True Blood 3.4 – Smell The Memories

Tonight’s episode kicks off with Sookie trying to make her new werewolf pal, Alcide, feel a little less crappy about having gotten his ass kicked in Lou Pine’s were-bar. Alcide’s pissed that his brethren would indulge in vampire blood and sad about the departure of his fiancée, the latter feeling only slightly less shoehorned into the script than it did in the previous episode. Sookie obviously felt guilty about the way she was laying hands on Alcide, but one suspects that the guilt only lasted until the phone rang and Bill dumped her. I know he’s doing it because he thinks it’s the only way to save her life, but the effect it’s having on Sookie is clearly traumatizing the poor girl. She gets into a debate with Alcide over what Bill said, why he said it, and what it all means, but it’s quickly made obvious that the last person who she ought to be talking to about her situation is a werewolf dealing with his own relationship problems. Thank God the guy’s got some semblance of restraint, but come the next morning, things somehow end up even more tense between them, with Alcide accusing her of being a doormat and Sookie demanding that he take her to his ex-fiancee’s engagement party. Yeah, ‘cause that’s an event every guy wants to attend…

Alcide’s sister, Janice, sure knows how to offer a compliment, telling Sookie that she’s cute and sweet, but only after admitting that she’d’ve settled for a two-bit hooker to get her brother’s mind off his ex-fiancee. Between what Janice said and what Sookie heard her thinking, it appears there are some serious parallels between the relationships of Sookie and Alcide, insofar as how long one should suffer through first love before realizing that it might not be worth all the trouble. But I digress, when I should be pointing out how Janice made Sookie look like Joan Jett’s hot little sister. (Marjorie Kase suggested that I throw a “Sandy from ‘Grease'” reference into my write-up. I’m guessing this is a reference to the “tell me about it, stud” transformation.) Unsurprisingly, Alcide isn’t exactly pleased to hear the news about Debbie’s situation, but he nonetheless agrees to help Sookie get into her party…which we’ll get back to discussing in a little bit.

Sam’s ready to kick his little brother’s ass for sneaking into his office, but in the process of trying to hunt him down, he stumbles upon his family’s van and learns that they’re temporarily camped out in his parking lot because of unpaid rent. Mom and Dad are less than thrilled at the news, but they’re not in any way surprised, either. Meanwhile at Merlotte’s, Jason tries to buy a round for his boys, but he ends up suffering pangs of jealousy over some young high school punk, while Sheriff Bud really is retiring, apparently, and he’s been given a pair of “dancing shoes” as a farewell gift. The revelation that Andy’s taking over the reigns of command pisses Jason off, though, sending him over to start some shit with the aforementioned young punk. Jason might’ve confused the kid with his “ten years from now” speech, but it actually made more sense than most of the things that’ve come of his mouth on this show. Also, Jessica’s working for Sam as a hostess…but not a waitress, owing to the fact that she’s forever trapped at the age of 17 and therefore unable to sell alcohol for all perpetuity (have these people never heard of a fake ID?)…but being out in the open leads her to be spotted by a former Bible-study classmate. Clearly, she’s got the hang of this glamoring thing, but too bad Hoyt got the wrong impression by only seeing the situation from a distance. So Hoyt’s jealous, Deputy Jones and Jason are both pissed, Arlene’s sobbing because the number of redheads employed by the bar has suddenly doubled…yep, it’s just another night in Merlotte’s. Oh, and by the way, Sam’s family is having a cookout in the parking lot. Son of a…

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True Blood 3.3 – Lie Back, Sweetheart, And Think Of Estonia

I feel obliged to open this week’s blog by asking a question that’s been gnawing at me for the past two weeks: am I the only one who isn’t really caught up in Season 3 of “True Blood” in the same way as Season 2? At first, I blamed it on the fact that I was coming off the ridiculously-real feel of “Breaking Bad” and hadn’t yet re-acclimated myself to the town of Bon Temps, then I considered the possibility that it’s because no one thus far in Season 3 has really grabbed me the way Maryann the Maenad did when she first made the scene, but now I’m just wondering if it’s because the pop culture landscape is so riddled with vampires that I’m starting to feel the overkill. I’ll give the show credit this week for a consistently enjoyable episode, but I wish it hadn’t opened and closed with scenes that were so thoroughly disconcerting that they couldn’t help but leave a significant impact: to leave me thinking, “That’s not awesome. That’s just disgusting.”

