27 August 2010

Moonlight S1 E9 "Fleur de Lys"

Spoilers Ahead

I can't stand Coraline. She's boring and annoying and quite frankly, I don't think Shannyn Sossamon is much of an actress. So it was with no small amount of satisfaction that I watched Beth shove a stake into her chest. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

"Fleur de Lys" opens with Beth knocking insistently on Mick's door. When Mick finally opens it he's wet and his shirt's open, but Beth doesn't seem to notice. She bursts out that she has proof that Morgan is Coraline, and just as Mick is about to tell her how he already knows, Coraline comes down the stairs sporting little more than wet hair and one of Mick's shirts. Beth is infuriated, not only at Coraline for what she did to her as a child, but at Mick's present betrayal. Out of nowhere Beth pulls out the aforementioned stake and expresses her displeasure in unequivocal terms. Then the episode goes back 24 hours so that we can see how we ended up here, a device I appreciate as a fan of non-linear storytelling.

The previous day finds Beth lurking in her car as she stakes out Morgan's apartment (wonder if there was supposed to be some irony there, with Beth staking out the apartment before staking Coraline). It seems she has acquired a bit of an obsession over finding out whether Morgan really is Coraline. Although Mick is finally convinced they're not the same person, Beth needs to be absolutely sure that this isn't her childhood kidnapper. She wants Mick to keep Morgan occupied while she investigates. One way or the other, Beth is going to find out the truth.

(On a side note: Mick tells Beth that Coraline was a 17th century French courtesan. Coraline's fleur-de-lys "tattoo" is actually a brand, apparently given to all courtesans of this era. We even get a flashback scene of Coraline being branded. Remember this as it's going to be an issue in a couple of episodes.)

For now, Mick takes on a surveillance job that involves watching a rich man's trophy wife and obtaining evidence of the affair her husband suspects she's having. Mick decides it's the perfect way to keep Morgan occupied and after much grovelling over his treatment of her at the cemetery, she agrees to be his photographer on the case. It doesn't take long for Mick and Morgan to get the evidence they need, but when Mick overhears the wife saying that her husband will kill them if he finds out, Mick suddenly isn't so keen on giving his client a motive to off his wife.

Meanwhile Beth is busy researching her colleague and possible kidnapper. Her research leads her to breaking into Morgan's apartment and snooping around, almost getting caught in the process. But as she gets deeper into the mystery she's noticing hints that Mick and Morgan are getting deeper into each other. She can't quite hide her jealousy but it also seems to spur her on in her investigation. She even goes to see Josef to ask him about Coraline. From him she finds out about Coraline's old party house.

Mick does seem unusually drawn to Morgan, which makes no sense to me as Beth is infinitely more attractive, but whatever (no one said sexual chemistry was logical). Morgan seems just as drawn to Mick and the two of them probably would have done more than just kiss had they not been interrupted by the discovery that their client's wife's lover is the client's son (her stepson). They decide to head to Buzz Wire, where Morgan knows a sound guy who can clean up the poor audio of the lovers' conversation, and Mick makes an appointment to meet his client in an hour. But he stashes all their evidence at his office, unwilling for the moment to do more than talk to his client.

Mick gets stood up and he soon discovers the meeting was a ruse so that his office could be broken into and the evidence stolen. Knowing his client now has proof his wife is cheating, and with whom, Mick takes off to the son's house to warn him. Just as Morgan is listening to the improved audio and realizing the son and the wife are planning to kill Mick's client (not the other way around), Mick is realizing the same thing as he sees his stolen papers and photos on the son's table. Before Mick can react the wife shoots him in the back. Then she and the son decide it's time to kill her husband/his father.

After Morgan rushes over to warn Mick and finds him hidden (and by then healed) in the underbrush outside the son's house, they realize they have to get to his client before the would-be murderers do. They save him in the nick of time, thanks to Mick's vampire skillz (there's a nice shot of him jumping down a stairwell to save time), although they end up getting mussed in the process. So they go back to Mick's place to "clean up." I guess that's what the kids are calling it these days. As Mick walks by the bathroom while Morgan takes a shower, he notices the door is wide open. Of course Mick can't help but head in. And when Morgan turns and sees him and asks if he wants something, he has to get into the shower (fully dressed) with her. Poor Beth hears nothing but excuses about why it can never work between them, but Mick barely hesitates with Morgan. As they kiss he gets a good look at the fleur-de-lys on her shoulder. It's Coraline! Only in human form. It's difficult to tell whether he's happier that Coraline is alive or that she's apparently found a cure for vampirism.

Beth's emotions are a little easier to read. She decides to visit Coraline's old party house and discovers it doesn't appear entirely abandoned. Then she discovers a pile of photos of Mick and herself, taken secretly. Even worse she finds a girl's room downstairs that she realizes was the one she was kept in when she was kidnapped. Suddenly enraged Beth breaks a child-sized chair and makes a stake out of the leg. And then we come full circle, as Beth is back at Mick's door and Coraline ends up on the pointy end of that stake. Of course, Beth didn't know that Coraline really is human now (and even if she was a vampire Beth didn't intend to kill her as stakes only paralyze). But the very mortal Coraline is now bleeding to death while Mick freaks out. Beth looks confused, but not sorry. I can't say I blame her. The episode ends with Mick preparing to get Coraline to a hospital.

I think it's a pretty safe bet that Coraline will survive the staking. Alas. What's less easy to predict is how all this will affect Mick and Beth. One step forward and two steps back: ain't love grand?

Fang Files

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

Strengths: Super strength, speed, and jumping ability. Enhanced hearing. Fast healing. Able to withstand injuries that would be fatal to humans.

Weaknesses: Stakes, their makers.

Mythology: Fire is supposed to be fatal to vampires, yet Coraline somehow survived being enveloped by flames.

Sound Bites

Beth: I've got the proof. She's been lying to us, stalking us. Morgan is Coraline.
Mick: I know she is.

Beth: [on the phone] Seriously, what are you guys doing?
Mick: We're working a case.
Beth: Sounds like you're working something.

Josef: You have to understand--Mick and Coraline's relationship was one of those terrifying, completely self-destructive freak shows that you spend your while life searching for knowing that it can only end with one or both of you dead.
Beth: That's your idea of love?
Josef: Well what can I tell you--I'm a romantic.

Moonlight, Season 1 Episode 9 "Fleur de Lys." Written by Gabrielle G. Stanton [FYI now she's writing for The Gates and The Vampire Diaries, as well as co-producing them]. Directed by James Whitmore Jr. From CBS/The CW.

The Gates S1 E5 "Repercussions"

Spoilers Ahead

Oh, what a tangled web...

Really this episode shouldn't be titled "Repercussions" as it's more about secrets and lies than their consequences, but who am I to quibble? There's a fair bit going on in "Repercussions," most of it not out in the open.

