True Blood – Season Six, so far…

One of the things I love about True Blood is the diversity of the supernatural characters; they don’t focus exclusively on vampires as they did in previous seasons. Seasons five and six have expanded the universe to werewolves witches, fairies, and even some hybrid creatures, in the case of Warlow and we also get to see that universe through the perspective of each of the  aforementioned creatures. One of the other things I like about True Blood is the exploration of existential angst in the past couple of seasons. 

So in the past two seasons we’ve been exploring the idea of spirituality the vampire world and what what is really true about the nature of the world. What is the place of the vampire in the world? What is a vampire is life worth really? What’s the point of this existence? Those are the question we’ve been probing  for the past two seasons and it’s very interesting because most supernatural shows don’t do that.

The other thing that I like about True Blood this season is the fact that Bill has  managed to figure out how to reach Lilith’s plane of current plane of existence him without being summoned –  almost  against her will it – via  a catatonic state  and it’s really interesting to see  how that works , yet it leaves unanswered the whole question of vampires and resurrection and whether in just ingesting the blood of a powerful deceased vampire offers a means of the deceased vampire  to  continue live on in some way in the consciousness of the of the new vampire. This kind of shared body experience is something I haven’t seen in vampire films before. 

All is not a bed of roses; however on the show, because , as my colleague Carolyn has pointed out. the writers don’t seem to have anything in mind for some characters. There simply isn’t much  for them to do, and they seem to be wasting certain characters; Alcide and Holly come to mind.  I’m particularly disappointed with how Holly’s been wasted.true_blood_6-7 We know that  Holly is Wiccan so  I would prefer that they do more with her in this area, as they have with LaFayette. It would make sense for those two to pool powers & insights with Sookie in emergencies; of which there are many. 



Game of Thrones-Season 3 & Beyond Reflections

It was a stunning season by nearly all accounts, but it wasn’t until the season finale – entitled “Mhysa”, that I had an idea of where the show and the books OUGHT to go in the end. How do I think the series should end?  Drum roll…

A power marriage between Stannis Baratheon and Daenerys  Targaryen. I know, I know, Stannis is already married and Daenerys marries the ruler of Mereen, but relationships don’t always last for long in Westeros. It will be interesting to see how these two interact, and although I realize the two have and will marry others in the books thus far, I think it would make a lot of sense for these two to unite – at least in name only. It would be the marriage of the old ruler house and the new – one that the people could accept.

But there are other reasons I think this could be a winning combination –

The common threat of the White Walkers (called “The Others” in the books) as icy zombies could easily be overcome with the help of three fire-breathing dragons.

Stannis Baratheon has a religious zealot  who worships a god of fire and light in his corner, a faith which is likely to excite lots of people being attacked by White Walkers- and seeing Melisandre marginalized and at odds with Daenerys’ supporters would make for such delightful palace intrigue. Stannis has a bit more experience governing than Daenerys does, but she has much more of the common touch for everyday people, whom Stannis seems to disdain.

From the books we know that both Joffrey and Tywin Lannister bite the dust in the near future, so it won’t be surprising if this is depicted in season four or five. Needless to say, many viewers will miss Charles Dance. Not many actors this side of Christopher Lee or Peter Cushing can do forbidding, patrician menace quite like Charles Dance. With those two Lannisters down, the rest wouldn’t be able to hold the kingdom together or withstand the combined forces of a united Stannis Baratheon & Daenerys Targaryen.

I’m not sure whose comeuppance I want to see more- Walder Frey’s or Ramsey Bolton’s. Sadistic a-holes don’t inspire much love from this viewer.  We can expect Catelyn Tully Stark to dish out punishment to those loyal to the Frey, Lannister, and Bolton households in the coming seasons as she takes the form of Lady Stoneheart.

Speaking of revenge; it surprised me a bit that Balon Greyjoy,Theon’s father, didn’t show any outrage toward the Boltons upon receiving Theon’s severed manhood in a box. We already knew that Balon didn’t think much of his son, but as a matter of family honor and the essential theft of any grandsons via Theon, that Papa Greyjoy would have wanted to punish the offender to show that no one can touch his offspring with impunity. His daughter, Yara, as we saw, seems to have more that perspective.

