Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Season Finale! And the Fangirls Wept...

Midday in the Garden of Good and Evil plotlines. Alcide has apparently remembered that he used to be a character that we liked because he graciously offers to join Sookie as she walks home from Terry’s funeral and contemplates mortality, right and wrong, why she wore high heels, etc. The flirty eyes are on full display and just might continue even though Sookie is supposedly trying to remember which creature of the night she’s going to make an undying promise to when they overhear the newly freed vampires stumbling back to Bill’s house, still high as a punch of pale kites. And fucking each other in Bill’s lawn. But in a Summer-of-Love-Peace-Out-Brother kind of way, so it’s beautiful. Or something.

"Come on people, now - Smile on your brother. Everybody get together, just don't eat one another right now..."

Sookie approaches when the vamps are literally jitterbugging. And that’s not a metaphor. Although I suppose some of them probably were alive during the 1920s, so it’s not that odd that they’d still want to cut a rug, old style. Next they start burning their prison uniforms, completely unable to understand what time they live in. Violet is feeding off Jason and offering him her blood, which Jason accepts willingly until Sookie stops them. Despite being initially upset that Jason never mentioned a sister (because their relationship up until this point has been about sharing?), Violet is suddenly overtaken by the need to make out with Sookie before letting Sookie and Jason talk. Jason tells Sookie that he might be in love with Violet and wants to be with her forever as Sookie gets more and more emo about the meaning of that word. 

Back in the Faerie dimension, Ben is hearing wedding bells and has prepared a Maypole for their wedding ceremony. Ben’s having a hard time understanding how a funeral for a friend is making Sookie feel less excited about her upcoming nuptials despite the reasonable argument that if they’re going to be together forever, maybe going out on a few dates before the wedding is order. And that’s when Ben slaps Sookie so hard she falls to the ground.

It’s not that we haven’t all wanted to hit Sookie at some point, but you’re not making the case for Husband of the Year here.

VampireCamp has become Vampire Summer Camp as the vamps all play volleyball in the sun. Violet is having a case of “Bitch stay away from my man” jealousy with Jessica talking to Jason. Pam meanwhile, wants to be into it but is missing Eric and wants to go after him, despite Tara trying to reason with her not to. Bill is also not appreciating the fun, staying inside and brooding over the fact that he doesn’t seem to have Lilith’s powers any longer. He’s also just now realizing that he pushed Sookie to Ben and that she’ll soon be a vampire and his wife and there’s nothing Bill can do about it. “You said you were Bill again,” Jessica tells him when he confesses this to her. “Bill Compton would have walked through fire to save her.”

Bill gathers Jessica, Violet and Jason and tells them about Sookie and Ben and that the only person who can get them all to Sookie in the Faerie dimension is Andy Bellefleur’s half fey daughter Adilyn. Arriving at the Bellefleur house, Jason is welcomed in but problems arise when Violet confesses that she needs to be invited in, sending everyone into a perfectly understandable panic. Violet tries to calm them down by insisting that she only feeds off Jason. “We’re monogamous,” she explains. Jason begs Adilyn to help Sookie, who agrees after listening to Jason’s thoughts and understanding how genuinely he wants to save Sookie. Andy only agrees if he’s allowed to come too and can bring his vampire armory.

In Faerieland, Ben has bound Sookie to the Maypole and monologues about he was meant to be with Sookie and be faerie royalty, but Lilith took it all. Also, turns out he really just wants to (in his words) “fuck you, and own you, and use you for your blood.” Cue the biting as Sookie screams, but suddenly hears Adilyn call to her. In our world, the A-Team has arrived but Adilyn isn’t sure how to open the portal. “I’m, like, two weeks old!” she reminds the rest of them when they express exasperation at this. Bill tries some new age coaching about connecting with the earth but it doesn’t work. Theorizing that maybe Adilyn needs to be afraid to use her powers, Violet obliges, attacking Adilyn and causing the portal to open and everyone to be taken into it.

The gang arrives and the Vamp Fight begins! Ben and Bill fight while the rest of the team grabs Sookie and brings her back to our world, leaving Bill to continue the fight until Ben opens the portal himself and brings them both back as well, knocking Bill unconscious in the process. Ben finds the rest of the gang at Sookie’s house and proceeds to take them down, one by one. Ben can enter Sookie’s house, but Bill can’t, leaving Ben to lock Jason, Adilyn and Andy in the basement. Ben finds Sookie upstairs in the bathroom and is about to move in when who should reappear but Grandpa! Grandpa finally breaks through that dimensional portal Ben threw him into so many episodes ago just in time to hold Ben in place so Jason can stake him good and proper.

Three cheers for Rutger Hauer, ladies and gentlemen!

