Month: July 2014

Comic Con and San Diego

Comic Con (SDCC) was born in San Diego in the basement of the El Cortez in 1970.  Since then it has erupted into a mecca of pop culture that unites fans and fandoms from around the world.

SDCC has outgrown its home at the San Diego Convention Center and so it now pours out into the Gaslamp, providing entertainment for tens of thousands of people while giving the local economy a much needed boost. It even takes over Petco Park. It’s a huge event.  SDCC lasts five days and provides more stimulation to our economy than any other event.  As a fifth generation San Diegan, keeping SDCC in San Diego is more important to me than keeping the Chargers. But that’s a whole other story.

I love SDCC and love the people it brings to my city. I will be one of the fans sleeping in line next week to gain access to Ballroom 20 and I will probably dress up.  Well, maybe.  We’ll see.

At any rate, SDCC is part of San Diego’s fabric. I am glad it’s here!

True Blood Recap S7E4: Death is Not the End

True Blood Season 7, Episode 4: Death is Not the End

Airdate:  July 13, 2014

Summary by: Sarabeth Pollock


Alcide is dead.  If you didn’t know that, you’ve been under a rock all week.  Last week’s shocking moment left many fans saddened, but star Joe Manganiello hinted in an interview that he knew it was coming.  Sookie would never end up with Alcide.  It just wasn’t in the cards, and he clearly loved her too much to let her go…which meant he needed to go.

Jackson, Mississippi.  Big Daddy is back. Alcide’s father is in the middle of some hanky panky with a girl when he gets a call from Sookie.  She tells Jackson that Alcide is “gone.”  Jackson sinks into a chair in shock. (Did you notice the color of his eyes?)

In Alaska, Hoyt Fontenberry gets a call from Jason.  Jason has some bad news.  “She passed last night,” Jason says.  Hoyt bursts into tears when Jason reveals that she died, so Jason tries to console him.  The thing about it is that Hoyt can’t remember who Jason is.

Sookie asks Jackson how soon he can get to Bon Temps, and he says he will get there as soon as possible.  He takes a moment to say that his relationship with Alcide was distant, but Alcide truly loved Sookie.  Sookie says she loved him, too.  She gets off the phone in time to see Jason finish his conversation with Hoyt, and Jason remarks that Hoyt is so polite.  The fact is, Hoyt can’t remember Jason.  Jason starts to fall apart but Sookie tells him he has to stay strong.  Andy is with Holly so Jason is the law now.  He has to be strong for everyone else.  She wants to fall apart as well, but if she has to man up, so does Jason.

Cue the credits.  Did anyone else notice how many names have been added to the cast? 

Anubis Air is flying high.  Eric has his face buried between the legs of the flight attendant who is giving him a rundown of the flight plan.  Their destination is Baton Rouge; Pam thinks Sarah Newlin will try to contact the Senator.  However, Eric wants to go to Shreveport.  After alerting the flight attendant that she is now a carrier of Hep-V (which will cause her to lose her job), Eric orders the plane to change its destination.  Pam is furious; she hates Shreveport.  Eric wants to go after Willa.  He is saddened that Pam lost her progeny, but he has an obligation to Willa.  Besides, he adds with a grin, it will be a walk down memory lane for the two of them.

Shreveport, 1986.  The Magister of Louisiana greets Pam and Eric and says that he’s about to pronounce their punishment.  He gestures to an old video store.  “This place smells of sperm and piss and bad hair dye,” he says.  And it is theirs.  They can use it to run a business.  That’s their punishment.  The Magister gives them a tour.  Inside their new store they have every movie you can conceive of, along with a whole array of movie theater-style candy.  Downstairs it also includes the largest selection of porn in Louisiana.  Beyond the door in the back is a Civil War-era tunnel used during the Underground Railroad.  The Magister informs Eric that the Authority will take a part of his income, and they’re also making him Sheriff of Area 5 so that they can keep an eye on him.  The Magister hands them the keys to their new lives.

