25 November 2010

The Gates S1 E8 "Dog Eat Dog"

Spoilers Ahead

Brace yourselves, everyone: this episode contains actual vampire action (and werewolf action too)! It's like...it's a show about paranormal creatures or something. Crazy! Yes, that is sarcasm. One shouldn't have to go episodes between glimpses of fang on a show supposedly about vampires (ABC execs take note: that might have had something to do with its cancellation).

"Dog Eat Dog" starts off on a beautiful sunny day in the not-so-sunny gated community. Even though they're not homeowners, Nick and Sarah decide to go to the homeowners meeting anyway. And good thing they did! A fight breaks out between Ben McAllister (vampire) and Simon Ford (werewolf) over (sigh) the timing of Ford's sprinkler system. Only in the suburbs. (I know the show has set up an uneasy truce between perpetual enemies, but really? That's the best they could come up with?) Nick and Dylan break up the fight and Nick banishes Ford from the meeting.

At home later that night, we're reminded again of why Simon Ford is such a charming fellow as he's abusive to both wife, Joan, and son, Lukas. In anger he storms out of the house. The next day Sarah finds him, beaten into unconsciousness and lying on his front lawn as the sprinklers drench him. Ooh, irony.

Nick spends the episode investigating anyone and everyone. Ford's wife is convinced Ben McAllister is the culprit, but it turns out he has an alibi. After a whole lot of nothing, Nick finds out about the existence of the werewolves and their fragile truce with the vampires, the breaking of which would destroy the entire community--including the humans. He then conveniently figures out that Lukas is the one who beat up Ford. It turns out that junior caught senior drunk and off guard and, after enduring yet more (verbal) abuse, snapped and kicked dad's ass good. The only problem is that, having beaten his father in a fight, Lukas is automatically the new alpha. Once the other weres find out they'll challenge and kill him (since he's too weak to take on an adult were in a fair fight). Enter Coach Ross, the beta of the pack, who feels guilty for not having known about Ford's cruelty to his family (something the whole pack should have been involved in stopping). He decides to take responsibility for beating Ford and, thus, assume the role of pack alpha. Woo. Meanwhile, Simon regains consciousness and skips town (I guess there's no coming back from being ousted as alpha).

In other events, Peg gives Devon hell for growing "devil's weed" (actually Datura, which I also grow--oh noes!), claiming it's used for the "darkest of dark magic" (if only she knew about beastlyboy's eyeballs). Before dramatically exiting the shop, Peg orders Devon to get rid of the plants--or else. I wonder how she would have reacted if she'd known her daughter, Mia, was hiding in the back of the shop the whole time. Seems Mia's been visiting Devon to learn about "the cool stuff" that her mom won't tell her anything about. Next thing you know Mia and Devon will be consorting with the devil and ruining farmers' crops (they probably already are).

Andie and Brett continue to bond over their non-humanness. She seems to want to be with Charlie but is too afraid of hurting him, so I guess Brett will have to suffice (by the end of the episode it seems as though they're going to be 'experimenting' with Andie's powers--the kind of experiments that involve getting nekkid). Meanwhile Peg has told Mia (Andie's best friend) that if Andie doesn't take her medication her body will turn on her and she'll die. Of course, Andie's mother's unmedicated body was doing just fine until she lost control and "had" to be killed by her husband (definitely not the same as dying because your body turned on you). Dr. Peg seems like an overreacting busybody. Maybe she could use a little more consorting in her life.

And then there's the ongoing drama between Claire and Christian, source of the only interesting bits in the show. She comes upon him in her house playing with her daughter, Emily. But after Claire angrily confronts Christian and tells him to get out, he replies that if she doesn't come to his place at 8 that evening, he'll tell Dylan about their hunting escapades. She doesn't have much of a choice so she shows up. Christian is like a broken record, telling Claire that he should have been the one to turn her and that it's not too late for them. She disagrees, insisting that the bond between her and Dylan can never be broken. So Christian shows her how easily it can be broken (it seems that drinking her blood is all it takes, although there could be more to it that we didn't see). At home Dylan wakes in a panic and jumps out of bed (um, isn't it around 8 o'clock? Why is he fast asleep in bed?)

Of course Dylan realizes what's happened and, when Claire gets home and provides further details, decides to wreak some revenge on his good pal Christian. There's a really cool shot where Dylan's demanded Claire's phone: from a distance we see them, arms outstretched in the moonlight, hands barely touching as the phone is passed from one to the other. Why can't there be more scenes like this? Instead there are pointless scenes, like the next one, where Dylan texts Christian (I suspect it was a product placement, but I didn't care enough to pay attention). Dylan attacks Christian and ties him to a tree, where he proceeds to wash off Christian's protective layer of sunscreen. In disbelief Christian watches Dylan drive away. A moment later the sun comes up and Christian is badly burned (although I suspect not dead). When Dylan returns home it's clear that things will never be the same between him and Claire.

The episode ends with Nick getting a surprise visit from Simon Ford. Ford claims he's leaving forever but first he wants to give Nick a word of advice--don't trust the vampires (well, he would say that, wouldn't he?) Nick replies that he's not taking sides and he doesn't trust anyone. Ford says that's good because weres and vamps aren't meant to live side by side and sooner or later things will fall apart. Apparently Nick won't want to be anywhere near The Gates when that happens. Then Ford asks Nick to deliver a message to Lukas: he's proud of him. Then he's gone.

I don't get ABC. If they wanted to make a show about vampires and weres, succubi and witches, why focus so much on human drama? Isn't there enough of that out there already? The Gates had the foundation for what could have been a really cool show, but instead turned it into boring tales of suburbia. I mean, this isn't rocket science--did the producers really need to be told that a show about monsters should actually focus on the monsters? Apparently they did. How disappointing.

Fang Files

Appearance: Human, with sharp fangs that descend at will (rarely seen).

Strengths: Super speed, strength.

Weaknesses: Sunlight (have to wear a strong sunscreen to be able to withstand it).

Mythology: A bond exists between maker and made, but the bond can be erased by another vampire.

Sound Bites

Simon Ford: Lay your hands on me again and that'll be the last thing you ever do.
Nick: You get the hell out of here or you're going to jail.

Christian: Claire, I love you.
Claire: I don't love you, Christian. I love Dylan.

Christian: You can live like a human, Dylan, but... you're not one. Neither is she.

The Gates, Season 1 Episode 8 "Dog Eat Dog." Written by Gabrielle Stanton. Directed by David Barrett. From ABC.

23 November 2010

True Blood S3 E9 "Everything is Broken"

Spoilers Ahead

Of all three seasons of True Blood, "Everything is Broken" stands out like a sore, bloody, thumb. This is the episode everyone will remember long after the show has been cancelled. And this is the episode featuring one of my favourite scenes in any show, ever. Not bad.

We start with Eric at Fangtasia, blood-covered and agitated after staking Talbot, trying to sort out sanctuary for himself and Pam. He dismisses the suggestion of going to Sookie's, but just when Ginger's house is looking like the best option, she informs them that the "V Feds" are there, along with Nan Flanagan. With a missing Magister and rumours of unsavoury goings-on in Area 5 (Eric's territory), Nan has the guards "silver" Eric into submission. Anna Paquin's vocal cords are finally given a rest; instead Ginger gets the "honour" of screaming like an idiot.

Meanwhile Russell has returned home and found the stringy remains of his lover, which he starts pulling toward him in order to embrace them. Gross is an understatement. His grief turns to utter despair as he notices that the crown he'd taken after defeating Eric's Viking king father is now missing. No wonder Eric is so anxious to hide.

Of all the vampires, Bill is having the nicest time sharing a shower with Sookie. Although judging by the shot of bloody water swirling down the drain, things might not be boding too well for them. There are more hints at upcoming discord when they return to reality and have to dispose of the werewolf corpse Bill left in the living room (which he neglected to tell Sookie about). As they work they talk, and Sookie admits that she doesn't entirely trust Bill. She asks him about the "creepy" secret file he's been keeping on her. He claims he started keeping the file in order to find out why Eric is so interested in her, and that he needs to find out what she is so that he can protect her. Sookie then delivers a line that I hope future writers will keep in mind when working on this show: she tells Bill that he needs to trust her and to stop thinking of her as a thing to be protected. Less screaming and more independence for Sookie, please.

Speaking of independent (or in this case, not so independent) women, Crystal is continuing to be trouble for Jason. He returns home to discover that Felton has somehow found Crystal and is under the impression that Jason kidnapped and raped her. The guys get into it, giving Crystal an opportunity to grab Jason's shotgun and use it to knock Felton out. And yet Jason still doesn't tell her to get lost. Instead he helps her tie Felton up and leave him in the woods with a bag of V, after which he disguises his voice and calls the police about a drug dealer tied up in the woods. I know Bon Temps is a backwater, but even their sheriff's department has to have caller ID (Jason used his cellphone).

At least Eric and Pam are smarter about covering their tracks. Nan and her guards have searched Fangtasia and found nothing. Still, Eric will have to give his official statement to her as the Authority watches via webcam. So Eric tells them all about Russell and his wolves, starting with the slaughter of Eric's family and ending with the murder of the Magister and kidnapping of Queen Sophie Ann. He also makes sure to let them know that he wants his revenge against Russell. Abruptly Nan gets up to leave, claiming that Eric and Pam are under guarded lockdown until the Authority makes their ruling.

The next day in Bon Temps, Jason checks in at the Sheriff's and discovers that Kevin (deputy) was nearly killed after going to check out the man in the woods and walking into an ambush. Thinking about Crystal's need to escape her life in Hotshot, but using Kevin's situation as an excuse, Jason suggests to Andy that if they can connect the V found at the scene the night before to the dealers in Hotshot, they'll have probable cause for another raid. Andy is all for it, claiming he's going to call in every other agency (DEA, ATF, FDA...) for support.