As Ben disintegrates into a pile of radioactive red goo and Jason, Sookie and Grandpa rejoice in their winnings, all the vampires who drank Ben’s blood begin to glow, seeing their ability to go out in the sun removed from them. Good thing it’s night, right? Well, true, but here’s the funny thing about time zones – when it’s nighttime in Louisiana, it’s high noon in Sweden, which is where Eric has gone to go sunbathing in the nude. That sound you hear? That’s the sound of millions of fangirls crying out as Eric Northman, sex symbol of True Blood, erupts in flames and burns, presumably to his death. Personally, I'll believe it when I see next season's cast list.

This picture and the gifs of him standing up full frontal and bursting into flames are literally making up about half of the internet right now. 

Cut to six months later and Lawrence O’Donnell (seriously) is giving a news report about new cases of mutated Hepatitis V being diagnosed and interviewing Bill, who’s the author of a new book about his experiences called And God Bled. Well done, publishing industry! Sookie watches the interview from home as Bill confesses to killing the Governor which he justifies as an action that’s understandable given that it was technically a biological weapon against a particular class of people. Yes, True Blood, I get it – Nazis were evil. Moving on… Alcide and Sookie are officially a couple that sexes each other all the time now. Violet has convinced Jason to redecorate his basement to be her girly bedroom, even if Violet will only let Jason go down on her and won’t let him take off his pants. Not very GGG, Violet.

Sam, meanwhile, has been elected Mayor and has organized a community-wide blood test at church one Sunday to see if anyone in Bon Temps is a carrier for Hep V. Predictably for the South, the Whites sit on one side and the Blacks on the other until the preachers convince everyone to mingle a bit. Sookie introduces herself to a young black girl named Crystal, who seems a little scared by the reverend’s sermon about “roving bands of hungry vampires” who are out to destroy small towns.  When Sam takes the podium, he outlines a plan that he and Bill have come up with – that night, the results of the blood tests will be available at Bellefleur’s Grill (the renamed Merlott’s) along with the good times that, as they are wont to do in Louisiana, shall roll. The catch is that every uninfected human will agree to let an uninfected vampire feed from them in exchange for protection for them and their families. This… doesn’t go over well, despite Sam’s insistence that “every single human needs and vampire and every vampire needs a human” in order to be safe in the Brave New World.

This is one of the only two times we see Lafayette in this episode. UNACCEPTABLE!

That night, the band plays, the people mingle, the food is eaten. Humans and (select) vampires together. Cats lay down with dogs. Both Alcide and Sookie share their negative results (Jesus, True Blood – pick a metaphor!) as Tara, the perpetually lonely single girl, confesses to Violet that she’s not sure she would pick any of the slobby men here. Dead or living, it’s always the same story for the sad girl at the party, isn’t it? Tara’s mother approaches her to apologize for 25 years of bad history between the two of them. Her mother confesses that she’s knows she’s guilty for neglecting Tara as she grew up, even forgetting at times to feed her as a child, but now she wants to make it right and offers her blood to her. Tara emotionally agrees, moving in to bite her mother. The entire scene is actually equal party squicky, frightening and sweet.

What? No Madonna and child imagery to go along with the VampireJesus? Missed opportunity, True Blood.

Adilyn and Andy, meanwhile, are watching Toddlers and Tiaras when the door knocks. It’s Jessica, who has come to offer both of them protection, but not for either of their blood. She tells them that she will keep them both safe, no strings attached. Andy considers shooting Jessica through the heart, but lets her go instead as Jessica stands guard outside their house in the dark.

Bill finds Sookie and Alcide leaving the party and offers protection to Sookie, saying Alcide isn’t good enough and that he’s changed and can be trusted. “Even at your best, I could never really trust you,” Sookie tells him. Just then, both Alcide and Bill pick up the scent of some approaching infected vampires looking to move into the party like it’s a buffet, which it kind of is. They are quickly joined by more and more infected vampires who all begin to move in.

And with that, vampire pop culture has finally grown out of its Anne Rice phase and moved back to the point where vampires are once again scary instead of sexy. I really, really hope this is the direction they move in for the seventh season (oh yes, there's going to be one) because it's beyond obvious to say that I think we've done the sexy vampire thing to death. 

True Blood was at its best when it began partially because it was one of the first of the post-Interview vampire stories in the public eye to at least partially embrace the vampire as, if not horrifying, at least dangerous. And not dangerous in an "Finally! A bad boy that I can take home to mom and dad because they'll hate him and his leather jacket and motorcycle" kind of way. True Blood has within it the potential to keep breaking new ground with vampires, even if the show has kind of lagged the past couple of years. 

Of course, you could also make the argument that the infected vampires shambling out of the bayou to devour the innocent party goers is less a stroke of originality and more an attempt to capitalize on another tired trend, the zombie story. But let's (perhaps foolishly) give it the benefit of the doubt until at least next summer and hope that scary, ugly vampires are finally coming back to us.

