Tuesday, August 31, 2010

True Blood: Pre-Finale Full Season 3 Refresher

So that was one crazy episode of True Blood on Sunday. Wow. We can't believe there's only one episode left! In preparation of the season finale, we thought we'd offer our readers a little Season 3 recap and guide in case you've fallen behind.


This was an awesome season, but it sure jumped around a lot... It sort of feels like there were some story lines that were just 'dropped' mid-season and some characters keep going back and forth between different mood swings... but we're gonna hang in there for the final episode and see if everything gets resolved.
SPOILER WARNING: I think this should go without saying but if you haven't caught up on the last few episodes of True Blood's third season and you want to watch them instead of read about them here, then stop reading now.
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS!


So anyway, for those of you who want a quick 'refresher' before the finale... here you go.

At the very end of Season 2: Sam has killed the annoying Maryann (with help from Bill) and saved the town from sex-crazed zombie-ism, then went to look for his long lost parents. Sookie helped Eggs 'remember' what he did under Maryann's influence, which made him freak the fuck out so he went at Andy Bellefleur with a knife and Jason shot him. Sophie-Anne, the Queen of Louisiana, is making Eric and Pam sell V (thanks to the help of Lafayette). Hoyt and Jessica broke up, so she's taken to feeding on random truckers. Bill proposed to Sookie and then mysteriously disappeared.

Season 3 starts with everyone being all kinds of fucked up. Tara is mourning Eggs and pissed at Sookie for helping him remember what he did. Jason is wracked with guilt and Andy is trying his hardest to cover up what happened. Sookie is looking for Bill, who is being fed on by the V-hungry werewolves that kidnapped him. Pam, Eric and Queen Sophie-Anne are all freaking out because the Magister might be onto them about dealing vampire blood. Jessica has both a broken heart and a dead trucker stinking up the house. Arlene is pregnant and Hoyt is heartbroken and sleeping on Jason's couch. Lafayette has lots of stress between Tara trying to kill herself and Eric and Pam forcing him to sell V. Tara's mother is proven to be fucking useless and poor Sam is having sex dreams about Bill.


  • WHAT'S UP WITH BILL THIS SEASON?
Bill manages to escape the werewolf kidnappers, but not for long. It turns out they were just minions for the vampire King of Mississippi, Russell Edgington.

Things we know about Russell Edgington [Denis O'Hare]:
He's really really old, really really powerful, really really rich, and really really crazy. He lives with his boyfriend Talbot and wants to marry Sophie-Anne so he can control both Mississippi and Louisiana. He controls a whole pack of werewolves by letting them drink his blood. Oh and he killed Eric's parents way back when Eric was still human, which we find out mid-season.





The King wants Bill to leave Bon Temps (and Sophie-Anne) to become one of his sheriffs. He threatens to kill Sookie - and the evil Lorena returns to make that threat even realer - so Bill pretends to be on Edgington's side and to give up Sookie. He has really creepy violent sex with Lorena (including turning her head all the way around so he doesn't have to look at her face while he fucks her) and helps Russell collect a stripper to feed on. General vampire badassery, only his heart's just not in it.

Bill plays pretend bad guy for a while, but when Sookie ends up at Russell's house he tries to protect her, very unsuccessfully. Russell orders Lorena to kill Bill, which she decides to do it in the slowest most torturous way ever because... well... because she's Lorena. It ends badly for the both of them... Lorena gets staked (finally!) and Bill is drained of all his blood. Sookie saves him (girl power!) and then Sookie makes him feed on her, but he's so starving that he can't stop and almost kills her without realizing it. But then he helps revive her so it's okay... They break up and then they make up, you know how they do. He spends the rest of the season trying to protect her and failing miserably at it.


  • WHAT'S UP WITH ERIC THIS SEASON?
Eric is as hot as ever (thank you for a nude scene in the first episode!) He spends this entire season going back and forth between mixed feelings about Sookie... he loves her/he wants to eat her/he wants to protect her/he wants to let others eat her/he loves her. He spends most of the season either helping her or using her to help himself (it's nice when the two overlap though, isn't it?) He's got problems of his own this season... Queen Sophie-Anne is on his ass about selling the rest of the vampire blood and then when the Magister figures out what's going on, she makes Eric the scapegoat. The Magister raids Fangtasia and chains up Pam. (They blame Bill to save their asses.)

We learn about his past with Russell and his werewolves: they killed his family back when he was still human and so now he's vowed revenge on Russell Edgington. But first, he's got to take care of poor Pam. First he helps Russell convince a reluctant Sophie-Anne to marry him, then he gets her to clear Eric's name in the whole blood-dealing thing with the Magister. Then Russell forces the Magister to perform the marriage and beheads him. Gross.

With the Magister out of the way, Eric is now free to have some homoerotic moments with Talbot (Russell's boyfriend) which turns out to only be a ruse in order to stake him, killing the only one Russell ever loved. Poor Talbot. Then he goes to the American Vampire League for protection and 'testifies' against Russell about everything - the blood, the marriage, the Magister - but they don't want any part of it. Then Russell freaks everyone out by killing a news anchor on live TV and giving a crazy speech about how vampires are superior to humans. Now everyone in town hates vampires more than ever (ah metaphors!) and the AVL wants Eric to take care of it.

Eric backstabs and double crosses pretty much everyone (except Pam, who he's leaving all his money to, what a good daddy maker). He finally gets to make out with Sookie and not in a dream sequence! But then he chains her up in his basement and offers her to Russell in exchange for his life. Dick. He also finally gets to drink Sookie's blood, yum-o! When we last see him, he's handcuffed himself to Russell after tricking him into going out in the sunlight, ready to sacrifice himself to get rid of Russell for good. We absolutely refuse to believe that they will kill off Eric's character - do they want to lose half their audience? - so we're just waiting for the twist.

  • WHAT'S UP WITH JESSICA AND HOYT THIS SEASON?
Jessica has accidentally killed a trucker and the body is stinking up the house. (It's not her fault, Bill never taught her how to feed on people properly, luckily Pam gives her some vampire mentoring.) She's on her own without Bill around so she tries to take care of it, but... wait... what? It's suddenly it's gone. Hm... who could've taken it? (You'll find out later... keep reading.) Jessica is in a self-loathing stage so she won't get back with Hoyt even though he still wants to be with her. She thinks he's too good for her. Hoyt, who has been sleeping on Jason's couch ever since cutting the apron strings from his momma, eventually starts dating this girl Summer.

