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Praise Billith: The Racialicious True Blood Roundtable For 5.12

King Russell, We Hardly Knew Ye

Alea: Well…the end of Russell Edgington was rather anti-climactic.  Though I’m tickled that Eric got to have the kill, Russell was one of the few interesting characters/storylines/anything going on this season.

Joe: They have a weird habit of resolving plots for the sake of a cliffhanger. It stinks of gimmick. Not a fan. Where is the epic battle climaxed by a surprising victory? Sam goring the maenad (something that still makes me cringe to this day) comes to mind. How I wish Russell went out like that.

Tami: Russell deserved better than that. It makes me wonder why they bothered to bring Denis O’Hare and the character back only to play second fiddle to Lilith and then to be staked unceremoniously in the middle of a Bond Villianesque monologue.

Kendra: It was a season of questionable casting choices, really, given the same thing happened with Christopher Meloni. There were plenty of other members of The Authority I would have rather seen killed off first, other than those two. Russell’s character also just changed so much from his arc in S3. I guess some of that could be chalked up to him having been dead, but he went from a genuinely scary villain that I could take seriously to something of a joke. Especially with his faerie obsession send-off.

(Hi, y’all. I’m caught up, finally– turns out this season goes down a little better when you just watch everything in one giant chunk.)

Tami: Also an improvement: watching the show through HBO Go with interactives turned on. I’ll be doing more of that next season.

Alea: “Are you really this undisciplined?” The Eric/Nora chemistry in this scene is great–evocative of what their older brother/little sister dynamic must have been through the ages and how it’s changed now that Eric has essentially pulled an Angel and grown himself a soul.  Also, this petulant, impatient, slightly bratty, but ultimately reasonable Nora is entirely endearing and maybe the first bit of her I’ve enjoyed all season.  Sad that Lucy Griffiths wasn’t really allowed to show some range until the finale.

Seal Team Six They Ain’t

Tami: Is there anything on Earth more ineffectual than The Authority’s security team? They routinely fail to…y’know…secure anything. They are comically easy to kill. And dude drew his weapon as defense against Fly Sam.

Kendra: Note, the older red-headed member of The Authority knew they were in lockdown looking for any flies or strange-looking bugs, yet, when trying to corral Luna-as-Steve into the interview room, she wasn’t concerned at all. Good job, that’s how you get exploded from the inside out.

Joe: For how scary the Authority was presented, they were all killed as quickly as that oldest faerie was. How do these main characters survive in a world of exploding vampires and disintegrating faeries?

Alea: Bill chasing Sam-in-fly-form is totally how I feel chasing centipedes around my apartment, with a bit more squealing.

Hot Emo Viking Vampires!

Alea: Oh shit.  Eric’s little cave of domestic and foreign currency is mountainous!  And, really, Nora’s going to throw shade over Pam being a “former prostitute?”  The look on her face when Tara talks back to Eric is priceless, but does anyone else think it’s strange that being vampire family automatically makes Eric’s past wrongs vis-a-vis Tara seemingly forgotten?

Tami: Alea, apparently. Though I’m glad to hear somebody finally say “Be nice to Tara.”

Alea: Why is Sookie dressed like she’s going to a Sunday School prom, again? Aaaand Jason sees his parents full-time now?

Kendra: Everyone has to have a power.

Tami: These Stackhouse phantoms are going to become tiresome.

Alea: Dear gods, Eric seems super-emotional–for Eric–about the possibility of Bill “losing himself.”  I wonder where their bromance is going to go from here.

Tami: I want the Eric who gave no fucks about anyone (save maybe Pam) back. I’m no fan of Emo Eric, especially if he’s going to waste his new-found emotions on Bill Compton.

Kendra: Between his Godric visions and the reappearance of Nora, I doubt we’ve seen the last of Emo Eric.

Alea: Tara is super Pam-centric so far this episode.  I think romance is in the air!  Why is Jason holding a honeybear?  “If I wanna be a fool, then I will be a fool.  That is my god-given right as an American”–thanks for clearing up what this whole damn season’s been about [though “American” can be replaced with “faerie,” “werewolf,” “vampire,” and any other number of nouns].

Alea: Bill is much more believable as the smooth and cunning master of political intrigue than he is as a general rallying the troops.

