True Blood – Spoiler Talk

Warning: This entire post is one giant spoiler. If you aren’t up to date and/or you don’t want to see what might be forthcoming, turn back now. YOU ARE WARNED. Seriously. MAJOR (potential) spoilers ahead

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S7 E5 – Lost Cause

So no True Bites this week. Not sure what will happen on that front, but I will keep recapping through the end of the season :)

All in all this was another strong episode. It’s like now that they found the gas pedal, they’re flooring it. I can’t say that I’m minding that, especially as they are finding time for some more human moments in the middle of all the crazy. Let’s break it down:

Newlin Family – Loved Amber, loved how Amber clicked with Pam and Eric. Loved how Bill’s book made the Newlin’s fall out of favor. Nice meeting them while they lasted.

Paric – “Look, Eric. I’m a Republi-cunt!” Hah. Cowboy!Eric was a hoot too. Oh, and Ginger. Oh, Ginger.

Willa- I rather respected Willa for continuing to take her stand against Eric for abandoning her. I can say I have a vested interest in her now. Nice job, writers, I didn’t think that was possible.

Bill – Man, Bill has been completely side-lined this season, hasn’t he? Really, that’s why he’s been having flashbacks. There’s some parallel between Bill’s situation then and now, but realistically, the flashbacks just gave him screen time. I legit swore when I saw the Hep V show up, but that all just confirms that they’ll find a cure. The might be crazy enough to kill Eric, but not the both of them.

Sookie – Lookie how the town is now in favor of her! Drunk Sookie is always hilarious. Her heart to heart with Arlene was sweet, and it was nice of Jackson to leave Alcide’s jacket for her.

James/Jessica/Lafayette – What a freaking mess. On the one hand, Lafayette won all the points for the wake. On the other hand, Lafayette damn well knew that James was with Jessica. And even though in many ways Lafayette had all the points in that speech he made, that still doesn’t make what he did right. All that said though, I do love James and Lafayette together, and I want him happy!

Andy/Holly – Best. Proposal. Ever. That whole thing was just so fitting for him. I hope they do get that happily ever after.

Jessica/Jason – Some things never change.

Violet – I actually felt bad for Violet. And honestly, I’m not surprised by Jason, but that doesn’t mean I approve either.

Lettie Mae – Why is she still on this show? Seriously.

Jane Bodehouse – she’s drinking. The world is set to right.

Nicole/Sam – I forgot about them when I first wrote this. Oops. Basically, she’s the sane version of Lettie Mae in the “Why is she still on this show?” sense. She has no chemistry with Sam, is with Sam only because she got knocked up while having sex just moments after Sam lost Luna and is a complete and utter bitch at the party. If Sarah’s mom was right when she said that half the country is being terrorized by Hep V vamps, then yes, this shit IS happening in other towns (and remember poor St. Alice?). Saving your loved ones and celebrating that fact is not some kind of horrible, evil, act. Even more so when there are many parts of the country (and the world for that matter) where it isn’t a wake if there isn’t food and drinking and general merriment. She’s so pregnant, I wish she’d begged off and sent Sam alone. Hell, I wouldn’t have missed Sam either this week given how he pretty much didn’t do anything.

Over all, it was still a mostly fun episode. There were some things I could have done with out, but it looks like the plot plot (where as this was definitely character focused, aside from Pam and Eric) is picking back up next week and most of the episode was enjoyable, so I’ll take it :)

Grade – B


S7 E4 – Death is Not the End

Sorry for the lack of True Bites this week – life interfered! We’re looking at rescheduling for Sunday afternoon to discuss eps 3 and 4 (we’re skipping episode 2 due to the relative lack of relevancy), so keep an eye on @darlingsookie for details.

I’m watching this later than I normally do, so this is going to be a more stream-of-conscious kind of review this week :)

Jackson and Hoyt – Poor Jackson. :( Wait. Did he always have two different colored eyes? Poor Hoyt too- and Poor Jason, unable to comfort friend the way he wanted to. I also liked Sookie’s little pep talk.