Things we know about Summer [Melissa Rauch]:
Ugh. She's super-sweet, but in a fakey passive-aggressive way. She's also really pushy and annoying, just showing up uninvited and forcing her way into Hoyt's life. We later find out that his mother has been behind it all along. Jason likes her because she cooks and cleans, but Hoyt can't help but compare her to Jessica and she just doesn't measure up. And she collects dolls. Really. When she offers him her virginity (even though it's against 'God's rules') in order to keep him, he breaks up with her and tries to win Jessica back once and for all.



Jessica is working as a hostess at Merlotte's and getting hit on by Sam's newly discovered shifter brother Tommy (more on him later). Hoyt tries to convince Jessica that he loves her and that's all that matters. Hoyt goes outside and Tommy turns into a dog and mauls his arm, but Jessica shows up to save the day and gives Hoyt her blood. Then later she confesses what's been going on - about the trucker and everything - and says that she doesn't want to give up drinking human blood. Hoyt offers himself to her for her to feed on him. How romantic.

  • WHAT'S UP WITH LAFAYETTE THIS SEASON?
First Pam and Eric are on his ass about selling the vampire blood for them; the white trash drug dealers he's trying to sell it to are on his ass for... being black and gay? He's trying to take care of Tara this season, as she's all kinds of fucked up after Eggs' death. In an attempt to keep Tara from going over the edge, Lafayette brings her to visit his mother Ruby Jean who has been hospitalized for the past six months. Now we know why Lafayette has to work two legal jobs and a handful of illegal ones... it's to pay for Ruby Jean's care. She's mentally ill and homophobic and racist.... and really just an excuse for Lafayette to finally get a love interest this season in Ruby Jean's caretaker Jesus!

Things we know about Jesus Velasquez [Kevin Alejandro]:
He's gay and hot and into magic and shit like that. His father was an evil sorcerer or something, so he and his mother traveled all over the world trying to stay hidden from him. First Jesus is freaked out by the fact that Lafayette is a drug-dealer, but then after seeing what vampire blood can do he wants to try it.





They have a super trippy V-experience together in which they learn that they both have 'magic' in their family history. But then Lafayette starts seeing Jesus with a monster-face and all the little religious dolls in his house start talking to him. We won't know til the finale what's going to come of that, but hopefully it's bringing Lafayette some new power, not getting him into trouble.


  • WHAT'S UP WITH TARA THIS SEASON?
Tara is just going further and further into a horrible downward spiral of well... horrible downward spiraliness. Distraught over losing Eggs and pissed over Sookie's involvement, she starts off wanting to die and tries to kill herself while her mom is thanking Jesus for... something. Then after seeing Lafayette's mother realizes she doesn't want to turn out like that. She's outside Merlotte's when some racist rednecks start talking shit about Eggs so she goes nuts and starts yelling at them and beating them up. A brand new mysterious vampire in town, Franklin Mott, comes to help her out and they end up going back to his hotel to have hardcore sex that makes her eyes roll back into her head.

Things we know about Franklin Mott [James Frain]:
You thought Russell Edgington was crazy? No, Franklin is way more crazy. He may have a sexy British accent and extra-long fangs, but he's a hot mess of fucked up. He's in town to find Sookie, so he disposes of Jessica's little dead body problem in exchange for info about Bill and Sookie... After one night of sex with Tara he decides that he's in love with her, ties her up and kidnaps her so she can become his vampire bride. He also types text messages really fast and he's super proud of that.



Franklin takes Tara to Russell's house, where she has to pretend to love him back in order to keep from potentially getting killed. She sees Bill and asks him for help but he says 'no' because he's still going undercover as a bad guy with Lorena and Russell. In what may be a more disturbing sex scene than Bill turning Lorena's head around, Tara - in self preservation mode - gnaws on Franklin's neck, drinks his blood, and has sex with him. The next morning she smashes his head in and telepathically sends a message to (an also kidnapped) Sookie that she has a plan to get them out of there. Sookie won't leave without Bill, who has been tortured and drained, and Tara's not too happy about that. After Tara discovers that Bill has 'accidentally' drained Sookie and practically killed her without realizing it, she throws him out into the sunlight to die. (But he doesn't, hm, peculiar.)

Tara then has to deal with all this post-traumatic type stuff, getting over being kidnapped and raped, on top of getting over Eggs' death. Then Franklin comes back, pissed that she tried to kill him and more importantly, that she didn't mourn him afterward. He promises that he will mourn her after he kills her, but Jason saves the day by shooting him in the heart with a wooden bullet. Tara and Jason bury Franklin's body bloody goo and have a sweet little moment together... until she kisses him and he blurts out that he shot Eggs. She goes nuts again momentarily... but after confronting Andy about it and hearing his side of the story, she finally seems to have found some peace after all. In her last scene, she's getting drunkenly fucked by Sam. Way to repeat a theme from season 1!


  • WHAT'S UP WITH ANDY THIS SEASON?
After he covered up Jason's shooting of Eggs, Andy Bellefleur became the town hero. Then Sheriff Bud Dearborne retires unexpectedly (he's fed up with the dead bodies that keep popping up all over Bon Temps) and Andy gets his job. Often portrayed as a jerk or as comic relief (sometimes both) in the past seasons, Andy actually has some nice moments in the third season... between trying to keep the secret covered up and trying to protect Jason. Of course, it hasn't been easy to keep Jason in check (see below). At the end of the past episode, Tara confronts Andy about the cover up and he confesses his feelings about it: Eggs had confessed and clearly wanted to die... but it wasn't his fault. It was all Maryann. Jason shot Eggs to protect him because he didn't know and he wishes it didn't happen. After all the shit Tara's been through this season, who'd have thought it'd be Andy Bellefleur who helped her comes to terms with what happened.


  • WHAT'S UP WITH JASON THIS SEASON?
Jason has easily the most annoying and confusing storyline this season. In previous seasons he was sort of an ornament to look at shirtless... and at other times he was comic relief, but I don't know what the writers are doing to him right now.