Tami: “…our human livestock…”

Alea: Yes, Pam, all roads must lead to fucking Sookie.

This Is How Skynet Disposes Of Old Models

Alea: While this convo between Alcide and T-1000 doesn’t quite do it for me, it does tie up all of the various storylines about the difficulties of contemporary parenthood that have popped up this season–Holly and her boys, the deceased Stackhouses and Jason and Sookie, Luna and Emma, Godric and his progeny, Pam and Tara, Bill and Jess, Andy’s unintentional fatherhood.

Tami: Can Robert Patrick get some sort of career award for portraying shifters?

Raise your hand if you think Papa Herveaux–with a shower and shave–is actually hotter than his pup.

Alea: Rikki = the Faces of Death?

Alea: “That train has already sailed.”  Indeed, Jason.  He’s kinda making sense, but he also seems crazy as eff.

Alea: I love that Steve had Emma for, like,two seconds before sitting for a family photo with her and Russell.  He was so, so hungry for love and companionship.

Tami: I am as unimpressed by FlyVision as I am by 3D. They both make me kinda woozy.

Haven’t we already done Jason as anti-vampire bigot?

Kendra: That’s really the only other option for humans on this show, it seems. You’re either 100% behind Sookie and her drama or you’ve got some sort of anti-vamp and/or racism thing going on.

Cajun Margaritas? Is There Filé Powder In That?

Alea: I actually do want to know what hell is in a “Cajun margarita,” and why does it taste like candy? Cajun flavors typically include black and cayenne peppers, bell pepper, [green] onion, parsley, bay leaf, and celery.  You can’t just call shit “Cajun” because it’s made in Louisiana.

Kendra: Ask and ye shall receive: 2 tbs. coarse salt, 1 lime wedge, 3 oz. white tequila, 1 oz. triple sec, 2 oz. fresh lime juice, 1/2 tsp. green Tabasco sauce, 1 cup crushed ice.

Uh, not that this would be anywhere near as pink as whatever Lafayette brewed up, but enjoy!

Alea: The color is indeed off and I still don’t understand why it’s anything like “candy.”

Tami: Dear Nelsan Ellis (aka Lafayette), you are doing too much. I love you, baby. But all the dipping, dialect, and general sassiness has taken a dangerous turn into Mammy territory. I know the writers gave you shit to work with this season, but seriously…stop it.

Alea: So. Much. Cosign.  The outfit, the lashes, the turban, the swag–all fierce, but can we have Laffy doing something besides making shit for white folks when Merlotte’s is closed?

Tami: Also, Arlene: “What is this music?” Come one, now. No way this woman is so culturally illiterate that classic R&B is some foreign exoticness.

Alea: Seriously, Miss Bodehouse.  Andy Bellefleur did get super hot this season. Looooove Maurella’s style.

Dr. Stackhouse Is In

Alea: New spinoff: Jason Stackhouse, Relationship Counselor.  He’ll be like a cross between Dr. Phil and Dan Savage with a dash of nihilism.

Alea: I am just realizing where I’ve seen the actress who plays Rosalyn Harris–General Hospital!

Tami: I would totally be down with having kids if you can guarantee me an experience like this.

Alea: So, wait.  The “Cajun margaritas” that were allegedly delicious are sitting on the bar mostly full and Ar-Laffy have moved on to shots?

Alea: I thought Alcide’s former/now-current pack was larger than this?  Where is everyone else?

Tami: Count JD as another character dispatched a little too easily. For all the angst this season, you would think we would at least see an actual fight.

Kendra: I’d like to think that the writers realised what I spent most of the season thinking: the plot drags whenever we suddenly switch over to the werewolf story, which has nothing at all to do with what’s going on in Bon Temps. So why spend any time there at all? I get that this is probably leading to some Alcide-as-a-V-addict-and-pack-leader storyline for next season, but not having it tie back in the end to Bon Temps in some way kind of leaves it just…hanging. Especially with Russell dead now.

Alea: Sam shifting inside of Rosalyn, FTW.  Luna threatened to out all of the other supes earlier in the season. The implications for her shifting on live television are going to be crazy.

Alea: Nora is some kind of stake-throwing Robin Hood.

Kendra: Well, the actress did play Maid Marian, hah.

Alea: Ah!  Very cool.

