic fantasy series, “A Song of Ice and Fire,” AGoT introduces us to a swords-and-sandals fictional world comprised of the continents of Westeros and Essos. Told in the third person, this book (series) differs slightly from traditional narrative in that each chapter focuses on a different character. Depending on their age and depth of involvement in the major plotlines, some characters get more chapters than others, but Martin manages to tie the action all together.

There are three main storylines in AGoT, two of them closely involving the family of the Lord of Winterfell: Eddard Stark; his wife Catelyn; their five children, Robb (age 14), Sansa (11), Arya (9), Bran (7) and Rickon (3); and Ned Stark’s bastard son, Jon Snow (14). The king of Westeros, Robert Baratheon, asks Ned to serve as his Hand (practically next in command) after the untimely death of the prior Hand and Ned is reluctant to do so, but determines to take the opportunity to investigate his predecessor’s death. He takes his two daughters, the fluttery Sansa and tomboy Arya, with him to introduce them to court, leaving his eldest son Robb to rule Winterfell with Catelyn’s aid. When King Robert is assassinated, a civil war breaks out in opposition to Robert’s weak young son Joffrey laying claim to the throne, under the influence of his scheming mother.

While all this is happening, Ned’s bastard Jon has elected to serve as a member of the Night Watch, a brotherhood of men sworn to defend the Wall which protects Westeros from all kinds of scary stuff in the north. Jon struggles with his status as an illegitimate child for some time until he proves himself to the other men of the Watch. Smart, strong, brave and conscientious, Jon quickly established himself as my favorite character – even though he seemed far older than fourteen (something that happens with all the children in this book, actually).

The third storyline seems tangential but will become more and more relevant as the series continues: set across the sea, a prince in exile – Viscerys, son of the king of Westeros before Robert who was murdered in another civil war some years earlier – sells his thirteen year old sister, Daenerys, to a heathen warlord, hoping to use the warlord’s armies to help him retake the Westeros throne.

There is a lot going on in A Game of Thrones – political machinations, sex, assassination attempts, bloody battle scenes, a hint of creepy otherworldliness and a just a smidgen of magic - but Martin keeps the stories straight and moving along (unlike his brother-in-books, Robert Jordan, whose “Wheel of Time” series I have loved for years until the final books showed the author to be overwhelmed in trying to keep all his plots under control).

I hope the clarity of the storytelling continues through the rest of the series because this is just the kind of thing I like – a long, complicated fantasy series. At this point Martin has published four of the planned seven books: the next three are A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows; he seems to be stalled out on Book Five, A Dance with Dragons, with his fans growing restless. With any luck, by the time I get through the next three volumes, the following installment will be ready.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mini movie review: Hot Tub Time Machine

Mr. Mouse always complains that the only movies in my queue are ones I want to see.  Hot Tub Time Machine is a perfect example of why that is: he requested it and neither of us ended up liking it very much.  When it's one of "my" movies, it's a pretty fair bet that at least one of us will enjoy it.

Plot synopsis: John Cusack (looking old, haggard and with a blotchy spray tan), Craig Robinson ("Darryl" from The Office, looking fat), Clark Duke (playing a slightly less nerdy version of his GREEK character) and Rob Corddry end up transported back to the 1980s via the title macguffin so that they can do something about how lame their 2010 lives have become.  Hilarity (not) ensues.

Rated R for the occasional nekkid boobs and the plethora of f-bombs, this is just not a very funny movie.  Mr. Mouse noted that none of the four leads were at all sympathetic and they hardly played the '80s pop culture, fashion and music for laughs at all.  Plus at 100 minutes it was longer than it needed to be.  The best part about Hot Tub Time Machine is the soundtrack, every song of which I already have on my '80s-heavy iPod - except for the Poison and Motley Crue tunes.