Tara decides to start dealing with her post-Franklin trauma and goes to a rape-survivors meeting, where she sees (and it seems is inspired by) Holly. Tara isn't the only one bonding with Holly. After a stressful encounter with Tommy, Arlene takes refuge in Merlotte's storeroom and ends up spilling her guts to Holly. She's convinced the spawn of Rene will be nothing but pure evil (just like his daddy) but she won't get an abortion because that would be wrong. Could I like this subplot less? Maybe but it's doubtful. Anyway, Holly hints that there's another way to end the pregnancy but we don't hear anything else about it this episode (a small blessing). I've decided the less Arlene per episode the better.

Meanwhile Sookie is passing the day by leafing through a family scrapbook (does she not work anymore?) Just as she's pausing at an article about 'hero' Earl Stackhouse who credited his 'sixth sense' for helping him save people from a fire, Sookie gets a call from Hadley. Annoyingly, even though she's calling because she needs to see Sookie, Hadley is surprised that Sookie is still at the house (and not off hiding from Russell). Why was she calling if she thought Sookie wouldn't be there? Anyway, after that awkwardness, she asks Sookie to meet her at the aquarium in Monroe. Hadley admits that it's because of her that the Queen (and now Russell) are interested in Sookie, but now she needs Sookie to tell her if her son, Hunter, is also a telepath. It turns out he is. Horrified, Hadley grabs him and runs off.

Bill has a far more interesting meeting than Sookie's at the aquarium. As he's sleeping in his crawl space under the house, water suddenly starts pouring through the floorboards above him. He opens the trapdoor and finds himself in the middle of a flower-strewn pond (side note: I wish directors would stop having characters walk on water--it always looks terrible and no one is impressed by it). It doesn't take long to figure out that Bill is in the beautiful place Sookie went to when she was in the coma (he got there by consuming so much of Sookie's blood). As confirmation Claudine arrives and is shocked to see Bill there, something she claims is impossible. Believing he's killed Sookie, she tries to run. He easily catches her, and it looks like he's going through an internal struggle as he attempts to control his urge to bite her. Apparently giving in, he leans down, fangs out, and Claudine pushes him away with a burst of light from her hands. She then accuses Bill of wanting to steal Sookie's light. He denies it, claiming he would never hurt Sookie (never mind that he nearly drained her...) He pleads with Claudine to tell him what she is because Sookie needs to know.

Elsewhere, night has fallen. Hoyt arrives at Merlotte's with Summer, who is proving to be increasingly obnoxious. Jessica tries to show she's fine with it but her fangs betray her. When Summer goes to the ladies' room, Jessica comes over to apologize and she and Hoyt start talking. He admits he hates Summer but that going out with her beats sitting around thinking about Jessica. This sets Jessica off and as she breaks into tears Tommy comes to her "rescue," telling Hoyt off for upsetting her. The course of true love never did run smooth.

Meanwhile Jason confesses to Crystal that Hotshot is going to get raided and cleared out. He thinks that this will make Crystal happy, as she'll be free of all the people trying to control her. He's actually surprised that Crystal isn't thrilled about it. She informs him that there are plenty of innocent people in Hotshot and that they can't let the kids go into the system. Much to Jason's confusion and dismay, she insists they have to warn them.

At Fangtasia, Eric hasn't been able to sleep all day and Pam is worried about him. He thinks he's going to be made scapegoat, telling Pam that if he can't go on she has to make a new vampire--it's her turn to be a maker. I really enjoy the moments of insight into Eric and Pam's relationship. It's probably the most 'real' and believable relationship on the show, and the only one you know is going to last. Interesting that the bond between vampire maker and child are the only ones portrayed this way--even human parents and children are liable to split (as in when Arlene was under Maryann's influence and abandoned her kids, or when Hoyt cut ties with his mom).

Anyway, as Nan Flanagan arrives outside, we see Russell crouching on the roof of the bar holding a glass urn filled with red goopy stuff. Yes, that's Talbot, and Russell talks to the urn as though it'll answer him. He's clearly out of his mind. Angry that Nan and the AVL (American Vampire League) are protecting a "murderer" (Eric) he vows to make them suffer. When an insane 3000-year-old vampire swears vengeance on you, you know you're in trouble.

Nan heads inside Fangtasia and delivers the Authority's ruling to Eric: they know nothing and none of this ever happened. He can have his revenge as long as he takes it quietly and discreetly. One of the funniest moments of the episode happens when Nan calls Eric a "whiny little bitch" when he complains that he's not being given any resources to go after Russell. Those are three words you just wouldn't associate with Eric Northman.

Back at Merlotte's, as Crystal and Jason are still debating whether to warn the residents of Hotshot, Crystal's father shows up and starts shouting at her. Sam steps in and orders dad to leave, but after continuous mockery by Tommy, when the man calls Sam a pussy, Sam snaps. He beats Crystal's dad to a pulp and it takes both Jason and Hoyt to finally pull him away. I don't think I care for dark and angry Sam. There's enough of that on this show; he was doing just fine being the nice guy.

As Tara watches Jesus and Lafayette bundle Crystal's dad into Jesus's car to take him to the ER, she's suddenly grabbed from behind. Guess who's back from the undead! I know he's psychotic, but I just can't help but like Franklin. Now he's come to see for himself that Tara was, in fact, the one who "killed" him and that she really doesn't love him. Tara decides not to be a victim anymore and stands firm as she berates him. His fangs are out but he chooses to close his hands around her neck and start squeezing. Suddenly Jason shows up holding his rifle. Franklin is less than impressed, in the way that it seems only British vampires can be. But then Jason shoots and Franklin goes splat. Wooden bullets. No more Franklin. Tara didn't mourn him but I will, just a little.

We're coming up to the unforgettable scene now. As Nan Flanagan rides in a limo to the airport, she takes a moment to have a drink from the femoral artery of a half-naked woman (contrary to her public statements of drinking only Tru Blood). In the background a TV news anchor is talking about the upcoming vote on the Vampire Rights Amendment. Suddenly Russell is there and in one seamless move he's ripped out the newscaster's spine. It is completely horrifying and awesome as Russell pushes the body away and starts talking to the camera as he holds on to, and gestures with, the bloody spine. Nan's attention is on the screen now, shocked at what she's seeing. Russell actually puts forth a compelling argument about why humans suck, but he puts forth an even more compelling argument about why vampires are scary, scary creatures. At this point Nan Flanagan looks like she's about to vomit. Guess the vamps can forget about that Vampire Rights Amendment.

Okay, so, plenty going on this episode. Some of it I could do without, but some of it was exactly what this season needed. Three episodes left--any guesses where we go from here?

Fang Files

Appearance: Pale humans with red-rimmed eyes and long, snakelike fangs that extend or retract at will. Occasionally fangs extend involuntarily, usually when a vampire is excited or aggressive.

Strengths: Super strength, speed (increase with age). Some vampires have the ability to fly.

Weaknesses: Silver, sunlight, stakes. Staying awake during the day makes a vampire sick.

Mythology: One of the worst crimes a vampire can commit is to sell vampire blood ("V") to humans (for whom it's a drug and aphrodisiac). Vampire society is highly hierarchical and all (theoretically) answer to the Authority (which has been around only a few hundred years).

Sound Bites

Bill: [As Sookie stands frozen, staring at a corpse in her living room] Yes, I suppose I should have mentioned that.

Jason: Could you not make me a rapist?
Crystal: I'm sorry--it was the best I could think of.

Sam: Jesus--put on some clothes!
Tommy: Sorry, can't hear you. [Turns down music.] Let me put on some clothes.

Nan Flanagan: You look like shit.
Eric: Well I feel fantastic.

Tara: You violated and terrorized me 'cause that's what vampires do. And you're calling that love.
Franklin: I'll mourn you, Tara; I'll mourn you to my very marrow.

Russell: Now, the American Vampire League wishes to perpetrate the notion that we are just like you. And, I suppose, in a few small ways we are. We're narcissists; we care only about getting what we want, no matter what the cost--just like you. Global warming, perpetual war, toxic waste, child labor, torture, genocide--that's a small price to pay for your SUVs and your flat-screen TVs, your blood diamonds, your designer jeans, your absurd garish McMansions! ... Mine is the true face of vampires. Why would we seek equal rights; you are not our equals. We will eat you, after we eat your children. Now time for the weather! Tiffany?

True Blood, Season 3 Episode 9 "Everything is Broken." Written by Alexander Woo. Directed by Scott Winant. From HBO.

16 November 2010

Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris

Spoilers Ahead

I think Charlaine Harris must have started taking cues from True Blood because Dead and Gone is dark. Disturbingly so (not complaining). But this has got to be the first time a show is based on a series of books only to have the author subsequently inspired by the show when writing said books. I'm not even sure where that falls on the life imitating art scale.

There seems to be slightly less than usual going on in this instalment of the Sookie Stackhouse saga, but in a good way. For once the story doesn't fly off in a million directions (not that there isn't plenty going on), and little time is wasted on the superficial/mundane. There's even character growth when it comes to Sookie! Shiny gold star to the author!

Dead and Gone starts off on a surprisingly light note, with an amusing bit about the vampire version of What Not to Wear (a show I now realize I'd love to see). But things quickly get serious with the second big supernatural revelation: weres and shifters finally announce their existence to the world. Of course there are mixed results. While people in Bon Temps seem to take it in stride (except for Arlene, who's gone off the rails in terms of hating anything not completely conventionally human ever since hooking up with a Fellowship of the Sun idiot), Sam's mom is shot by his step-dad. But no one could have predicted the horrific crime that ensues (sensitive readers skip this part): pregnant were-panther Crystal is found crucified in Merlotte's parking lot. Don't say I didn't warn you.