Move Over Brangelina And Make Room For Tam

Alea: I think Pam’s underwear evaporated when Tara said she came to bust her out.  Kristin Bauer can sure do a lot with her eyes.  They’re so gonna do it.

Alea: “Do you honestly think you understand the system I helped design better than I do?”–so timely and straight out of Rebecca Solnit’s “Men Explain Things to Me.

Alea: I knew it!!  I effing knew it!!  Yes, I know that having Tara fall for her kinda racist mom and/or having Pam hide her growing love for Tara behind mindless racist comments is incredibly problematic, but I’ve been waiting for a Tam make-out session all season!  They’re the fiercest, most aesthetically pleasing ladies on this ridiculous show, and, being the simple lass that I am, I really just want them to have lots of hot sex.

Tami: Cue the racist commentary of Tara-hating Truebies. From Vulture’s recap:

Pam and Tara

Nooooooooooooo. Look, I am ALL FOR HOT LESBIANS but these two have no chemistry. Honestly, like watching an unusually pretty Craigslist dominatrix tongue kiss one of the Williams sisters.

Yeah, someone wrote that shit. Sucks teeth.

Alea: Ugh!  Ugh times infinity plus 1.’

(Like This Season Of True Blood, No?)

Alea: Silver in the blood.  That’s cold, Bill.

Alea: Holy Grail, Rapture, Salome going out a tad Christ-like because of a betrayal.  This storyline has gotten so heavy-handed.  “Vicissitudes” is the name of a book of the Vampire Bible?  Le sigh.  Nobody’s buying what Sookie’s selling this episode.  Not Jason and certainly not Bill.

Alea: That is some Terminator-like regeneration Bill has going on there.

Kendra: Can Lafayette, Holly, and Arlene play Tipsy Greek Chorus for every episode? That vastly improved my viewing experience.

Alea: I wasn’t really feeling it [well, except for Miss Bodehouse].  It felt more than a little hackneyed and forced considering that all of those characters have been in more nuanced and interesting scenes that challenge the actors playing them.

 

Post-Season Finale Breakdown:

Joe: I think I speak for everyone when I say: What in sweet fancy Moses was that?

Tami: I will love True Blood again if they promise that Bill will die next season. Nice turn making our former hero next season’s big bad–even though it took way too long and too many crooked pathways to get here. But if Bill is gonna be big and bad, then he needs to meet the same fate as Russell and Maryann and Salome and other villains. No redemption. By episode 12 of next season, someone needs to be playing “Dixie” over the goopy remains of Bill “Vampire Mopey Reb” Compton.

Alea: I agree, though I wonder if Bill will even last that long.  Given the preview that came after the credits, I think Warlow might be next season’s big bad, not that there has to be just one [Warlow’s presence as the “greater” Evil might be used to bring Bill back to little-e evil or even good-ish].  If she and Jason survive the coming battle, Nora’s about to drop some inside knowledge on the Scoobs, however, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jason took a bullet from whatever the threat at the top of the stairs is.  It looked like he was two seconds away from attempting to kill Tara, Pam, Jess, and Nora in the elevator, and I think that there will have to be something to bring him back into the fold and, perhaps, closer to Jess.  His parents haven’t appeared to him at all since he stopped driving the truck, but I’m not sure if that means that they won’t be back and driving him toward the semi-reasonable extremism he’s tending toward [though, extremism might be slightly off — radicalism?].  All that said, this season was, on the whole, almost a total drag, and I’m not actually excited about next season.  Morbidly curious about how the writers are going to climb out of this clusterfuck, but not edge-of-my-seat, keeping-up-with-leaks-during-filming, effing rabidly psyched.  The brand has lost its lustre.

Kendra: I’m looking forward to hate-watching a new season of Glee more than I’m looking forward to season 6 of True Blood.

More interaction between Nora and Eric, more Lafayette in general, and Pam and Tara’s relationship are the only three things that left me even wanting another season of the show to begin with.

I want this writers’ room to learn how to streamline. I’m not sure next season works if there are two vampire Big Bads, so I’d agree. Let’s put Bill out of his misery. Let’s also not bring Hoyt back (I was shocked to see the show actually get rid of a character). Let’s let Terry and Arlene lead a normal life. Let’s not introduce any more characters. Oh, and also, let’s not have those four babies of Andy’s suddenly show up as teenagers (which, for some reason, I’m suspecting is going to happen. Fae biology and all). Seasons 1-3 of this show were entertaining, if problematic, and it could go back to that if it just stopped trying to do so much.