Eric/Pam – Now that’s a full service airline. I respect Eric for going back for Willa. And hey, an explanation for how so much of the population has Hep V! Poor flight attendant. “Did we fuck and I blocked it out?” Heh. That is kind of an awesome punishment. “Twizzlers. Not Red Vines.” LOL! And I actually love it, it makes perfect sense, really. Okay, the yakuza are human, which I had a question about a day ago. An entertaining scene.

Sookie & Arlene’s kids -  “Boys can’t talk without a ball in their hands.” Nice little scene, though. And Sookie is fierce. I get where both Sookie and Andy are coming from in this scene though. “I’m okay.” “You can’t be.” “I have to be.” Poor Holly. Poor Andy being clueless. Poor Sookie having to be so hard when she doesn’t want to be.

Wow. Some absolutely awful green screen going on in this Jason/Sam scene. Go Jason. This is damn impressive of him. Not so long ago he’d lead the entourage on an assault of Fangtasia.

James/Jessica – Go James, yay common sense! Yay going to Bill. Hah. Go Sookie. Man, I am loving Sookie this week.

Laserdisc!! Hahah. OMG. Ginger! OMG. That is Luke Perry. And Garbage! Hah.

Rosa – Okay, these scenes are starting to get a little old. Okay, god damn it, Sam, why did you tell her where the vamps were holding them? She’s going to tell the idiot brigade. Jason, you aren’t helping with telling that Bill is helping out.

Bill/Sookie – Frank talk time. And I don’t blame the vamps for not wanting to help. “It’s just lunch.” lol.

Lala! Lala makes everything better :) I do like that Jessica is finally dealing with the grief that she’s been hanging onto. “You can be a whole lot deader than you is, and you know it. Show me those baby fangs of yours.” I love Lala.

Oh my god. Ginger! And OMG. I can’t believe that Fang was Ginger’s idea. Hah. And that look when Pam realized that she just gave Ginger a compliment. And then stole the idea. Heh. Go Pam.

Pow wow at Bills. “You wrote a book where you claim to not be an asshole anymore.” Heh. Eric/Sookie’s theme :) Eric’s so not impressed with Sookie’s choice of suitor. LOL. Avalanche. Oops. It’s a nice scene, though it maybe feels a bit too sincere for Eric. I like Willa’s anger, and his response makes sense. Anytime we get more Bill/Eric is awesome :D

Hah. Shapeshifters are handy. “I’m sorry, were you just a rat?” Arlene was holding it together so well and the rat is what causes her to lose it? Oh man. Poor Eric. How weak he already is. :( Wow. Pam actually telling Bill to stay safe in her way.

Ugh. Humans. And so predictable.

Um. Sookie. Try to get out of the burning building first maybe. “See? Not an asshole anymore.” Heh. OMG YAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSS. Go Bill. I’m guessing this is the end of the obnoxious humans. Are any even left? I get the whole near death thing, but did they HAVE to do that thing with Terry’s ghost. And hello Arlene’s new boyfriend.

Hahah. Eric eating Rosa.

Wow. Without question the first truly great ep of the season. This is the show that I’ve missing – a bit ridiculous, and a bit long winded, but unquestionably fun. The season may yet be salvaged.

Verdict – B+

S7 E3: “Fire in the Hole”

Yanno, with some editing, *this* could have been our premiere episode. It moved along briskly, there was actual plot, and there were some fantastic plot twists. My major gripe about this episode actually had to deal with Eric, and how he was written, but I’ll get to it in good time.

As always, spoilers abound.
Bill – Bill in a tree. It amused the hell out of me and I don’t know why. I will say that I wish he was able to do more than serve as set up for the eventual reuniting of Bill and Sookie though.