Next up in the queue:  Max Headroom - absolutely not a Mr. Mouse request.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Book review: Missing Joseph by Elizabeth George

I believe I am growing unenamoured of Elizabeth George's Inspector Lynley series.  This makes me sad as I am a big fan of British mysteries (and yes, I know that she's an American but I think she does a really good job of sounding British in these books ... it's called talent and imagination, people: Joss Whedon isn't an actual vampire (that I know of) but he writes 'em good regardless).  I think George is a good mystery writer - smart, clever, engaging - but her more recent Lynley books seem to be moving away from the actual mystery-solving and focusing on the mushy stuff.

For example, take Missing Joseph, the novel I most recently finished, and sixth in the Lynley series.  A vicar is murdered in a remote Lancashire village.  That's the mystery to be solved.  But the only reason Lynley is working on this case is because his best friend, Simon St. James, and St. James's wife Deborah (Lynley's ex-flame/fiancee), are having marital difficulties - she wants a baby but can't carry to term due to an botched abortion early on; he wants to adopt but she wants "her own child"- and have gone to Lancashire to see said vicar, now deceased, for counselling.  There is quite a lot of time spent weeping and wailing and breast-beating with Deborah and St. James that has nothing pertinent to do with the vicar's murder.

In addition, Lynley has recently convinced Lady Helen Clyde to be his lover, but she's not entirely on board, fearing being hurt by the former playboy, plus her family thinks she's a flighty girl who needs to settle down.  Lynley is all angsty and longing and blue balls (when he's not getting laid) and it's quite frankly tedious.  I don't care about the romantic entanglements among these entitled upper class Brits - I want them to stop mooning about and focus on the murders. 

Even stolid, dependable, sarcastic Barbara Havers gets pushed to the side for most of this book, shunted off on one or another field trip, ostensibly doing "research" for the case but really just put out of the way so the author can write more love scenes.  Blech.

If I wanted to read chick lit, I'd read Short Girls by Bich Minh Nguyen (which I actually am reading but only because I'm between books and have nothing else on hand) or that insufferable Eat Pray Love (which I actually have read and thought it was okay as a travelogue but ... really? Am I supposed to be able to connect with this entitled woman who is rich enough to run away from her life for an unpaid year just because she thinks her heart is broken? And then finally ends up with the perfect man as the prize to her hedonistic year? Double-blech).  I don't want to read chick lit.  I want to read British murder mysteries (when I'm not reading historical fiction or swords-n-sandals fantasy or Neil Gaiman).  And Elizabeth George is just not serving up a full helping anymore.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mini movie review: The Men Who Stare at Goats

Well, I didn't love it, The Men Who Stare at Goats.  On the plus side: it's short, clocking in around 90 minutes; it's got a great cast - Ewan McGregor, George Clooney (wearing an appalling mustache), Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges (as a military The Dude); the goats are super-cute.  On the minus side: this movie doesn't really know what it wants to be - and not in a daring, genre-defying way.  It's not funny enough to be a comedy, nor dark enough to be a black comedy, nor true enough to be an exposé.  That often seems to be a problem with "based on a true story" movies.  In this case, there actually was a unit in the U.S. military that tried to train psychic soldiers - apparently all the flashback moments in the film are based in fact - but this movie can't decide if it wants to make fun of this or present it in a respectful way, and thus falls pretty flat.  They needed to commit one way or another. 

At least it was short.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Soon, soon

Damn, I'm putting up more of these filler posts of late than I would like.  Sorry about that.  But I promise substantive stuff soon: I just finished A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin and will review that; I'm almost done with Missing Joseph by Elizabeth George and will write a little something there; I've watched one-third of The Men Who Stare at Goats and will dash off a sentence or two on that as well (Mr. Mouse didn't like it when he saw it on a plane recently but since he and I have nearly opposite tastes in movies, I'll probably end up loving it).