Praise Lilith!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Secret Girlfriend of the Week: In Soviet Russia....prison food eats you.

Have you been watching Orange is the New Black? It's one of those Netflix original series (like House of Cards and the new Arrested Development season) where all the episodes are available for streaming at the same time. Which means you can binge watch to your heart's desire.

Unfortunately for me, life often gets in the way of my binge tv watching so I've only made it through the first six episodes. But! What I have seen is awesome and if you haven't started watching the show you really need to. Not just because of the interesting concept, the riveting plot, the large and diverse and amazing cast....

...but because of Kate Mulgrew.

Remember Kate Mulgrew? She was the gravely voiced, tough as nails Captain Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager. I am sad to say it took me about 4 episodes to recognize her, she looks and acts that different. And it is BLOWING MY MIND. 

In case you aren't familiar with the plot of Orange is the New Black, the show "revolves around Piper Chapman, a woman from Connecticut, living in New York City, who is sent to a women's federal prison for 15 months after being convicted of transporting a suitcase full of drug money for Alex Vause, an international drug smuggler and Chapman's former lover." Synopsis from wiki, of course.

Basically, the main character is your typical middle class blonde yuppie who finds herself thrown into prison because her former lesbian lover used her as a drug mule. Hijinks ensue. It's from the same creator as Weeds, but unlike that show, the decisions the characters make are usually smart and are not always wrong. Except for the ones that land them in prison.

Getting back to Kate, she plays Galina "Red" Reznikov, a Russian inmate who is the head chef of the prison kitchen and sits pretty much at the top of the prison hierarchy. You don't want to mess with her, as Piper discovers her first day when she insults the quality of the food in front of Red (without knowing Red is in charge of its preparation). Through flashbacks we learn that Red and her husband ran a restaurant and got involved with the Russian mob. Let's just say that their large restaurant-sized freezer was used to put some things on ice you don't normally find in an eatery.

I mentioned earlier that I didn't recognize Kate Mulgrew for several episodes, and it was totally true. It's not just the short red hair and the Russian accent that changed her, but she completely inhabits the role. Of course, the short spiky red hair doesn't hurt. And that shit is for real--no wigs here. Miss Thang walked herself down to the barber and got it cut and dyed. Now THAT's commitment to a role, people.

Not gonna lie--Red is scary as hell.

I found a great interview with Kate Mulgrew about Red here and I recommend you read it. It has only mild plot spoilers so feel free to click. Here are some excerpts that I found particularly interesting:
Question: You famously played Captain Kathryn Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager. What do you think Red and the Star Trek franchise's first female captain to anchor a series have in common?  
KM: A ship is a ship. One is a spaceship and one is a prison. But we're both leaders of a kind, and we're both very tough and very vulnerable. Beyond that, I would draw very few parallels.  
Question: You've been an actress for more than 40 years. How does OITNB fit in the greater scheme of things?  
KM: This is the first time I've ever felt completely liberated as an actor. They only want me to be Red. They don't want me to be beautiful or exemplary. They just want me to be Red. And that's true of every single woman who's been cast. Jenji has exquisite taste. 
The entire first season of Orange is the New Black is available on Netflix streaming. Check it out and feel free to binge. But I wouldn't recommend Red's food--especially the sandwiches. Watch the show and you'll know what I mean. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Everybody Bleeds

So, this week's episode of True Blood was bloody for sure. Pretty much every character bleeds either literally or emotionally all over the place. And, I don't know, stuff happened, but man it just felt like it was a big old mess, you know? With only one more episode, there's not a lot of clarity about what happens next. We'll see next week, but in the meantime, here you go.

TL;DR: Ben's not quite dead yet, but he's going to be recuperating in that faerie land for a while. Meanwhile, Sookie and the rest of the townsfolk have to get to Terry's funeral, which is honestly heartbreaking and a bit of a real-world relief to watch next to all the supernatural soap-y-ness happening in the vampire plotline. Bill and Eric each make it to the camp to liberate the vampires, Eric through extreme violence, Bill through inoculating them so that they are invulnerable to the sun. Everyone gets high at the end.

Recap: ZOMG you guys! Ben is totes dying in Sookie’s arms and Bill is all like, whatevs – I need his blood now, whatever he’s got left kthanx. And then Sookie actually bites open her own wrist to feed Ben back to health. Remember when this show pretended to try to be sort of real and grounded? Bill wants to charge into battle but Sookie points out that Eric has more of Ben’s blood in him right now than Ben does, so good luck with that, VampireJesus, and let’s just Faerie Light you back to the real world while we stay here, what say we?

Yup. Totally grounded.