You'd think between running Merlotte's for Sam while he's off in Texas with his family, fending off the FBI (interested in using her and Barry for their own purposes), and trying to telepathically seek out Crystal's killer, Sookie would have enough on her hands. But that wouldn't be as much fun, would it? She also manages to unknowingly pledge herself to Eric (they're now the vampire version of married). This was a pretty awkward and lame part of the book, but at least things are progressing between her and Eric (and it also keeps her safe from becoming the unwilling property of the new King of Louisiana).

On top of all this, Sookie discovers she's in the middle of a fae war and is being targeted by the hateful Breandan, leader of the water fairy faction, as the beloved human great-granddaughter of Niall, Prince of the air tribe. After being attacked in her own garden by one fairy and stalked by another, Sookie decides to call in the supernatural cavalry. Using her status as friend of the Shreveport pack and taking advantage of the formal protection offered by the vampire King, she asks for their help. And what do they send her? One werewolf guard (Dawson) and... Bubba. I liked Bubba for about five minutes but now he's just getting increasingly annoying. I mentioned in the past that it's stupid to invent reasons to include him in the story, and this is the stupidest instance of all. Not only does it not make sense to have him sent to guard Sookie against an army of fairies, but Harris clearly didn't know what to do with him once he gets there. His presence sort of just fades away, with a vague mention or two of him after his big arrival. Terrible. Dawson's role isn't much better. It's no surprise Sookie ends up kidnapped by a particularly nasty pair of fairies.

What is surprising is that she's tortured by said fairies. Actual brutal torture (although, thankfully, details are minimal--but you definitely get the idea). Even Sookie says she's never going to be the same again. She is eventually saved, and more or less healed with Eric's blood, and the fae war is settled. But not without the deaths of a couple of characters I liked, and the permanent retreat of Niall and the other fae back into their own realm. It's disappointing that Niall was just introduced and he's already being shelved, although I have the feeling this isn't really the last we'll see of the fae.

I'm curious to see how things go from here: whether Sookie will really be a changed character; how her relationships with Eric, Bill, and Sam will evolve; what the consequences will be from weres and shifters being out in the world; how the ongoing threat of the Fellowship of the Sun will play out. And whether someone will finally stake Bubba already. There are many possible paths: which one will Harris take?

Fang Files

Appearance: Pale humans with long fangs that extend or retract at will. Vampires glow, although apparently only Sookie can see it. Their eyes also glow different colours, depending on their emotional state.

Strengths: Super strength, speed. Ability to track humans who have consumed their blood. Ability to form bonds with humans. Ability to "glamour" (hypnotize) humans. Some vampires can fly.

Weaknesses: Sunlight, silver (they can be poisoned to death by silver). They are at risk of being drained, as their blood is a drug/aphrodisiac to humans.

Mythology: Vampire society is hierarchical and highly political, with Sheriffs, Kings, and Queens presiding over various territories. There are complex rules governing vampire loyalties, and strict adherence to those loyalties (for example, a lesser vampire who no longer wishes to serve a higher-ranking one needs to formally request to be released. They may or may not be granted their freedom). There are also strict rules regarding interaction with humans.

Text Bites

"You're a Christian," he [Dillon, Sookie's fairy great uncle] said, as if he'd discovered I was a hermaphrodite or a fruitarian.

"I will make you a rug on my floor." Bill said [to Quinn], and his voice was colder and smoother than ever, like ice on glass.

Want to see what I had to say about the previous books?

Dead until Dark
Living Dead in Dallas
Club Dead
Dead to the World
Dead as a Doornail
Definitely Dead
All Together Dead
From Dead to Worse

Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris. From Penguin (Ace Books).

11 November 2010

The Vampire Diaries S2 E9 "Katerina"

Spoilers Ahead

Katherine fans, hold on--we get to find out her back story this week. Also, Damon loses his shirt. You know, in case anyone wants to know.

"Katerina," as you can imagine, is mostly about Katherine. It starts with her in Bulgaria in 1490, giving birth to a daughter. Because the child is out of wedlock, Katerina has brought disgrace upon her family. The infant is taken away by Katerina's father before she can even look at her and is given away. Katerina is devastated.

Back in the present day, Stefan and Damon re-introduce Elena to Rose (see last episode) and tell her about Klaus. Rose is terrified of Klaus and utterly convinced of the threat he poses, while Stefan and Damon aren't completely sold. But if the guys are cautious, Elena seems completely unconcerned as she leaves the house.

It turns out, however, that she's very concerned indeed. Eliciting Caroline's assistance (and a promise of secrecy), Elena decides to talk to Katherine and, hopefully, find out more about Klaus.

After Caroline opens the tomb for Elena, she leaves the two lookalikes on their own to chat (although Katherine isn't looking much like Elena these days, hollow-eyed and shuffling along like a zombie. As Emilio Estevez said about Molly Ringwald in The Breakfast Club: I've seen her dehydrate, sir. It's pretty gross.) Elena bribes Katherine with a few comforts, her family bible (which lists Katherine as the last of her line), and shot glasses of blood in exchange for information.

Katherine tells quite the tale of woe. After giving her baby away, Katerina's family disowned her and banished her to England (some banishment--you'd think that would be an improvement--not to mention that it never would have happened. We're talking the 15th century here, people--banishing her to a couple of towns over would have been far enough away; they at least would have stayed within the Ottoman Empire). It was in England that Katerina met Klaus. He charmed her at first, but once she realized what he was and what he wanted from her, she ran. It turns out the big vampire/sun curse was bound with Petrova blood and the witch involved created the Petrova doppelganger to break the curse. Anyone wanting to do so would just have to wait until a Petrova doppelganger showed up to be sacrificed. I admit--I don't have patience for convoluted storylines like this--anything that makes me question it too much clearly isn't well conceived. Anyway, with Trevor's help, Katerina makes it to a cottage where Rose is hiding out with the compelled human who lives there.

Rose is less than impressed that Trevor (a) helped Katerina, and (b) sent her to the cottage. Rose is even less thrilled when she finds out that Katerina stole the moonstone from Klaus. She plans on waiting until nightfall and taking Katerina and the stone back to Klaus and begging for mercy. When Rose goes to retrieve Katerina, however, she's found that the girl has wounded herself in an effort to kill herself (Katerina claims she'd rather die than return to Klaus). But Rose is having none of that; she forces her own blood into Katerina's mouth. Just then Trevor arrives and he and Rose get into an argument with Rose coming down on the side of survival and Trevor claiming he loves Katerina and is willing to run until they die if they have to. Of course, Katerina takes this time to kill herself. As she explains to Elena, Klaus needs a human doppelganger, so as a vampire she became useless to him (not that that stopped him from hunting her down for the sake of vengeance).

As Rose and Trevor come to the realization that Katerina used them for her own survival without any care whatsoever about what would happen to them, Rose tries to stake Katerina. But, displaying her ruthlessness, Katerina moves the mortal owner of the cottage in front of her so that the old woman is staked instead. Then Katerina bites and drinks before disappearing out the door. Rose and Trevor then spend the next 500 years on the run, and we know how that turned out.

Katherine admits to Elena that she needed her--as another Petrova doppelganger--to use as a bargaining chip to strike a deal with Klaus. She also needed the moonstone, a werewolf (Ty), a witch (Bonnie), and another vampire (Caroline). This last part somewhat contradicts Katherine's statement that she was useless to Klaus as a vampire. If he needs one anyway, why not get the one you're extremely pissed at? Elena's more concerned with expressing her disgust that Katherine was going to sacrifice them all for her own personal gain; Katherine echoes the words she said before abandoning Rose and Trevor: "Better you die than I."

While Elena is busy with Katherine, Stefan is occupied at school, which leaves Rose and Damon to their own devices. After trading barbs, Damon asks how he can find Klaus. Rose finally admits she has a contact in Richmond named Slater who might be able to help. Damon decides to head to Richmond to talk to Slater and Rose follows along.

Once they get to Richmond, Rose and Damon share another moment of threatening one-upmanship before meeting with Slater in a cafe fitted with UV-blocking windows. Handy. Then after being introduced, Slater asks Damon if he's sure Elijah is dead. Of course he's sure. (No comment.) As they're sitting at a table inside and talking...dramatic pause...Elijah is watching and listening from across the street, playing with a handful of change.

During the course of their conversation, one of my big questions is answered, albeit unsatisfyingly. If the Originals can walk in the sun (which they've proven they can) why break the curse and release the werewolves from it? Back to the land of convoluted plot where apparently this curse can be selectively broken; if a vampire breaks it, only vampires are freed; if a were breaks it, only weres are freed. Makes perfect sense. Too bad my next question remains unanswered--since all the vampires seem to believe that werewolves are extinct (including Damon and Stefan until very recently) why would they even worry about the weres breaking the curse first? That's like worrying about being gored by a unicorn. Someone should really have taken more care thinking all of this through.

As Damon is offering to get Slater a daywalker ring if he helps them find a way to keep the curse from being broken at all, Elijah suddenly throws the coins he's been holding at the window. A moment later the glass shatters into a million pieces and Rose and Slater are screaming as the sunlight burns them. As Damon looks around there's a glimpse of Elijah, but when he looks again no one is there. He covers Rose and helps her get back to the car. Slater's gone missing, although Rose is positive he had nothing to do with this. In any case, she's too busy panicking because Klaus will kill them all.