In the meantime, what should I watch next?  These titles are bouncing around in my queue: tell me in the comments what I should move up to the top:

Thirst - Korean vampires
Tron - haven't yet seen it
Hot Tub Time Machine - requested by Mr. Mouse
Sherlock Holmes - the RDJ and Jude Law version
Max Headroom - I have been waiting for YEARS for this
Daybreakers - non-Korean vampires
Splinter - monster movie set in a quickie-mart, from what I can tell
Big Love S1 - I do live in Utah now, after all
Trucker - Nathan Fillion!
Mad Men S1 - I watched Kristina Hendricks in Firefly before she got famous, btw

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Are any of you watching Rubicon?

Does it pick up any?  I've watched the first two episodes and, honestly, I've nodded off more than once in each of them.  (Today's inadvertent nap might have had something to do with the steep hike Mr. Mouse and I did and the blistering 95F heat, but still.)  I love a good conspiracy story as much as anybody, but the pace is going to pick up, right?  It's got to.  Plus I'm not connecting with any of these characters - yes, I realize they're all supposed to be odd ducks - and some of the acting seems strangely stilted. 

It was nice to see Quentin Travers for all of 45 seconds (Buffy!).  And I'm hopeful based on AMC's recent original television track record.  But I am starting to wonder if I'm going to be more of a Walking Dead person than a Rubicon person.  You won't hold it against me if it turns out that way, will you? 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

True Blood episode recap “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’” (S2E12)

Y’all, I have some issues with this episode, which I think is much weaker fare than we’ve been getting all season. Issues at the bottom.

After Sookie stops screaming, Zombie Lafayette tells her to strip. He hands her a white dress and tells her to put it on. When he brings her downstairs, Maryann is dressed in Gran’s wedding dress and being attended to by all her little zombie flunkies, including Tara, Arlene and Eggs. While Sookie sputters angrily at the sight, Maryann coos that she’s going to be her maid of honor.

Sookie has lost none of her gumption, thank goodness. She spits that she doesn’t know how Maryann did this, but she will not let her get away with it. Maryann sends away the zombie bridesmaids – including Lafayette, now in his own fabulous white dress and scarf – and dares Sookie to hit her with her best electric zap. Sookie gives it her best shot but nope, nothing doing. Maryann steps closer, scrunching her nose: “Come on, Sookie, you’re not exactly human - what are you?” Sookie: “A waitress. What the fuck are you?” Honey, we’ve already covered that. Try to keep up.

Ugh. The Fortenberry show. Maxine want to go to the party; Hoyt won’t let her. Moving on.

When we returns to Maryann and Sookie, Maryann is getting crazier and crazier, and more and more foolish, moaning about her “husband” the “god” and how happy they’ll be together at last. There’s quite a bit of exposition but basically Sookie is there as bait because once Sam knows where she is, he will come running to help her. Then Maryann can sacrifice him as the perfect vessel.

At the Queen’s, Eric has been roped into playing Yahtzee (they apparently play to 5 million). Blah blah blah … and then the Queen wants to know how Bill knows that she’s having Eric sell vampire blood for her. Oops. When Eric says that there’s no way Bill knows the Queen’s behind it, her fangs pop out and she knocks him to the floor, threatening him within an inch of his unlife. He promises to take care of Bill personally.

Jason Stackhouse quote of the day, as he and Andy, fully locked and loaded, head to Maryann’s wedding: “‘Say hello to my little friend!’ ‘Hasta la vista, baby!’ I love the smell of nail polish in the morning!” Nice. They enter the melee. It doesn’t take long for them to go down under a pigpile of zombies – without killing anybody, by the way – and coming back up with their own black zombie eyes. They seem to take to it quite well – “Fuck yeah!” shouts Jason joyfully before grabbing a fat old lady and shoving his tongue down her throat – probably because anger (Andy) and sex (Jason) are so integral to their personalities. Not much of a rescue op, tho’.