Arlene attends Terry’s funeral, black veil and all. Remember how she wanted the black preacher? Guess who’s the preacher’s wife is. It’s totally Tara’s mother, the now reformed former alcoholic who used to rip Tara apart on the daily and then claim she only did it because she had a demon in her. Again, back when the show was grounded.  Sookie, meanwhile, wants to get to this funeral but promises Ben that she’ll be back and still intends to go through with the whole eternal bride thing. She teleports right into the funeral, which you would think would have made a bigger splash, but no one really even notices except for one old biddy who refers to Sookie as “the Stackhouse girl – the weird one.”

Sookie takes her place with the other mourners and happens to be seated next to Mrs. Fortenberry, mother of Hoyt, everyone’s favorite Woobie character who we had to write off the show last year. Hoyt’s doing well since leaving town for Alaska, got a girlfriend and everything. Again, remember, only like a week has passed in this show’s timeline. Hoyt moves quickly. Alcide shows up as well, showing how nothing brings the town of Bon Temps together like a funeral.

Eric is taking advantage of his newly sunlight-enabled Faerie blood-enfused lifestyle to attack VampCamp in the middle of the day. By the time Bill arrives, there’s just the usual - Blood, carnage, lots of body parts. Eric is inside the camp using the gnawned off hand of some prison guard to open all the secure doors before finding the scientist who killed Nora and literally ripping the man’s genitals from his body and throwing them to the floor because Eric is kind of a boss when it comes to vengeance torture. Must be because he’s Scandinavian. (And yes, we see the entire thing, including the removed components. Because why not go big at this stage in the season, really?) Eric goes about freeing vampires and starts to find ones who have drank the infected True Blood and are becoming ill.

Bill is hot on Eric’s trail and finds the now dickless scientist begging for death. Bill asks if the scientist ever did anything to hurt Jessica while she was in here. When he honestly says yes, Bill obliges his wish to die. By crushing his face with his boot. Again, we see everything.

I don't know, you guys. I just feel like I'm not even fazed by the carnage anymore. Does Pat Robertson have something that he could say about that on Fox News sometime?

At the funeral, Andy delivers an honestly moving eulogy about how shattered and hurt Terry was when he first returned from the war.  Sam recalls how it was that he came to hire Terry to work at the bar, being impressed by how sensitive he was to people around him, even with the damage done to him. Lafayette (wearing a sweet suit with fake eyelashes because he’s Lafayette) recalled working with Terry and feeling like he could see Terry wearing his soul on his sleeve and taught him how to deep dry things in the kitchen with style. Sookie gets up to speak, which would seem out of place, but is honestly kind of sweet because she could hear Arlene’s thoughts about how she wasn’t ready to speak herself. She tells everyone that she remembers how the first thing Terry thought when he saw Arlene at work was that he loved her already. (This, btw, is told in flashback, marking the first time this season we see Sookie at work. And it’s the second to last episode. And it’s from the past. So, yeah, there’s that. But it’s honestly a really beautiful moment.)

Bill makes his way through the VampCamp to see that the fang is in the other mouth now as the vampires are making the humans go through the same “experiments” that they were subjected to. Eric, meanwhile, discovers Jason having been the ongoing buffet for a room of female vampires. Jason’s looking more than a little drained (rimshot!), Eric feeds him his blood. “When you dream of me,” Eric tells him, “Dream of nice things.”

Well, this got homoerotic quickly.

Jason’s up and moving and leading Eric through the Camp, unaware that Sarah Newlin has been hiding from the carnage under some slaughtered bodies.  Eric discovers Pam’s shrink being cornered by a few vamps. Eric menaces him a bit but the shrink seems actually not very bothered and that he’s going to die a happy man after fucking Pam. Eric is visibly riled and drags the shrink off to help them find Pam. On the way, a woman screams in the distance. “I know that scream,” Eric muses and finds who else but Ginger held in one of the rooms.

Sarah Newlin meanwhile recites the Bible and climbs the steps to the top of a building in the Camp and opens the ceiling, revealing the white room below where Jessica, Pam, Tara, Willa and the other vampires have been huddled into in order to be exposed to the sunlight, just like in Bill’s vision. Bill, however, has gotten there in the nick of time and allows them all to feed off him, giving them the ability to survive in the sunlight.

And to think, all this time you thought I was being over the top about the VampireJesus stuff.

Hilariously, the only vampire that can’t reach Bill to feed is Steve Newlin. Eric finds them all in the room and holds Steve into the sunlight. As Sarah looks down from above (and yelling “Die, Fuckers!”), she’s shocked to see everyone doing just fine, except for Steve. Steve sees her as he begins to burn and makes his final confession. “I love you…” he says looking directly at Sarah. “…Jason Stackhouse!” he finishes. The best part of this is honestly Jason’s “WTF?” reaction, btw. Oh Jason. You never were that bright, were you?