In a minor sub-plot that turns out to be not so minor, things seem to be promising for Jeremy and Bonnie--until new hottie Luka (Bryton James, The Young and the Restless) shows up. Bonnie turns a bit cold after meeting Luka's dad, who immediately asks if she has any relatives from Salem, but she warms up again when Luka admits his dad is just worried about fitting in. Apparently it's not easy being witches (or, as he and his dad prefer to be called, warlocks). Bonnie and Luka then have a fine time bonding over their magical abilities. I do have to ask, though--is there some rule somewhere that says all witches have to be black? Did I miss that memo? Not to mention that every black character on this show ends up being a witch or getting killed (or both). Definitely not loving that. Anyway, Jeremy sees Bonnie and Luka deep in conversation and with an awkward smile walks away.

The last part of Katerina's story is of her return to Bulgaria, where she finds that Klaus has slaughtered her entire family, including her beloved mother, simply to get revenge against her. So...in order to break the sun curse--which Klaus is desperate to do--he needs a Petrova doppelganger--which could show up in any generation. So why would he kill off the last remaining Petrovas and end the family line, thus ruining forever his chances of breaking the damn curse? (I'm pretty sure Katerina wouldn't have mentioned her bastard child to him.) Can we just go back to Damon being in love with Elena?

Finally figuring out where Elena has been, Stefan shows up at the tomb. He insists to Elena that Katherine is nothing but a liar and not worth listening to. Katherine then claims that Elena is doomed--unless she were to have the moonstone (conveniently trapped in the tomb with Katherine). Stefan is disgusted, snapping that Katherine spun the entire story simply to get to a place where she could bargain for her freedom. But Katherine has a surprising answer to that. She says she doesn't want her freedom. When Klaus and his flunkies show up and destroy everyone else, Katherine will be safe in her tomb where no other vampire will want to go for fear of being trapped inside. Stefan looks stunned as she walks back into the darkness. (Psst--threaten to send Ty into the tomb in werewolf form, where he can kill her with a bite and retrieve the stone for them when he's back in human form. Or would that not be complicated enough?)

Back in Mystic Falls again, Damon is lost in thought and Rose is still terrified. She says she wishes they could save Elena and he says he will. She talks about the necessity of not caring about anyone in order to survive and suggests he turn off his emotions. He says he will if she will. This must be the vampire equivalent of 'I'll show you mine if you show me yours,' not to mention a bizarre form of foreplay, because then next thing we know they're kissing in a serious way. It's not really surprising--they were way too snippy with each other all episode. There was more than one moment that was reminiscent of Damon and Elena.

Afterward (and this is the shirtless part I mentioned), Rose tells Damon that it's a lie--there is no off switch for their emotions. She claims it's possible as a newbie vampire, but as you get older all you can do is fake it. Interesting (and I wonder why that would be). Just then Slater calls, apologizing for freaking out and running off. He claims he found out that the curse can be destroyed--without breaking it--with the moonstone and a witch (the witch can figure the rest out). When he hangs up we discover that not only is Elijah there, but he's actually compelled Slater. Must be nice to be an Original. He then compels Slater into staking himself. And here's where the minor subplot becomes major: Elijah's witch is Luka's father. They settle in to wait.

I'm not really loving where this storyline is going (I think I covered all the reasons why). The whole witch/black characters issue is annoying me as well. But the dynamics among the Salvatores and Elena--and maybe even Caroline and Rose too--is still compelling enough to keep the show going (and me along with it). I just hope it doesn't end up getting too bogged down in superfluous detail.

Fang Files

Appearance: Human until the vampire emerges, then dark eyes and facial veins, prominent fangs.

Strengths: Super speed, strength, hearing. Ability to compel humans (Original vampires can also compel other vampires).

Weaknesses: Stakes, sunlight (unless they wear a "daywalker" ring or are an Original vampire), being compelled.

Mythology: Vampires need an invitation to enter a private residence. To be turned, a mortal needs to die with vampire blood in their system. The oldest vampires are known as "Originals" and Klaus is the oldest of all. It isn't determined whether emotions a strength or a weakness.

Sound Bites

Rose: If you're not afraid of Klaus, you're an idiot.
Damon: All right, we're shaking--you made your point.

Damon: [to Rose] Just one thing. If you are setting me up in any way, I will rip your heart out and shove it down your throat. Something I'm very good at.

Stefan: [re: Elena] She's with...Damon, isn't she?
Caroline: Ew, no!

Caroline: I'm a terrible liar. I'm even worse at duplicity!

The Vampire Diaries, Season 2 Episode 9 "Katerina." Written by Andrew Chambliss. Directed by J. Miller Tobin. From The CW.

10 November 2010

Moonlight S1 E11 "Love Lasts Forever"

Spoilers Ahead

You know how when you watch a show regularly you figure you can predict where it's going to go, what's going to happen, which characters are going to stick around--that sort of thing? I thought I'd figured Moonlight out. I was wrong.

"Love Last Forever" starts off with Mick working out as he ponders in a voiceover the state of his life and his feelings for Beth. Deep stuff for a shirtless guy doing pull-ups.

Elsewhere, Josh is trying to cut a deal with an El Salvadoran mobster, trying to get the guy to turn on his boss in exchange for a lenient sentence. The guy refuses and more or less lets Josh know he's going to regret going after them. He wasn't kidding. As Josh walks to his car that night, a pair of guys on motorcycles (faces conveniently hidden behind dark helmets) chase him down. One of the guys knocks Josh around a bit before throwing down a photo of Beth with her face crossed out. The guy aims the laser sight of a gun on Beth's face and tells Josh to remember that it's not a good idea to accuse an innocent man. Then they take off, leaving Josh hurt and freaked.

As Mick and Beth hang out at her place, talking about the blood sample he stole from Coraline and how much he hates being a vampire, Josh shows up. Mick leaves so that Josh and Beth can talk alone, and Josh tells Beth that he's recused himself from the Tejada case because Beth's been marked. He claims he'd never step down if it was just him at risk, but he can't let anything happen to her. She (showing a lot more courage than I think I would) insists he stay on the case, pointing out that the case could fail without him and more innocent people could die. A moment later they're kissing and "reconnecting" as a couple.

The next morning Josh and Beth are still reconnecting as Mick waits for Beth at a blood analysis lab, debating whether he should tell her how he feels about her. If you think that's painful wait until Mick shows up at Beth's apartment looking for her after she missed their appointment, and sees Josh there in his pj's. But Mick is quickly distracted when he realizes Josh is arranging a police guard for Beth. Josh then asks Mick to watch over Beth until the squad gets there, which Mick is only too keen to do.

We meet the infamous Tejada (who sounds more like a cheesily stereotypical Mexican when he speaks than an El Salvadoran--not good) at his daughter's 16th birthday party. He's clearly devoted to his daughter, even if he has no compunction about murdering other people's children. But the celebration comes to an abrupt halt when Josh and a team of armed cops shows up to arrest Tejada on a felony drug charge. That's it--really piss off the ruthless mobster.

Meanwhile Mick and Beth pick up Coraline's blood analysis results at the lab. It turns out the blood is clean--no traces of unusual or illicit substances whatsoever. In fact, it's too clean--the complete lack of accumulated toxins has the lab tech convinced that the sample came from a child. It's also of an extremely rare blood type: AO negative, which just happens to also be Beth's blood type. Hmm...

As they're pondering these mysteries, Josh is arguing in front of a judge to deny bail to Tejada. Too bad Tejada's lawyer presents a more persuasive argument; the judge sets bail at a paltry $5 million. Tejada will be home in time for dinner.

As Mick and Beth leave the lab, Mick suddenly hears something--a bullet sliding into place in a sniper's gun. A moment later that bullet is speeding toward Beth. Mick pushes her down just in time to avoid being hit and then he takes off after the assassin. Unfortunately, the men drive off before Mick can get to them. Returning to Beth she points out that he's got blood on him--he was hit. But it turns out to be Coraline's blood, from the vial he had in his pocket. So much for further analysis.

Back at Beth's apartment, Josh gets the guards in place and then pulls Beth aside to tell her he loves her. Mick listens in, unhappy to hear Beth say she loves Josh too. Then Josh has to get going. Beth watches from the window as he approaches his car. As they wave to each other, we see a man jogging and holding plastic wrist restraints. The jogger then pulls a mask down over his face. Unfortunately, Beth notices the jogger before Josh does. As a car screeches around the corner, the jogger pistol whips Josh, restrains him, and tosses him into the trunk of the car. Meanwhile Beth is inside flipping out.

One of the cops tries to stop the kidnappers but he gets shot multiple times. As Mick starts chasing after them on foot, Beth gets in her car, picking up Mick along the way. A small but appreciated detail: Mick instructs Beth on how to follow the other car at high speed. What--you mean it's not a naturally occurring skill, like shooting a machine gun or spontaneous group dance routines? As they give chase they also try calling Josh's phone. When they realize it's on, Mick calls his techie vampire contact and gets him to triangulate the location of the phone using its GPS. As soon as they're told the kidnappers have gone to Griffith Park, Mick calls Carl (the cop) and tells him where they are.

As the kidnappers are getting ready to shoot Josh, Mick and Beth arrive. Mick pulls some nifty moves to knock the bad guys out and he and Beth start freeing Josh. This is where things started going in an unexpected direction for me. Unfortunately, one of the kidnappers isn't unconscious, and he shoots Josh multiple times through the backseat of the car. This is cool and also sad (and the guy's got perfect aim). This time Mick knocks him out good.

As Beth calls 911, Mick--a WWII medic--performs triage on Josh. The wounds are bad, but Mick knows what he's doing. He cauterizes a neck wound with the car's cigarette lighter (ouch) and uses Beth's necklace to tie off a bleeding femoral artery. This scene: not for the weak of stomach. Beth holds Josh down and talks to him, trying to keep him with her. Josh starts rambling about their anniversary and the first time they met. Then he passes out. Realizing the ambulance is still about a minute too far out, Mick initiates CPR. But Mick no longer hears a pulse or blood circulating. Desperate, Beth asks--and then begs--Mick to save Josh, to turn him. But Mick refuses. Just then the ambulance arrives and the paramedics try defibrillating Josh's heart. But Josh is gone.