Sookie, Sam and Jason arrive at Arlene’s house to see how her kids are holding up. (How weird is it to see Sookie in jeans and a shirt?)  The kids are feeling like they’re in a glass house.  Sookie levels with them like equals.  She tells the kids that Arlene is tough and she’s fighting hard to get back to them.  That’s why they have to keep fighting.  Sookie is going to help Holly remember where Arlene is.  Andy is reluctant to let Sookie make Holly remember, but Sookie persists and they get inside Holly’s bedroom.  Holly gives Sookie a big hug for her loss.  Holly looks awful.  She can’t remember much after the mixer.  Her memory is blank after that.  They join hands and Sookie sees her memory of being fed on at the creek.  She remembers that they took her outside, and then she sees Fangtasia.  Holly bursts into tears and Andy looks to Sookie for advice on what to do with her.  “We like to be held,” she says.  He holds her while she cries.

Sam and Jason take off for Fangtasia.  Sam is worried about Nicole and the baby at Fangtasia.  Sam turns around and heads to Shreveport.  Jason pulls out his gun and tells Sam not to make a bad decision.  They need the vampires to help them.  Sam yells and stops the car, forcing Jason to drive.  Sam refuses to be the one driving away from his family.

At Bill’s house, Jessica moans in her sleep.  James tells her that she needs to eat.  The bullet wound isn’t healing because she won’t eat, but she doesn’t think so.  James is frustrated.  He goes to get Bill, which pisses her off.  Bill comes in and asks how long this has been going on.  He means business.  James tells Bill she hasn’t been eating for ten weeks.  He doesn’t see how she can be protecting Adilyn and not getting any blood in return.  Jessica is afraid that she’ll kill Adilyn.  Sookie arrives downstairs and Jessica welcomes her up to her “intervention.”  Sookie chases the boys out so that she can tell Jessica she doesn’t give a shit about the dead faeries.  Everyone she knows is dying and she’s going to need help rescuing Arlene.  So Jessica needs to feed to be able to help.  Jessica’s eyes are as big as saucers, but she quickly agrees.  Sookie storms from the room, telling James to call Lafayette and telling Bill that they need to talk.

Back in 1986, a young starry-eyed Ginger comes into the video store looking for a list of vampire films.  Pam is impressed that she’s looking for the good vampire films, and explains that she’s taking a class at Tulane about “The Other” in society, and the class is examining issues vis-à-vis the vampire myth.  She laughs innocently and assures Pam that she’s not crazy and she doesn’t think vampires exist.  That is, until Eric walks in all smoldering and badass with his swept back hair and black shirt and pants.  Eric introduces himself.  Ginger sees that Eric needs help and asks for an application.

Jason and Sam arrive at Rosie’s house to inform her of Kevin’s passing.  She thinks she might be under arrest for her actions the night before, but Sam says she isn’t in trouble.  They tell her that Kevin is gone.  They explain that Holly revealed that he had died but they haven’t recovered the body.  Jason assures her that they will avenge his death.

Bill tells Sookie that he’ll call upon as many vampires as he can, but the Bon Temps vampires have already lost a lot and there isn’t much in it for them to go to Shreveport.  He’s doing this for her because she has given him everything.  Sookie seems to make a decision, and then she offers him “lunch” so that he’s at his strongest.  Bill can’t resist an offer like that.

Upstairs, Lafayette arrives.  Jessica is in tears and she’s upset with James.  Lafayette senses the tension and tells James to movie aside so he can do his thing.  Jessica is having trouble understanding how immortal vampires have to prey upon innocent humans.  Lala tells her that he’s not so innocent; he killed the man he loves.  James is shocked by this and wants to go to him, but instead he watches as Jessica finally feeds.

  1. Ginger arrives at the store with a huge throne-chair for him.  Pam says she’s late, but Ginger points out that she found this “shitty chair” and it may be the start of a new future now that vampires have come out.  Pam is listening.  Ginger has a vision of a nightclub that pushes sex by putting Eric on a throne until people are so horny they throw down their money for drinks.  Pam loves the idea.  She even loves Ginger’s name: Fangtasia.  She loves it so much that she glamours Ginger into forgetting that it was her idea to begin with.  Eric laughs on the plane as Pam finishes the story, calling her a bitch with a huge smile on his face.  She asks if he still loves her.  “Always,” he says.