Alea: Those fae quadruplets are so going to get SORASed.  Good catch, Kendra.

Tune In Next Week, He Says: The Racialicious Roundtable For True Blood 5.11

As Alan Ball said in the bonus material, the penultimate episode is when the audience is supposed to put their tray tables up and prepare for landing. Trouble is, with all these random plot arcs running around, we have no idea where we will end up. Joe, Carly, and Tami join me to discuss the set up for the bloodbath season finale.

Lilith Plays Mind Games
Latoya: So Lilith appeared to Bill as the savior. Why are these people so quick to trust their drug-induced hallucinations?
Joe: Because with religion, anything and everything is possible. The problem is, for a lot of folks, they take that fact and they run with it. Cue Bill.
Carly: I like that they have tied in this large part of religious history–people using drugs to become closer to God and often going way off the deep end. Doesn’t hurt that it makes for interesting visuals.
Joe: It makes you wonder why he’s so religious now, all of a sudden. He was a Christian in his human life, and I remember the episode where he goes to Gran’s church, but then there was no mention or hint of it, unless I’m forgetting something. Not even a “this might be why he’s gone all Jim Jones” flashback. Maybe it’s the power that comes with this particular religion? That, and the only rule seems to be to eat people.

Speaking Of Bill…
Latoya: Bill’s speeches are like religious demagoguery 101. He even pulled the super villain “take her somewhere else to accomplish this dastardly deed instead of bringing him to our amazingly safe fortress because clearly Jessica is acting suspicious but would never try to escape.”
Tami: Bill is really being a dick. I really need there to be some consequences for characters’ actions this season. Bill has done some heinous stuff. I hope they show the fall-out from that next season. For instance, showing the fractures in his relationship with Jessica. They cannot have him go back to being noble Bill Compton after this. (Ditto for murderous Terry Bellefleur.)
Carly: As much as I would love for all the people on this show to be held accountable for their actions, I will be shocked if that happens. Not that TV characters can hold onto their ‘history’ for very long, but how quick did they all forget about the panthers and Jason’s endless rape?
Joe: Especially since that happened like four days ago in their world. Continue reading

Sookie, Get Your…Chopsticks?: The Racialicious Roundtable For True Blood 5.10

 

Finally! Some action. Two more episodes and the plot is starting to rise from the grave. Joe, Tami, Alea, and Carly join in our latest episode of “Decipher That Plot Point!”

That Newscast

Joe: I really hope they didn’t just use Japan earthquake coverage for that news segment.
Tami: Okay, True Blood, this storytelling is simply sloppy. First, according to the show’s canon, vampires existed for thousands of years under the radar without calling attention to their feeding on humans. But after two years with Tru Blood, vamps are unable to keep it together, despite the fact that there are plenty of “fangbangers” willing to donate blood willingly and despite possessing the ability to glamour the memory of a feeding out of any human. And doesn’t all this public slaughter undermine the public relations line Rev. Newlin is selling? I’m just sayin’…
Alea: I see what you mean, but I’m wondering if the 50% increase in vampire attacks stems not just from vampires being hungry, but also from mass hysteria [and/or previously underground factions of Sanguinistas just going buck wild]. If panic is indeed driving the lack of prudence on the part of vampires, then perhaps it’s supposed to be reminiscent of the increase of gun sales after Obama’s election?

Sookie’s Armed And Dangerous
 

Alea: This scene is seriously like a nightmare come true. Imagine if every creepy jerk in town suddenly gained the power to eat you. [Shudder.]
Tami: Also, regarding the cold open, wouldn’t it have been easier for Sookie to just rescind Coroner Mike’s invitation rather than impaling him on a chopstick? I can barely pick up a spicy tuna roll with chopsticks and Sookie is strong and dexterous enough to pierce flesh and bone with hers. I guess it’s the fae blood.
Joe: I’m assuming wood goes in a vampire like a hot knife through butter. Just grossed myself out.
Carly: Also all the chopsticks I get would’ve broken in my own freakin’ hand before making its way through clothing and flesh. That’s some high-quality product! Continue reading

This World Is Not Enough: The Racialicious Roundtable For True Blood 5.9

This week, I asked Arturo what it was like recapping Heroes near the end. He said in the beginning, all of his friends would head to the bar after the show because they were eager to discuss what had happened. When things spun into a decline, they stopped going to the bar afterward. Considering that I had to browbeat the Roundtable into putting in comments for this week, I think adding a bar to the mix might improve everyone’s mood. This week, Joe, Carly, Alea, and Tami try to hold on for the last few eps.