I did not expect Josh to get killed off. Maybe I should have, but he seemed like one of those characters that would either stay a part of the show or just fade away. And funny enough, even though I never cared that much about his character, I felt really sad when he was killed. Strange how shows can affect you.

Mick tries to comfort Beth but she angrily rebuffs him, telling him to stay away from her. Mick looks down at his bloody hands and then up at the sky. There's also a really nice long shot of Mick and the paramedic by Josh's body, while in the distant background Beth stands by herself, framed by the men in the foreground. I think that moment was captured beautifully.

At the police station, the kidnapper who's not in intensive care isn't talking. Mick asks to have five minutes alone with the guy, promising he won't touch him--that Carl can even watch from outside the room. Mick goes in. Facing away from the window and hunched so that his face isn't captured on camera, he shows the guy his true face. Of course the kidnapper starts panicking, screaming for them to get "el diablo" away from him. Finally the guy is so afraid of what Mick might do to him he tells him where Tejada's gone into hiding. Leaving the room, Mick lies to Carl about where Tejada is--he's got a score to settle, vampire-style.

Mick heads to Tejada's actual location, standing out like a sore thumb in the dive bar/strip joint. When the bartender pretends he doesn't understand Mick's question about Tejada, things start getting violent. Guns are blazing, fangs are out. None of the gang members stand a chance. Mick finally intimidates one guy into telling him that Tejada is in the office.

Mick bursts into the office looking human. Tejada tries to be badass, but that doesn't last. Mick vamps out, pins him against the wall with a desk, and bites. Tejada is toast.

Beth is at her place, grieving and looking wrecked. Mick shows up but she doesn't want to see him. He tries explaining why he didn't turn Josh, that it wouldn't have been saving his life--it would have been taking it. Beth doesn't want to hear it. She snaps that if it's so awful being a vampire, why does Mick go on living. In a voiceover he says that she makes him want to. Out loud he claims he's not really sure. It's funny how a guy can take down an entire bar of armed mobsters, but admitting his feelings is too scary. Beth then asks him what he would have done if it had been her lying there, seconds from death--would he have let her die? Mick claims he would have done the same thing. Beth breaks down crying. In another voiceover he says that the truth is he doesn't know what he would do. Then in an instant, he's gone.

Now that Josh is out of the picture, I suppose Mick and Beth's relationship could go anywhere. They're free to be together, but maybe Beth's anger and hurt will prove to be too much. Hell, maybe Coraline will even draw Mick back in. Nothing is certain at this point and I've got to say--I like it.

Fang Files

Appearance: Human until the vampire emerges, then ghostly white eyes and sharp, elegant fangs.

Strengths: Super strength, speed, hearing. Resistant to bullets. Impressive jumping skills.

Weaknesses: Sunlight, self-loathing.

Mythology: Mick desperately wants Coraline's cure for vampirism, but most other vampires would view such a thing as a threat.

Sound Bites

Mick: How does an immortal handle mortal feelings?

Josh: You shouldn't have made this personal. Don't you ever threaten her again.
Tejada: I won't forget this...amigo.

Mick: At the end of the day, not a lot separates life and death. That's what makes it precious.

Mick: When it comes to revenge and vampires--blood is vengeance.

Moonlight, Season 1 Episode 11 "Love Lasts Forever." Written by Josh Pate. Directed by Paul Holahan. From CBS/The CW.

08 November 2010

The Gates S1 E7 "Digging the Dirt"

Spoilers Ahead

Vampires are people too! At least, that's what The Gates would have you believe. Me, I'm not so sure this is the direction the show really should be taking. But what do I know--I think monsters should actually be monstrous. Revolutionary, I know.

"Digging the Dirt" starts with Nick having a nightmare about his wife being bitten by Dylan while Frank Buckley intones "we can't let you leave." Hating that Buckley has anything over him (see last episode) Nick enlists a reluctant Dylan to help him dig up dirt on Buckley so they can at least be on an even playing field. He's already discovered that W.R. Harrison, co-founder of The Gates, died under mysterious circumstances, and he wants Dylan to use his position as a member of the Gates' Board to find out more information.

Meanwhile Nick's wife, Sarah, hosts a pool party for all the desperate housewives in the community. She just wants everyone to get along. Nick might be the one having nightmares but it's clear that Sarah is the one living in dreamland. Claire (vampire) goes despite her hatred for all things Karen Crezski (werewolf), and the feeling is definitely mutual. Although all the cliques seem to be united in their dislike of Devon, who has a knack for being an equal-opportunity bitch. Sigh.

Speaking of Devon, Nick has a chat with her and finds out that W.R. Harrison ("Uncle Billy") was like a second father to her. She claims that Harrison and Buckley had a huge falling out before he died (she believes Harrison found out about Buckley's affair with Vanessa). A week later Harrison had his tragic accident and Buckley had full control of The Gates and all the profits. Murder motive: check.

Unfortunately, Nick's theory falls apart when Dylan discovers that 80% of Harrison's share of the profits goes directly into a trust fund--there's no gain for either Buckley (who apparently gets underpaid for his work) or Devon. Nick's not done yet, though. He muses that the motive for killing Harrison could have had more to do with anger than money. He proposes they speak to The Gates' CFO, Lloyd Foster, who's been there since the beginning. Foster confirms the big fight between Buckley and Harrison, claiming that Harrison threatened to shut The Gates down--he even had Foster work out the details. Sure he's onto something, Nick says he's going to need access to the records and a copy of Harrison's will.

In the will, Nick and Dylan discover a codicil added a week before Harrison's death, stating that payments were to be made to a company called River Trust Gates Management. When they investigate further, they discover an unused office (although still guarded by a camera) and paperwork for an offshore bank account. It's clearly nothing more than a shell company. Dylan brings up the point that this is vampire MO (they need to keep switching identities and transferring assets since they don't age), so the thought occurs to them that perhaps Harrison is a vamp and the company is funnelling money back to himself.

Oddly, Devon is interested enough in Nick's investigation that she uses her special "calming" tea to put the whammy on Sarah and get her to tell her all about it. As Devon is dropping Sarah off at home afterward, telling her to "forget all about it," Karen happens to be driving by and notices. She looks less than pleased.

Devon's busy elsewhere, as well. Hooking up with a guy she met from an online dating site (whom she chose specifically because of his screen name: "beastlyboy") she tells him he can be himself with her--that she was looking for someone different. A moment later his eyes go wolfish. Then they pick up where they left off.

The next scene has Nick and Dylan traipsing through the cemetery in the dark, on their way to digging up Harrison's coffin to see if his body is in it. Dylan asks about needing a court order to do this and I'm pretty sure Nick says that's only if they want to use a backhoe. I really hope I misheard because that is just stupidly wrong. The writers should know better. Anyway, there is a body in the coffin and it's definitely Harrison's--only the impact on the back of the head indicates something other than an accidental fall. So Harrison was murdered. The plot thickens.

As Dylan tries to sneak into the house, Claire is suddenly there confronting him. She claims she could smell him as soon as he came in the door, and she's pissed because she's working so hard to fulfill her promise to him and be a good, non-murderous, housewife. He caves and tells her about Buckley's blackmail and what he and Nick are doing. But as soon as she finds out that Buckley only wants silence and cooperation, she's even angrier. She can't believe that Frank Buckley, after welcoming them into The Gates with open arms, caught Dylan and Nick killing someone and all he wants is for them to follow the rules. She's infuriated that Dylan wants to get dirt on Buckley so he can have leverage. She tells him to think about her and Emily and stop going after Buckley.

The next day when Nick calls Dylan to meet up, Dylan won't do it. As Nick tries to figure out what's going on, Buckley walks into his office. Nick confronts him about blackmailing them and Buckley responds that it's not blackmail--it's an intervention to let them know they can't get away with things like that in The Gates. Nick then confronts him about killing Harrison. Buckley is dumbfounded--Harrison was like a father to him. From Buckley's reaction, it's clear he didn't kill Harrison. So Nick tells Buckley to let him do his job and get justice for Harrison.

Back to Devon for a minute, she and beastlyboy are sharing a bath. He seems pretty smitten with her and she "confesses" to him that a lot of people have hurt her. He lets her know that he can make problems go away. She gets out of the tub, ostensibly to add more bubbles, but retrieves what is clearly a potion. She informs him that "It's not so much what you can do as what you can give." Then she dumps the potion into the water. A moment later the hapless guy is paralyzed. As Dylan starts pushing him underwater, she tells him she wants his eyes. Charming.

I should mention that Claire has been dealing with her own issue all episode: Christian. First he sends her this text: "I'm thirsty. You?" Then Claire returns home and finds a vase of roses on the front table. The card on them is from Christian and the note says: "Blood red. Just the way you like it." Infuriated, she throws the vase against the wall and calls Christian, telling him all the calls and messages have to stop...and the doorbell rings. Karen Crezski is there and barges in. She seems genuinely concerned when she sees the shattered vase, but Claire quietly tells her to please leave. Karen asks why they're like this with each other, and Claire tells her to go. But she can't go. Sarah's been drinking Devon's tea and is in trouble. That catches Claire's attention. When she asks what Karen suggests they do, Karen responds that first they'll clean the mess and then they'll go talk to Sarah--together. It's heartwarming to see vampires and weres comes together against a common enemy.

Nick, meanwhile, had continued to investigate Harrison's death and seems to have found the breakthrough he needed. He calls Foster and tells him there was no forced entry--Harrison's killer had to have been someone he knew and trusted. He needs Foster to put together the financial evidence so they can nail Buckley. He tells Foster he'll be a hero if he helps solve Harrison's murder.