A lot of the action centers around Teresa/Amanda. From the beginning of the episode as we watch Dylan burying her body in the forest, to the end when Frank watches her being killed, it's all about a minor character who became a major plot device. Nick spends the episode struggling with fear over what almost happened, guilt over what did happen, mistrust of Dylan (especially now that he knows what Dylan is), and panic over trying to keep a worried Marcus from finding out what happened to his girlfriend.

Meanwhile Dylan is trying to keep the situation--and Nick--under control, while at the same time protecting his own family. His actions are on the strange (read: not entirely believable) side, though. He starts off reassuring. Within hours he's flying off the handle and threatening Nick in a not-so-subtle way (displaying his vampire abilities in front of at least two Gates security cameras). Finally he decides to take the laid-back approach. In the end we don't even know if anything he was doing would have made a difference as Nick's fears are allayed when Marcus comes to the conclusion that Teresa/Amanda had ulterior motives and left of her own volition.

Meanwhile, even as Claire is being the supportive wife to Dylan (he ended up telling her what happened and she is far more understanding about it than he would have been), she has her own problem to worry about. Town gossip Barbara is already making veiled remarks in public about Claire's night out with Christian. At first Claire calls Christian for his help in taking care of the situation, but then she changes her mind and decides to deal with it herself. Whatever she's planning, we don't get to see it this episode, but I'm looking forward to finding out what Claire's solution will be.

The Andie-succubus storyline is moving forward and getting unnecessarily dramatic. Now that Dr. Peg's given Charlie the all-clear on his "mono," he's ready to pick up where he and Andie left off, but she's not feeling so amorous. Between some scary online research into succubi and the doctor telling her if she takes medicine for the rest of her life she might be able to control it, Andie isn't feeling so great about her mother's heritage. She decides to take things slow with Charlie. She also questions her dad about how he and her mom made their relationship work without benefit of medication (apparently he was sick a lot due to the succubus's tendency to drain men's life forces). For some reason Andie is really reluctant to take the medication, but I don't know what the problem is. Seriously--it's a herbal supplement--I take a bunch of them every day just as preventatives. See what I mean about unnecessary drama? Her dad does his best to dissuade her from taking the "very dangerous" risk he and her mom took, but Andie doesn't seem entirely convinced. In the end, dad confides his worries to Dr. Peg, who tries brushing them off--that is, until dad confesses that Andie's mom didn't really die in a car wreck. It turns out one night she lost control and he had to kill her or be killed. That's what you get for having a demon lover.

There's also a new twist with Devon, and it's actually interesting. It turns out that Frank (builder of the Gates) Buckley is her ex-husband and things didn't end well. When his new wife--and former mistress--Vanessa comes into Devon's shop, Devon goes out of her way to make amends with her successor (not that we're buying it for a second). Vanessa is happy enough with their newfound peace that she invites Devon to a party she and Frank are hosting in Nick's honour that night. Of course once there, the first chance Devon gets she sneaks into her former bedroom and gets into Frank's safe. Inside--and this is the interesting bit--is a pile of DVD cases, each labelled with the names of residents of the Gates. Devon grabs the disc from inside her case and stashes it in her purse, leaving the case behind so nothing seems amiss. Later we see her watching the disc; it turns out to be footage of her and Chad Taylor--arrested, despite his protests of innocence, for killing the former police chief--hooking up. Her and Chad is no surprise, but how did Frank get the disc and what does he plan on doing with it?

The episode ends nicely, with Nick giving a speech about how neighbours look out for and take care of one another. As he talks we see shots of Dylan and Claire, of Andie's dad noticing the flowers beside her bed (a gift from Charlie), of Devon watching the DVD of her tryst with Chad (and then destroying the disc), and finally of Frank watching another DVD--of Teresa's murder. He removes the disc from the player and puts it into a case that he then labels with Dylan and Nick's names. Finally the disc is placed in the safe. Who is Frank really, why did he build the Gates, and what is he up to?

Although some of the storylines get resolved a little too quickly on The Gates, the show at least is never lacking in new intrigues. The vampires (finally) seem to be getting a more central role. And though some of the drama is forced, some also works well and draws you in. The Gates is still uneven, but I'm confident it'll find its footing.

Fang Files

Appearance: Human, with small sharp fangs that extend at will.

Strengths: Super speed, strength. Ability to suddenly and silently appear and disappear.

Mythology: Vampires are not bothered by holy water or garlic, and they can be seen in mirrors. If a vampire reveals what he is to outsiders (and is caught) he will be killed (by other vamps) and his family will be "banished."

Sound Bites

Dylan: There is no body.
Nick: What?
Dylan: There is no body. I disposed of it.
Nick: Well if there's no body--
Dylan: There's no crime.

Dylan: [to Nick, handing him the location of Teresa's body, as Nick requested] I trust you will protect my family like I did yours.

The Gates, Season 1 Episode 5 "Repercussions." Written by Scott Nimerfro. Directed by David Solomon. From ABC.

24 August 2010

True Blood S3 E6 "I Got a Right to Sing the Blues"

Spoilers Ahead

"I Got a Right to Sing the Blues" is not for those with weak stomachs. Not that other True Blood episodes are remotely PG, but the rest don't generally include flesh being torn, fingers twisting inside open wounds, or heads being bashed in. And I thought it was over the top when Bill melted a vampire's face with silver last episode.

The episode starts off with Russell dragging Sookie and Bill back to his mansion, where they're met by Talbot, Lorena, and Eric. Bill makes a valiant effort at staking Russell (after first dispatching one of the guards) but the 3000-year-old vampire swats Bill away like a fly. While Lorena is distressed, first at Bill's betrayal and then at being ordered to kill him, Eric is acting like he couldn't care less about Bill or Sookie. He calls Sookie "it" when referring to her and ignores Bill's pleas to save her (as well as her pleas to help Bill).

When Talbot storms off in a fury about Russell's lackadaisical attitude toward the continual destruction of the mansion (swearing in Greek, to my amusement, prompting me to finally look up the actor, who--surprise, surprise--is Greek), Russell instructs Eric to take Sookie to the library to wait for him. In the library Sookie berates Eric for claiming to care about her and then throwing her to the wolves (well, technically the wolves' master). He makes it clear that he's got more important things to worry about than her. Just as she's letting him know she will get him back for what he's doing, Russell arrives and orders Eric to leave.

Russell and Sookie then have an odd exchange. He actually agrees to answer one of her questions for every question of his she answers. I guess the King of Mississippi is nothing if not indulgent. From him we find out he's not the king of all vampires and that he has "many" crowns (really, Sookie--that's what you asked first?), and that Lorena will kill Bill if she knows what's good for her, but she'll take her time with it. He also lets Sookie know that Bill's been keeping a secret file on her and her family. From Sookie we find out that she still doesn't know what she is ("alien" is one theory), her grandfather was the same way, she has no idea what the light from her hands is about, and the chain she threw at Rattray way back in the first ever episode wrapped itself around what's-his-name's neck (I thought she was just skilled). Satisfied (for now) Russell has Sookie locked in one of the guest rooms while he runs an errand with Eric.