Will Russell Edgington Please Report For Duty?
Latoya: Please tell me Russell is up to an EPIC betrayal. Because I am about to start changing the damn channel or painting my toes or something.
Carly: He has to be. There is just nothing about him that equals “follower.” And I may be wrong, but isn’t he the only one comparable to Salome age-wise?
Alea: I believe so. I’m still utterly baffled by why she thought freeing Russell was a good idea, but the look she gave him and Steve after the latter’s attempt to say grace makes me think that she’s beginning to see the ideological chasm between them. Love the pantsuit, though.

Gratuitous Aside, #1
 


Alea: Tina Majorino. Siiigh. Such a freaking dreamboat.
Joe: I hope, after this is all over, she isn’t a pile of goo and somehow becomes the leader of the authority. I could really get behind a technorati vamp president.

Lala The Fly Medium
Latoya: Wow, an actual normal conversation between Sookie and Lafayette. Like actual people.
Alea: But she only asked him over there because she needed help.
Carly: Thank you, Ghost reference!
Joe: His mirror vogueing was the highlight of my Sunday.


Alea: It was blue steel times magnum to the infinity plus one power, and those eyelashes are fierce. Werrrrk. Continue reading

Some Series That We Used to Know: The Racialicious Roundtable for True Blood 5.8

The Roundtable is really not feeling this one. Sookie continues her existential crisis, we’re worried about Luna, Tara’s situation gets even more racially icky, and we don’t even know who Bill is anymore. Tami, Alea, and Kendra chose to sit this episode out, leading Joe and I to invite a new tabler – longtime reader (and friend of Joe’s) Carly – into the mix just to keep up the flow of conversation.

Oh Sookie

Carly: First off I want to thank everyone for letting me drop in and share my thoughts. I love reading the panel’s postings so I’m excited to have this chance to be part of it.
Joe: We welcome you with open virtual arms, my dear! Now on to the dissection…
Latoya: Something that’s been bothering me since last week – why doesn’t Sookie ask more questions when people tell her things? He didn’t say “Hey, your life is gonna be nice, normal and human.” Dude said “You’ll be fae no more.” And as we all know, you gotta read between the lines with these kinds of things.
Joe: I agree. “You’ll be fae no more” could in fact mean, you’ll disappear into nothingness, or you’ll turn into a tree, or something weird and mythical like that.

Luna? Is That You?

Latoya: I really hope they give Luna something to say besides repurposing Magneto speeches. And didn’t you have to kill someone to shift into them? Maybe I am misremembering.
Carly: I can’t remember the rule for shifting into other people either… Did Tommy also shift against his will? The way they’re playing this out with Luna makes it seem like a sickness. I wish she had shifted into Marcus. Now that would’ve been pretty shocking.
Joe: I think the rule was that you could turn into anyone you’ve met, but if you kept doing it, you would die a horrible and painful death. I wonder what the point was of Luna turning into Sam. Was it that she was mad as hell and wasn’t gonna take it anymore? I don’t remember why exactly someone would make a change like that against her will, unless maybe she was mad and thinking about Sam too much at the same time.
Latoya: Boyfriend’s guess was that she’s up the stick. The vomiting then makes sense, but the weird rippling pains don’t. And if she shifted into Sam because she’s pregnant, then wouldn’t that have also happened with Marcus? (And I just realized I am trying to grok the logistics of supernatural pregnancy. I think I’m gonna go read a book…)

[Note: NSFW GIFS of Alcide shortly after this point.] Continue reading

Close To The End: The Racialicious Roundtable For True Blood 5.7

The summer heat is closing in, and this season drags on. Each week, we lose more roundtable members. For episode 5.7, “In the Beginning,” only Joe, Tami, and Alea are with me to share their thoughts on an increasingly dull season.