As Nick watches on camera, Foster shows up in a panic at the shell office. It seems Nick was setting him up all along. But suddenly Buckley shows up, incensed at Foster's betrayal. As he takes a step toward the CFO, Nick puts the video monitor down and gets out of his car. Then he hears a shot. Back inside, Foster has shot Buckley and, sounding way too much like a Scooby Doo villain, exclaims that Buckley never could leave well enough alone. As Buckley clutches at the wound in his chest, Foster starts squirting lighter fluid on him. Just as he's about to set Buckley ablaze, Nick bursts in and arrests Foster. The hero saves the day in the nick [pun possibly intended] of time!

As Buckley is being wheeled to an ambulance, he stops to chat with Nick, pointing out that if Nick had let him die he'd be free of Buckley and The Gates. Nick admits the thought had crossed his mind. Buckley releases him, saying he can go if he wants to.

Lest we think the drama is limited only to the adults, Andie is suffering unpleasant side effects from Dr. Peg's anti-succubus herbal remedy. She's short-tempered and twitchy with both Charlie and Brett, although that doesn't seem to improve much after she flushes the pills. Her mood ends up spreading to Brett and Charlie, who get into a fight over her. After Brett kicks Charlie's ass, Andie rushes to hug Charlie. That's when Brett sees the unnatural veins on her shoulders. Meanwhile Andie realizes her succubus powers are acting up again so she runs off. Later, Brett catches up with her in the woods and tells her he realizes she's different and he understands--really understands. He shows her his wolfish eyes and tells her he's not human and that she's not alone. She shows him her back, then turns around and says "It started with my mom..."

At the station, as Nick is wrapping up the case, Vanessa suddenly walks in. She says that Buckley asked her to stop by, that he told her Nick is thinking of leaving The Gates. Vanessa acknowledges that he's obviously afraid of the vampires, but points out that Sarah and Claire are friends and that Dylan risked everything for him. What if, she asks, they aren't monsters but people in difficult situations who need his help? Feel free to gag now. As Vanessa is talking we see Claire getting a text from Christian that says "Last Chance"; Andie and Brett walking together and chatting as Charlie looks on unhappily; and Sarah tossing Devon's tea in the trash. Vanessa then asks Nick what if the Gates isn't a trap--what if this is where he's meant to be. Right...

Nick asks if The Gates is such a great place, why all the secrets? Vanessa has an answer to that too: Buckley is trying to protect her; she's a vampire. And the real secret of The Gates? Everything that Buckley has ever done for the community has been out of love. You could sweeten a tanker full of week-old coffee with this saccharine.

But then we go back to Sarah, looking mighty twitchy as she grabs the tea out of the trash and starts brewing a cup. Elsewhere, Devon is casting some sort of evil spell, and doing witches no favour in the process. On a large piece of parchment covered in "eerie" symbols she places the vial of Claire's blood she procured several episodes ago, the face mask she peeled off Vanessa after giving her a facial, and beastlyboy's eyes in a jar. Then she cuts herself and starts drawing lines of blood on the paper. What is she up to? Tune in next time to find out.

Other than Claire's lovely parasol (as seen in the photo above) nothing about this episode impressed me. Like The Vampire Diaries, The Gates started off with too much melodrama and not enough monster action. Unlike The Vampire Diaries, The Gates still thinks the melodrama is the way to go. As I keep watching The Gates, I keep asking myself when it's going to get interesting. It looks like I'm still going to be asking that for the next long while...

Fang Files

Appearance: Pale-ish humans. Fangs are subtle.

Strengths: Super strength, enhanced sense of smell.

Weaknesses: Can't tolerate sunlight--have to cover themselves in a special cream to keep from burning up and then are still sensitive to it.

Mythology: Vampires need an invitation to enter someone's house.

Sound Bites

Claire: [re: Karen Crezski and her friends] There's nothing worse than that rancid dog smell.

Leigh: You invited Claire Radcliff and Karen Crezski to the same party?
Sarah: Yeah...
Leigh: Oh, this is gonna be good.

Karen: Sarah, what we're saying is, things that seem too good to be true usually are, especially when they involve Devon.

The Gates, Season 1 Episode 7 "Digging the Dirt." Written by Robert Hewitt Wolfe. Directed by Fred Gerber. From ABC.

04 November 2010

The Vampire Diaries S2 E8 "Rose"

Spoilers Ahead

This wasn't the best episode of the Vampire Diaries, but it contained what were possibly the best moments of the show. Sometimes it's the moments that matter.

"Rose" starts off with an SUV pulling into a parking lot in the middle of nowhere, where another car happens to be waiting. A man gets out of the vehicle and we see the mask worn by Elena's kidnapper on the passenger seat. The man approaches the waiting car, where another man sits waiting behind tinted windows, sunglasses, and a hat. It's a pretty safe bet he's a vampire (and may I just say: finally--a vampire that can't go out in the sun!) The first man retrieves Elena from the trunk of the SUV and delivers her to the man in the car. Then he makes the mistake of asking if there's anything else he can do for our mystery vampire. The vamp beckons him closer and a moment later is chomping down on the guy's neck. The kidnapper is dead, but it's pretty much a frying pan/fire sort of deal for Elena.

Meanwhile at Elena's house, Jeremy clues in at last that Elena never came home the night before. Hey, it's not like she was seriously hurt or anything--why would anyone have checked up on her? Oh...wait... He's still not really worried--not until he sees Stefan at school and discovers she didn't spend the night with him.

At her place Caroline is filling Damon in on Ty's transition to werewolf. Damon wants to know as much as he can about weres, and he makes it clear that Ty is not to find out anything at all about vampires. Ever. Does anyone else love it when Damon gets all menacing? He then snaps out of serious mode and lightheartedly suggests that if Caroline wants to save her mom (and the search party) some trouble, she could drop a hint that Aimee (killed by Katherine but thought to be missing by everyone else) is at the bottom of a certain ravine with a cracked spine. His mood is a lot less lighthearted later when he finds out Elena is missing.

Speaking of, Elena is being carried into a decrepit old mansion (also in the middle of nowhere) by mystery vampire. He's about to sample the wares when a female vampire comes in and stops him. Before we can start thinking she's the good cop, she backhands Elena into unconsciousness (to be fair, Elena should really shut up when strange vampires repeatedly tell her to be quiet).

Back at the high school, Damon and Stefan are debating whether to open the tomb and talk to Katherine to find out more about what might have happened to Elena. Stefan is for and Damon is against, but it ends up being moot anyway when Bonnie offers to try a location spell and discovers Elena is in a town about three hours away (in the process Bonnie ends up with a nosebleed, which she hides from the others). Aerial photos of the area reveal a large house all by its lonesome, which seems like the best place to start looking. Road trip time for Stefan and Damon.

Left behind, Jeremy and Bonnie keep having tension-filled moments (the good kind of tension). I'm still not thrilled at the thought of the two of them hooking up, but maybe that's just me. Anyway, they're interrupted when Bonnie realizes there's another spell she can try in order to get a message to Elena. In the process her nose starts bleeding again and as the spell is completed she goes catatonic and passes out. Eventually she wakes up and is more or less fine but she admits to Jeremy that she's been pushing too hard with the magic and it's pushing back. Jeremy promises not to tell anyone about her weakness, after which they bond over how alone each of them is in the world.

Back at kidnapping central, Elena overhears the vampires talking about sending a message to Elijah. The female vamp claims she's sick of running and that giving Elena to Elijah will somehow save them from having to run anymore. Not having learned her lesson the first time, Elena starts badgering the female vampire (aka Rose) about who Elijah is, what he is, why they want her, etc., etc. Rose is more tolerant this time and tells Elena that Elijah is one of the "original" vampires. She and the male vampire (aka Trevor) have been running for 500 years because Trevor disobeyed Elijah and saved the "first" Petrova doppelganger (aka Katherine). See, the moonstone Katherine was after binds the vampire/werewolf, sun/moon curse but the blood of a Petrova doppelganger (in this case, Elena) will break the curse. Handing Elena over to Elijah in order to be sacrificed will free Rose and Trevor from running. Yeah, this is where a lot of the episode (and season) breaks down.

First of all, how can there be more than one doppelganger (which by definition means double, as in one person and one doppel)? Not to mention that they're taking other serious liberties with the doppelganger mythos. Secondly, if Katherine is the first Petrova doppelganger, who is the original Petrova and where are all these doppelgangers coming from (and how many others are there)? Next, if the moonstone binds the curse, then breaking the stone should release the curse--so why the need for a blood sacrifice? And why sacrifice a doppelganger? And lastly--why break the curse in the first place? Yes, it'll free the vampires from the tyranny of the sun, but it'll also free the weres from turning (only) at the full moon. Do you really want your enemy to have more opportunities to kill you? Besides, it doesn't seem particularly difficult to get a daywalker ring made--wouldn't that be a hell of a lot easier than all this kidnapping/sacrificing/curse-breaking rigmarole? It's like the show suddenly brought Rube Goldberg in as a writer.

But it is what it is and the show must go on. Realizing she's in deep trouble, Elena wanders back to the room she was first in and finds a piece of paper. It's the message Bonnie sent her: Damon and Stefan are coming for you. Now who wouldn't want that handy skill? Although I'd settle for the message.

Damon and Stefan are still on the road and not exactly bonding. As Damon sucks blood from a plasma bag like it's a juice box, Stefan asks for some, admitting he's been building up a tolerance to human blood. When Damon asks if Elena knows what Stefan's up to, Stefan admits it's her blood he's been drinking. Suddenly Damon gets cold and mean, as he always does when he's reminded of Stefan and Elena's relationship. It's impossible not to feel for him (particularly if you've been in a similar situation). But they'd better get to Elena soon because Elijah has arrived.