Game of Thrones has a lot to say about societal relationships; gender roles, class struggles, generational, family and religious conflicts.

Life in that world is very difficult for a woman. Either you need prophetic powers with a pretty face and good body like Melisandre, that you willingly share with a high-status warrior male, have fire-breathing dragons, male advisors and an army behind you like Daenerys, a rich daddy and  warrior brother like Cersei, or be built like a mack truck like Brienne, but even that might not be enough if the guys decide to throw you into a bear pit since they can’t beat you fairly.

Truly, Game of Throne is a show that has something for everyone- action, adventure, fantasy, family drama, royal pomp and circumstance, sex, and violence. Keep writing Mr. Martin, and let’s keep watching…

In Treatment – Season 3-Undercurrents

This season is as superlative as the previous two, not only because of the taut acting and writing, but because you can see the story arcs’ impacts on Paul’s personal life. This is made very clear by Paul’s sessions with Adele, who brilliantly connects the dots and synthesizes stray bits of information as he lets them slip.

Nonetheless, it wasn’t until the session of five that I began to take an active dislike to Adele. It was a very loaded session in which Paul elaborates a bit on his romantic feelings toward her, his talk with his son Max, his concern over how to handle immigrant patient Sunil, and teen-in-crisis Jesse.  There were things about how Adele responded to Paul that really bothered me. First, she wanted Paul to elaborate further on his fantasies regarding her, and Paul shifted gears and told her that she wasn’t really on his radar that much in the past week. Then she pressured him to leave her office on time as he was trying to get her feedback regarding handling Sunil. She insisted that their session was up and he lingered in the chair defiantly. She then asks “Are you so paralyzed you’re unable to stand?”  This seemed so bitchy to me that it completely undermined her claim of concern regarding how Paul would get angry with her when she tried to get him to see things differently. And need I point out that antagonizing someone who’s just confessed to waiting outside your office for an hour after the end of the session may not be the safest or smartest move?  Why would she even want to continue seeing him at all much less twice a week?  Countertransference perhaps??

My basic problem with Adele’s character is that she says one thing, then does another. She made it very clear that she would not help him past 5:50 pm, but what’s her next move? She calls him from her home to leave him a message at 7:30am, offering him another session just in case “he needed it” she later explains.  Paul calls her on the carpet a bit for this by asking her whether she called from her office, and questioned the timing of it, and tells her point blank that he knew she called him from her home by looking at the number on his caller ID.  Does this mean that Adele wanted him to know she thought about him while she was at home? That the door to her home is open to him as well as the one to her office?  Maybe.  Another example of Adele saying and doing different things is the way she ended session four, saying that they had to stop, after Paul’s declaration of personal feelings for her, and her statement that this would be an excellent place to start the next session. Does she start the next session there?  No. In fact, Paul is the one who steers the conversation back to it, and criticizes her for allowing him to fantasize about her while being in a healthy relationship, which he suspects from her now-evident pregnancy (why was this a surprise if he sees the woman weekly???) She responds by asking whether he assumes this is the case, but doesn’t confirm that she is in fact involved in a healthy relationship. In addition, she  correctly criticizes Paul for blurring the lines of their relationship and assigning her the roles of colleague, supervisor, and life partner instead of therapist, but darned if she doesn’t entertain trying at least a few of those roles on; in week six, she gives Paul advice on handling his patient, Sunil, and presents this as the urgent reason for her calling him at 7:30am, instead of initiating the session with this after he asked her point blank what she wanted him to do.  She does this after he threatens to walk out of the session.  Three things are problematic here a) She assumes that the patient Sunil is dangerous and Paul’s inaction will result in a preventable tragedy b) She assumes that Paul’s inaction will result in the loss of his therapy practice c) She assumes that she has to save him from himself.

Here are a few other random observations of  Adele’s behavior. Adele’s very evasive with Paul. She apologized for the phone call which interrupted their session in week six, and seemed very interested in concealing the call. She was concerned that he felt betrayed by the fact that she was pregnant.

My bottom-line take on Adele is that she’s not willing to admit how Paul gets to her. She wants to insist – a bit too much from my perspective – that everything is strictly professional. In their final session together, she was very clearly trying to hold on to him as a patient, and never once suggested that he see someone else.  (If you really want to establish boundaries and are concerned about transference, you don’t call a patient’s home at 7:30am from your home number and let it show up on his or her caller ID).