The vamps are saved, but also high as kites from all the faerie-tainted blood in them. Eric finds Pam. “I saved you the therapist,” he tells her. “You take such good care of me,” she purrs before rushing to kill the therapist.  The other vampires trip out, dance with each other and honest to God play ring around the rosey with Steve’s bloody remains. Viola spends a particular amount of time cradling Bill, who starts to see visions of Lilith that whisper a shush to him.

Back at the funeral, it’s finally time for Arlene to say her last words. She breaks down, remembering the first night that their son was born and how much she wanted to fall apart but Terry kept her together. As the funeral is about to wind down, Big John Dixon, a character that we've literally never seen before and only just started to hear about in passing a few episodes ago who is also a cook at the restaurant and can totally sing OMG THAT'S SO CONVIENT, arrives to sing a song called “Life Matters” for Terry. It’s a little out of place and really only serves to provide the mood music for the scene that runs concurrently with it below, but what the hey. Big John has a beautiful voice. Even a distraught Arlene admits, “That was the shit.”

 At VampireWoodstock, Pam gets down to business. “Have we killed everyone who needs killing yet?” she asks. Jason realizes that the only human left (aside from him and the still tricked out and occasionally screaming Ginger) is Sarah Newlin herself. Sarah tries to run for it, but he gets to her before the vampires do.  Sarah tries to tell Jason that she’s doing God’s work. Jason wrestles her gun from her and tries to bring himself to shoot her, but isn’t able to do it, saying he doesn’t want anymore blood on his hands.

Say it with me, Clue fans: "Too late!"

Eric leads the vamps around the camp in the sun and they begin to smash the infected True Blood. Meanwhile, in Honolulu (wait, what?), crates are being unloaded only to be instantly taken by local, fun-loving Hawaiian vampires. Um. I guess Hawaii is a thing in this show now?

Back in the white room, Lilith tells Bill that his time on earth is over, but he insists that he’s not going anywhere. He calls Jessica to him. When she and James arrive, they can see him talking to someone, but can’t see Lilith. Jessica literally walks through Lilith to get to him. As Lilith moves closer, James tries to get Bill to drink from him, theorizing that maybe it will save him.

The funeral ends with the 21-gun salute, taps and the marines presenting Arlene with the folded flag from Terry’s casket. Sad Panda.

Jessica and James leave the vampire camp, followed by a restored Bill who walks among the rest of the vamps like a messiah. Pam looks for Eric, finally seeing him off in the distance and not joining the rest of the crowd. “Don’t you dare leave me,” she whispers as Eric flies away. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

This is Ballet

A few week ago, with little fanfare, the CW launched the second season of its reality series, Breaking Pointe.

For those not in the know, Breaking Pointe follows the lives of several dancers at the Salt Lake City-based ballet company, Ballet West. Not only do we get a glimpse into the personal lives of the dancers, but we also get a behind-the-scenes look at the process of putting on a ballet. From casting to rehearsals to showtime, Breaking Pointe documents the blood, sweat, and tears that make for a successful ballet.

Most of you are probably thinking, "that sounds incredibly boring." And hey, maybe it would be for you. I'm not a ballet expert or anything, but I attend probably once or twice a year--usually the Nutcracker. Which probably makes the snotty ballet fans think I am a total noob. But no matter what you say, every little girl wants to be a ballet dancer when she grows up and so I love Breaking Pointe for providing a peek under the curtain of the professional dance world.

Last summer, the show focused on the relationship problems of Allison and Rex--they were best friends but he wanted more and she wasn't ready to give it to him. When we meet back up with these star-crossed lovers (not really) it turns out they tried dating, but Allison just wasn't over the love of her life whom she had previously dated. Now, Allison is back with her former boy toy and agonizing over whether to give up her dance career to move to Detroit to be with him. He apparently can't move because he still has three years left in his medical residency.

But whatever. I am so over Allison and her drama--just make a decision, girl!

What I find much more interesting is Ballet West's staging of the classic ballet, Cinderella. We get to see the dancers in rehearsals, duking it out for the coveted roles, and basically working their asses off to get the show ready for opening night. For anyone who thinks that ballet is just pretty princesses twirling around in tutus...think again. These bitches (including the guys) push their bodies to the brink every day, and incur multiple injuries. Sometimes it's just a toe nail that falls off--apparently this is an everyday occurrence--but sometimes it can be way more serious, like when soloist Ronnie breaks his foot. One of this year's plots is whether Ronnie's injury will cause the end of his dancing career. You can go from the top to the bottom with only one mistake.

Breaking Pointe has a little something for everyone. If relationship drama is your thing, you can follow the couples on the show (who range from a long-married couple to two young dancers just beginning to date). Or you can watch it for the dancing and the insider look at the workings of a dance company. Think of it as the real life version of Center Stage--minus Peter Gallagher's amazing eyebrows, unfortunately. But these dancers aren't messing around, and they'll do whatever it takes to stay on top.