Trevor is freaking out, thinking that Elijah will still kill him and Rose even if they do hand Elena over. Rose is more reasonable and greets Elijah at the door, where she soon gets his word that he'll be lenient (too bad she doesn't clarify who exactly he'll be lenient to). Elijah (played by Daniel Gillies, True Blood) is polite and calm but definitely menacing--the kind of man you wouldn't want to cross even if he weren't superhuman. When Rose takes him to see Elena, he's amazed to find that she's human, claiming it's impossible. Elena's so freaked she begs the others not to give her to Elijah, as if they could do anything about it at this point. Trevor is equally terrified, begging Elijah for forgiveness, which Elijah grants--right before tearing Trevor's head off. Rose is devastated but not enough to retaliate now that she's been finally given her freedom.

Luckily the cavalry have arrived, and after Damon makes sure Stefan knows the risks of going up against an ancient vampire, they move in.

Inside Elena gets the bright idea to try negotiating with Elijah, using the moonstone as leverage. It takes Elijah about 10 seconds to rip off her vervain necklace and compel her into telling him about the moonstone and Katherine. Well, so much for that. But suddenly he hears a noise upstairs. Rose swears she doesn't know anything about it, so he takes her and Elena to go investigate. Suddenly a blur streaks by him and keeps doing so, doling out wounds every so often. Elijah seems more annoyed than anything, but also assumes it's just one other vampire. Suddenly we see that Stefan has grabbed Elena and Damon has grabbed Rose, both of them getting the women to keep quiet.

Really annoyed now, Elijah makes a giant stake out of a coat rack and goes looking for his adversary. Suddenly Elena steps out and says she'll go with him--just don't hurt her friends. Then she throws one of Alaric's vervain grenades at him. It barely has an effect. Stefan steps out with the crossbow and starts shooting at Elijah, who easily deflects every bolt. So Stefan jumps on Elijah, knocking them both down the stairs. This hardly slows the older vampire down and he's about to finish Stefan when Damon comes out of the shadows and (forget about mere staking) impales Elijah to the front door. And he enjoys every second of it, watching with satisfaction as Elijah dies.

Rose takes off and Elena stops Damon from going after her. Then they look at each other, elated, and start moving toward each other. Of course, Stefan takes this moment to step in and hug Elena. Damon looks crestfallen, but Elena sees him over Stefan's shoulder and mouths 'thank you.' He smiles and mouths 'you're welcome' back. Why does that minor exchange seem so much more intimate than Stefan's embrace?

Back home again, Stefan and Damon share a drink and Stefan points out that they can't protect Elena if they don't get along. Stefan then apologizes for what he did to Damon all those years ago when he turned him. Damon brushes it off but Stefan insists, admitting he was selfish and that he didn't want to be alone and needed his brother. It's kind of sweet and it actually seems to get through to Damon.

While all this has been going on, Caroline and Ty have been dealing with their own issues. He confronts her at school about what she said the night before and what she knows, but Caroline plays dumb, telling him he was in shock and must have misunderstood. Later, after an impressive jump during a basketball game, Ty spots Caroline and runs over to confront her again. She's still in denial mode and when he tries to grab her, she puts him in his place, vampire-style (it's actually pretty cool). He's strong but she's stronger and he's not too happy about that. Later still, when Caroline returns home she instantly goes on alert. Behind her Ty steps out of the shadows. He claims he knows what she is--that she's a werewolf. Caroline breaks into laughter when she hears this, which pisses Ty off and riles him up, which in turn pisses Caroline off so that she vamps out, thus scaring Ty enough that he skitters away from her as fast as he can. Well, now he knows she's not a werewolf. They end up comparing were vs. vampire notes, although Caroline lies and claims she's the only vampire around. Ty admits he's scared and alone and Caroline hugs him sympathetically. While he's hugging her a strange look passes over his face, which I'm not quite able to interpret. Could be he's surprised at Caroline's support; could be he suddenly realized she smells like dinner. This is going to be interesting.

Back to Stefan, alone now, and suddenly a vampire is speeding around the room. He picks up a stake and the vampire stops. It turns out to be Rose, and she tells Stefan that Lexi once told her that he was one of the good ones. Now that Trevor's gone Rose needs some new companions. Stefan says he can't help her but her response is that she can help them. She tells Stefan that the other originals won't stop coming after Elena--they can't stop: Klaus is ordering them to find her. New uber-villain!

Elsewhere, Damon is waiting for Elena in her room. He's returning her necklace, which he managed to retrieve. But before he gives it back to her, he has something to say. He loves her, but for once he can't be selfish. He doesn't deserve her but Stefan does. He kisses her on the forehead and says he wishes it didn't have to be like this. I have to say, the close up shot of his eye as he compels her, with tears slipping out--it's beautiful and sad and completely lacking in the schmaltz inherent in those cliched scenes where the character has a single tear drip down their face so dramatic-like. No, this was perfect. You can tell whoever wrote this understands heartbreak, as does Ian Somerhalder. So well done. An instant later, Elena snaps out of the daze, looking confused. She's alone in the room and the necklace is around her neck. Damn--and I thought Spike's love for Buffy was tragic...

Unfortunately the very end of the episode kind of sucks. We're back at the abandoned mansion, where Elijah is still impaled to the door. It's no surprise when he wakes up very much alive and fully pissed off. Did Damon and Stefan never read/watch Dracula? Come on, guys--vampire killing 101: stake the vampire, then behead and burn the body. Why would they just leave him there? I hate it when smart characters do stupid things. The one potentially good thing about this, though, is it means some of the other older vampires (Lexi, Anna...) may have survived (or it could just be an original vampire thing). Either way, it gives us plenty to ponder.

As I said, not the best episode ever what with the plot holes you could steer a ship through, but those moments with Damon and Elena...they were something else altogether. Here's hoping for more moments like those...

Fang Files

Appearance: Human until the vampire emerges, then dark eyes and facial veins and prominent fangs. Dead vampires are extra veiny.

Strengths: Super strength, speed. Enhanced sense of smell. Ability to compel humans. Quick healing.

Weaknesses: Sunlight (for some of them), stakes, vervain, blood lust.

Mythology: Ancient/original vampires are much harder to kill than younger vampires (a stake won't cut it). Rumour has it that once upon a time vampires could walk in the sun and weres could turn at will, but eventually the mere mortals got tired of dealing with all the monsters all the time so they cursed the vampires to walk only at night and the weres to only be able to turn at the full moon (whether they want to or not). At least it wasn't a gypsy curse--those things are nothing but trouble.

Sound Bites

Damon: Can we not do the whole road trip bonding thing? The cliche of it all makes me itch.

Damon: Keep it up, Stefan. I can step out of helping just as easily as I stepped in.
Stefan: Nope--that's the beauty of it. You can't.

Elijah: [to a terrified Elena] Hello, there.

Damon: I need to say it once. You need to hear it. I love you, Elena.

The Vampire Diaries, Season 2 Episode 8 "Rose." Written by Brian Young. Directed by Liz Friedlander. From The CW.

03 November 2010

True Blood S3 E8 "Night on the Sun"

Spoilers Ahead

You can tell "Night on the Sun" was written and directed by women: every other scene has someone upset (usually to the point of tears) and being gently consoled. But we can forgive True Blood for veering a little too far into soap opera territory. The show just skirts the edge of maudlin, plunging straight into disturbingly awesome. The tears on this show are bloody.

The episode starts off with the continuation of Sookie's latest scream. Bill's looking confused while everyone else's reaction ranges from anger to gratitude (and by everyone else, I mean Tara, Jason, Lafayette, and Alcide. Apparently you can scream at the top of your lungs in a Louisiana hospital and none of the staff bother to check in on you. Must be an insurance thing). Once Sookie calms down she asks to speak to Bill alone. What follows is a bit of excessive drama, in my opinion ('I don't know if I can ever forgive you'; 'I don't want to be forgiven') followed by a breakup. Even though they love each other, they know it can never really work between them. Bill pulls out the IV needle that's still connecting them and lets it drop. As Sookie sobs and he walks away crying, blood drips out of the tube and onto the floor. A little much? The devil you say! But the main issue (for me) with this scene is that Sookie and Bill have broken up, which I am definitely not happy with. She can hook up with Eric all she wants in the books, but TV Sookie is meant to be with Bill, damnit.

Anyway, back in Mississippi Sophie Anne is moving into her new husband's mansion, which annoys Talbot (hubby's longtime partner) to no end--especially on top of everything else that's recently transpired (dead and maimed vampires and weres, the escape of Bill and Sookie). Eric stands in the shadows, listening as Talbot goes off on Russell and Russell responds soothingly that the only thing that matters is that Talbot is safe. Russell's in a soothing sort of mood, it seems, as a minute later he has to calm Debbie. She wants to tear Sookie apart but Russell thinks there's a war brewing and Sookie might be his key to winning it. But he does promise to let Debbie "play" with Sookie first.

Eric tries to dissuade Russell from going after Sookie, but that only provokes Russell into questioning Eric's loyalty. Eric's response is impressive: everything he says has a double meaning ("I've been searching for you for 1,000 years...for a true leader") and he succeeds in winning Russell over (kneeling in front of Russell and kissing his hand didn't hurt, either).

Home again after his long ordeal, Bill ignores Jessica's excitement at seeing him and (as her maker) releases her, telling her she's got to leave. It's for her own safety, but Jessica's not buying it. She needs him, not only as her maker but as her only family. She breaks down crying and Bill, touched, relents.

Sookie's back home again too, with Alcide for company. Just as it looks like they're about to have a moment, Andy bursts in with Jason, who insists that Sookie has to press charges against Bill. She frustrates him by refusing (now she realizes it wasn't Bill's fault). Jason threatens to kill Bill if he ever goes near Sookie again, and Andy snaps that Jason isn't going to kill anyone. This sets Jason off worrying that Sookie will hear his thoughts and know (that he killed Eggs), but although she confronts him, he denies having done anything and takes off. Close call with the telepath.