As for the opening, I obviously heard the gun go off at the tail end of last week’s episode, but I didn’t really think much about what the end result would be, as I was focused more on what Eric was about to do. As such, I certainly didn’t expect the end result to be Eric leaping in front of the bullet so that the werewolf would survive at least long enough for him to interrogate him for a bit. It was good to hear Sookie using her powers again, and the back-and-forth between the werewolf and Eric made me laugh, even if it was a predictable exchange (“You might as well go ahead and kill me now.” “As you wish.”), but you’ll forgive me, I hope, for my feelings on the throat-ripping scene, which was so gross as to deflate what otherwise would’ve been a smirk-worth comment from Eric: “Got your rug all well.” The duo quickly dispose of the corpse, with Eric acting surprisingly worried about the threat of werewolves. In addition to his not-very-couched hint about his feelings toward Sookie (“I don’t expect you to understand.” “I understand very well.”), I also thought it was interesting the way Eric recognized the werewolf’s accent. Who knew that vampires had an ear for such things?

The storyline within the King’s palace in Mississippi wasn’t nearly as interesting as the trip it served to take us on, but it was amusing to see His Majesty mock his “associate” and his tendency to overemphasize the importance of their nice things. The conversation between the King and Bill was somewhat educational, with the former asking Bill vampire to vampire about his feelings toward Sookie, basically saying that it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if Bill were to turn her. Bill’s not having any of that, though, and the next thing you know, he’s on a trip down memory lane, recalling the awful experience that he was forced to endure as a result of being turned by Lorena. Revisiting his first post-turning encounter with his family, having to look upon the body of his dead son and suffer through the emotional torture of his wife’s reaction to his vampirism…you wouldn’t wish that on anybody. And then for Lorena to tell him that he’d be doing Carolina a favor by basically wiping her memory? Rough stuff, to be sure. You can see why Bill pledged dedication to Mississippi, but you know Sookie’s going to have something to say about it.

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True Blood 3.2 – A Vampire Is Never At The Mercy Of His Emotions

As we return to the festivities as we left them last week, it’s clear that Bill has chosen not to play around when it comes to dealing with the werewolves. The slaughter comes to an abrupt end, however, with the arrival of Russell Edgington, the Vampire King of Mississippi. I was impressed with what Denis O’Hare brought to the role, if not terribly surprised: the guy’s been bouncing around films for ages, but he’s had quite a bit of TV work lately, including roles on “Brothers and Sisters,” “CSI Miami,” and “The Good Wife,” even an episode of “Bored to Death.” I had to laugh at the idea of a werewolf named Cooter, of course, along with his delightfully redneck comment, “You’re about to get deader, dead ass motherfucker!” It was a shame to see him dispatched so quickly, but, hey, that’s what happens when you drink from one of the King’s guests.

There’s not necessarily a lot of substance to it, but I’m enjoying the saga of Jessica trying to figure out what to do with the body of the dead trucker, what with the excessive Lysol use and the chainsaw. I liked Pam’s explanation about how to feed properly without killing your victim (it’s all in the heartbeat, apparently), and I have to believe that Pam’s the one responsible for the trucker’s body disappearing. I suspect Pam may be seeing a little bit of herself in this young girl. I also continue to be touched by Hoyt’s attempts to resurrect his relationship with Jessica, as he’s trying so hard to understand her, despite her refusing to allow him to be a sweetheart. She may say it’s too late for her to fight her nature, but it’s clear that he has no intention of giving up. Does that mean that he’ll end up being just another victim? We’ll see, but I like to think that her reaction to seeing the picture of the trucker with his son may have re-stirred some of her humanity.

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True Blood 3.1 – With All Due Respect…

Hey, everybody, “True Blood” is back! And, man, when that show comes back, it doesn’t waste any time, does it? I can’t think of the last season premiere that was quite so action-packed. Whether it’s a response to the complaints over the way Season 2 limped to a conclusion after Maryann was finally taken down in the first half of the season finale or simply a conscious effort by the producers to make sure that the viewers are given plenty to keep ’em coming back, I don’t know…and, frankly, I don’t care. At the very least, I have to say that, although the amount of activity was somewhat dizzying at first (possibly because the advance screener I received wasn’t preceded by a “Previously on ‘True Blood'” segment to get me back up to speed), so much happened that I definitely found myself in a position of thinking, “Okay, I reckon it was worth coming back for Season 3.”

