Tuesday, August 28, 2012

True Blood S5:E12 recap- Season Finale

Season 5 is officially dunzo. And what a wacky, polarizing season it was. The unevenness and odd plot lines caused some once-devoted fans I know to finally quit the show in frustrated exasperation. Hell, I almost stopped watching. Glad I hung in there though, and I'm glad y'all did, too. It's been fun blogging about it, and I'm very grateful to the 3 or 4 of you who have been kind enough to consistently share your thoughts in my comments section. Gracias!

Closing thoughts on the Season 5 Finale... An unforgettable cliffhanger.... Yes, let's talk about the last scene first. Because, wow.

Wow. Beel out-vampired Salome. She didn't smell the silver. You've got to hand it to her for going out with such class: "Lilith chose wisely." As she was retching up blood, inside I was thinking, "Not on that gorgeous rug, Salome!"

Then Eric and Sookie arrive. Is Eric really that loyal to Beel or does he need to see it through in order to make sure Sookie understands he's actually the better vampire for her? Probably a bit of both. It looked like Beel had met the true death, and frankly, I kind of wanted him to after he called Sookie an "abomination," and pulled a shitty "I told you so" by reminding her of what he said when they first met about vampires hurting the ones they love most. Goodbye, Beel! Then something came up out of the puddle of blood... I suspected it would happen but it still shocked me...


Now that was some exquisitely scary schizz. Eric looked positively terrified, which we never see. Yikes!! (I'm hooked! When does Season 6 begin again?)

Alcide finally came around, upon hearing Rikki's testimony about what's being perpetrated on even the very young girls in the pack. Alcide used his Dad's extra special stash of V to become the new packmaster. Wonder who the hell's blood that was?? Apparently, some vampire even older than Russell Edgington. Warlow? Hmm... I detect a future plot line there, pitting Warlow/Weres against Sookie, and Alcide conflicted over which side to take. "Pack first" - there's a slogan I can get behind, but I have a feeling it will be much easier said than done for the Herveaux family. Great scene with Alcide and his dad talking about words vs. deeds.

The Tara/Pam storyline finally arrived at a healthy place for their relationship. Tara wasn't going to even wait one more second for Sookie to open those silver prison bars. And Jessica knew it. ;)

The award for the most camp-tastic scenes of the whole season goes to... Fairy Mirella giving orgasmic, salt-induced birth to quadruplets on the pool table at Merlotte's while Lala, Arlene, and barfly Jane Bodehouse look on, with poor Holly acting as midwife. I love that Mirella left the babies with Andy the "dick," and waltzed the eff out.

Jason bonked his head and now he sees dead people - his late parents, who understandably hate vampires and want him to hate them, too. In theory, his newfound abilities should bring him closer in empathy to Sookie. I've enjoyed their sibling relationship this season.

Luna skin walking as Steve Newlin on national TV = awesome. Hands down, the best killing of a vampire ever had to be the way Sam offed Chancellor Roslyn. I could not help but think of There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. And we all know what happened to that lady.

And now the first scene last: Eric staked Russell Edgington while he was distracted by the scent of the fae. Felt good. I was sad to see Russell go, before the opening credits even rolled. Damn.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

True Blood S5:E11 recap

Anybody out there? Bueller? You guys still watching True Blood? One episode left, and it looks like the war(s) is/are about to begin.

I'll keep this brief.

I loved the scene with the shit-talking General who 'owns the day' and 'has weapons,' and I loved that Eric killed him for being "a dick." And, of course, to provide an escape route so Eric and Nora could fly off into the night. I guess the tape of Russell and Steve killing all those frat boys has gone viral. Thanks, TB, for an enjoyable sex scene, even though it was brother/sister, it was still long overdue.

Pam's been arrested and taken to Authority HQ for the death of Sheriff Marilyn Manson. She protected Tara from Chancellor Roslyn's wrath - I think that was extremely significant. How's she going to get out of that one now that Eric has left the building?

Alcide and his Dad, the Trailer Park Vampire Slayers - "when we die we turn to goo!" - I personally loved that whole scene, very camp-tastic. Alcide could have left his shirt off. Just a thought.