Breaking Pointe airs Mondays at 9:00pm on the CW.

 But in the end, it's worth the pain.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

I See Dead People

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single family in possession of their dream home must be pestered by a ghost. Or a demon. Or a vampire. Or a brooding vampire. Or two brooding vampires taped together to make one super-emo vampire. Or some other such creature from the Buffyverse.

Seriously. Someone should have given these two a spin-off. Oh, wait.

I am a slut for paranormal TV shows, and there has been a significant dearth in decent ones since shows of the ilk of Ghost Adventures (which, to my experience, features neither ghosts nor adventures) started taking to the airwaves. Not that that format doesn't have its merits, but I'm always perplexed why individuals who are that frightened of anything that might be a ghost would choose to enter a career as a ghost hunter.

"We suddenly came upon some weird guy wandering around and looking for signs of paranormal activity."

If your desire for chills and thrills extends further than watching idiots running around the dark screaming expletives every time they hear a board creak, then I must direct your attention to Syfy's Paranormal Witness. I happened upon this show On Demand during a weekend of being so far in the depths of laziness that I physically could not get off the couch. Then I found season 1 on Netflix, and I was a happy panda.

The show follows a basic format of witness interviews, interspersed with actor portrayals of the narrated events. I don't know how easily you all scare, but some of the reenactments and stories are legitimately scary. I have been known to scream out loud and then giggle nervously afterward. Or maybe I'm just a wimp.

 Stop me if you've heard this one: One day, I was playing with a Ouija board and oops. Out popped this demon

Unlike on a lot of shows of this nature, the production values are pretty high. The special effects and make-up are quite well done. The cinematography is great at creating that just right creepy mood. The show has a good balance of being suspenseful and creepy without becoming over-the-top and corny.

Poor dear. She's still not over the War of Northern Aggression.

In case you have already bought your dream home -- or possibly that cute little fixer-upper in the Hudson Valley -- and are already being plagued by a proverbial clown car of demons and ghosts, I have compiled a list of helpful household hints.

General tips:

1. Don't bring a gun to a ghost fight.

2.  If you see a demon in your home, call a Catholic priest. Stat.

3. Do not buy your dream home. Like. Ever.

4. For that matter, do not buy a house. Period.

5. Or a classic car.

6.  If you hear a noise and go to investigate, and you do and there is nothing there, TRUST ME, 

7. When in doubt, move out.

8.  It's just going to get worse.

9.  If your child has an imaginary friend...

10. Believe.

Paranormal Witness is available on Syfy On Demand. Season 1 is available through Netflix. New episodes air Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Syfy.

"I'm telling you. If I have to explain this concept to the Hufflepuffs one more time, I am calling my union rep."

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

You're The Love of My Life (At Least Until Next Season)

Okay, folks - only two more episodes to go. That circular white room the vamps keep worrying about is getting closer and closer and our plot lines are getting more and more complex. Also, remember this is True Blood - while there's no nudity, some of the images below may be risqué. Perhaps this is not the best blog post to show your kids. Unless they're evil. 

TD;DR: New vampire mistress Violet claims ownership of Jason leaving the other lady vamps unsure what to do. Alcide frees Nicole and her mother but before they can return home, Sam is able to sense that Nicole is pregnant with his child and tells her he loves her to keep her nearby. Jessica and Steve both are hot for new brooding vampire James and but to save himself, Steve tells Sarah that some of the vampires know the True Blood is tainted. Ben offers to save the vampires, but only if Sookie will become a vampire herself and marry him for eternity. Sookie eventually agrees, rationalizing that she can't fight destiny forever, however when she and Bill go to fetch Ben from the faerie world, Eric has gotten there first...

Recap: Don’t you hate awkward conversations? Don’t you hate awkward conversations with people you kinda don’t really like anyway? Don’t you hate awkward conversations with people you kinda don’t like over the melted bloody remains of your sibling and sometimes paramour? That’s the position Bill finds himself in as he watches Eric mourn Nora’s seriously disgusting death. Eric is less inclined to help Bill with his mission to save everyone, especially since Bill failed to bring Warlow back in time to save Nora. Though, really Eric, you’re thinking a little short considering you die in that vision of Bill’s. Anyway, there’s a lot of cry-yelling, some levitation, some talking trash about each other’s makers, a little questioning the divinity of everyone in the room, the usual before Eric flees.

Who hasn't been there after the death of our 300-year-old incestuous sibling/lover?

At the Oh God We’re Still In This Plotline werewolf camp, the “were-bitches” have had just about enough of Alcide not Nicole and her mother and opt to challenge Alcide for the position of Pack Master. Alcide really needs to think more about the women he has sex with; things never go well with them. Ricki (Nicki? Becki? I can’t recall her name) is betting that Alcide can beat her in a fight but won’t be able to kill her like Werewolf law says. I now find myself really hoping that if there is werewolf law, there are werewolf lawyers who study it. Please VampireJesus, make this a subplot for season seven. Anyway, she’s kinda right. Alcide successfully defends his position, but doesn’t kill her.