Meanwhile, Lorena starts torturing Bill as a prelude to killing him. This is not a fun scene, and anyone with any kind of heart at all will feel for Bill. So of course, Lorena is only worried about herself. But she's insane so we can't expect too much of her.

Tara is enduring her own form of torture, tied to the bed and forced to play eager lover to the seriously unbalanced Franklin. (I also need to interject here that silk pj's do not work on Franklin--they'd might as well have put him in 'yummy sushi' pajamas.) After finding out that Sookie has been captured, leaving Franklin free to "marry" (i.e., turn) Tara, she shows a sudden and unusual interest in drinking Franklin's blood. She claims she wants to have the most incredible sex a mortal could ever have, since it's her last night as one. He seems to like that idea, telling her to bite him (possibly the first time anyone's ever said it and meant it literally). The scene of Tara's blunt teeth tearing into Franklin's neck is pretty disgusting. They could have toned that one down. At least he seems into it. Franklin later tells Tara that once she's turned there won't be any pain or fear or rules. I have to wonder what's up with Tara's extreme reluctance. Okay, Franklin wouldn't exactly be the ideal maker, but I think immortality might make up for it a little.

Anyway, as Sookie starts breaking down in her room/cell, she hears Tara's voice. Tara's managed to contact Sookie telepathically, and tells her they'll get out of there as soon as the sun comes up. They'll figure out how later.

En route to their errand, Eric flirts shamelessly with Russell and asks how he can tolerate the weres. Russell claims he despises them, as all vampires do, but he finds it beneficial to use them. His ultimate plan? To conquer humans and take over the world. He makes a frighteningly good case for it, but clearly all the vampires of Mississippi are short a couple of bricks. He also unknowingly confirms that he was the vampire responsible for killing Eric's family. Eric is still playing nice, though--for now. And he helps Russell finally break Queen Sophie-Anne and get her to accept his marriage proposal. The lessons here? Watch your spending; scratch and win lotto tickets are not the key to financial solvency; in a man's world, even a Queen is a slave (deep stuff).

The next morning, Lorena is still torturing Bill, refusing to sleep as he nears his end. How sweet. Of course, she also lets Coot and Debbie use him like a juice box, but whatever. Interestingly, Bill makes reference to Lorena's "evil" maker. It could be nothing, but I wonder if we'll get to meet him in some future episode. Hard to imagine a vampire more horrible than Lorena.

Meanwhile, as soon as she can, Tara creeps out of bed and, taking a mace off the wall (why does the decor in the guest room consist of weapons?) bashes Franklin's head in. Yeah, it's as horrible as it sounds. She then takes off to find Sookie. The thing is, Franklin didn't turn into a stringy pool of blood. Is he actually dead? I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of him.

Back in Bon Temps, things are just strange.

While dealing with an annoying and difficult customer, Arlene and Jessica end up alone together late at night. It doesn't help Arlene's anti-vamp stance that Jessica's fangs pop out when Arlene cuts her finger (Jessica, chagrined, claims she hasn't eaten). When Arlene whines that this has been the worst night--among other things all her customers stiffed her, Jessica (who's responsible for the dearth of tipping customers) decides to glamour the annoying customer. Jessica makes her leave all the money she has with her to Arlene before sending her on her way (with a minor pit stop in the ladies' so Jessica can have a snack). Why is Jessica being so nice to Arlene all of a sudden?

Elsewhere, Jason and Crystal are getting cozy together in the woods. Things are going pretty well until suddenly Crystal is upset and crying, saying this isn't right. Jason promises he'll take care of her forever, which seems fine by her, until a moment later when she's sniffing the air and then announces she's got to go. She tells Jason he'll never see her again and he needs to forget her. Uh, okay. Of course he ignores her and shows up at her house the next day carrying flowers and wearing his high school letterman jacket. It turns out the skeezy guy who answers the door is Crystal's fiance, but Jason's bigger concern is that she pretends she has no idea who he is and tells him off in no uncertain terms. Jason leaves but ends up taking out his frustration on the cocky high school quarterback (the best one since Jason himself) in what seems to be a pretty pointless scene. I have to believe this rivalry subplot between Jason and Jason junior is going somewhere, but honestly, I don't care. I watch True Blood for the vampires and other supernatural beings, not to get a dose of jocks being dumbasses.

Okay, I also watch for Lafayette, and things seem to be progressing nicely with him and Jesus (pronounced hey-zoos, by the way). Lafayette admits he always wanted to get away from Bon Temps, but somehow always ends up coming back. Jesus mentions he's been around the world with his peripatetic mom. When Lafayette asks about his dad, Jesus shares that no one knows who his dad is because his mom was raped. Interesting, in light of his name and all. There's a nice shot of the two of them kissing in Lafayette's car as the camera pulls out. Then they head over to Lafayette's place. Jesus also seems to have some intimate knowledge of esoteric subjects, commenting on Lafayette's shrine, specifically a couple of the "powerful" gods placed there (I'm not positive, but I think he's making reference to Santeria). Just as things are getting serious between them, the sound of hollering and breaking glass interrupts. A bunch of rednecks Lafayette was trying to convince to sell V a couple of episodes back have decided to go on a homophobic rampage, starting with his car. The rednecks are idiots, though, so it takes about 30 seconds for Jesus and Lafayette to deal with them. Unfortunately, during the altercation it comes out that Lafayette is a dealer, something Jesus is surprisingly judgmental about. He tells Lafayette to take him back to his car.

As for Sam and his family woes, he finally realizes that Joe Lee and Melinda have been supporting themselves by making Tommy shift and participate (as a pit bull) in dog fights (Melinda used to do it until her back was shot). After finding out from Andy where the local dog fights are held Sam takes off after the Mickenses.

In Mississippi again Tara finagles her way into Sookie's room where the two of them beat the guard into unconsciousness. Then they run. Of course, Sookie refuses to leave without Bill, so she sends Tara in search of a vehicle while she wanders aimlessly hoping to find where he's being kept before she's found by one of the werewolf guards. Luckily she gets tipped off by Coot and Debbie, obviously high on V, traipsing out of the building where Bill is. Tara meanwhile does run into a wolf, but (also luckily) it's Alcide looking for Sookie.

You'd think Sookie would be more cautious once she finds Bill, but she's so wrapped up in making sure Bill is still alive (never mind that he's still more or less man shaped rather than puddle shaped) that she doesn't even pause to consider someone else might be around. Lorena comes out of hiding and throws Sookie against the far wall, blaming her for all that's happened. The next moment Lorena is on her, sinking fangs into neck. And Sookie screams. Anyone else getting tired of Sookie screaming? Because I sure am. It doesn't even serve a purpose--she's not screaming in pain, or for help--she's just screaming like some B-movie relic. I'm not a fan of either book Sookie or show Sookie, but at least the book version knows how to keep her mouth shut.