Andy is Fairy Mirella's babydaddy. Weren't Holly and Arlene were just talking about their men and "loyalty"? Spoke too soon.

The quirky Fairy Elder who lived a very long life right up until she met Sookie, and who dances and references Ke$ha, Boyz II Men, and John Cougar Mellencamp - ugh, I was not a fan. Something was off about the writing of her character, and I just could not suspend my disbelief. I kept thinking "why did the actor and director make the choice to portray her in this odd, unbelievable way?!" Come to think of it, I don't especially love the way any of the fae have looked or acted this season. As I've said before, Claude is not good looking enough. Bah.

Russell Edgington seems pretty unstoppable. The fae appear to be totally defenseless against him now that he can see right through the portal into Fairyland. Maybe Warlow is going to step in when Russell tries to eat Sookie. That, or Eric will fly in.

Beel hitting Jessica during their disagreement was extremely sad and uncomfortable -- religious zealotry and misogyny seem to go hand-in-hand. Jessica being ordered to turn Jason while the vampire guards monitor her, yikes. Beel is not that dumb... of course, Beel could have added an "as your maker, I command you" clause that would have made Jessica actually go through with turning Jason, but he didn't.

Lilith appearing to every Chancellor (except Roslyn?) telling them they're the Chosen One and that they must drink all of her... is that so she can possess one of them and come back into corporeal form? Maybe she is "real" afterall. The bloody handprints on the glass certainly suggest so.

Your thoughts?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

True Blood S5:E9 & E10 recap

Hello, my long lost fans of the fang! I wanted to post this recap sooner but my beloved TV-watching and blogging had to take a temporary backseat to work and parenting. You know what I mean. So without further ado...

It's so hard to believe there are only two episodes left of Season 5, which also means summer is almost over. Already we've seen a lot of Big Endings of the kind that TB used to reserve for its Actual Season Finales--

Jesus is gone but not forgotten. Lafayette has his mojo back, just like in the earlier seasons - love him. Jessica and Jason said their sad goodbyes to Alaska-bound Hoyt, who now seems to have everything he's ever wanted (and I got very teary-eyed. Literally, I cried. Well done by all three actors.) Terry and Arlene gave blood for blood and got rid of both the Ifrit curse and that pesky corpse in one fell swoop. Ghost Godric is really gone (another very sad scene, though Eric looked too hot crying - no complaints here). Sheriff Dearborn, The Dragon, and her ilk have been brought to justice. Alcide is again a lone wolf, just like his washed-up dad, aka the Cop Terminator from T2. As with killer Rene at the end of Season 1, Sookie has survived another murder attempt by a local guy she's known for years (Mike the Creepy Coroner/new vamp who got staked with chopsticks instead of simply revoking his invitation to her home - nice!). Who turned him, anyway?

There are still quite a few plotlines to tie up and only 2 episodes left to do it.

Tara and Ginger have killed the new Sheriff in town. Before he met the true death, Marilyn Manson called and asked for his look back. Lol. Ginger is an expert screamer. As I've said before, Ginger deserves a raise. The Pam/Tara dynamic is still the source of uncomfortable racial imagery, anyone else catch the Gone With The Wind - Prissy shout-out: "I don't know nothin' about birthin' no vampire babies." It was 100% intentional. Even the name of the episode is "Gone, Gone, Gone." (P.S. Pam rocked that white studded jacket.)

Beel: is he or isn't he a True Believer? I think he's an almost-there believer, or at least a wannabe convert - as I've said before, Beel's probably got a long term strategy going - like any successful vampire must, he has decided to lose some battles in the hope he'll eventually win the war. It will involve saving Sookie, but Eric will come out looking like the better, less-self-interested romantic partner for Sookie. Salome definitely has Beel under her thumb. Does she remind anyone else of another hot, brunette, elder vamp from Beel's past? Lorena, correct! I predict Beel will likewise eventually have a hand in killing off Salome.