Eric/Pam – On the one hand, we finally got a flashback that had plot relevance, and I loved seeing Nan Flanigan and her awesome 80s attire again (on that note, 80s Bill > 80s Eric). On the other hand, what the hell did they do to Eric? Eric would have *never* told Nan to fuck off. He’d smiled, said he understood, and then once she was well out of earshot told her to fuck off. It’s like they switched personalities. It was very odd. Also, why did Eric give a fuck about Sylvie? We were told he gave no fucks about humans, and then he tells Nan to fuck off because of a human? It just made zero sense.

The things I did like? Eric giving no fucks that Pam was trying to gain sympathy about Tara and (more importantly) the thing that motivated to Eric to want to fight was revenge on Sarah Newlin. THAT was classic Eric.

I will say though, the whole Yakuza aspect is still kinda weird.

Sookie – Her plan was stupid, but it was a plan, I guess. But who are we kidding? Much like the diary, the scene was really about re-establishing Bill and Sookie and on that sense she did okay. I will say I disagree with Maganiello that her dumping Alcide would have put Sookie in a bad light. Alcide was a classic rebound. She was too inexperienced and he’d wanted her too bad for either one of them to realize this and probably rushed the relationship. Her dumping him would have been HONEST and ultimately a kindess, because even Alcide doesn’t deserve to not have his love returned.

Alcide – Welp. I liked him last week, and the whole kicking in Bill’s door quickly restablished my dislike of him, because what a dick move. He was redeemed when he helped out Bill, so I guess it’s a wash. I actually called that he was going to die this week. I was more surprised that it was deliberate, as opposed to an accident which is what I thought would take him out. Some Alcide fans were pissed, but tbh, the showrunners did not hide that we’d be getting Bill/Sookie back. The real argument wasn’t if he’d die, but when.

Andy/Jess – I like to see them working together. I also like that Andy just walked away from that guy when he was all “ambulance?” and Andy just gives him that disgusted look. Jess didn’t really do that much episode except again not heal. Others are saying that it’s because she hasn’t been feeding, but I still can’t shake the feeling she’s got Hep V. I just hope that my gut is wrong.

Jason/Violet – I liked their fight. And I LOVED how she did what we’ve all been wanting to do Maxine Fortenberry. The Mikaelson clan on the Originals would have totally approved.

Lala/James – James is so going to dump Jessica next week. Loved their scenes together. Nathan has great chemisry with Nelsan.

Sam – I really liked the scene with the Reverand. THAT is the kind of human reflection we need this season. Too bad Lettie Mae had to show up in the scene. It kinda killed it for me.

Willa/Lettie Mae – Still useless.

Humans/Hep V vamps – still annoying, but their presence was marginalized and when they did appear it made an impact on the plot. Step in the right direction.

Sarah Newlin – Still not sure how I feel about her return. The cold open literally left me going ‘wtf am I watching’ and the scene of her bed with the guy was still kinda o.O At least they aren’t wasting too much time getting this going.

Overall, this is a vast improvement on the past two episodes, and is the best since 6 x 9. It’s still problematic, but there were some good high impact moments and it finally feels like the seasion is picking up momentum.

Grade: B-

S7 E2: “I Found You”

So after the episode aired, my father said to me: “that was a wasted episode.”

I decided to lead with this because my dad is very much a casual fan of the show. Casual fans are really the core of any show’s audience: they may not get as emotionally invested, but because of that you really get a sense of what does and doesn’t work in any given episode. So when a casual fan says that an episode was waste, you have a problem. That problem is further compounded when he  asked what the deal with the diary was (which I’ll get to in a bit). I also was asked what the deal with Jason/Eric was. When a casual fan can’t figure out why a given scene happened, your problem has blossomed into a huge problem.

Do I agree?

Let’s break it down and take a look.