Anyway, all in all a decent episode. I like the dog fighting subplot, and you know Eric's revenge (when he takes it) will be sweet. I'm also intrigued by Jesus and hope we get to see him again. Some of the other bits I could do without, but we'll see where they ultimately go. Halfway through season 3 already--say it isn't so.

Fang Files

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

Strengths: Super speed, strength.

Weaknesses: Stakes, sunlight, silver, blood loss, maces.

Mythology: The older the vampire the stronger they are. If a vampire stays awake during the day, they'll invariably become sick, bleeding from their eyes, ears, and nose.

Sound Bites

Sookie: I will never, ever forgive you for this.
Eric: Aw, it thinks we're equals.

Sookie: Why are you even here? I thought you had other things to deal with.
Eric: I do, and I need to think, so please don't take this the wrong way but shut up.
Sookie: Eric, please, I'm begging you--
Eric: [clapping his hand over her mouth to silence her] Thank you.

Sookie: [imitating Eric] Sookie, I'm risking everything to tell you this 'cause you mean so much to me. You make me feel almost human--
Eric: [fangs out] You mean nothing to me, understand? Nothing.

True Blood, Season 3 Episode 6 "I Got a Right to Sing the Blues." Written by Alan Ball. Directed by Michael Lehmann. From HBO.

20 August 2010

Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris

Spoilers Ahead

There are a few things in life that are always a nice surprise: a letter from a friend, a gift of flowers, the toy inside a Kinder egg--and discovering that something you initially weren't too fond of is worth liking after all. After hating the last two Sookie Stackhouse books I was pleasantly surprised to find that Dead to the World isn't bad. Nope, it ain't too bad at all.

Not that it's all flowers and Kinder eggs, either, but we'll get to that in a bit. First, the good stuff.

Hopefully most of us wouldn't stop in the middle of the night to pick up a near-naked strange man by the side of the road. So, of course, that's exactly what Sookie does as she's driving home from Merlotte's after work. Luckily the strange man is Eric, although he's not quite himself. It turns out he was cursed by witches and has forgotten who he is (although somehow he still knows he's a vampire). Witches who also happen to be weres with a taste for vampire blood, to be specific, and now they're out hunting for him. Some convoluted exposition later and Sookie is hired (with quite the salary) to keep Eric safe at her place until the witches can be found and dealt with. Meanwhile Sookie also has her hands full with ongoing trouble from Debbie Pelt, dead and wounded Shreveport weres, her not-entirely resolved feelings for Bill (conveniently off in Peru for most of the book), the unexpected attentions of a local were, an unusual "Supe" named Claudine, and--oh yeah--the disappearance of her brother, Jason. She's got a lot going on for a small-town girl with a limited social circle.

The Good

*There's a touch less exposition in this book than in the previous ones--always a plus. Also, Harris seems to be cutting down on the mundane details (I don't think she mentioned anyone's socks once this time! Although the clothes are still tragic).
*Eric with memory loss is pretty likable. Eric with memory loss hooking up with Sookie, well, that's just a bit of gravy (apparently he's a Viking in the sack--ha ha).
*There's some actual tension in the story!
*Sookie's horrible perma-smile seems to be slowly fading away.
*There are some good descriptive bits (mostly around the magic used). The books could use more of that.
*It's an interesting plot device to have the love interest (sex interest?) temporarily lose his memory so the heroine can hook up with him without any boring long-term commitment.
*Bubba is actually kind of growing on me. I have no idea how this happened.
*Bonus points for mentioning Buffy and Angel, although describing receiving the first season of Buffy as a "gag gift" is not cool.

The Bad

*There's still too much exposition and mundane detail.
*The resolution with Eric is kind of sad.
*The battle with the bad guys was seriously anti-climactic (although it occurred to me that these aren't the sort of climaxes romance readers are necessarily interested in anyway).
*I was hoping the Jason storyline would be stretched into the next book, but it ends up resolved (also anticlimactically).
*The Wiccan bits sound like Harris is summarizing Wicca for Dummies. And she still manages to sound slightly insulting/condescending toward Wiccans and witches.
*Ongoing editing issues, e.g. "Bon Temp's." Also this line: "They're Wiccans. They're evil," probably was supposed to read "They're Wiccans. They're not evil." At least, I hope so (although I kind of wonder if that might not have been a Freudian slip on Harris's part).
*I think somebody pointed out certain plot holes to Harris and she scrambled to "fix" them in this book. Suddenly (and clumsily) we're told that Bubba can enter without an invitation because he's brain damaged and so doesn't really register as a vampire. So, can he also withstand sunlight? Can he eat real food? Can Sookie hear his thoughts? Vampires, as described in the books, are creatures of magic--what do brain patterns have to do with anything? Lame, lame, lame.

The Ugly

*There's an Italian character nicknamed "Dago" and not a thing is mentioned about it. Um...
*Harris seems to have an underlying belief that anyone who isn't Christian couldn't possibly be moral or inherently good.

Okay, so Dead to the World is not without its problems. But there's a tiny glimmer of hope that Harris is catching on and slowly improving. I'm looking forward to the next book, but in a reserved sort of way. Because there's nothing more disappointing than when something you've just started liking suddenly goes downhill.

Fang Files

Appearance: Very pale humans with long fangs that extend or retract at will (or when a vampire gets excited). Some vampires have glowing eyes. Vamps also have glowing skin, which apparently only Sookie can see.

Strengths: Super strength, speed. Fast healing. Can take a bullet without any lasting damage. Some can fly.

Weaknesses: Sunlight/daytime, stakes. Because they're creatures of magic they're susceptible to magic used against them. They're vulnerable to being drained by V addicts and dealers (and if the vamp isn't killed it takes years for them to recover from a draining).

Mythology: When a vampire's maker calls they must respond. They need an invitation into a private residence, and must immediately leave if the invitation is verbally rescinded. Vampires are creatures of magic (except when they're not, apparently) and are susceptible to magic worked on them.

Text Bites

"Draining was a hazardous job, of course. Sometimes the vampire got loose, with a very predictable result. A court in Florida had ruled this vampire retaliation justifiable homicide..."

"Oh, God, puppy dog eyes. From a six-foot-five ancient Viking vampire."

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 by Charlaine Harris. From Penguin (Ace Books).

Moonlight S1 E8 "12:04 AM"

Spoilers Ahead

I didn't love "12:04 AM" and I don't know why. There were decent fight scenes, good use of music, an amusing (if not entirely believable) bit in a confessional, nice moments between Mick and Beth, no sign of Coraline, and on top of it all, a creepy Manson-like murderer who just won't die (by the way, for the younglings out there--that's Charles Manson, not Marilyn. And if you're too young to know who Marilyn Manson is, I don't want to know about it). All the elements for a damn fine episode. And yet it didn't click. Not for me anyway.

The episode starts off well, with Mick removing embedded bullets from his body (the downside of super quick healing) and dropping the latest addition into a jar full of previously removed bullets. As he works he watches Beth's latest report on BuzzWire.