Over at Merlotte’s, Bill tells Sam that the maenad is here because of Sam (Sam: I know) and so he, and Sookie, needs him to make it right. Sam doesn’t think that giving himself up is going to do anything really but Bill’s all, I’m not so much giving you a choice here.

Oh good christ: they’re actually playing the damn Wedding March as Maryann comes out of the house. Andy carries her train. Bill is there, holding Sam by the scruff of his neck, and he trades Sam for Sookie – who is furious, screaming, “Maryann will kill Sam, you can’t let her kill him!” As the zombies tie Sam to that wicker and meat statue, and go through all sorts of Dionysus-raising rituals, Bill growls in Sookie’s ear that she needs to trust him, and use her gift.

Eggs walks up and plunges a huge knife into Sam’s chest. Sookie screams and falls to her knees. Then she hears Sam call to her, in her head: “Destroy it, all of it.” And she starts to rampage, tipping over the wicker and meat statue and screaming that none of this is sacred. The zombies all scream and wail. Bill slips away in the confusion. It’s not clear what happens to Sam.

Maryann, however, is furious. First she works some mojo that makes all her zombies squeal in pain, then she plunges her hands into the dirt and coming up with her giant claws. She points at Sookie and uses her god-voice: “You brought this on everyone.” Sookie runs, Maryann chases and catches and is about to swipe Sookie’s head off her shoulders … when the most gorgeous white Brahma bull walks up to her out of the darkness. I mean, this animal is beautiful.

Maryann trembles and cries, “My love! Come to me!” The bull walks up to her and lets her pat his nose. And then he shoves his big ol’ horn right through her chest (NOT a euphemism). He gores her, repeatedly, and then the horn transforms into an arm and the bull transforms into Sam. He pulls his hand out of her chest, holding her black-bloody heart. Maryann looks at him, sad and confused: “Was there no god?” Sam crushes her heart in his fist and the maenad falls, dead.

It turns out that while everyone was wailing and crying, Bill fed Sam his healing blood – which had been their plan all along as the only way to kill Maryann. Clever. With Maryann’s death, all the zombies come back to themselves and conveniently don’t remember a thing. Sookie starts throwing orders around: Sam and Jason, get the townspeople home; Bill, get rid of Maryann’s body (never mind that Bill can hardly stand up seeing how Sam drank more of his blood than he expected). Sookie takes a shaken Tara into her arms and tells her that it’ll all be okay.

At the Fortenberrys’ house, Maxine is back to being herself too, and Hoyt quickly figures out that she was telling him the truth about his dad killing himself. He is furious. Did I mistakenly attribute this to the last episode? It’s here that Hoyt tells his mother that he wishes Jessica had finished her off.

Inside Sookie’s house, Eggs is freaking out, trying to scrub Sam’s blood off his hands. He pants, “Where is Maryann? She’ll know what happened?” Tara says that they need to let it go – she wishes didn’t know some of what Sookie helped her remember, can’t they just move forward? Eggs cries that he needs to know. He’s a mess, probably in part because Maryann messed with his head for so much longer than anyone else.

Some unspecified time later, possibly the next day, things are getting back to normal. Sam reopens the bar so people can get something to eat and drink. The going story around town is that the memory loss/crazy behavior was caused by a gas leak, or maybe aliens, or LSD in the water supply, or a bad batch of vodka in an illegal still. Lafayette catches Sookie and tells her that even though she knows what happened, she’s never to tell him, even if he begs: “I don’t think it’s healthy for a motherfucker to know exactly what he done done. It’s like sausage – just eat it, enjoy it.”

Sam asks Sookie if she’d keep an eye on the place for him for a few days – he needs a break. Of course, she says. Then they’re interrupted when she gets a delivery: it’s a disgusting pale lavender chiffon dress and Bill wants her to wear it to dinner with him tonight. Then Eggs finds her and asks for her help in remembering what he did: “I had blood on my hands and I can’t remember why! … I got a right to know.” She says she can’t promise anything but takes his hands in hers. And it all comes back: him cutting out Miss Jeannette’s heart, and Daphne’s heart, and stabbing Sam. He fuh-reaks out and runs away. Sookie calls after him that it wasn’t his fault, Maryann made him do it.