Jason/Eric – Viewed as a standalone scene, I absolutely loved it. Ryan and Alex gave this their all. For the touches of humor, the scene actually managed to be rather (and surprisingly) sexy scene, capped off by excellent use of “vampire love” (which if memory served first played when Bill and Sookie were together). It also worked better as an “I Found You” scene than Pam finding Eric at the end of the episode (which I’ll get to later). That said. This scene shouldn’t exist. It makes no sense in the timeline. If it had happened before the leap six months forward, it’d make sense. If there had been no time skip at all, it’d made sense. But happening over six months later? It just doesn’t work. Not only would the blood have been well out of his system, he’d probably had so much of Violet’s blood that if he was have sex dreams of anyone, it probably should have been Violet. Bottom line: this scene was pure fan service. Fantastic fan service, but fan service. And when you only have 10 episodes to wrap up a series, and when you waste an episode and a half on characters that fans don’t care about, the last thing you really need is fan service.

Lettie Mae/Lafayette/Willa – To quote my dad “Why did they feel they need to keep writing stories about her?” That’s pretty much my opinion. I like how Lafayette stood up to her. I rolled my eyes when Willa rolled over and gave her blood after Lettie Mae deliberately burned herself (and for the record, her burn should have been much severe). The question becomes how long will it take Willa to figure out she’s being used. In general though, who cares? Adina Porter is a wonderful actress, but I much rather Tara be alive than Lettie Mae. Sorry.

Obnoxious humans – Too much time spent on them. Don’t give a fuck about them. Waiting for those gun happy idiots to accidentally shoot each other. Such a waste of time. Also: Kenya, I’m disappointed in you. Writers: Race card shit. Really? Really? Ugh. And since we’re talking about nameless humans: St. Alice humans how would FEMA would have helped you? National guard yes. The people who give you trailers and loans not so much. Writers again: Stop it with the social parallel nonsense. You haven’t done it well for years.

Hep-V vamps – On the one hand, it is nice seeing this from their perspective. On the other hand, when combined with the humans it meant the vast majority of the episode was spent with people we don’t care about. And we should be well past this point already. I think I’d appreciated more had we not spent so much time with the humans.

Sookie and the diary – As @scribeninja said – “Mark this as the beginning of Bill’s rehabilitation” and that’s about it. Sookie remembered the good times. And that’s about it. On a side note: that the flashbacks served as the bulk of Bill’s screen time? So not amused. His other scene was so small, I don’t see much point in even recapping it.

Alcide – I did not hate him. He did said smart shit and his suggestion to get out of dodge was actually good. Color me shocked.

Arlene – Whoops. Almost forgot about her. Shame, because I liked the Arlene we saw in this episode. Too bad we didn’t see this side of her much earlier.

Andy and Sam – They were in this episode. It’s sad that the best detective work was Jason’s “pizza forensics.” Also, clearly Sookie wears the pants in this town since neither man said anything and just did what she said.

Pam – She was in this too. And she found a sick Eric. Can I say I wish Jason had found him instead? It’d been more emotional. Sorry Paric shippers.

So…yeah. I pretty much 100% agree with my parents on this one. Almost nothing of note happened here. The majority of the episode was wasted on people we don’t are about and we had almost zero screen time for Bill or even Eric (outside that fanservice). I thought it moved a bit faster than last week, but it’s faint praise at best.

Verdict: D+ (saved from a total fail by the fan service. A waste of time, but an enjoyable one)

True Blood S7 E1: Jesus Gonna Be Here (Spoilers)

It’s that time of year again, folks. Where has the time gone? I have to say that I’ve gone into this season a bit underwhelmed. The last finale left me feeling lukewarm and even HBO seemed underwhelmed a bit when it comes to promoting the school – they didn’t even start up on Twitter until about a month before the show. By comparison, in Season 4, the very first promo came out in March. So yeah. Not too excited.

Did the episode change my mind? Eh. It was a solid episode. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it. Let’s break it down.

[Oh, and it should go without saying: Spoilers Abound. Don't read until you've seen the episode.]

Eric – let’s get this out of the way. He’s not going to around much this season (they filmed around his Tarzan filming schedule) and he’s not in this episode. Moving on.

Bill/Andy – Where’s Bill? His lack of presence in the premiere of season 6 made sense, and helped to build up tension. I did like what we got with Andy and Bill, I just wish he’d been around more. I do like what we got with Andy, that although he hates Bill’s guts, he recognizes that it’s better to have a vamp he hates on their side than no vamps at all.