Our Manson-esque killer, Donovan Shepherd (played by Gideon Emery, who also played Vlad the Impaler in The Middleman), is about to be executed for brutally killing six people 14 years earlier. He was convicted on the testimony of a 10-year-old girl (Audrey, played by Sarah Foret--a Katie Holmes lookalike--Beautiful People), who watched him murder those people, including her parents, and is there now to witness the execution. Meanwhile, Donovan's insanely devoted followers (his "family") are protesting outside and being generally threatening. Beth instantly bonds with Audrey over their mutually traumatic childhood experiences.

After some unnecessary Christ-like imagery, Shepherd (the name is included in said imagery) unleashes his final vitriol, telling the assembled witnesses that he regrets nothing, that he seeks the blood of those who crossed him, and that he'll live on while they die screaming his name. Nice. Audrey is further traumatized, while Beth inexplicably repeats his last words on air to the exultation of his gathered followers. This scene isn't believable and it also makes Beth seem like an irresponsible jerk. This might have something to do with why I'm not a fan of the episode.

From there things get weird as Audrey starts being stalked by someone who may or may not be Shepherd. Meanwhile bodies start piling up and she and Beth could be next. While Mick investigates the situation, Beth discovers that he was her rescuer and "guardian angel" not just when she was four, but ever since as well. The only thing that's not resolved by the end of the episode is Beth and Mick's relationship.

As I mentioned there are a few nice moments between Beth and Mick. Before she realizes he was her rescuer she tells him that it's ironic that Shepherd has been in prison yet Audrey never felt safe, while Beth's kidnapper was never found but she's always felt safe. His reaction is subtle, but you can tell he likes hearing that.

The way Beth glows just a little bit whenever anyone asks whether there's anything between her and Mick (which they always do), even as she denies it. And the way she nods in complete agreement when Audrey admits she feels safe with Mick. Did I mention she even smells Mick's sweater blissfully while he's out?

Meanwhile, when Mick realizes Audrey and Beth are in immediate danger, his first (and apparently only) thought is of Beth.

And then the final scene when Beth approaches Mick and tells him she knows he's been watching over her. He seems chagrined but she's shedding tears of happiness because she's found her guardian angel. He claims that now she knows why things can never work between them (I'm not quite sure how he figures that), and she responds that since she's met him she's learned that anything is possible. As dawn breaks over the horizon, she kisses him. But, rather than respond, he skulks away, shielding himself from the sun and leaving her basking in it.

Now that I'm thinking about it, I think what really bothers me about this episode is the lack of subtlety. Everything is so obvious, and just in case you don't get it it's spelled out for you. Maybe I'm being too critical, maybe they were having an off day. I'm just going to try to focus on all the good (even great) aspects of the episode and the show. Even the undead need to be cut some slack once in a while.

Fang Files

Appearance: Human, until vamp emerges and then ghostly white eyes and prominent, elegant fangs.

Strengths: Fast healing. Bullets and shrapnel are not an issue and can be left inside a vampire's body, which usually heals before they can be removed (but try getting through a metal detector). Super speed and strength. Heightened sense of smell. Vampires' visual comprehension is "off the charts." Ability to jump great heights.

Weaknesses: Sunlight, stakes, big knives.

Mythology: Vampires don't need an invitation to enter a home. Vampires can detect multiple scents in blood, including the smell of emotions.

Sound Bites

Donovan Shepherd (to Audrey): Hello, sweetheart; I see you.

Mick: I thought about being an actor back in the 70s. But I think I just really wanted to be Steve McQueen. There is a difference.

Priest: Who are you?
Mick: I'm the one who wants a confession.

Moonlight, Season 1 Episode 8 "12:04 AM." Written by Jill E. Blotevogel. Directed by Dennis Smith. From CBS/The CW.

10 August 2010

The Gates S1 E4 "The Monster Within"

Spoilers Ahead

Two dead bodies, and one is actually courtesy of a vampire! The Gates is starting to get the hang of this paranormal thing...well, sort of.

"The Monster Within" starts off well enough, with another nighttime scene in the woods (again shot too dark) as the wolves are out running. Suddenly we notice a hunter and the next thing we know one of the wolves is shot and badly wounded. Of course the wolves are the local weres, and the wounded one is Lukas. Brett, meanwhile, overreacts and ends up killing the hunter. Promising, right? (Inner Monster Count: 1; although, the hunter might count for one too, if for no other reason than he was poaching.)

The tension over Lukas's well-being dissipates all-too-quickly as Coach Ross (fellow were and beta of the Pack) removes the bullets and tells Lukas he'll be fine with time. Of course, the teen wolves don't tell the Coach that they left a dead hunter back in the woods. Surely he'll never find out!

And then he finds out. Pretty much right away, actually. He secretly moves the body ten miles away (yet somehow forgets about forensic evidence) and then gives Brett a stern lecture about Pack rules. He won't tell the Council what Brett did (something to do with Brett's mother) but he does punish him: Brett is now off the high school football team...permanently. Um, yeah. Brett reacts with ultimate rebellion: going out running against the alpha's (Lukas, apparently) orders. Craziness.

I'm also confused about the whole alpha thing. Is Lukas alpha of the teens or alpha of the entire pack? Because his dad seems to be the boss of him, so how could Lukas be alpha? And if he's not leader of the entire pack, he wouldn't be leader of only part of it, right (I mean there's no such thing as co-alpha or junior alpha--at least, not anywhere outside The Gates).

Anyway, besides having to search for the missing hunter and then trying to make sense of the forensics and coroner's report, Chief Nick has a lot going on personally. Not only is it the day of the Gates' annual Daddy-Daughter Dance, but it's the one-year anniversary of his shooting the unarmed rape/murder suspect (an unfortunate mistake that got him fired from his last job). He swears to his wife that he's dealt with it and is fine to go to work. And it's almost believable. Unfortunately this show hasn't mastered the subtle art of, uh, subtlety yet so it's pretty obvious where this is going. Until then he "distracts" us all by griping about having to spend time with Dylan Radcliff at the dance.

Dylan isn't any happier about the situation, but what can he do--his daughter and wife are friends with Nick's daughter and wife. It's rough being a suburbanite. Of course, no one knows that better than Claire, who's grappling with her desire to be a good wife and mother versus her desire to be true to herself (Inner Monster Count: 2). She ultimately gives in to the latter, meeting with Christian while Dylan is busy at the dance. But when Christian is about to pick up The Gates' biggest gossip for dinner, Claire not only steps in ('I can't let you kill her--I know her') but she steps in it. Now the entire town is going to know she was out with another man. Horrors.

Speaking of forbidden love (okay, I wasn't really but I am now), things are progressing nicely with Charlie and Andie. That is, until ten seconds of kissing causes Charlie to pass out. The witch-doctor realizes the fainting spell is down to Andie's emerging succubus powers (sigh, and also Inner Monster Count: 3) but she tells Charlie he has mono. Then she reminds Andie's dad that it's time for The Talk. So after spending one last moment with his "little girl" (at the dance), Dad finally steps up and gets to telling her what she is and what it means. Too bad we don't actually get to hear any of it.