At VampCamp, the Mistress inmate is toying with Jason and there’s nothing Willa or Tara can do about it. “That bitch is a dog and he is her bone and she will fucking fuck us up if we fuck with her bone,” Tara summarizes it nicely. Jason confesses to the Mistress that the reason he’s in here is because he was getting sexy with Sarah Newlin and the Mistress devises a plan. She also tells Jason that he is now “hers”, meaning that she can feed off him as she likes. Jason’s worried about being passed around, but she tells him she doesn’t play that way because she’s Catholic. As in, medieval Catholic. So I guess as long as Jason’s not Jewish or trying to occupy the Holy Land or something, he’s okay?

Sookie returns to the Faerie land with Ben still restrained. Damn, sister – screw him and leave him chained to a tombstone. It’s the Bon Temps way, I suppose. Sookie wants Ben to use his blood to help save her vampire friends, yes, including Bill, which Ben isn’t exactly tickled about, even if Sookie is promising that she’ll make his safety a requirement. Ben agrees only on the condition that Sookie will be his, in the vampire way, forever. Sookie heads back to the real world to ponder, unaware that Eric has stumbled upon the gateway between the two dimensions and when he approaches, Ben is able to feel him. “Eternity?” she mutters as she walks away, oblivious. “He couldn’t ask me to go to the movies? It’s like men are incapable of just wanting to date me.”

Sex and the Bayou, starring Sookie Stackhouse

Jessica and James are enjoying their weirdly fully-clothed afterglow in the Vampire Conference Room (why so modest, True Blood?) and James wants to know what’s the story with her and Jason. Eric clearly isn’t the only one facing awkward conversations in this episode. They’re both ready for round two when the lovefest is broken up by two guards. As Jessica is being escorted, they conveniently encounter Pam coming out of her Shrink’s office. The Shrink, having abandoned all pretense at professionalism, is literally zipping up his pants when he asks the guard to take Pam back as well if he’s already going that way. Jessica is mildly appalled asking Pam how it was. “Boozy,” Pam admits, “but productive.”

Sam has come back to his restaurant (you know, the one with his name on it – guess he can’t really fault his waitresses for never making their shifts anymore) when Alcide finds him. Alcide has brought Nicole and her mother to Sam, saying his Pack days are done. Nicole and Sam put her mother to bed with an extra whiskey or two in her and in the process, Sam is able to smell something about Nicole. Intriguing… (Well, actually boring. But I at least applaud the writers for trying to do something with this.)

In the common area of VampCamp, True Blood is back on the menu! Only our heroes know that it’s contaminated, of course. Steve Newlin is hilariously threatened for his bottle and then tries to hit on James. Steve, I know prison sex is a huge theme in gay porn, but this is not going to go how you want it, trust me.  James, fool that he is, warns Steve not to drink the True Blood, thus assuring that this plotline will be foiled.

While considering the possibility of being Ben’s forever, Sookie remembers the first time Warlow tried to come into our reality. For those who never saw, it…wasn’t pleasant. Kind of like a horror movie, actually. In any case, clearly at odds with the attractive man she’s got tied up in a faerie dimension to occasionally have sex with.

Lady Vampire strategy session at VampCamp – turns out the Mistress is named Violet. That’s just because we got rid of two characters in two weeks, so clearly we need to stock back up. The ladies ask Pam to talk to Violet about keeping Jason safe, which leads to the first moment this episode that actually made me laugh out loud – Pam approaches the back wall of the common room which has chambers like a morgue where bodies are kept. Pam knocks on one of them and we hear Violet from inside yelling, “Fuck off, I’m eating” while she's noshing on Jason. I actually really love that in putting together VampCamp, they thought to store vampires in morgue slots in the wall. Well done, set designers.

Worst. Avon Calling. Ever.

The morning after the miserable murder, Arlene is beating herself up for being drunk in front of her kids while Lafayette makes her breakfast and the rest of the Bellfleurs offer their tea and sympathy. It’s sort of like the Golden Girls, honestly, only less cheesecake and more snipers and faerie daughters. I would watch a spinoff show about these people and their wacky madcap adventures is what I’m saying. For their first one, Lafayette tells Arlene about the life insurance policy. In her grief, Arlene’s thoughts indicate she blames herself and the faerie girls, which is overheard by Adilyn, who runs off. Yes, I would definitely watch this spinoff.