Sookie – This is one of those things that I get where they were going, but didn’t like how they were executed. From what I could tell, her scenes were intended to do two things: 1. start driving a wedge in her and Alcide’s relationship. 2. start driving Sookie towards Bill. In regards to point one, I do like that Sookie called Alcide out for his thought. If there was anyone in that town that should have known that Sookie wasn’t to blame, it was Alcide. And even though she did later apologize to him, it’s not going to go away. 2. I have a feeling that the town is going to reject Sookie’s offer, causing her to seek out Bill: even if Bon Temps turns on her, she won’t turn her back on Bon Temps. That said why the fuck are they blaming Sookie? Sookie has been dating Alcide for at least six months now. They would know this. How was any of this her fault? Hell, even if she still with Bill it still wouldn’t have made sense to blame her for that. I get that humans often need scapegoats in time of crisis, but Bill or Sam make way better ones. So while I get what they are doing, it just doesn’t make sense.

Jessica/Adelyn – This existed. Clearly they are setting up for a friendship (or more…) between the girls, but we didn’t need as much time spent on it as we got to get what we got.

Jason/Violet – I’ve never minded Violet and I like how Violet was finally like thank you for finally just manning up and taking me. She said from the get go that he’d get some when he earned it, and earning it this case was actually wanting it, not just doing it out of necessity or for protection. I also like how she so sees Jason as hers that it’s clear that she doesn’t see him as human in the way she sees others as human. I think they could make a good team going forward.

Tara – Her death was a bit low-key. It just kind of happened. Sookie did kinda argue me around that it wasn’t a bad thing to not see her die again, and it was nice to see her possibly have that upper hand on the Hep V vamp. I will say that it was okay that she lost the fight. Tara wasn’t even a year old as a vampire. A sick vampire of any age is still going to be stronger just by the rules of this universe.

Lafayette/James – I thought Lafayette’s reaction was perfect. This is a guy who, in the space of less than a year lost his boyfriend, his cousin, then his cousin again. Some numbness is going to be expected. I do think he’ll grieve again, in his own way, but I thought it felt well. As far as James, I am loving the recast. I’ve liked Nathan Parsons on The Originals and I think he’s even better here. I don’t think his storyline will have a huge impact on the show as a whole, but I think I’ll enjoy his time on the show, which is about all I can ask for, and isn’t something I always get (see: wolves S6)

Pam – No reaction to Tara’s death? Like none at all? Did the writers forget she should have felt it? Is she that callous? Beyond that, the problem I had with her Russian roulette scene in that for her to neglect her child for six+ months I’d like to have seen more vulnerability out of Pam. There’s coldness and there’s dead inside, and it came off more the latter for me than the former. I did like that she didn’t eat the child, though she was clearly starving though.

Willa – Poor Willa. She’s lost the one person who tied to her to Bon Temps. And she was one of the few who clearly miss Tara. Not sure what else she’s going to be doing in this season, and I hope she finds a storyline stat.

Lettie Mae/Rev. Daniels – it was nice seeing him be nice to Willa, but why is she still around? Adina Porter is awesome, but one of the great things about Tara’s death was that it got her away from Lettie Mae. She may be the Arlene of the season: i.e. the human storyline that I give no fucks about.

And speaking of humans, they are the other example of good idea, iffy execution. How did they get to both nesting sites before both Andy and Jason? It’s such a small thing, but a larger group of humans would have solved the problem. You could have had the second group show up where Jason and Violet where because the important part of that scene really was Jason/Violet and the second group show up with Andy and Bill. Plus the leader of the group is annoying as all hell and I was sad that he didn’t get killed.

If I forgot someone, it wasn’t intentional.

So as a whole…like I said, it did it’s purpose, and it wasn’t awful, but I also don’t think it was memorable. I don’t think that when people look at premieres as a whole that people are going to have anything from this episode that really stands out. And a premier needs to get you excited for the season ahead and I don’t think this quite managed that.