On to the much-anticipated dance. Marcus is at work (he's covering Nick's shift) so he and Teresa chat on the phone before she leaves for the dance as official volunteer photographer of the event. Only, something's up. Teresa breaks out in tears when Marcus tells her he likes having her around, and then she goes over the top thanking him for being so nice to her after she's had such a "rough year." Once they hang up, out comes a gun.

Meanwhile, just before leaving for the night Nick decides to admit to his wife that he's been lying all along. It turns out he didn't shoot the guy in self-defence, that he knew he wasn't armed. It was cold-blooded murder. See, the guy was going to walk, and Nick knew he did what he was accused of (with all the psychic cops in TV land, you wonder why anyone would ever need trials or judges). So, yeah, he feels really bad about what he did and about lying all those months but he's got to get going. Try to not be completely traumatized, honey! (Inner Monster Count: 4.)

At the dance itself Nick and Dylan finally get over their awkwardness and bond over fatherhood, talking about how they would do anything to keep their families safe. During a break Nick calls home and is relieved to find out his wife not only still loves him, but promises that they'll move past this. But it's not so easy for everyone to move on. Claiming that Marcus is outside and has a question for Nick, Teresa gets him to follow her to the parking lot. She then pulls the gun on him and announces her real name is Amanda Walcott--sister of the man Nick killed (I almost expect her to pull off the mask she's been wearing and reveal her true face too). She herds Nick into the woods and tells him she was going to kill his entire family first, but the dance proved to be too good an opportunity to catch him off his guard. But as soon as she's done with him she's going back for his daughter (and the son and wife too, presumably). (Inner Monster Count: 5.)

Finished with her monologue, Teresa/Amanda is about to pull the trigger when lo and behold, someone jumps on her and pulls her down. Surprise, surprise--it's Dylan, and he's finally unleashing the vampire within (Inner Monster Count: 6). Once the woman is dead he tells Nick to go get their daughters and take them home--he'll take care of the body; no one ever needs to know what happened. Nick is somewhat shaken, to say the least. The episode ends with Dylan's official moment of coming out. Well, you know, those ten-minute-long bonds are the ones that really matter.

So, it was another fairly mediocre episode punctuated with a few moments (and I mean moments) of decent action. Maybe things will pick up now that Nick knows the monsters don't only reside within.

Fang Files

Appearance: Human, with small fangs.

Strengths: Super speed, strength.

Mythology: Even suburbia can't overcome blood lust.

Sound Bites

Claire: It wouldn't be such a terrible idea for you to spend some time with Nick.
Dylan: Well, I don't know what we're going to talk about; I don't think I'm currently a suspect in any of his cases.
Claire: The day is young.

Claire: I know that it's wrong but when I'm with you, Christian, I feel like my old self again.
Christian: I like the old Claire.
Claire: Yeah. I do too.

Nick: What are you?
Dylan: You know exactly what I am.

The Gates, Season 1 Episode 4 "The Monster Within." Written by Gabrielle G. Stanton. Directed by Paul A. Edwards. From ABC.

07 August 2010

True Blood S3 E5 "Trouble"

Spoilers Ahead

Things you learn in "Trouble" about vampires:
  1. Don't trust them.
  2. They are messy eaters (they definitely need to keep moist towelettes on hand).
  3. If you're at a casino with one, for god's sake let them have a turn at the slots!
This episode starts off where the last one left off, with Tara and Franklin at the King's mansion. I have to say, I like Franklin a lot in this scene. Something about the way he's getting tetchy with Talbot really works for me. If it wasn't for his insanity, Franklin is definitely a vampire I'd want backing me up. Unfortunately, the insanity becomes ever-more obvious as the episode goes on. We find out from Russell (aka the King of Mississippi) that Franklin has kidnapped--and killed--women before (although Franklin claims Tara is "spectacularly different"), and that he once slaughtered a church group of elderly women (see point 3 above). With Tara he alternates between being possessive (insisting she's "his" to the other vamps), needy, childish, gallant, and downright psychotic. When he sees texts from Lafayette on Tara's phone he nearly kills her because he thinks Lafayette is her boyfriend. A moment later--content that Lafayette is just her cousin--he shows off his texting skills and then petulantly demands that Tara look at him when she doesn't pay sufficient attention. When Tara attempts a daylight escape (foiled by Coot in wolf form), Franklin is distraught, sobbing, wailing why, and basically losing it. Tara realizes that he's not only emotionally unstable, but he's incredibly attached to her (maybe even in love), so she starts playing him as a survival strategy. She tells him that she was wrong, that she's really into him, and that she's just afraid of the other vampires. Finally reassured of her feelings, Franklin decides to "propose" to Tara--he asks her to be his vampire bride. Hey, at least he's not afraid of commitment.

Surprisingly, back in Bon Temps, suddenly neither is Jason. For one thing he definitely wants to be a cop, even willing to put up with a day (!) of mind-numbing tedium (at one point he deals with his boredom by fingerprintsing himself). But even the news that he still needs to pass the written test to become a real cop doesn't seem to diminish his interest in a career change. On top of that he finally meets the mysterious girl he saw at the meth lab bust back in "Beautifully Broken." Despite Crystal's (yes, the girl from the meth bust is named Crystal) constant refrain that there's no future for her and Jason, he's already thinking she might just be Ms Forever. Is it true love? Does Crystal (played by Lindsay Pulsipher, The Beast) have access to emotion-manipulating magics? Guess we'll find out.

A surprising romance is also developing between Lafayette and his mother's orderly, Jesus Velasquez (played by Kevin Alejandro, Southland). At first when Jesus shows up at Merlotte's Lafayette is wary, but I guess after a guy sits around in a redneck bar for nine hours just for a chance to hang out with you after work, that makes an impression. I liked Jesus right away when we first saw him taking care of Lafayette's mother, so I'm glad we get to see a bit more of him.

On the less-romantic relationship side, Arlene still hasn't told Terry that her surprise pregnancy isn't his doing. Meanwhile Terry is moving in with her and is shedding tears of happiness to finally be getting a normal life.

In contrast, Jessica is down after seeing Hoyt come into Merlotte's with a date. Never mind that Hoyt seems more fixated on Jessica than on what's-her-name, or that the other girl is nowhere close to being any kind of competition for the teenage vamp (telling your date you can't wait to have babies is not exactly the path to romance). Her mood perks up a little, though, when Tommy (now working at Merlotte's as a busboy) gets flirty with her. Still, I can't help but feel that there's still hope for Hoyt and Jessica (and if they do get back together I hope she makes him change that hairstyle--I swear it makes him look like a bulldog).