When Beel was watching the video of Eric and Nora having the vision of Godric getting killed by Lilith it was as if he was somehow searching for some shred of concrete proof that Lilith is actually real. Like he's internally grappling with his own beliefs while externally saying what he must. The look exchanged between Eric and Beel when Russell mentioned his dream of daywalking with fairy blood said an awful lot. Then again, after Beel dragged Jessica to Authority HQ, handed her the Vampire Bible and gave her a mini-lecture on religion (and at the same time probably giving her a bit of religious homeschooling PTSD), I thought ok, so will Jessica be the one to finally slap some sense into her dear old dad? I have thoroughly admired Jessica this season - no doubt she will push back unless forced to drink the wacky Lilith V.

Russell was great to watch as usual, too. His clever exchange with Eric - Eric kissing Russell's ring and finally giving Russell the forgiveness he had asked for a few episodes back in Salome's chamber, wow. Clearly, they're both faking the religious fervor, and they both know it. Then Russell comes right out and admits it. Russell has had enough of these silly religious zealots: he's all "I'm 3,000 years old, I like to eat people, and when I'm super pissed my ancient Teutonic accent comes back!! Grrr!!!!"

Russell and Steve Newlin slow dancing in the frat house amongst the corpses of all the frat bothers they've just eaten was a great mix of scary/campy/funny. Steve Newlin's kidnapping of Emma and making her stay in wolf form - treating a child like a dog both literally and figuratively - holy hell, I'm really having trouble with it. Seeing a child being mistreated even in fictional form is just way too uncomfortable for me. Sam and Luna shifting into little white mice to keep tabs on Emma, how horrifying for any parent to watch. I think this will all come to a head in the next two episodes. They'll call in Alcide, Martha and the small handful of anti-V weres, and I bet somehow Steve Newlin meets the true death and Russell gets even crazier (if that's even possible) over the loss of yet another paramour. But I hope they don't actually kill Russell.

I found myself surprisingly enjoying the plotline about the Old Stackhouse Family Contract with Vampire Warlow found hidden under the floorboard of the bed. Good call, Officer Jason, you do have half a brain in there - and it reminded me of Lafayette's funny prior admonishments to the ghosts about getting too cute with their clues. It looks like an ancient scroll with hieroglyphics, so they first take it to the local university to have a professor examine it? Really? Did they really think he'd be able to read fairy? If this were the books, that professor would turn into a Bad Guy in the next season. Taking it to Claude should have been their first logical step, but oh well. Mirella finally translated it with her mad fairy handwaving skills - and BTW, she's pregnant with Andy Bellefleur's baby, right, right??

As their first female family fairy (I love alliteration), Sookie has been promised by her ancestor to Warlow. As a food source or as a wife? Wait, isn't this all cribbed from the Paranormal Activity movies? So that means, Sookie Is In Danger... All Over Again!! Naturally. Will getting rid of all her fae-ness make her less enticing to Warlow? Hmm...

Your thoughts?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

In which I drink the Latch on NYC haterade

I've been intrigued by the "Latch on NYC" anti-infant formula controversy this week. For the uninitiated, it's a New York City government plan designed to keep infant formula out of the mouths of newborn babies in the hospital while problematically not doing anything substantive to promote more breastfeeding. [In case it isn't already obvious, I'm opposed to it.]

There have been the usual criticisms that talking about Latch on NY is all yet another round of "mommy wars," and that our energies are best spent elsewhere instead of judging other people's choices. Well, yes - and to be clear, the only choices I'm about to judge are Mayor Bloomberg's. And yes, where's the guaranteed paid maternity leave for all?/private pumping spaces for all that aren't toilets?/the paid break time from employers? As in, all the things the rest of the first world has already figured out which make it possible for them to both work and breastfeed? Yes, we need to make some serious structural changes to the way America does business. Yes, we also need to also call out the times when the government fails to protect the breastfeeding rights of women. Yes, as a culture, we need to support breastfeeding, and see it as a positive practice. Yes, we need to tell the truth about the many, many benefits of breastfeeding. I get it. I hope critiques of what the hell is wrong with Latch on NY do not impede progress towards making any of those changes. Not that I think they will - as if any real progress was being made before this controversy arose!