I mean, seriously, here’s what happened in the first two minutes (!) of the episode:

• Sookie runs out of the restaurant, frantic that Bill’s been kidnapped, leading the French woman to decry the world’s vampire population.
• Sam’s on the road, heading for Magnolia, Arkansas, looking for some folks named Melinda and Joe Lee Mickens…who are, as it happens, his folks.
• Jason’s having an anxiety attack over shooting Eggs.
• Tara is beside herself with grief, but Lafayette’s trying to console her.
• Hoyt makes Jessica’s heart momentarily melt with the flowers she’s left for him, but although she’s touched, she’s can’t just leave her trucker lying on the porch.
• Bill’s kidnappers are a bunch of rednecks who tell him that he can call them the Fuck You Crew.

Talk about making quick work of playing catch-up, huh?

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Lost 5.10 – He’s Our You

“A 12-year-old Ben Linus just brought me a chicken salad sandwich. How do you think I’m doing?”

It seems like forever since we’ve had a Sayid-centric story, so I was really excited to discover that tonight’s episode was all about everyone’s favorite Iraqi torture specialist. Unfortunately, for as many great lines as there were, it actually ended up being one of the flatter episodes of the season. That probably had something to do with the strange collection of flashbacks and flash forwards that accompanied the present day (or new present, anyway) storyline, because with the exception of Sayid’s introduction to Ilana – who doesn’t appear to be a federal marshal at all, but rather some sort of bounty hunter – we didn’t really learn anything new about the time between his rescue and return.

Even the action on the island was pretty dull. Well, not dull so much as just really thin. I mean, how many different times did we really need to see Sawyer trying to convince Sayid to cooperate with the Dharminians? And why didn’t Sayid want to take the easy way out by telling them that he was just trying to escape from the Others? I brought this up last week because it didn’t make any sense for Sayid to want to remain silent, and now it makes just as much sense after declining Sawyer’s offer to become one of them. If all he cared about was killing young Ben Linus, wouldn’t it have been easier to do so from within that circle of trust?

Apparently not, because Sayid didn’t budge one bit, and as a result, Horace took him to go see Oldham (William Sanderson of “Deadwood” fame) in order to get some answers. It was pretty obvious that Oldham was Dharma’s torture specialist the moment his name was brought up, but Sayid asked Sawyer who Oldham was nonetheless, to which Sawyer replied “He’s our you.” Now, if that didn’t send chills down your back, I don’t know what will, because that has to be one of the best episode titles in the history of the series; and even more so because of the way it was worked into the story. I would have liked to have found just what it was that Oldham stuck in Sayid’s mouth, though, because while it seemed to initially operate as a truth serum, the later effects made me think it was some kind of psychedelic drug instead. Whatever it was, it worked, but while it looked like Sayid would blow Sawyer’s cover by spilling the beans, the moment he mentioned he was from the past, Horace seemed unconvinced that the drug had worked.

After Dharma’s council votes to kill him, however, Sayid’s Christ-like sacrifice (which he seems to believe will atone for all his sins) is interrupted when he’s sprung from jail while everyone else is trying to deal with a flaming Dharma van that has randomly rolled into camp. (Even during times of stress, Sawyer’s wit is spot on: “Three years, no burning buses. You’re all back for one day…”). Curiously enough, it’s young Ben who’s responsible for saving Sayid, who does so under the condition that he can join him on his way back to the Others’ camp. I don’t know if that’s where Sayid plans to go (it seems to be his only option at this point), but he definitely doesn’t intend on bringing Ben with him. Granted, I didn’t expect Sayid to kill a child in cold blood, but then again, who’s to say Ben is really dead? Faraday has already stated that the past can’t be changed, so it’s probably more likely that Ben will be saved/revived by the Others and eventually made their leader. After all, Ben’s spinal condition had to be a result of something, so why not an old gunshot wound that he received as a kid?

  

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