Bill and Jessica, both dressed up, run into each other on their way out the door. Bill is taking Sookie to a French restaurant to “celebrate.” Jessica says she’s going to meet Hoyt as they had a fight and she wants to apologize to him.

Somewhere else, Sam knocks on a door. A woman (badly cast as she is not nearly old enough to be his mother, adopted or not) is shocked to see him. She lets him in reluctantly. When he wants to know the names of his birth family, she doesn’t want to tell him. But he goes in to see his adoptive father, who is dying of some wasting disease in a back room, and his father hands him a slip of paper with a name and an address on it. It also says, “I’m sorry.”

Hoyt knocks on Bill and Jessica’s door. He’s brought flowers for her but he ends up leaving behind on the doorstep since she’s not there. She’s currently sitting on top of a trucker at a truckstop. They make out for a while, and then she bites him, slurping at the blood as he flails and screams.

Bill has rented out the whole restaurant so it will just be him and Sookie. That dress is appalling. They dance, she eats, and then he puts a diamond ring and plane tickets on the table and asks her to marry him.

As Andy walks to his car in the Merlotte’s parking lot, Eggs walks up to him, waving that giant knife and confessing to killing Miss Jeannette and Daphne with it. He is beside himself, crazed, and he ends up knocking Andy to the ground and waving the knife at him. Suddenly, a shot rings out: Jason, coming to Andy’s rescue, inadvertently shoots Eggs through the head. It’s pretty gross with blood and brains flying. Andy grabs the gun and tells a shocked Jason to get out of here. People start coming out of the bar and Andy says that Eggs confessed about the murders and then came after him with the knife – he had to defend himself. Tara runs up and falls to her knees by her dead boyfriend. “Eggs!” she wails. Like we haven’t heard enough of that all season.

Instead of being happy at the surprise proposal, Sookie bursts into tears: she doesn’t know who or what she is, and she just doesn’t know what to do. She runs to the bathroom, leaving Bill alone at the table looking sad and rejected. Once in the bathroom, however, she puts the ring on her finger and the tears dry up immediately. (Whatever.) She happily exclaims, “Yes, Bill Compton, I will marry you!” and runs back out to the dining room.

But Bill is gone. While she was in the other room, someone came up behind him, wrapped a silver chain around his neck and dragged him off. Until next season!

Here’s my issues with this episode. Maryann in Sookie’s grandmother’s wedding dress, fluttering around like a twit? I mean, come on. They’ve been setting Maryann up all season to be this scary, fierce, sexy unstoppable force of nature, and now they’ve got her in an old fashioned satin wedding dress, looking and acting foolish. All that build up and they completely undermine it.

The whole bull thing? That was pretty cool and technically well-done. Except where did Sam find a Brahma bull to imprint on with such short notice? Because he told Jason and Andy just last episode that he had to do that before he would shift into a new animal. Did Bill plan ahead and bring a bull with him when he met Sam at Merlotte’s? That’s weak continuity right there.

Bill’s wedding proposal? In this world’s timeline, they’ve been together AT MOST a summer, right? At the start of S2, everyone was recovering from Rene’s murders which had just finished up, and this season seemed to take place over just a few weeks. Rushing it much, Bill? (BTW, the plane tickets were to Vermont since being a vampire on this show apparently = being gay in the real world and Vermont is the one place humans and vamps can get married).

Anyway, these quibbles may have annoyed me but they don’t keep me from having enjoyed the heck out of this ridiculous show. My hopes for S3 – and don’t tell me, because I don’t want to be spoiled – more Eric, Pam, Lafayette, Jessica and Sam, and let’s have Bill and Sookie spend some time with other people, because their mushy, schmoopy love story is the weakest part of the show.