Sookie’s Fae Powers
Joe: Half fae? That’s a marked increase from the books of about 30%.
Alea: There has to be something else that makes her special. Just being half-fae doesn’t seem to be enough.
Latoya: Be interesting if the vamp who killed her parents was Bill. Or maybe Eric.
Joe: It will be. That’s the only reason they aren’t showing the face. She’ll find out as her and Eric have sex up the stairs again, cue crying, woe-is-me stances, and the like.

The Hate Group, Revealed

Joe: “Lamestream media?” I’ll take “Go-to GOP Satiric Phrases” for 100, Alex.
Alea: This whole scene feels like such a cheap shot at rural Southern folk, a group the writers seem to think of as “real racists.”
Joe: This hate group seems like a bunch of whiny idiots. And they don’t even know why a hate group is called a hate group. I really hope they aren’t going to attack Jessica.
Latoya: Let’s discuss this hate group a bit more. Because WTF. What did they do, watch a couple old eps of Jerry Springer and pull together a plot arc around it?
Joe: Yes, lets. I love how they stuck in a token black guy (I see you, Damien from Harry’s Law) so that the hate group doesn’t read “racist” but “supernaturalist”. P.S. I’m totally claiming the supernaturalist.tumblr.com.
Alea: Token black guy, token hapa-looking guy. We finally get to see two types of PoC in a room together and they’re exercising their agency by being in a hate group [that’s all about love]. Clayton Bigsby they are not. Can the title of this roundtable be “O Hai, Shark! I’m Jumping You: Alan Ball Has Lost His GD Mind”? Continue reading

Hopeless, Like a Penny With A Hole In It: The Racialicious Roundtable For True Blood 5.6

Last week, we got to meet the folks behind the show. But unfortunately, this episode was kind of…meh. Joe, Tami, Kendra, and I pull threads from an increasingly tattered plot.

Tara and Pam Come To Terms
Latoya: “Yes’m Missy Pam?” Oh lord, Tara.
Joe: She’s acknowledging the slurs for what they are…that’s at least a step in the right direction.
Kendra: Did Pam just call her a dog though?
Tami: I am not comfortable with this vampire version of Gone With The Wind. More than offensive, it’s inconsistent. I know Pam was put out about having a “child” to take care of, but what about the whole “no human can ever hurt you know” and gazing at Tara in her coffin stuff? Is Pam Tara’s mom or master?
Joe: I think the writers [are] trying to emphasize that she’s waffling with responsibility and her “I don’t give a fuck” attitude, and the less responsible side of herself has the wheel most of the time, hurling vitriol. Notice I said “trying.”

The Ifrit: Revealed
Kendra: And here’s the part of the episode where I paused to find out exactly what an Ifrit is (being not at all well versed in Arabic or Islamic mythology). Wiki tells me that they’re essentially fire jinns. It’s great that they want to branch out in their sources of horror, but because it’s taking time away from Bon Temps (and is also taking place like 1000 miles away) I can’t get behind it the way I’d like to.
Joe: I also don’t like how it seems somehow Patrick is going to get all (emphasis on all) the blame for “the incident” and the fire monster will sear him till he’s well done, but Terry is going to get out of shooting some innocent Middle Eastern woman in the face. Continue reading

Boot And Rally, Indeed: The Racialicious Roundtable For True Blood 5.5

This season finally takes a turn for the interesting, with better characterization, the return of Russell Edgington, Sookie continuing her newfound journey into an actual heroine, and Tara now vamping with the best. Tami, Joe, and Alea join me to discuss.

Tami: So, do we think episode writer, Angela Robinson, helped get the stink of privilege out of this season of True Blood? According Television Without Pity recapper, Jacob Clifton, she’s a lesbian, black writer, which he believes helps things.

Joe: I can see that. In watching this episode… I don’t know I just noticed I enjoyed it more than the last ones? It was hard to pinpoint why; I don’t think I can tell when other black gay people are involved in things (that would be a great power, lol) but I think it has more to do with the quality of the writing. I hope she writes more episodes.

Latoya: Maybe it was the sign of someone finally taking this season seriously. Those scenes shot against the Authoritarian speech were damn near poetic. And this was the first episode in the season that prompted me to rewind multiple times to rewatch scenes. Clearly Angela Robinson and Michael Lehmann have a chemistry that needs to continue. Beautifully executed. But let’s actually watch the show… Continue reading