So for that reason, I give this episode a C.

Season Seven Thoughts

Thoughts on season seven news:

The only thing that surprised me is that they announced the news of this upcoming season being the last on my human’s birthday. That’s it.

Listeners of True Bites will know that I half expected season six to be the last. That it wasn’t, that we get this extra season was a bonus.

The signs that the show was wrapping up were there:

  • Season six was billed as “the beginning of the end.” Seven being the end makes sense.
  • The shortening of the schedule from 12 episodes to 10. If they wanted to keep it twelve, they would have found a way.
  • The delayed renewal news. When the show got picked up for the fifth season it was only like two weeks in to season four. It took longer for season six to get picked up and longer still for season seven. The show was still doing good in the ratings, but it was tacit acknowledgement that the shows base was no longer growing.
  • Ratings have been fading. Was the show still doing good? Yes, but it overall numbers were down over season 5, even taking into account competition from other programming. The watercooler buzz from this show has been fading fast. For every person who enjoyed this season there is at least one person who is just done with the show.

Aside from all that we have one other thing that people seem to forget: the standard Hollywood contract for major players on a show will often be for a seven year period. Studios like to lock up their talent on the off chance that they do score a hit so they can keep it running. Now it was time to negotiate. As I see it, there were two major roadblocks to a deal being made:

  • The main actors wanting to come back. Seven years is a long for time for anyone to be on one show and it’s not uncommon for actors who have been around since the beginning to want to move on to different things. Throw in the fact that Alexander Skarsgard’s movie career is taking off, Anna had a movie career prior to the show and Stephen has been not only working in indie films and musicals (Chicago and the upcoming Sound of Music on NBC) and it’s incredibly plausible that they wouldn’t want to come back. Ultimately, unless someone is doing a gig just for the money, no amount of money will get them to stay once they want to move on. (Sandra Oh leaving Gray’s Anatomy is a good example of this)
  • Affording the actors. The main trio on this show make $250,000 per person, per episode making them amongst some of the highest paid actors on television and True Blood is known to be one of the most expensive shows on television to produce (up there with Game of Thrones and Vikings). Because HBO is a subscription cable channel, it doesn’t get the viewership that theBig Four networks get and it doesn’t get ad revenue that they get either. Selling rights overseas will only get you so far. The actors would have likely expected a sizable raise if they open to re-upping and HBO may not have wanted to increase the budget even more on a fading show, especially since it seems like the swap to 10 episodes was to bring costs down.

One last thing that was pointed out to me by a follower on my personal timeline: HBO has a lot of pilots in the works. It makes sense to wrap up the show now so they have the proper time to find something to replace it. It took a couple of years to find something after Six Feet Under ended and it may well take a few more. If they can find a replacement now in this upcoming season, HBO will be all the stronger for it.

Personally speaking, as a fan of the show as a whole and as a fan of Bill, I would love to see the show end as it began: Bill walking into Merlottes and greeting Sookie or even something like Bill and Sookie trying to do a redo of their relationship, like Bill sitting at a table and introducing himself once more.

Ultimately I am happy that the writers are going into this season knowing how many episodes they’ll have (ten) and that it IS the final season because it gives them time to wrap up the show properly. I’ve watched too many shows end on cliff hangers or give the viewers no resolution because they were cancelled midseason or not renewed and had no time to course correct.

I am thankful for the joy that this shown as given me and I hope that fans ultimately grow to appreciate how lucky we have been, even if no one got everything that they wanted.

P.S. As promised, here’s my thoughts on what will happen with Eric in season seven:  I do think Eric will be around, but I also think his role will be diminished in the final season, and in a lot of ways, that’s okay by me because I am loving this premise of making the series as it began: about the people of Bon Temps.  Eric is not of Bon Temps. Never has been and never will be. Trying to make him fit in there just wouldn’t quite work and for him to have a major role could force the plot to be in bigger scope than what they are discussing.  Time will tell. I do love Eric people, but the show has never been all about Eric for me so this attitude of mine should come as no surprise.


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