Previously on True Blood / next time on True Blood

Friday, August 6, 2010

True Blood episode recap “Frenzy” (S2E11)

The bloody leg from the end of last episode belongs to some human who is gasping and groaning in near-sexual tones as the Queen – Evan Rachel Wood, overacting as best she can – sucks from her femoral artery. Bill, that prude, is a little uncomfortable and the Queen knows it as she asks if he’d like to join her.

Editorial note: there’s a LOT of talking in this episode, especially as regards the Queen and I’m just going to skim some of it. What you’ll miss is this: she’s beautiful, deadly, powerful (for some reason – it’s not clear how old she is) and easily bored – a wicked child who likes to play.

Speaking of wicked children: Hoyt has to haul Jessica off of his momma’s neck from where she’s been feeding. He’s furious with her, shouting: “I should have listened to Vampire Bill when he warned me about you.” He takes Maxine home - she’s really none the worse for wear, saying that she kind of enjoyed that neck-suck. Jessica slams the door behind them and screams in sadness and frustration, bloody tears tracking down her face.

After the Queen has cleaned up, Bill presses his errand: he needs to know how to kill a Maenad. The Queen tells him that he can’t – the Maenad believes she’s immortal and therefore she is: “William, surely you know that everything that exists imagined itself into existence.” She’s a smart cookie, this Queen, under all her arch attidues and seeming shallowness. When Bill tries to return to Bon Temps before dawn breaks, the Queen orders him to stay the day with her: Sookie is fine and he can go to her in the evening.

In Bon Temps, Tara is getting agitated, wanting to leave Lafayette’s house to go rescue Eggs. Her cousin handcuffs her to a table and then he and Sookie go outside with a shotgun to stand guard on the porch. Tara is Not Happy.

Over at Merlotte’s, Sam, Jason and Andy are cleaning up the bar. Sam has come clean to the fellas about his shifting – “I can turn into any animal as long as I’ve imprinted on it first” (remember that: it’s important) – and now they’re trying to come up with a plan. Jason wants to go after Maryann with guns blazing even tho’ Sam points out that guns won’t do anything to Maryann, plus they can’t go around shooting the townspeople. Jason is adamant: “Sometimes you need to destroy somethin’ in order to save it. That’s in the Bible. Or maybe the Constitution.” Sam gives him a priceless WTF look. There’s some movement at the window and Sam runs outside: it’s Arlene’s kids, hungry and looking for their mother. While Sam takes the kids inside to get them something to eat, they ask him all sorts of questions about what’s been happening to their mother, finally deciding that they need a vampire to help straighten things out. When Sam says Bill is out of town, the kids ask, “Don’t you know any other vampires?” Sam puts his thinky face on. Meanwhile, Jason and Andy decide to head into town to arm themselves from the sheriff’s weaponry.

You know, I am getting sick of hearing Tara whinge about Eggs. She begs her mother to let her go – she needs to help her “one true love.” Lettie Mae drops to her knees and starts to pray some more. On the porch, Sookie and Lafayette bond over having had to drink Eric’s blood. She asks if he’s been having any dreams about Eric, which he has – freaky, fantastic sex dreams, “which freak me the fuck out because I hates that motherfucker more than you’ll ever know.” Then Lettie Mae comes out onto the porch, sobbing, saying she can’t stay inside with Tara anymore. She says she’ll hold the gun and Lafayette can sit with Tara. But it’s a trick: as soon as Lafayette hands over the gun, Lettie Mae calls to her daughter, “I’ve got the gun!” She fires off the gun and Lafayette immediately drops back into PTSD, cringing and trembling. He even starts to hallucinate Eric in Lettie Mae’s dress (which is AWESOME, btw). Sookie unlocks Tara’s handcuffs and reluctantly hands over her car keys – editorializing, “You are bein’ a fuckin’ idiot” – then tends to poor Lafayette. Lettie calls after her departing daughter, “Don’t you forget what I did for you!”