A foreshadowed possibility for season four is Max’s sexuality or  some sort of sexual trauma . I don’t think it’s an accident that we’ve seen the most of him during episodes which featured gay teen Jesse, who called Max Paul’s “faggoty” son. Although I’m not sure Max will be gay, I thought it quite disturbing that the last thing we hear stepfather Steve say to Max is “I’ve got something to show you out back.” I find it hard to believe that the writers have done any of this by accident.  It was also telling that when  Paul turned his back on his son Max briefly to tend to Jesse’s needs that  Max nearly started a fire; yet there was Paul, walking away from Max in Baltimore.  Is or will Max be sexually abused?  This story arc could bring Kate back, who might then see how much better life was with Paul, and how much this wounded family could help each other heal. Stay tuned…

David Zurawik’s analysis of season 3

Alan Sepinwall’s analysis

Big Love – Season Finale…

Well, that’s all folks. At least until January of 2011, rumor has it…This was some horse and pony show…here are my random thoughts:

One of the things bothered me about the finale – how the hell could Bill have Tom & Jerry removed just like that when they’re equal partners???

Other things that bothered me? Let’s see – JJ managed to steal eggs from his sister, his daughter, and use them to impregnate his ex-mother-in law and tried to impregnate his ex-wife. His son Roquet and his sister Wanda knew about it and neither of them said anything until Wanda miraculously regained the power of speech in the last episode.

One of the most positive things about this episode was Barb telling Bill that she wanted a different life and that she didn’t think she needed him anymore.

I guess Margene now has ANOTHER polygamous family to live with, eh? Will another guy be invited to join?

I sure hope the writers don’t figure a way to keep JJ & his creepy wife Malinda alive- that would totally suck. Who in their right mind would get on the wrong side of Adaleen or Nicki?   I do wonder; however, who it was that intercepted JJ when Adaleen was chasing after him, and helped her to tie him and Malinda up.

When Marilyn Densham was in Bill’s office about to break down into tears – saying “you can’t do this to me…” I really felt like we lost a moment of disclosure – WHY is Marilyn Densham so emotionally invested in Bill’s future???  She can’t seem to stay out of his face and we weren’t given a reason why that is…

“I thought when people saw you, they really saw you, they couldn’t help but love you.” Remember what happened to Jesus Christ when he was loved by Judas Iscariot, Bill? Loving someone doesn’t guarantee good decisions or treatment – just ask your wives…

Although this season has definitely been entertaining to put it mildly, overall, I have to agree with the assessment of the Star-Ledger’s Alan Sepinwall:

Big Love Season 4 Finale Review

Mary McNamara from the L.A. Times has an interesting theory about why this season seemed so wild and wacky: the shows producers like all the cast members so much they wanted to give each character something interesting to do. You know what they say about too many cooks spoiling the broth?

Big Love Season 4 -Mary McNamara’s Analysis

What do YOU think happens next??

Big Love goes back to Family Values…

Although this was another episode that was all over the map- one moment Nicki slaps Bill in the face for not telling her that his brother Joey’s the one who killed her father, Roman- then she’s in the bedroom with him professing she loves him and doesn’t want to share him? (which reels were spliced together to come up with that sequence?) – overall; however, it was more cohesive than the previous entry.

The focus was on Bill Hendrickson and his family dealing with threats to their interests and safety. There was a great scene with Ben, Tancy and Sarah in which they each revealed their feelings about Bill’s political campaign.

Marilyn’s true colors were forcefully revealed in a lovely dressing down scene with Bill. Marilyn’s intense dislike and vested interested in destroying Bill may become clear in the next season. Marilyn continually makes allusions to the past, as she did in her telephone conversation with Barb, which make me believe there’s some kind of prior connection to Bill or to his brethren. In any case, Ms. Spacek makes this show far more watchable for me than would otherwise be the case. (I must confess a passing morbid interest in the meltdowns of Nicki and Alby, but they’re somewhat predictable and a little played out…).

It ended with the core Hendricksons – Bill and Barb (his only legal wife) and their three children enjoying Tancy’s birthday celebration.