First he's totally guilt-ridden over killing Eggs that he just can't deal. Andy gives him a pep talk and convinces him to go about life as usual (which means lots of sex, "conscience off, dick on!") Of course, his subconscious isn't having that... he keeps seeing bullet holes in everyone's head. Now that's a turn off. Then suddenly, Jason switches from guilt and depression to jealousy. Andy is a bonafide celebrity now for something Jason did... he deserves some recognition!

He's also super jealous of a high school football player "Kitch" who is stealing his glory by beating his passing record. Poor poor Jason.
Things we know about Kitch Maynard [Grey Damon]:
He's a douchebag. That's really about it. He's the new football star, he's about to beat Jason's record... and he's more cocky about it than even Jason has ever been. Basically, he's who Jason used to be... only better... and more of an asshole.
Oh and we find out later that the reason he's so great at football is that he's been taking V. Jerk.



Now all of a sudden, Jason decides he needs to have a sense of purpose or some shit... so he wants to be a cop. Oh, but becoming a cop the usual way is too much work! He'd rather just blackmail Andy into making him a cop. (Yeah, it just doesn't work that way Jason.) Andy, humors him a little bit, but yeah, you don't become a cop overnight. One night, Andy gives him a ride home and stops by a crime scene on the way and Jason helps tackle a drug dealer. He also spots a girl that he's decided to become obsessed with... Crystal Norris.

Things we know about Crystal Norris [Lindsay Pulsipher]:
She's from Hot Shot, a.k.a. drug dealer land. Her father and her brother-cousins are meth dealers (and racist and homophobic and sexist and creepy). She's engaged to her half-brother Felton Norris (really) so they can 'breed'. Yes, they're literally inbreeders - they're a family of werepanthers, which as Jason put is "like a werewolf... only a panther?"




Now Jason is pretending to be a cop and being a total douche about it. He's suddenly no longer feeling guilty about Eggs... nope, he's on an obnoxious cocky power-trip, pulling over "Kitch" just to be an asshole and practically stalking Crystal. He goes to her cousin (the drug-dealer he tackled earlier) and trades him meth for information about Crystal. He and Crystal hook up, but then the next day she pretends she doesn't know him because of her finance/brother. She runs away from home to be with Jason, but then when Felton finds her, she pretends Jason kidnapped and raped her. (She's quite a lady.) They knock Felton out, plant drugs on him and call the cops... but he gets away because he's really strong (um, panther). Back at the police station, her cousin sees her and then she's afraid that they will think she's a snitch so she's hiding out with Jason.

Her dad comes looking for her, but gets his ass kicked by Sam (no really, Sam toughens up this season... you'll see). Lafayette helps Crystal save his life, by giving him vampire blood but he's even more pissed that she let those 'faggots' feed him 'vampire juice'. Yeah, thanks for saving my life. He takes off and she follows after him for some reason. She tells him that she doesn't want to marry and breed with Felton; he tells her that they're not supposed to mix and that Jason wouldn't want her if he knew what she really was.

Meanwhile, Jason is off saving Tara from Franklin and later confessing to her that he shot Eggs. Tara leaves and then Jason discovers that Sookie - who he was supposed to watching out for - is also gone. Bill is pissed when he finds out Jason lost track of Sookie, although really, when has Sookie ever done what people told her? How can he blame Jason? Jason's pissed right back so he un-invites Bill from the house. Then he hears a noise and there's a panther in his house. Guess Crystal decided to tell him the truth, in a totally scary way.

Jason takes off to look for Sookie, but instead finds Kitch and discovers he's using vampire blood to be a better athlete. Jason's pissed, but what can he do? So he goes back to Crystal. He tells her that no one in Bon Temps is quite who they seem, so who cares if she's a panther sometimes? Aw. The words every young werepanther just waits her whole life to hear. Of course, now that he's told her that he loves her, she wants him to go to Hot Shot and save the town from the DEA raid (mainly to protect all the inbred little kids that live there). Obviously no good can come of that plan.



  • WHAT'S UP WITH SAM THIS SEASON?
Sam went looking for his long lost parents that gave him up for adoption to the Merlottes. He's having a bit of a shifter identity crisis. He finally finds his parents - Melinda and Joe Lee Mickens - and well, total let down. He also has a younger brother named Tommy.

Things we know about the Mickens Family [J. Smith-Cameron, Cooper Huckabee, and Marshall Allman]:
His mom and brother are shapeshifters, his dad is an alcoholic and they're all white trash. Melinda gave Sam up for adoption because Joe Lee was in prison when he was a born. She hoped that he would turn out 'regular' like Joe Lee (that is, not a shape shifter, Joe Lee is hardly 'regular').

When they get evicted from their house, they show up at Merlotte's and go looking for a hand-out from Sam, who lets them live in one of his rentals. It is revealed that Joe Lee makes Tommy fight in dog fights (remember: shifter) just like he used to make his mother, before she got too old.

Tommy starts off not too thrilled to have a new surprise brother (and pretty jealous over the fact that Sam got away from the Mickenses), but then he realizes that Sam can help him. Eventually Sam tells ol' Mom and Dad to fuck off and takes in Tommy and gives him a job at Merlotte's. This may or may not be a mistake, as Tommy-without-parents ends up being a little bit of a punk. He's also got a little bit of a crush on Jessica, unrequited.

Sam also goes through a downward spiral this season. First he's tormented over how to deal with his parents and new brother; then he's just tired of everyone shitting on him. Crystal's father comes in the bar looking for her and calls Sam a pussy so he goes ape-shit on him, nearly killing him. We also get to see a darker side of him in a flashback: He used to use his shifter powers to be a thief, but then his 'girlfriend' and her man double-crossed him and took all his money. He found them and beat the crap out of the guy, accidentally killing the girl (and then purposely killing the guy). Then he gets really drunk and is mean to everyone at Merlotte's, calling Arlene a bitch and even dissing sweet Terry who looked like he was going to cry when Sam called him "shell shocked". Sam also kicks Tommy out, who we see tampering with Sam's safe while Sam is fucking Tara. Suspense....



  • WHAT'S UP WITH TERRY AND ARLENE THIS SEASON?