But speaking of Tommy, Sam's got him and his parents ensconced in Dawn's old house. Tommy's working at the bar while Joe Lee is now the general handyman for Sam's various rental properties. Sounds pretty good, right? Come on, this is True Blood. Almost right away it's clear there's some weird vibe between Tommy and his dad. The situation gets progressively worse until Joe Lee finally shows up and gets into an altercation with Sam (shouting that he "owns" Tommy) while Tommy looks on, clearly frightened. Sam eventually defuses the situation, but it's not going to last. Meanwhile, Tommy refuses to tell Sam what the deal is with him and his father.

Back to Mississippi now: The last we saw of Sookie and Alcide, she was running for her life and he was in the process of shifting (along with a bar full of weres). It turns out Alcide managed to hang on to his humanity and he and Sookie escaped without incident. I believe the word you're looking for is anticlimactic (it only gets worse when you realize Sookie's nifty new hairstyle was, in fact, a wig). After everything he's witnessed, Alcide realizes he has to go to the werewolf Packmaster and tell him everything, and he reluctantly takes Sookie along. But the Packmaster already knows, and is terrified of Russell and his wolves. His plan is to let Russell do whatever he wants until he finally moves on. How did this guy get to be alpha?

Conveniently Eric shows up at Russell's mansion to ask permission to hunt for Bill in the King's territory. When he realizes that not only is Bill at the mansion, but that everybody already knows he's the one who was selling V back in Louisiana, Eric changes tactics. He admits that the Magister has his progeny (Pam) and that it's the Queen of Louisiana (Sophie-Anne) who got them all into this mess in the first place. Lucky for Eric, Russell has no love for the Magister and some sympathy for Eric's plight with Pam. He assures Eric that there might just be a way to solve all their problems--but first Eric has to spend the night and wait until Russell's ready to deal with his situation. Poor Pam.

Unable to do much else, Eric gets a tour of the mansion from Talbot (who's not shy about showing his attraction to Eric). Things are going as fine as can be expected when suddenly Eric sees an artifact in a case: a Viking crown. Through flashback we find out that Eric's parents (king and queen of the Vikings, apparently--or at least their particular clan) were slaughtered by werewolves following the orders of a mysterious hooded figure in the shadows. After Eric spots the brand on a dead were's neck, the figure takes the king's crown and leaves. His dying father appoints Eric the new king and also makes him swear vengeance. So now we know why Eric is so desperate to find out who the weres have been working for (although that is a long time to be out for revenge--talk about serving it cold), and he's finally discovered that it's Russell. I'm looking forward to seeing Eric fulfill that vow.

By the way, Eric as a human Viking--much more enjoyable to watch than him as a vampire, although even that has been improving. No more perpetually bored/emotionless characters, 'kay?

As for Bill, he's rapidly losing Russell's trust. It probably doesn't help that he lies about the file on Sookie Franklin found in his house not being his. It helps even less that, after acknowledging to Eric that Sookie is no longer his, Bill beats up Coot (destroying Elizabeth Bathory's bed in the process), shoves a vampire guard's face against the silver door (melty!), and takes off to warn Sookie to get out of town. Of course he was being set up by Russell, so his reunion with Sookie is short-lived. Russell, Coot, and the guard show up, but when Coot attacks and grabs Sookie, the purple-white light comes out of her hands again, this time strong enough to throw him across the room. Bill looks stunned when he sees this, but Russell laughs uproariously and shouts "Fantastic!" Things are all kinds of messed up for our heroes.

I don't know what it is but I'm not loving True Blood this season. I think it's probably partly due to pacing (too much trying to be done in too little time) and a general lack of relationship development (seriously, half the fun is in the build up and, unfortunately, the show is pretty consistent with relationships being over before they've really started). I'm sure I'll be back to being a devoted fan before too long, but for now there's more tarnish than gleam.

Fang Files

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

Strengths: Super strength, speed.

Weaknesses: Sunlight, silver.

Mythology: If a vampire claims a human as "theirs" other vampires cannot (by vampire law) drink from that human, hurt them, or use them in any way. Vampires need an invitation to enter a private residence, although it's unclear this episode whether any human (or were, apparently) can invite a vampire in or if it was a momentary lapse in the rule that a resident needs to issue the invitation.

Sound Bites

Tara: Help me.
Bill: No.

Franklin: But I want cash.
Russell: The last time you had any real money you ended up at the slots in Biloxi slaughtering a church group of elderly women.
Franklin: They wouldn't let me have a turn!

Tara: We need to talk.
Franklin: Don't say that. When you say that everything goes black and I wake up surrounded by body parts.

True Blood, Season 3 Episode 5 "Trouble." Written by Nancy Oliver. Directed by Scott Winant. From HBO.

06 August 2010

Moonlight S1 E7 "The Ringer"

Spoilers Ahead

Have you ever been desperately in love with someone; someone you knew was bad for you but you just can't seem to stay away or let them go? Have you ever loved someone until the emotion infests you like a disease, eats away at you, and leaves you helpless before it? Mick has. And not with Beth. Love really does suck.

"The Ringer" starts off with a fire at a downtown hotel--one Mick used to go to with his parents for Sunday brunch. After chatting about it with Beth (who is at the scene reporting) Mick spots a woman taking photos in the crowd. He freezes. The woman looks exactly like his dead vampire ex-wife/maker, Coraline. Did I mention he killed Coraline by setting a building ablaze with her in it?

After a flashback in which we witness the first time Mick and Coraline meet (back in the 1950s when he was a mere Hawaiian-shirted mortal musician, a look and occupation that I just don't buy on Mick). Back in the present, Mick confronts the woman only to find out (a) she's human; (b) her name is Morgan; (c) she has no idea what he's talking about; and (d) she and Beth work together (Beth uses her photos for stories).

And yet, Mick can't shake the feeling that Coraline has somehow returned from the dead and made herself human. There are just too many coincidences to ignore, starting with the photo Morgan snapped of a woman (bearing a resemblance to her) being murdered in the fire by a man bearing a resemblance to Mick. The woman in the fire even has a fleur-de-lys tattoo on her back, just like Coraline did. Not to mention that Morgan moves and talks just like Coraline, that she has a copy of Coraline's favourite book by her bed, and that she happens to play one of Mick's favourite songs when he's at her place.

Josef is rightly skeptical. He admits that she is Coraline's doppelganger but Morgan is clearly human--not even Coraline could pull that off. And Mick clearly can't let go of his ex. Meanwhile Beth is showing signs of jealousy as it becomes clear there's some sort of connection between Mick and Morgan. (On a side note, this show really has the men hapless in the face of evil vamp women. Love not only sucks, it bites too).

Finally it all gets to be too much for Mick. In a moment of crazy he accosts Morgan, rambling on as if she is Coraline, and ripping her shirt to get a look at Coraline's telltale tattoo. But when he sees there is no tattoo and realizes that Morgan is bleeding but not healing, he finally backs down. Apparently he can believe his ex was resurrected and that she somehow cured herself of being a vampire, but the idea of tattoo removal is beyond his scope of believability. Back at his place Mick finally tells Beth what's been going on, how Morgan looks just like Coraline, how Coraline died, how insanely in love with Coraline he was (emphasis on insane). When Beth asks if he's disappointed that Morgan isn't Coraline, Mick can't answer. Beth's look before she walks away is part pain and part disgust. Mick just looks dismayed.