Anyway, here are some of my favorite comments this week:

From @Drahill (comment #20) over on on Feministe--
"Here’s what gets me. Nationally, something like 75% of women nurse in the hospital. In NYC, it’s close to 90%. 3 months after birth, around 30% are still at it. Well, has it dawned on anybody that around 2-3 months is when lots of mothers go back to work? And that work isn’t exactly an easy place to nurse? Do they also realize that the nations with higher nursing rates provide paid maternity leave, longer leave, cover nursing expenses 100% and all that? But its easier to say “educate and encourage!” Because then, nobody talks about the actual biggest barriers to nursing."
My thoughts exactly!

It seems to me Mayor Bloomberg's mandate applies the power of the American city government to regulate the speech of doctors and nurses, directing them to have one-sided "breast is best" conversations designed to coerce women to make the "correct" choice. Yet in this case, even though some <90% of NYC mothers already breastfeed in the hospital, because some liberals like Bloomberg believe breastfeeding to be a public health issue of paramount importance, they're willing to ignore the rather obvious First Amendment problems, even while they hold the opposite view of the exact kind of government action when it comes to state-mandated anti-abortion speeches within the doctor-patient relationship. Apparently, breastfeeding is one of those Special Issues within public health where the ends justify the means. Despite having done no actual research to determine whether or not it will work - they're convinced Latch on NYC's hide the formula/give unsolicited advice strategy is the very best way to get those other >10% of NYC mothers on board with breastfeeding.

Has anyone asked the other >10% of NYC mothers why they choose not to breastfeed? Wouldn't that be a great place to start? But no, it's rhetorically easier and is extremely en vogue today after Citizens United to blame the big corporate bad guys than to figure out what we need to change structurally to make breastfeeding work for more families. May I suggest starting with making some changes to the New York City government's own policies for its workers? Bloomberg could make that happen right now. Why won't he?

As I said to one of my lactivist friends who thinks this initiative is the Second Coming, what if Mayor Bloomberg's next pet project is an anti-homebirth initiative or a pro-vaccination initiative, does everyone still honesty think these same passionate people will be applauding Bloomberg then? Or will they suddenly be able to see it for the massive overreach it is? (It sucks to suddenly have to agree with the Tea Party.)

Anyway, it's been fascinating to me how reasonable (and some decidedly not very reasonable) people can differ so vastly in their views on the policy. Some on the left have constructed this issue as one of government reigning in on formula companies in the name of public health, but if you really look at what will not be changing with this policy, it is easy to see that's something of a mischaracterization. What must the formula companies now do differently under the new Latch on NYC regime? Nothing. It's business as usual, best we can tell. They still get to drop off their free products and literature at all the hospitals - their marketing and labels are still visible - only now the hospital staff will put it in other places, we think? As of today, Bloomberg's own office doesn't even seem to know. Yeah, way to sock it to Big Forma. (Big Forma is a fun new term I learned this week. Nice, huh?) Way to hit them where it hurts and all. Oh, come on.

From @cherrybomb (comment #24) also on Feministe:
"If hospitals weren’t so shitty about ignoring women who say 'please don’t formula feed my baby' none of this would be needed. And what’s needed isn’t this new policy of making formula “less accessible,” what’s needed is doctors and nurses who actually pay attention to the wishes of the parents, whatever those wishes may be. This all just means hospital staff gets to keep being disrespectful to parents, it’s just now they’ll be pressuring for breasts instead of bottles. Any policy that is intended to make FOOD less accessible to INFANTS is a shitty policy, in my book."
Yes. That's why I'm in favor of the current system of allowing (most, but not all) people to select their own OB -- to make sure she's not a judgmental ass, or at least is not a judgmental ass in whatever way one finds troubling. I'm generally not in favor of the government telling medical professionals what they can or can't say to women, unless there is some compelling interest, which in this case, where the alternatives to breastfeeding are not affirmatively harmful to anyone, there's not.

So. I fully realize I hardly ever get comments when I talk politics and feminism like I've done here, but if you do have some thoughts to share I'd love to hear them. So long as you don't include obviously erroneous points like "formula is not food." And you'll notice you've gotten no personal nursing anecdotes from me, because it's irrelevant - I'm totally atypical. Please feel free to share yours though.