Arlene is pregnant. Surprise! Only the bad news is... she finds out that it's not Terry's baby. It's Rene's! (You remember evil serial killer Rene, right? Yikes. And... wait? Does that mean that only a few months have passed since season 1?) It takes Arlene a while to tell Terry the truth and he steps up as the absolute best person on True Blood ever, saying that he wants to marry her and raise the baby as his own. Love him. Of course, Arlene is still totally freaked about having Rene's baby. She's convinced that the baby is going to grow up to be a killer like Rene and is evil and needs to be stopped. She enlists the help of Merlotte's newest waitress Holly to induce a miscarriage.

Things we know about Holly Cleary [Lauren Bowles]:
She's a single mom, a waitress and a Wiccan. (I'm not sure exactly how accurate her portrayal of Wicca is, but so far it's at least better than the way some other shows and movies have portrayed witches.) Holly is also super-helpful and sympathetic: she talks to Tara at a local Rape Survivors meeting, she counsels Arlene about her pregnancy, she even offers Sam some herbs to help with his brand new rage problem. For some reason this all just makes me extra suspicious about her... no one on True Blood is quite what they seem.

Holly does a little ritual with Arlene in order to try to terminate the pregnancy and gives her an herbal 'decoction', but warns her that if the baby is meant to be born, it will be born, no matter what they do. Wouldn't you know it, the next time we see Arlene she's in bed bleeding and trying to calm down a frantic Terry. But when she gets checked out at the hospital, the doctor lets her know that the baby is fine (what!?) and is one strong little critter in there. The look on Arlene's face is priceless and funny and sad all at once.


And finally...

  • WHAT'S UP WITH SOOKIE THIS SEASON?
Sookie spends the beginning of the season looking for Bill. She goes to Eric for help, which he kind of gives her (even though he admits that it would be advantageous to him in numerous ways if Bill was never found). A werewolf attacks her house, but Eric tries to protect her. She's determined to go look for Bill, so Eric sends hottie werewolf Alcide Herveaux to watch out for her.

Things we know about Alcide Herveaux [Joe Manganiello]:
He's hot, in a werewolfy lumberjacky sort of way. He's a really good guy and heartbroken over his ex-girlfriend Debbie Pelt who has left his pack and gotten herself hooked on V and engaged to one of Russell's werewolf minions Cooter. Yes, his name is Cooter. Alcide is the kind of supernatural creature you want Sookie to get with... tougher than Sam, nicer than Eric, hotter than Bill.

Things we know about Debbie Pelt [Brit Morgan]:
She's like the worst person on earth. Or, um, the worst werewolf on earth. Really, that's about all you need to know for now.


Alcide takes Sookie to a were bar (which is like code for 'biker bar') so she can listen in on some thoughts and get information about where Bill might be. Bill gets in touch with Sookie and tells her to stop looking for him because he doesn't want to be found, but she's not going to give up the search. Alcide takes Sookie - in an awesome bad-ass disguise, thanks to his sister - to Debbie's engagement party/pack initiation where it is confirmed that she really is the worst person werewolf on earth. Bill tries to get Sookie to leave town, but unfortunately she gets kidnapped and brought to Russell's house.

While there, Sookie has a little Q&A session with Russell about what she is (she still doesn't know at that point). She and Tara escape, but Sookie won't leave without Bill. Tara's like "fuck Bill" because he didn't help her, but there's no arguing with Sookie Stackhouse. Sookie finds Bill and with his help kills Lorena once and for all. Debbie and Cooter are there - they had been drinking Bill's blood - but Alcide shows up to save the day in his 'Air Supply' van. Cooter gets shot, Debbie gets pissed, and Bill gets rolled up and thrown in the back of Alcide's van so they can try to save him.

Sookie makes Bill drink her delicious, delicious blood in order to revive him, but he overdoes it and nearly kills her. Tara and Alcide rush Sookie to the hospital where it's discovered that she has no blood type. Hm... could it be that Sookie's not exactly human? (Duh!) While she's in her coma, she's in this dreamy mysterious fairyland - yeah I'm giving it away a few lines early, she's a fairy! - where she's warned that Bill will try to take her light. Um, cryptic warning isn't it? Bill gives her a vampire blood transfusion, which saves her life. She wakes up, they break up, everyone cries. Alcide goes back home. Boo. We miss him. Please return for the finale.

The extra vampire blood in Sookie's system makes her a little extra bad-ass than usual. Russell and the remaining werewolves show up at her house and she takes Debbie down single-handedly while Bill and Jessica take care of the rest of them. (Debbie runs away and we're left wondering if we'll see her again. Hopefully not.) Well, while Bill and Jessica try to take care of them... Russell actually leaves because he senses that Talbot has been killed (by Eric). Then Bill and Sookie have crazy, chokey sex on the floor. Sookie's cousin Hadley decides to leave town because her son has the same powers Sookie has, so she's worried for his safety. She warns Sookie not to trust Bill. It finally comes out that Bill was sent to find Sookie by Queen Sophie-Anne because Hadley had told her what she was, oops, sorry cousin. Bill travels to Sookie's mysterious fairyland (how?) and learns that she is in fact a fairy-human hybrid.

Meanwhile, back in crazy land, Russell is mourning Talbot (if by 'mourning', you mean, killing prostitutes that kinda look like him) and wreaking havoc. Upon Pam's suggestion, Eric decides to use Sookie to tempt Russell... so he locks her in his basement. Sookie is obviously PISSED. She manages to escape and she and Bill go on the run, but Eric and Russell find them. Eric has told Russell about how drinking Sookie's blood will let him walk in the sun (every vampire's dream) and gets Bill on board with the plan, once he realizes it's the only way to save Sookie's life. Sookie is still pissed, at everyone. They drink her blood and yep, it works...temporarily, but Eric knew that. Once he's outside with Russell, he handcuffs him and is going to sacrifice himself to save everyone else (Bill, Sookie, Pam, etc.) although it won't really matter if Pam doesn't untie Bill in time to save Sookie's life, because she's laying on a table half-dead.

And that's where the episode ends.