Upstairs Tara is in her room with Lafayette. She's clearly traumatized by her experience with Franklin, but she's not ready to talk about it yet. Lafayette, showing the restraint I wish my own family members were occasionally capable of, doesn't push her. He's content just knowing that she's no longer suicidal. The next day, her lack of sympathy for Sookie's feelings for Bill is purely a reflection of her issues with Franklin. Tara's role on the show is apparently the bearer of emotional baggage.

Speaking of baggage, Sam finally gets free of his toxic birth parents only to realize that dealing with Tommy isn't going to be the smooth sailing he expected. Besides having to (what else?) console Tommy over the break with their parents, Sam has to keep him in line at the bar where he's all-too-willing to pick fights, alienate customers, and act weirdly possessive about Jessica. You can take the shifter out of the pit, but you can't take the pit out of the shifter...

And then there's Lafayette, who returns home to discover his mentally imbalanced mother, Ruby Jean, has escaped from her pricey nursing home and is there to protect him from the vampires and witches that are coming for him. Yikes. Rather than call the police, who might pick up on his illicit activities, Lafayette calls Jesus, who comes despite it being his day off. Ruby Jean is still going on about needing to protect Lafayette from those who want his power and decides to illustrate her point with a rather large kitchen knife. Jesus calms her down by telling her that he'll take care of Lafayette, and gets the knife away from her. Then they settle down to watch TV (the common man's Valium).

After Ruby Jean is settled for the night, Jesus tells Lafayette that his mother is right--that he does have power. He claims that doing drugs is very dangerous for someone like Lafayette because all his energy could go dark. Lafayette scoffs, saying Ruby Jean's crazy is rubbing off on Jesus. But then Lafayette tries to explain why he deals drugs, and Jesus quiets him with a kiss. No time to ponder that, though: what is Lafayette's power, if he really has any? He was affected by Maryann so he's not supernatural, so what could it be? Curiouser and curiouser.

Back to Jason for a second, he's apparently serious about getting back at Bill as he digs through his Fellowship of the Sun paraphernalia (why does he still have that stuff?) and unearths a rifle. Suddenly there's insistent pounding on the door and he opens it to find Crystal, looking bruised and wet. And wanting Jason's truck. Jason actually uses his big head for once and refuses to hand over his truck, insisting she tell him what happened to her. Apparently Crystal's been promised to her fiance, Felton, since she was four, and he didn't take too kindly to her telling him she wasn't going to marry him after all (how old is she supposed to be? If she's been betrothed since the age of four, shouldn't they have been married by now?) Jason can't understand what it is about her that makes him feel like he's home (aww) but he's sure he can--and will--protect her.

Later (after Jason's little head takes over), Jason leaves Crystal in the shower while he supposedly goes out to pick up food. He drives over to Hotshot where he follows a trail of blood into an outbuilding and finds a guy in there gnawing on an animal carcass. Um, okay. The guy notices Jason and hisses at him. Jason runs back outside just in time for Crystal's dad and Felton to show up. Claiming he's a cop, Jason tells them Crystal is never coming back there and they're never going near her again--or else the entire Sheriff's department will come down on them and their freakshow. Crystal's dad doesn't seem too intimidated. In fact, I'm worried for Jason.

In one of the less enjoyable subplots, Arlene is having nightmares that her unborn child will turn out just like his psychotic father, Rene. I'm really a nurture over nature person, so the idea that the baby will be a murderer simply because his father was is ludicrous as far as I'm concerned. I don't know where they're going with this, but I kind of wish they'd drop it. Arlene also takes a moment to hire Holly Cleary as the newest Merlotte's waitress. I'm not loving Lauren Bowles as Holly--this is the hazard of getting to know the character in the book first. TV Holly looks and acts all wrong as far as I'm concerned. She's too old (Holly should be in her twenties, and somewhat gothy looking) and a little too creepy-mystical (it comes out more in later episodes). Book Holly isn't exactly advertising her witch credentials. This isn't the first time a character has been significantly altered for the show, but for some reason this is the one that really bothers me.

Back in Mississippi, Eric stays up during the day so he can get hold of Hadley and order her to deliver a message to Sookie. He orders her to tell Sookie exactly what he says and nothing more. Sookie is looking through the Bill and Sookie scrapbook (please tell me people don't really do that sort of thing), flashing back to what happened in Alcide's truck and flipping through all the blank pages (a comment on their relationship?) when Hadley shows up. Eric's message is this: "Russell is coming for you. Don't trust Bill." Sookie is less than impressed. Hadley wants Sookie to run away with her but Sookie refuses to go, reasoning that Russell can find her anywhere and she doesn't want to live her life running in fear. Hadley then apologizes and rushes out, as Sookie hears her thinking that it's all her fault.

Bill, meanwhile, is training Jessica to fight werewolves. She's loving the training but can't believe that things are really over between Bill and Sookie--especially since they still love each other. Jessica admits she loves Hoyt but that he's too good for her. Vampires really need to start dating one another instead of trying to make it work with mortals.

In Mississippi again, Talbot is pitching a fit because Russell is leaving to go get Sookie. He starts throwing and breaking pieces from Russell's prized collection, but when he's about to throw Eric's father's crown, Eric stops him and offers himself as a "poor substitute" for Russell's company. Talbot is appeased, Russell is grateful, and Eric carefully replaces his father's crown in the display case.

As night has fallen in Bon Temps, Sookie is standing by the window, holding a shotgun. Suddenly wolves start howling and two of them run up to the house, followed by Debbie in human form. Debbie kicks in the door and the wolves run inside--where they're immediately confronted by Bill and Jessica. Debbie heads upstairs where Sookie is waiting. The fight between the two women starts off pretty lame, with insults being traded and Debbie wrestling away the shotgun before Sookie slaps her. But things pick up.

Meanwhile, after killing his were, Bill is about to run upstairs to help Sookie when Jessica makes the mistake of following the other wolf outside. We hear her scream and Bill hesitates before running after Jessica. Now, did he just choose Jessica--a fellow vampire--over Sookie, or did he simply decide that Jessica needed his help more? Is this a clue that Bill really can't be trusted? I don't know but it turns out Russell's grabbed Jessica since he can't get in the house (no invite). After a bit of back and forth, Russell bites Jessica and starts draining her. Desperate, Bill asks if Russell is a coward or just lazy? Russell lets go of Jessica, shoving her toward the eager wolf who starts chasing her as she runs off weakly.

Before we can worry too much about Jessica, Russell's got Bill on the ground and is burning him with the silver spur on his boot, after which he proceeds to soundly kick Bill's ass. Inside the house, Debbie and Sookie are really going at it now, destroying the room in the process (you've got to feel sorry for Sookie's house, seriously). Debbie starts choking Sookie, but she manages to grab a pair of scissors and slash Debbie across the face. Debbie lets go and Sookie retrieves the shotgun.

This is where things start getting controversial. Talbot and Eric have sex! Gasp! There's kissing and nudity (not that you really see all that much). And yet people complained. Their virgin eyes were scarred by the image of two dudes intertwined, apparently. They proclaimed in tones of outrage that such things shouldn't be shown on TV (didn't hear anyone complain about the far more graphic scene involving Sookie and Bill later on). To the people who were offended, I wholeheartedly suggest you don't watch True Blood (or HBO for that matter). You know what you're getting into when you see the credits--don't complain if the show crosses some imaginary line. Now that I got that off my chest, just as Talbot is at his most distracted and vulnerable, Eric stakes him (through the heart, you pervs).

Russell instantly knows what's happened and takes off flying. Sookie shoots the wall next to Debbie and convinces the were it's time to go. I'm sure that's not the last we've seen of Debbie, though. Bill then runs upstairs where he and Sookie embrace. He keeps repeating that he's sorry and she keeps repeating that she loves him. As the song "Head" by Otep plays in the background (good choice, by the way) Hoyt drives by a wooded area where Jessica is lost in blood lust feeding on the were, while Bill and Sookie are just lost in lust.

I'm not even sure what to think of this episode. Some good parts, some not so good. Lots of motives to question, lots of consequences to imagine. But that's one of the cool things about True Blood: every episode is one big tangled mess of questions, secrets, lies, and revelations. So even when it's not great it's still pretty good.

Fang Files

Appearance: Pale humans with red-rimmed eyes and snakelike fangs that extend or retract at will. Vampires cry blood.

Strengths: Super speed and strength. Ability to glamour humans. Some can fly.

Weaknesses: Sunlight, silver, stakes, being awake during the day.

Mythology: Vampire blood heals humans and gives them strength (it also makes them high and horny, which is why so many humans are addicted to it). Vampires need an invitation into a private residence. Vampires can feed on other vampires. There is a bond between maker and child.

Sound Bites

Bill: You're afraid of me.
Sookie: Can you blame me?
Bill: I never meant to hurt you. I couldn't stop.

Russell: We just acquired the state of Louisiana--I thought you would have been excited.
Talbot: Excited? Franklin's brains won't wash off the guest linens; I had to bury werewolves under the gazebo; and that Sookie bitch staked Lorena. I've had enough excitement, thank you.

Eric: [to Russell] Give me a chance and I will show you just how deep my loyalty runs.

Debbie: [to Sookie] Wow. Talking to me about love. How noble and shit. Bitch, please.

Russell: I'll tell you what, I'll trade you the red one for the blonde one.
Bill: How about you and I settle this among men.
Russell: Oh, how very sexist of you, Bill. When it comes to killing I have always been an equal opportunist.

True Blood, Season 3 Episode 8 "Night on the Sun." Written by Raelle Tucker. Directed by Lesli Linka Glatter. From HBO.