Jason muses about whether Sam has ever turned into a dog and then had sex with another dog. Heh. They go into the sheriff’s office and Jason distracts the black-eyed white-trash tramp who’s guarding the place while Andy heads for the guns. White-trash chick: “Boy, I’m going to turn you inside out!” Jason: “Well, that sounds like it’s gonna hurt.”

Sookie has had enough of this bullshit and pegs Lettie Mae in the head with a chunk of wood. Lettie Mae drops the gun, which Lafayette grabs, and he and Sookie make a break for his car, off to find Tara. En route, Sookie gives poor shell-shocked Lafayette a pep talk: “You need to suck it up and when we get there, if Maryann gives us any trouble, you need to shoot her – in the head!”

Sam and Arlene’s kids wait outside Fangtasia, waiting for the white-trash bartender to open for the day. She doesn’t want to let them in but $100 convinces her otherwise. They wait for the sun to go down and Eric to arrive so they can ask if he knows how to kill a Maenad.

Tara finds zombie-eyed Eggs with Maryann at Sookie’s house. Maryann is looking full on sexy and dangerous. Tara says that she doesn’t want anything to do with whatever’s going on here; she just wants to take Eggs and go. Maryann smugly informs her that Tara herself was the one who summoned the Maenad here, that night in the forest with Miss Jeannette. Tara is appalled. Maryann starts her vibrating magic and Tara shouts “That doesn’t work on me any more.” So Maryann punches her in the face and that brings on the zombie eyes immediately. Tara and Eggs run upstairs giggling.

There’s a commotion in the hallway and Maryann turns to see her flock o’ zombies who have come to tell her about how the God Who Comes “smote Sam Merlotte but good!” Maryann quickly figures out that they let him go and shrieks in eardrum-shattering tones: “You fucking morons!” The zombies squeal, sad to have upset their goddess.

Things are not going well over at the Fortenberry house either. Maxine is in the kitchen, cooking up some godawful mess for the God Who Comes; Hoyt is doing his best to keep his temper and keep his mother in the house. Her zombie eyes give Maxine access to a whole lot of honesty - much like they gave Terry clarity - and she tells Hoyt the horrible truth: his father was not killed by a burglar but shot himself because he couldn’t deal with his life. Maxine lied to get the insurance. Hoyt reels and then tells his horrible mother that he wishes he’d let Jessica finish her off.

Apparently Sookie and Lafayette hid out in the woods all day because by the time they approach the Stackhouse homestead (with the giant stick and meat statue still looming in the front yard), it’s starting to get dark. They get jumped by Arlene and Terry but Lafayette distracts them while Sookie sneaks into the house.

Fangtasia: Sam and the kids meet with Eric and Pam – and she is dressed in the most amazing sparkly red cat suit. Her hair is enormous and she looks like a drag queen’s dream. Eric is not inclined to help Sam since vamps and shifters aren’t terribly fond of each other; Sam promises to do Eric a favor when he needs one and Eric decides he’s feeling charitable. Plus he wants to play with Arlene’s kids. When they ask if they can see his fangs, he obliges, popping them right out. Pam rolls her eyes, saying that she’s SO glad she never had any kids herself. Eric: “Now come on, Pam, they’re cute. Like humans - but miniature: teacup humans.” Heh. Eric says he’ll go see what information he can dig up and walks the humans back to Sam’s truck (it’s full nighttime now). He bends down, says goodnight to the “tiny humans” and then FLIES AWAY. Whoa – that’s cool!