So let's review 'where' everyone is at the start of the season 3 finale episode.
  • Eric and Russell Edgington are handcuffed together outside, so they can meet the 'true death' together.
  • Sookie is a fairy... and dying on a table unless Bill can feed her some blood.
  • Bill is chained up by Pam, who's too sad watching Eric fulfill a murder-suicide by sunlight to untie him.
  • Jason and Crystal are in love and are going to try to break up a DEA raid on Hot Shot.
  • Arlene is still pregnant and not too happy about it, even though Terry is thrilled.
  • Jessica and Hoyt are back together and she's drinking his blood.
  • Summer and Hoyt's mom are plotting their next move.
  • Angry-man Sam kicked Tommy out and now Tommy is up to no good.
  • Tara might finally be okay with Eggs' death... and is back to having sex with Sam.
  • Lafayette is... kind of freaked out.
Who's dead? The trucker, a sad stripper, Lorena, Cooter, a handful of other werewolves (including one played by Don Swayze!), the Magister, Talbot, a TV news anchor, a Talbot-look-alike prostitute, and Franklin Mott. (PS: Check out True Blood's version of an In Memoriam video, it's hilarious... and gross.)

Who haven't we heard from in a few episodes?
  • Alcide Herveaux: Please come back! And take off your shirt!
  • Debbie Pelt: Has she given up on trying to avenge Cooter's death?
  • Sookie's cousin Hadley: Is her son also a fairy? Is he in danger?
  • Queen Sophie-Anne: If Russell dies, does she get to keep all of his money?
  • The American Vampire League: Now that there's been an increase in anti-vampire hate crimes, will the Vampire Rights Amendment ever pass?
  • Felton Norris: Will Crystal's fiance/half-brother try to kill Jason?
  • Melinda and Joe Lee Mickens: Have they made their last appearance in Sam's life?

Predictions/Open-Questions:
  • You know they aren't actually going to let Eric die... How will he cheat the 'true death'?
  • If Eric does live... does that mean we haven't seen the last of Russell Edgington either?
  • What will happen when Jason and Crystal try to break up the DEA's raid on Hot Shot. No good can possibly come of that.
  • Will Arlene come to terms with the fact that she's having Rene's baby or will she try to terminate the pregnancy again?
  • Is anyone ever going to forgive Sam for all the horrible things he said?
  • What the heck was Tommy doing breaking into with Sam's safe? And what will Sam do to him when he finds out?
  • Can we please see some more of Alcide? We miss him. Bring back Alcide!
  • Summer and Hoyt's mom are planning something, but what?
  • What do Lafayette's visions really mean? Are the messages he's receiving really warnings?
  • Is Tara finally okay? Will Tara ever be okay?
  • Now that everyone knows Sookie is a fairy... will she ever be safe again?
Need to get caught up on Seasons 1 and 2?

Strange Love Nothing But the Blood

Is Sal Returning to Mad Men?

Like most Mad Men fans, I was really bummed when Salvatore Romano (Bryan Batt) was written off the show. The closeted character's exit - he was fired by Don Draper after rejecting the advances of an exec from Lucky Strike, one of Sterling Cooper's largest accounts - was unfortunately realistic, especially for the time. But many fans have been holding out hope that we would see Sal again, and it looks like that just might happen soon:
We asked for it in our photo flashback on the stars of Mad Men, and it looks like our wish may come true: TVguide.com is reporting that Bryan Batt will return to the hit AMC drama as closeted art director Salvatore Romano before the end of the current season. The Broadway vet joined his former castmates at the 2010 Emmy Awards, where he answered questions about a possible return with an enigmatic smile. Tight-lipped show creator Matthew Weiner said only, “Yes, Sal is alive. There’s hope, but you have to watch the show. You know I’m not going to say anything.” [Broadway.com via ONTD]
And from the original TVGuide.com piece:
By now I've learned that getting the super secretive Mad Men cast to confirm
29 August 2010 - Los Angeles, California - Bryan Batt. 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE. Photo Credit: Byron Purvis/AdMedia
anything is impossible. Even so, I'm feeling fairly confidant that before long we'll be seeing Bryan Batt back in '60s-era NYC as artistic director Salvatore Romano on the Emmy-winning AMC drama. Why am I feeling so positive? Well, in the past, every time I'd run in to Bryan and ask for an update on his status, he'd tell me quite sullenly that he's heard nada from anyone. Basically, he was getting on with his life. But at the Emmy Awards, Bryan was back with his cast and just seemed tickled — as if he knew something we didn't.

"A few months ago I got a call from the god of Mad Men [series creator Matthew Weiner]," Bryan told me. So what did Weiner say? "He told me Sal is not dead." That's all Bryan would say on the subject (which makes it sound as if the much-missed actor has been brought back under the cone of silence).

It's the most encouraging news we've heard since I broke news last year that Bryan had been dropped from the cast for storyline reasons.
So what do you think, Mad Men fans? Is Sal coming back? Do you want him to come back? What has he been up to? Is he still married to Kitty? Is it Sunday night yet?

Tila Tequila: Supertramp?

Cosmo's "What's Not So Hot" victim this month is Tila Tequila.


12 May 2010 - Los Angeles, California - Tila Tequila. Tila Tequila Album Release party_Arrivals held At The Conga Room. Photo Credit: Kevan Brooks/AdMedia
Supertramp

Dear Tila Tequila,

We think the dead bird strapped to your impossible-to-compress chest is technically a cape, so we assume you're going for a goth superhero look. Sadly, mega skankiness is your only power.

Sincerely,
Cosmo

[Note: This isn't the exact same photo that Cosmo used, but it's a similar one from the same event. Ms. Tequila wore this outfit at the release party for her album Welcome To The Darkside.]


Check out the rest of the Cosmo Quickies for August 2010.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Re-Run Celebrity Spotting and Victim-Blaming on Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Today, while watching an old episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Logo - the "Go Fish" episode in which the swim team gets attacked by a sea monster - I spotted not one but two familiar faces! Think of this as a "Where Were They Then?" 1998 edition.

Two members of the swim team included Wentworth Miller (Michael Scofield on Prison Break) and Shane West (Dr. Ray Barnett on ER, although I will always know him as the dude who dated Mandy Moore in A Walk to Remember, don't judge me). Miller gets to act out an "awesome" transformation scene reminiscent of something from Alien or Species. Clearly he's improved his acting skills since the '90s.