The episode ends with Morgan at her place as she breaks out the makeup remover and uncovers the fleur-de-lys on her back. Cue dramatic music.

There were a couple of nice moments in "The Ringer." The nighttime shot in the columbarium (yeah, I had to look it up) as Mick walks through was gorgeous (although why a vampire would need a flashlight to see in the dark is something of a mystery). There's also a great shot of flames (from the fireplace behind him) surrounding Mick as he talks about his feelings for Coraline. The fight scene at the cemetery is also pretty cool.

Moonlight isn't the first vampire show to feature a vamp who's managed to revert to the mortal coil (Angel and Forever Knight leap immediately to mind) but I'll be interested to see its take on the subject. And even more interested to see how Mick and Beth deal with it.

Fang Files

Appearance: Human until vampire emerges, then...see photo above.

Strengths: Super strength. Enhanced sense of smell. Ability to easily jump great heights. Quick healing.

Weaknesses: Stakes, sunlight. Fire (?)

Mythology: To be absolutely sure a vampire is dead you need to see their ashes.

Sound Bites

Musician: (re: Coraline) She's something else, isn't she?
Mick: Yeah, I wouldn't kick her out of bed for eating crackers.

Josef: (to Mick) Coraline drove you crazy the whole time you knew her. Now she's dead and she's still driving you crazy. You need to let her go.

Morgan: (questioning Beth about her relationship with Mick) I'm a photographer--I see things.
Beth: And I have a boyfriend, remember.
Morgan: Like that ever stopped anybody.

Josef: (to Mick) One of these days you're going to have to stop hating what you are.

Moonlight, Season 1 Episode 7 "The Ringer." Written by Josh Pate. Directed by Chris Fisher. From CBS/The CW.

03 August 2010

Moonlight S1 E6 "B.C."

Spoilers Ahead

Drug trips, crazy 80s clothes, vampire corpses, and microchipped humans: "B.C." is one weird episode of Moonlight.

Here's the basic premise: While putting together a fluff piece on a fashion show, Beth stumbles onto a real story when the star model collapses and dies. Following various leads ultimately has Beth at the morgue stealing a microchip that will get her into the VIP room at Club Valis--apparent source of the drug that killed the model.

Mick, meanwhile, is approached by Josef to find his on-again/off-again girlfriend Lola, an ancient vampire. Apparently Lola has disappeared and Josef is worried. Well, he's worried and also she stole a million dollars from from him before going AWOL. Well, she didn't steal it so much as he gave it to her because she asked. But whatever the case he still needs to find her. Mick's investigation leads him to the discovery that Lola recently bought a tonne of silver--strange since it's a toxic substance to vampires. Before long he finds the burned corpse of a silver-covered vampire, which his contact at the morgue informs him has been drained of blood. It occurs to Mick that the silver could be used to paralyze a vampire in order for their blood to be drained without any loss of it.

It's at the morgue where Beth and Mick run into each other for the first time since their kiss. Despite the awkwardness they soon realize that their cases coincide. It doesn't take long for them to catch on that Lola is selling vampire blood as a drug, killing both vampires and humans (who OD on the silver in the blood) in the process. Knowing that Lola won't hide what she is from the police, Mick and Josef know she needs to be stopped before they're all discovered. Heading to Lola's base of operations--a creepy warehouse filled with tanks of paralyzed and dying vamps--Mick confronts Lola (who earlier was wearing an outfit worthy of Aunty Entity, but at this point has changed into a cheap corset--wardrobe department fail). She has a chance to show off some of the benefits of her advanced age before Mick gets lucky and pushes her into one of the silver-laden tanks. Then he blows the place up.

Oh, and there's a very...odd scene involving Beth high on vampire blood (or "Black Crystal" as the drug is called). She and Mick end up in the shower together--fully clothed--and while it's not an unappealing moment, it does seem kind of weird and pointless. And boy that Mick's got some self control. He must be the only (ex) musician ever with that kind of discipline. It's a little disappointing, actually.

"B.C." gives us a chance to get to know Josef a bit better, but I'm not entirely sure that's a good thing. Why is it that he creates a mess (by giving his playmate a million dollars, no questions asked) and then when he clues in that the fallout is going to be devastating, it's somehow Mick's responsibility to take care of it before things reach the point of no return? What is up with that? Josef is like the friend who shows up every so often in crisis mode and expects you to take care of everything for them, while offering nothing in return. How hard up for friends must Mick be?

And it also wouldn't be Moonlight without one of those beautiful moments of connection between Beth and Mick. Aside from the shower scene, they spend most of the episode acting flirtatious or exchanging banter--nothing too serious. But when the warehouse explodes and Beth thinks Mick was in there, the look on her face as she sees that he's safe...and then the realization dawning on his... It's almost going to be a shame when these two finally do hook up because these little moments are likely to disappear.

There's also a nice scene at the end of the episode when, knowing she wants Mick even though she acts like everything is fine with Josh, Beth takes a long look at herself in the mirror. Nice. Explosions and introspection--it might just be the perfect combination. Anyone else ready for this show to be brought back?

Fang Files

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

Strengths: Super speed, strength. Ability to jump great heights. Quick healing. Lola can dematerialize (or she just moves faster than even a vampire's eyes can see).

Weaknesses: Stakes (paralyze), silver (paralyzes and eventually kills), sunlight.

Mythology: Vampires sleep in freezers because they find the cold soothing. The downsides of vampirism (according to Mick) include scrounging, hiding, and not being able to have or enjoy the things you used to love.

Sound Bites

Josef: (after waking Mick) I'm looking for somebody.
Mick: What--you think they're in here?

Mick: (to Beth) Yes, well, perpetual coolness is the vampire's curse.

Lola: (to Beth) What does it feel like to move through the night so powerful nothing can touch you?

Moonlight, Season 1 Episode 6 "B.C." Written by Erin Maher and Kathryn Reindl. Directed by Paul Holahan. From CBS/The CW.

01 August 2010

Trailer: The Vampire Diaries Season 2 (Extended Version)


When I first tried sushi I didn't like it; I couldn't figure out what the big fuss was about. But then out of nowhere I started craving it and the more I had, the more I liked it. The Vampire Diaries is like sushi to me. I didn't particularly like it at first, then I started getting interested in it, and now--despite numerous other vampire shows keeping me occupied--I'm actually excited to see it again. I blame it on Damon, who, as far as I'm concerned, is the best (and yeah, hottest) vampire since Spike (sorry, Bill).

To get us in the mood, the CW has released trailers for the upcoming season of TVD. Watch the extended version here.

While you're at it, watch a short video update of Damon here.

The Vampire Diaries returns Thursday, 9 September. I know I'm marking my calendar.