Sookie comes to Bill’s house. Bill, who’s just showing off by going outside in the daylight for the conversation, tells Sookie that his plan is to bring Ben to the VampCamp and give all the vampires some of his blood making them immune when the ceiling opens and they get flooded with sunlight. Why he wouldn’t also just, like, break them out seems unplanned at best, but whatever. Bill promises to keep Ben alive, if for no other reason than because they can’t synthesize his blood. Bill is getting short tempered, but Sookie tells him that Ben will only agree to help if he gets to make Sookie a vampire bride so maybe we all have shit that we have to think about, okay?

Sarah Newlin arrives at VampCamp in her best I’m-Totally-Not-Covering-For-The-Governor’s-Death-And-Stealing-His-Prestigue power suit to learn that there’s a hunger strike among a small group of the vampires, one of which is her ex-husband. Her solution is to put him in a giant hamster wheel and make him run until he confesses that his new BFF James who he feels a real connection with told him about the Hep V. In repayment, Sarah arranges for Steve and James to be brought to VampireThunderdome.

Stand aside, Hillary. Mama's got a political agenda to solidify. 

Adilyn deals with the guilt from Arlene (which, btw, she’s taking pretty well considering that she herself just lost three of her twin sisters, like, two days ago but no one’s concerned about that with her) by sneaking off with Holly’s teenage sons who have showed up at her window, Romeos to her telepathic Juliet, with a purloined bottle of alcohol.

Nicole and her mother are about to leave town when Sam confesses his undying love for her. Again, I remind you all that in this show’s continuity, his previous eternal love, Luna, only died, like a week ago. The argument is interrupted by Sookie, making her first appearance at her place of work, literally three-fourths of the way through the season. “Did I come at a bad time?” she asks. Remember folks, she’s supposed to be a telepath. Sookie tells Sam that she’s considering going FaerieSuperNova if it would make her normal for a change and she’s telling Sam because she always figured they’d probably end up together some day. That actually makes more sense that it seems, trust me, but Sam is right to get pissed that the object of his eternal love (maybe he has so many because he’s a shifter? Just considering…) is finally coming around right at the moment that he’s realized that Nicole is pregnant. Hence the sniffing earlier.

Arlene and the other Bellefleurs are making plans for Terry’s funeral. The Mortician says he’ll be buried with full military honors, 21 Gun Salute and all. Arlene points out the irony of such a thing for a man who was shot to death to say nothing of the fact that he knew about his own death. Arlene doesn’t want to keep the money, but Holly and Andy argue that it was his last wish. Arlene agrees on the condition that they get the reverend from the local “black church” to officiate.


Sookie visits the graves of her parents and her grandmother to consider their lies to her in their lives and what that means. She To Be or Not To Be’s for a few minutes before deciding that it’s a moot point since literally all three dead Stackhouses keep finding some ghostly way to come back.  “Death is just a fucking pit stop on a road that keeps on going,” she says, deciding between tears to take Ben up on his offer and become a vampire, the very thing her parents were going to kill her to stop he from being rather than spend eternity by their sides in the ground.

The representative from the True Blood manufacturers arrives at the VampCamp demanding to see the Gov and wanting to know what’s going on. Sarah stonewalls her, but offers to make her a deal as fellow “strong women, forging our way ahead in a male-dominated industry.” The True Blood Rep clearly never read her Gloria Steinham because she punches Sarah in the stomach and pushes past her into the lab and realizing that they’re chemically altering the True Blood. Sarah tries to attack her when she goes to call the FDA, but the rep runs into VampCamp and sees everything that’s going on.

It’s unclear what the purpose of this experiment was.

Sarah chases the Rep into one of the vampire common rooms, catching up with her when her high heels get caught in a grate and tackling her. Sarah beats the rep’s head into the grate, causing her blood to drip down to the hungry vampires below. Eventually Sarah kills the rep by stabbing the back of her head with her own high heel. At which point Susan Faludi pretty much just shut off her TV and went to bed.

 "I'll never forget what you've done for me, Manolo Blahnik."

Adilyn and one of the two interchangeable teenage boys are making out in the graveyard, which for Bon Temps probably is the same as Lover’s Lane, when Eric interrupts them. Eric glamours the boys into forgetting they saw him (He also makes them forget they saw Adilyn topless, but he at least apologizes for “taking that one away from you.”) before chasing Adilyn down and feeding off her.

At VampCamp, Violet is getting talk from the guards for not drinking her True Blood rations, but she’s apparently smarter than the average bloodsucker because she’s starting to realize that our heroes aren’t drinking any either. Steve and James, meanwhile, are still in the circular white room when Jessica, Pam, Tara and Willa are brought in. This is looking eerily similar to the scene that Bill saw in his vision a few episodes back.

Sookie tries to call Jason, only getting his voicemail. She tells him about Terry, asks if he knows where their grandfather went and tearfully tells him that she loves him. Then she calls Bill to tell him they have a deal. Later, Sookie is dressed in her Sunday best as she escorts Bill to the faerie dimension. When they arrive, however, Ben is unconscious, his throat ripped open.