(There was also a quick cameo by Conchata Ferrell as the school nurse.)

Interestingly enough, this episode had a really disturbing moment... Buffy is in the car with another douchey member of the swim team, Cameron (Jeremy Garrett), who is boring her with swimming stories and then suddenly he asks her if she's wearing a bra. Then he locks the car door and I assume intends to rape or assault her (he said something like "oh you like it rough?") Of course, she's not just a teenage girl, she's the slayer. So she defends herself, in the process spraining his wrist and giving him a bloody nose.

Then the principal catches them and is mad at her for injuring a member of the swim team before the very important state championships. (He earlier "suggested" that Willow change the grade of another swim team member so he would still qualify for the team.)

BUFFY: I was not the attacker Principal Snyder, I was the attacked.

PRINCIPAL SNYDER: That's not how it looked from where I'm standing.

CAMERON: I don't know what happened. First she leads me on and then she goes 'schizo' on me.

BUFFY: Lead you on? When did I lead you on?

CAMERON: Come on. ...I mean, look at the way she dresses.
Then later the swim coach also implies that she brought this on herself by saying "Try to dress more appropriately from now on. This isn't a danceclub." 

Joss Whedon's shows are always typically more feminist than other average shows created by men, so there are often a lot of moments in  BTVS in which Buffy gets treated shitty because she's female and then turns the tables on the guy doing it. It's just interesting though because I specifically remember almost everything about this episode (including what/who the sea monsters really are) except for that scene. 

Of course, Whedon makes sure to remind viewers that Buffy can take on any monster (or douchebag). Buffy tries to warn Miller's character Gage that he might be in danger of getting killed by a sea monster but he's annoyed by her "shadowing" him... until he gets attacked by evil-again-for-now Angel. Buffy saves him and then the big tough star athlete asks her to walk him home to protect him. Yep. That's right.

I won't spoil the ending for those of you who haven't seen it, but want to... but basically Buffy saves the day. As usual.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Project Runway: Gretchen Sucks

Does anyone out there still watch Project Runway or are my mother and I the last two idiots out there? The show was going down hill before its switch from Bravo to Lifetime, but lately it's just been really bad. The current season is easily the most boring - and most annoying - to date. And in case you didn't notice, they switched from hour long episodes to an hour and a half. Whoever thought that this show needed another 30 minutes must have been out of their minds.

I typically watch each episode like this: I watch the designers get their challenge and then I fast forward until I see Tim Gunn again. I listen to Tim critque each of the designs-in-progress hoping for him to say something witty and then I fast forward again until the runway show and judging, hoping for Michael Kors to say something witty. Then I roll my eyes and wait until next week.

Why do I keep watching it? I'm not sure. I DVR the show every week for my mother, but once it records I always inevitably end up watching it myself as well, even though I don't really care who wins or is 'in' or 'out'. I think I have some sick kind of loyalty to the show after all these years (it is now in its 8th season) but my patience is starting to wear thin.

Last night's episode (episode 5) was especially annoying... because it focused so heavily on Gretchen, who I absolutely hate. The only good part was when Tim slammed her in the final two minutes... they should've shown 88 minutes of that and two minutes of fashion. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The challenge was the ever-dreaded team challenge. Gretchen, who won the first two challenges (one deserved, one not so much) apparently now thinks that she is a fashion goddess and superior to everyone else on the show - and on the planet. She somehow convinced the rest of her team that it would be a good idea to do a really boring, ugly, ill-fitting collection.

In case you think I'm exaggerating, here are the six designs from their team:




Boooring!!

(Note: I think the Lifetime website has the outfits incorrectly attributed. Although they all worked together and made various pieces of each other's outfits, the cowl neck blouse that they have listed as Gretchen's I believe was actually made by Michael C, as well as the grey blouse from Christopher's outfit. Coincidentally my two favorite pieces in the whole collection, despite the designers all throwing him under the bus as the weakest link.)

Just to contrast that, here is the winning team's collection and below it, the winning design (by Cassanova):




 

Anyway... Gretchen decided that their collection was the best because "it doesn't look like, really, any of us. And I think that's a Project Runway first."

Um... yeah, maybe... but with good reason. When has that ever been the point of Project Runway? One thing that the judges specifically praised about the winning team's designs was that they worked together as a cohesive collection, but you could still see each individual designer's personal aesthetic, attitude, and style.

The entire time that the losing team was up on the runway being grilled by the judges, I just wanted to reach into my TV set and flick Gretchen off screen. She was so fucking annoying...
GRETCHEN: It was really important for us to thoroughly and truly collaborate, rather than create designs individually. What we felt like that would allow us to do is enable everybody's strengths to come out and be supported where our weaknesses were. So rather than have six looks that maybe referenced the same thing come out, we can have six looks that were to us at least cohesive.

HEIDI KLUM: You were saying you didn't want to show some of the weaknesses. Who was the weakest designer in yoru group?

GRETCHEN: See that's the hard thing. We all have such different processes and I hope you can be mindful of that when you make the decision you have to make [voice cracks and starts to "cry"] because we worked really hard and I don't think there was a weak link. We all tried really hard and I know that you have a lot to tell us but I just really want you to think about that... that we all just really did the best we could for each other, for ourselves individually, and for you.
[...]
HEIDI KLUM: Six designers, one of you has immunity this week and that is Michael so one of you five will be out.

GRETCHEN: Can I say one last thing about that? I ask for you to be mindful of who you want to see more from. We think that's the fairest way for you to choose, because we're not going to choose. We stand united and we think that's the best way that you can walk away from this feeling as confident as we are, regardless of who has to go home, that that was the right person. 
Then a few minutes later, Gretchen began the backpedaling and ass-covering and blame-throwing.

GRETCHEN: We very late in the game realized that Grandma had arrived and so...

MICHAEL KORS: That's not how you felt when you came out here.

GRETCHEN: Well, we were trying...

NINA GARCIA: So who styled each and every... I mean, I understand that you guys all had different hands...

GRETCHEN: I'll take responsibility for styling but I also feel like I had to style, maybe, a crappy collection, where I was like trying to save it...

HEIDI KLUM: What do you mean you're trying to save it? You said you loved it.

NINA GARCIA: I agree with Heidi, you said you loved it.