There will undoubtedly be countless loose ends at the end of next week’s episode, but I seriously hope the writing/storylines improve next season. These folks can’t hold a candle to the writing of In Treatment, Damages, Nurse Jackie, or even The Good Wife.

Big Love strikes again…

Well, Bill’s having trouble on the campaign trail…His daughter’s being accused of baby-napping by the woman his wife Barb hit by accident with her car  – and Bill’s being investigated by the INS and has to explain why some extra names show up on the payroll…What does Bill do? He throws his friend Norm under the bus by having him confess to placing the extra wives on the books in order to get health insurance. Oh, and did I mention that his son Ben is fatally attracted to Bill’s youngest wife, Margene? What to do? Ben starts packing, Bill walks in and Ben tells him that he thinks it best that he leave for a little while, Bill cooly replies that he was thinking the same thing and walks out the door.

I can’t give Mr. Bill father or husband of the year awards, I’m afraid. On the one hand I do feel that he should have tried to talk to, and perhaps  more importantly listen to Ben more  sympathetically, on the other hand when a father has an adult son hot for his pretty young wife and both parties admit to an attraction – there aren’t a whole lot of options except to stop the attraction one way or another, or end one or both of the relationships – distance is often involved.

Margene’s on-camera implosion surprised me a bit, and I wonder whether she’ll just be fired or soar in popularity or both -as in she’s fired then the public clamors for her return, via that “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” maxim.

How about Alby’s stalking behavior? I just love how he’s playing dumb Dale. He’s packed Dale’s bags for his guilt trip in re the Junniper Creek affair – and taken insurance with that candid photo of the two of them in bed in the last episode…

J.J. and Adaleen?  I must confess that I didn’t see that one coming. Is this to team up against Alby or ? We know J.J. is a power hungry little bugger, but he’s talking to Joey and trying to get him to play some kind of higher role on the compound.  My money’s on Wanda and Nikki killing J.J. off at some point 🙂 Didn’t you just love their little commiseration scene, right after Wanda skinned herself with a knife, thinking of her sweet brother’s demise?

Jodean? Well, there’s a quiet rebel…she was pleased as punch that the birds Lois and Frank planned to sell escape, and previously she looked very anguished when Lois was scolding Frank about being a good father to Bill…Yes. I think Miss Jodean is rethinking Heavenly Father’s plans for them all…

What do YOU think will happen next?

Another fine summary…

Big Love

This insane tv show about a Mormon man in Utah with three wives is endlessly fascinating because of all the nuances of the exponential relationships that ensue as a result of all the in-laws times three…
The latest episode featured, among other things – a more than maternal kiss from Margene to Ben – another romp in the hay for Albert -with his state-appointed auditor – of whom he happened to take an incriminating photo of while in bed together – not sure how this will play since Albert’s in the photo too – Lura won’t like it much, neither will the 10,000 folks at Juniper Creek who don’t look kindly upon homosexuality…a co-worker suggested that Alby could simply cut his face from the picture or airbrush the eyes & nose out of the picture-Dale’s wife would know the bed was not theirs…Albert also hallucinates that his dead father’s talking to him…Sissy Spacek’s guest turn as a sassy political wonk was a delight – her character definitely put Bill in check…

The past few episodes and, indeed, the past season have made it clear that the children of deceitful, scheming, treacherous parents often have  children of the same ilk – take a look at Nikki and Alby’s parents – Adaleen and Roman Grant – need I say more?  Or Bill Hendrickson’s mother and father? Cara Lynn quickly announced to the police that her mother had a gun in her purse…sound like J.J or Nikki style behavior to you?

Speaking of J.J. – is he going to blackmail Joey & Wanda or turn them in? I’d go with blackmail since I think he’s a serious power-tripper. What does he have of Wanda’s that’s precious??

Yes. This is a soap opera all right, but boy can these folks act and the writing is just superb, if not downright funny at times – who thought Ben would end up exposed on camera as Margene’s beau??

Check out:

IF you search for chloe sevigny big love clips  on google videos – you’ll see why she’s been nominated several times and finally won. – brilliant summary of the first episode of the season with very keen insights. – she’s always been one of my favorite characters on the show and this blog is a hoot…

What do YOU predict will happen this season????