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Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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« In Which We Are The True Blood of Men »

I Can't Love You Like That


Bill Compton sits back in bed. His squirrelly little vampire features are happy for a time. He feels better in bed; when he's at work his boss is about two feet taller than him and his girlfriend spends most of her time squealing and complaining. Things are better in the contours of this dark Dallas hotel, better by far. "Let's go back to Bon Temps," he tells Sookie, as if she's listened to a single thing he's said since the second season of True Blood began.

Who could say no to a face like that? An old face, a face that's been through something he cannot fully understand, because he is not human enough to understand it. And also, because it takes mental strength for the actor playing him not to slip into his native British accent. Bill began his life sometime during the Civil War in the South, and it hasn't really been good until now. His face says, "I wanna be happy!!!" and who can say no?

It's early retirement for Bill Compton. His sideburns have grown unnecessarily long, and his temper correspondingly short. Eric's involved in flashbacks, and Sookie is meeting new friends and listening to fangbangers' thoughts. Jessica even has a cute boy to tell her about the comic he's reading. Bill's all alone. He has no drama, or had no drama, until the vampire named Lorena came to his door.

Bill hasn't spent much time explaining anything to Sookie. To be fair, she doesn't really ask. She's never had to ask what anyone's thinking her whole life until this point, and such customs are more habit than intuition. For this reason she's not the ideal partner. She can't be with a human, and she can't be with a vampire, so that leaves shifter, whose thoughts she never could make out as well as human thoughts. Sookie and Bill have about run their course, and it's time to move on.

In the Sookie Stackhouse series of novels by Charlaine Harris, Bill and Sookie spend most of the series apart, with any number of other men and strange ass human women that get in the way. Now I realize the sorrow of this sweet parting isn't a moment too soon.

Looking into that dental conundrum, I wouldn't know just what to think. Sookie and Bill have the problems of most relationships: the woman makes the man less of a man, and the man makes the woman less of a woman. To wit:

I think I'm in love with Sarah Newlin (Anna Camp) for all the right reasons. (The principle reason I'm sure of that is because she doesn't have a Maxim portfolio.) Normally the walking pheromone known as Jason Stackhouse would be all over ass like that. But when her husband has shown you his shooting star collection, you tend to get a grip on your need for a hot bang. Jason, I feel for you. The father of my first girlfriend once drunkenly chased me around a Yacht Club.

Above all else this season, you do fear for Jason, because he is on the verge of realizing something about his life: relationships usually don't work, even human ones, even all-shifter ones. They are perched on a precarious balance, and all they do is change you in a way that you wouldn't normally have been changed, and usually for the worse.

As the inspirational leader of the Fellowship of the Sun's boot camp, Jason has definitely showed all that he can be, at least until Alan Ball gets desperate and/or horny and has him pull a Ray Drecker.

Why can't life be as simple as a handjob in a bathtub?

You have no idea just how many bathtubs I have lazed around in, waiting for the lady of the house to come up with a stern upper lip and the cruel intentions of roughing up my junk. I also had exactly the expression on Jason Stackhouse's face: pleasure mixed with a distinct fear that my penis was about to be pulled off. That's why this show is pushing boundaries. In real (or real-er) life, this is actually what you come home to:

Afterwards, you have no hope. Only one person in Bon Temps is waiting at home for you, reading a topical book like Heartsick, and wearing Gran's old clothing. It smells like death, a good bracing smell. Tara, you are home, girl, but something is not right in your life. Everybody's ganging up on you, and it's not your fault. Kevin Federline was watching the scene where MaryAnn made everyone in Merlotte's yell at Tara and saying, "I knew it!!!"

Although to be fair Michelle was wearing a cute outfit, this plotline is moving at the speed of molasses. Tara never trusted anybody in her life before this, and now three vagabonds are planning to move in? Why doesn't she just tell Sam? He can reliably inform her that he owes Maryann $100,000, which is plenty for a down payment on a house, and in Bon Temps should probably be able to buy Sookie's mansion outright. How much longer will Tara be haunted by this foreboding threesome?

I thought she was going to flip her grits when she saw that dude just calmly reading in her bed, but instead she curled up around his private parts. That is not the Tara I know and love. It's fine for inaction to build to action in drama, but the Tara I know would be curled up around a .45.

It's not really fun watching all the black folks in Bon Temps be tortured right now. It doesn't seem like Tara or Lafayette will be in any position to help their girl Sookie's travails in Dallas because they're too busy. In fairness, no one can really help Lafayette. Even though it seems like his ordeal in the bowels of Fangtasia wasn't too different from his day-to-day life as internet porn star and drug dealer, he has a new perspective on the world, one that reliably informs us You can tell by the expression on my face that I rlly hate the world.

This week's True Blood was so light on meaningful dialogue that you could have watched with the mute button on, and still had to weather some classic lines from Eric Northman's life before Christ died. If I wanted to watch the third Underworld movie, I would have watched it and reviewed it under a pseudonym.

Although I didn't love how they handled this whole situation in the book, it was preferable to a boring chatfest with the two Dallas-based vampires. In Living Dead in Dallas, there's a whole harem of vampires and fangbangers feeding on each other, and Sookie and Bill feel very overwhelmed, and Eric pretends to be somewhere else. The issue with translating that to the screen is it becomes an enormous set piece for no real reason — I don't think any of these people or vamps ever made it back to Dallas.

Let's hope Godric sticks around for awhile: it would be nice for Eric to have somebody to kowtow to. This episode was all set-up and set-up and set-up, but it will be fun when the show gets all the powerful elephants in a room together and watches them to try to relate non-violently.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. He tumbls here.

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"Under the Paving Stones" — The Like (mp3)

"Too Late" — The Like (mp3)

"Bridge To Nowhere" — The Like (mp3)

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Reader Comments (1)

Wow, pairing up The Like with True Blood ... now THAT'S what I call a baller move, Alex. Also, fantastic recap.

July 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterUncle Grambo

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