GRETCHEN:  I think we loved... I mean...

MICHAEL KORS: Gretchen, you are a sportswear head, since this is so your world, then who had the hardest time where it isn't their world. Who do you think had the trickiest time dealing with this?

GRETCHEN: Um, I think Michael did, so I helped him a lot [...] I do have to say that out of the group Michael's technical skills, I feel, were the weakest, so I had to work with him so much that I had no time to focus on what makes me strong. So like, the things I made, I had to make at the last minute all the way around and I'm not proud of them.

HEIDI KLUM: It's amazing how your tune has changed from when we started this conversation.

GRETCHEN:  I think we all just tried our hardest and we don't know who to pick cause nobody was on their game. There's not like you were the worst on your game, it's like everybody sucked.
Then Ivy went ahead and joined in on the "Throw-Michael-Under-The-Bus" game.
HEIDI KLUM: Ivy who do you think is the weakest designer on your team?

IVY: Objectively speaking, I think probably each and every one of us took a lot of our time to help Michael out.

HEIDI KLUM: Michael has immunity for this week. There are five designers standing here. Out of these five designers who is the weakest designer?

IVY: I would say no one.
And then everyone else followed suit, except for A.J...
CHRISTOPHER: I would agree with Ivy and Gretchen that in this challenge Michael had not the strongest skills.
AJ: I think that all I can speak for is myself. The place where I personally was weak was not bringing my fun and unusual style into this collection.
ANDY: I agree with my team members. I did think that Michael had the least amount of skill sets.
HEIDI KLUM: It's always easy to point the finger at the one who can't go home. Meanwhile he was the one that won the last challenge, and he was really really good and really really talented.
Blah blah blah...

GRETCHEN:  I feel like you're asking for a martyr. I don't want to leave just because I say 'pick me' because I guess I failed too..

MICHAEL KORS: Gretchen, someone's going down.

GRETCHEN: I don't want to go home. I don't think it's my time. I've shown you what I can do and the direction that I'd like to show you more. I really feel like Michael was our weakest link.

IVY: The thing is, I don't konw if it's laziness or just ignorance.
HEIDI KLUM: But, Michael has immunity for this week, so this is all a waste of time. We're talking about the five of you over here.
Now they may be right in that maybe Michael doesn't have the same level of techncial skills that say, Gretchen, has... but it's pretty easy to blame the guy with immunity. (Who happened to design really nice stuff this episode and last.) The fact that Michael allegedly took up so much of their time, really doesn't have much of an effect on the final collection in my opinion. It wasn' ta bad collection because it was poorly made because they didn't have time... it was a bad collectio nbecause the whole fucking aesthetic was lousy. Period. It has nothing to do with Michael's sewing skills.

And Ivy's outfit was god awful hideous (it truly was "Golden Girls" like Michael Kors said) but she had the nerve to call Michael lazy and/or ignorant? What.The.Fuck? It broke my heart to see him break down afterwards, off stage, about how much it hurts and feels like shit to be dissed so hard by all his teammates (especially after they decided that they wouldn't throw anyone under the bus).

Ultimately A.J. went home and I won't say it wasn't deserved, although personally I hated Ivy's outfit more. I really wanted to see Gretchen go home, even though I knew that wasn't going to happen. But it was definitely nice to see her in the bottom for a change. I'd like to think that this will kick her ego down a few notches, but I don't think it will.

As she went backstage after not being eliminated, she said "I take responsibility for the things that they called me out" but then later in her video blog she took it all back and claimed a whole other story. Whatever.
A.J.: I don't think I deserved to go yet. I would've felt better going if  had left for something that was my point of view and it's a really hard and big pill to swallow to know that you're going home for something that doesn't have a trace of you in it. [...]

A.J.: The only regret that I have is that there's not any of me in what I went out for.



TIM GUNN: Sit for a minute A.J., I have a few words for 'Team Luxe'. I fundamentally do not understand your behavior and demeanor and affect on the runway. I don't get it. I don't know why you allowed Gretchen to manipulate, control and bully you. I don't understand it. And A.J. you've taken the bullet and I now have to send you to the workroom to clean up your space.

IVY: Woah, Tim's kind of right in what he says and I don't think Tim just says things just to say. I think it kind of made all of us have an 'aha' moment.
Yeah, fuck you Ivy. Where was your aha moment, when you were a) saying how much you loved your ugly baby of a collection and b) calling Michael unskilled, lazy and ignorant? And fuck you Gretchen... just because.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The One Million Moms Still Don't Understand TV Ratings

The latest action alert from the One Million Moms is about Family Guy. Now, I'm not going to spend a lot of time on the content of this alert, mostly because I can't stand Family Guy and don't want to waste any time defending it. (I think my hate for the show is magnified by a couple of people that I've known over the years who have forced me to watch it with them, apparently thinking that if I just watched their favorite episode while they explained the "genius" to me, I would suddenly see the light and start to find it funny. Spoiler alert: I didn't.) But there is one aspect of this alert that I want to address.

We used to criticize the Moms for not taking a show's rating into account in their alerts. Now they often mention the ratings (which we think is just one piece of evidence proving that they read our blog), but we still have an issue with the way they do it. This new alert is a perfect example:
"Family Guy" is the most disgusting show on television. Foul language, s*xual comments and the mockery of Christianity are the norm in this vile program. The August 15 episodes were cruel, bloody and crude. Fox aired two episodes back to back on Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. EDT/ 8:00 p.m. CDT.(* is used to bypass internet filters.)

"Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane has shown time and time again that he has no regard for morals or values. Dare we ask what he will do next? MacFarlane will do anything for a buck and ratings. He is known to go after shock value and has no respect for others with special needs. MacFarlane has shown numerous times he also doesn't mind making his viewers nauseous while watching.

WARNING: Graphic content description! You may prefer to skip to the TAKE ACTION portion of this alert. This episode was rated TV-14 DLSV which means it should be suitable for 14-year-olds.
A rating of TV-14 DLSV really does not mean "suitable for 14 year olds". It's not such a crazy stretch to interpret it that way, but I think the Moms know what they're doing by putting that slight spin on it, and it's disingenuous.