Sookie’s home has been turned into a house of horrors. One zombie acolyte is busy chopping her own fingers off on the back porch; another creepy guy is sitting in the kitchen sink, playing with the sprayer. Even worse: a naked Mike the Coroner (he who fornicates with pine trees) is laying on the kitchen floor. He grabs Sookie’s ankle and invites her to lie down with him. When she refuses, he starts to scream, which makes all the other zombies scream, and she hurriedly lies down to shut him up. He spoons up behind her – EEEEUUUWWWWW and creepy – and she is totally skeeved out, summoning all her strength to just lie there.

Bill desperately wants to go back to Bon Temps but the Queen wants to play Yahtzee first. She also makes Bill feed off one of her humans. During the Yahtzee game, the Queen deigns to exposit: the only way to kill the Maenad is to make her believe that her god, Dionysus, has actually come for her. She’ll let her guard down, ecstatic and vulnerable, and at that one moment, she can be killed. That’s what she wants Sam for: she thinks that he, as a shape shifter, is the perfect vessel through which to bring forth her god. The Queen is interrupted in her Maenad lecture when a flunky announces that Eric has arrived. Bill jumps right up, saying that’s his cue to go. The Queen rolls her eyes at him and speaks for many, many fans: “You two should just fuck each other and get it over with.” Bill is not amused: he is like the straightest vampire ever. As he takes his leave, the Queen says pointedly that she is looking forward to meeting Sookie. That’ll go over well, I bet.

As they cross paths in the front garden, Eric makes some insinuations about Sookie, leading Bill to threaten him: “Back off or I’ll tell the Queen that you’re forcing humans to sell vampire blood for you.” He says he won’t tattle if Eric stays the hell away from his girl.

Maryann finds Lafayette as he’s approaching the house. Karl is with her and when Lafayette shoots at her, the bullet deflects off her hand and goes right through Karl’s skull. Lafayette is horrified but Maryann shrugs it off. Then she looks closely at Lafayette: “Hm. You cook, don’t you?”

Jason and Andy pull up in the woods not too far from the Stackhouse property. They chow down some carbs and when Andy grumps at Jason for something, Jason calls him on it, wanting to know why Andy never liked him. Jason: “Is it because of all the pussy I get? ‘cuz I ain’t takin’ no pussy away from you – there’s plenty of pussy to go around.” Andy: “It ain’t about pussy!” He thinks that Jason has had everything too easy, like all-state football and, yes, pussy. Jason rebuts, saying that he’s already got knee issues and he’s not even 30, and as regards the women – “I work out like a motherfucker … and I watch a lot of porn, to learn stuff.” They keep talking and finally realize that they’ve got a lot in common, plus it’s come down to just the two of them to save the town. “This town might be full of crazy rednecks, but they’re still Americans.” Thus bonded, they arm themselves and head out.

Sam is sitting on the steps to his porch when Bill comes up, looking intense. I bet Bill’s got a plan.

Back at the house, Sookie has had enough of the nasty zombie whispering in her ear and groping her. She suggests: “Enough of the foreplay, let’s just do it … but I have to be on top.” He gladly rolls over and she immediately brains him with a frying pan. Nice. She goes upstairs to her Gran’s room and finds Tara and Eggs smashing and shredding everything in order to build a nest on the bed for a giant egg (wtf?). As Sookie stares at the wreck of her grandmother’s keepsakes, a hand clasps her shoulder. It’s Lafayette: “Where you been?” he asks, “I been lookin’ for you.” It’s too late: his eyes are zombie-black. Sookie screams and screams.

Previously on True Blood / next time on True Blood

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I blame all y'all

Seriously.  Why did NO ONE tell me NOT to watch Memphis Beat?  Mr. Mouse and I suffered through the first episode - the poorly-written, weakly-acted, boring first episode - and then immediately deleted the other four or five episodes that had been waiting in our DVR queue.  I mean really.  I expect more from executive producer George Clooney.

I have the first two episodes of Rubicon now hovering in the queue but am not letting myself watch them until I finish the last two True Blood recaps.  Which will be forthcoming, I promise.

But I still blame you guys.