Here's the real description of a TV-14 DLSV rating from TVGuidelines.org:

Parents Strongly Cautioned
This program contains some material that many parents would find unsuitable for children under 14 years of age. Parents are strongly urged to exercise greater care in monitoring this program and are cautioned against letting children under the age of 14 watch unattended. This program may contain one or more of the following: intensely suggestive dialogue (D), strong coarse language (L), intense sexual situations (S), or intense violence (V).
Okay, so this rating does mean that most parents would find this type of program to be unsuitable for children under 14, or at the very least would not want to let children under 14 watch without a parent or other adult. It doesn't mean that the program is automatically suitable for all children 14 and over. The Moms are acting as if a TV-14 rating means a total green light for parents to let all of their teenagers watch a show without any parental involvement. I don't know about you, but that's not how I would interpret phrases like "parents are strongly urged to exercise greater care in monitoring this program".

They also totally gloss over the DSLV qualifiers. Those aren't attached to every show that's rated TV-14, and they're there to give more specific information about what kind of potentially objectionable or inappropriate content a show contains. If a show has all four letters attached to its rating, I would think the Moms would know by now that it's probably not going to be something they would want their kids to watch.

It would be a different story if the Moms were critiquing the rating system itself and arguing that it's inadequate or poorly enforced. But they're not. There is a page on TVGuidelines.org that provides contact information for people who want to give feedback to the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board, which is something that I've never seen the Moms mention. Instead, they go after a show's sponsors and try to get shows they don't like taken off the air, even if they have to stretch the truth about certain shows being marketed to kids to do it. Because, as their FAQ states, as a division of the American Family Association their real goal is "to motivate and equip citizens to change the culture to reflect Biblical truth". If you don't accept their truth or support their goal...well, too bad.

It's almost enough to make me want to start watching Family Guy just to spite them. Almost.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

TV Quickie: Vampire Terrorists

HBO's True Blood is known for being full of metaphors and subtext. Gay rights... Christian fundamentalism... sex... drugs... rock and roll... racism... and now Islamophobia?

Last week's episode featured a crazy Russell Edgington (Denis O'Hare) slaughtering a news anchor on live television, much to the dismay of the American Vampire League.


This week, AVL spokeswoman Nan Flanagan (Jessica Tuck) went on television to speak out against the "anti-vampire sentiment and hate crimes sweeping the nation":
"Look I do not deny that this was the heinous act of a mad man. Russell Edgington is an extremist and a terrorist but that's not because he is a vampire. It's because he is an extremist and a terrorist. He is one individual, just as Jefferey Dahlmer was an individual, and I certainly dont recall protests or a call to punish all human men after his --"
In the wake of all the madness about the  "Ground Zero Mosque" (which is neither a mosque, nor 'at Ground Zero'), I can't help but notice the familiarity.

I can't even count how many times in the past few weeks that I've had to say the words "not all Muslims are terrorists" (or something similar to that) and it feels like no matter how many times I say it, I still find just as much bigotry in the news, on the blogs, on the walls of my Facebook 'friends'. So I'll say it again: Not all Muslims are terrorists. Not even most Muslims are terrorists. Islam is not a religion of violence and hate (at least not anymore than Christianity is).

So when Nan Flanagan says that the heinous act of one crazy vampire terrorist isn't due to his being a vampire, but to his being a crazy extremist... I get it. But I'm not completely sure that the metaphor works in this case, because metaphors in a supernatural TV show don't always correlate exactly to the real world.

Why it works:

Just because violence is part of the "vampire way" that doesn't mean most vampires are going around ripping hearts out on live TV (or even off live TV). Just like there might be violence in the Koran, the Bible, etc. but that doesn't mean that every religious person is interested in being part of a religious war.

It also works because it doesn't necessarily have to just be about Muslims either. You could see the same kind of thing play out with gay rights or people who murder abortion doctors, etc...

Why it doesn't work:

The metaphor only goes so far because vampires aren't human.

True Blood is fiction and vampires aren't just another religion or race, they're a whole other species of the un-dead. Not all of the vampires on the show are evil or violent, but violence is in their nature... violence is part of the vampire way.

But violence isn't really part of the Muslim way (at least not anymore than it is part of the Christian way). I know that what a few radical terrorists did on September 11 has nothing to do with the millions of moderate Muslim-Americans living in the U.S. but too many non-Muslim Americans don't get this.

So that's where the metaphor loses me. When someone says on the news that most Muslims are moderate and peaceful, I know it's true, even if everyone around me doesn't. When Nan Flanagan says that most vampires are moderate and peaceful, are we - as viewers - supposed to believe her or not?

Of course, one part of the episode that rang so incredibly true to me was the response from Reverend Steve Newlin (Michael McMillian) of the anti-vampire church the Fellowship of the Sun:
"This heinous act of pure evil is a blessing actually, because it finally reveals the true nature of these beasts to us all and if I were less of a Christian I would say 'told ya' but of course I take no joy in this dark time."

TV Quickie: Michael Steger on True Blood!

After watching True Blood's most recent episode, we were wondering if anyone else recognized the actor who played Tony, the hustler that Russell Edgington picked up?


 


It was Navid!


Yep, it was Michael Steger, who plays Navid Shirazi on 90210 on the CW.

I was definitely surprised to see Steger playing a gay prostitute on HBO's bloody vampire drama, but since True Blood and 90210 probably don't have that many crossover viewers, we might have been the only ones who noticed it.

[Okay okay, I'll quit saying "we". I'm probably the only one who noticed it because I'm the only one who watches 90210. - Lilith]

Monday, August 23, 2010

Six Degrees of Vampire Separation

So last night on True Blood, we noticed Arielle Kebbel in one of the Sam-flashbacks. That makes this her second appearance in a vampire show... Last year she did a guest spot on The Vampire Diaries as an old friend of Stefan Salvatore. (Spoiler: She dies on both shows, poor thing.) She also will appear in the upcoming vampire-parody movie, Vampires Suck.

So it got us thinking about what other actors have done similar crossovers and we wondered how "Six Degrees of Separation" would work...

So here's our six degrees of vampire/werewolf separation:


(Click to enlarge photo)

Note: We refused to include Twilight on principle. And we're sure this isn't a comprehensive list, but eventually we just got tired and stopped. Did we miss anyone?