Night has fallen and there are cars in Bill’s driveway.  There are only a few uninfected vampires who showed up, including James’ bass player, Keith.  Jason attempts a rousing speech but there’s no reaction.  Bill recalls the battle of Normandy but is interrupted by a knock at the door.  He opens it to find Pam and Eric standing there.  “Pam says you wrote a book in which you claim not to be an asshole anymore.  Is this true, Bill?”  Bill’s eyes are fixed on the Hep-V infection spreading across Eric’s chest.  He tells Bill that he’s only a month along in the disease.  Stage One.  Sookie comes to the door and hugs Eric, who takes her into his arms with relish.  Pam groans.  She reminds Eric that they have a Christian to kill, and that they’re there to find Willa. 

In a dark alley, Willa is about to feed on a teen when her Maker calls upon her.  She rolls her eyes and says that she hates him.

Bill shows Eric and Sookie to his office and leaves them.  They face each other and he asks how she is.  “Shitty,” she says, and she tells him about Alcide.  Eric starts to question the fact that she was with a werewolf, but she interrupts and says he died that morning.  Without hesitation, Eric pulls her into his arms and holds her.  (Just like the advice she gave to Andy)  She asks where he was, and Eric tells her that he’d traveled the world, starting with Sweden, where he triggered an avalanche.  He wanted to see the world one last time.  He gets serious and asks what kind of trouble she’s in.  Willa interrupts and demands answers.  He abandoned her when she was two weeks old.  Eric uses his power to command her to wait until later.  Eric and Sookie go outside, where Pam had been telling Bill that they’re walking into a bloodbath.  Eric jabs Bill by pointing out that they’re outnumbered, but he knows a secret way into Fangtasia.  Bill is most unpleased that Eric is back.  He gives Sookie a look before they all drive off.

A rat makes its way through the Underground Railroad.  The women scream when it comes into the dungeon.  But it’s Sam.  Arlene can’t figure out what she’s just seen, but Nicole is elated to see him.  He promises that there are good vampires outside waiting to rescue them and that they just need to hold tight.  He turns back into a rat and scurries off, but the door opens upstairs.  The women scream.

Outside, Eric punches a wall and makes a small dent.  Bill pushes him aside and blasts the wall out with one hit.  Eric is clearly too weak.  Sam returns and says the women are right where they’re supposed to be. Eric and Bill start to leave, but Pam stops Eric, telling him that she’s going.  Eric can’t argue, and he watches helplessly as they leave.  Pam and Bill arrive to find that the vampires have taken Arlene.  Bill says he’s going to rescue Arlene.  Pam gives him some advice-Sookie will not be his.  Not now, not ever.  So don’t blow it.  He runs upstairs to and sees that they’re feasting on Arlene.  Bill is about to intervene when Eric knocks on the door and says that he’s brought a human with him.  The Hep-V vamps smell Sookie’s blood.  Bill rolls his eyes when Eric comes in and takes control of the scene.  He warns them that he brought some friends…and that’s when Bill and everyone else burst into the room.  However, Vince and Rosie and Kenya decide that they want to take out the vampire bar as well.  They blast the place with Molotov cocktails, so the Hep-V vamps flee into the parking lot.  They kill a few members of Vince’s gang, and then they meet the healthy vamps for a battle.  Meanwhile, Sookie is inside with Arlene, who is about to die.  Bill rushes in and prevents a man from staking Eric (thus proving that he’s no longer an asshole) and then he has t hurry out to save Jessica.  Sookie tells Eric to find a healthy vampire to save Arlene, but Eric looks pretty spent himself.  Arlene isn’t going to make it.  She starts to hear Terry calling out to her.  Sookie can see what she’s seeing and Terry is there with her.  Jason blows a vampire away and rushes in with Keith, who gives Arlene her blood.  Terry tells Arlene that she can’t come with him because she needs to be there with their kids. She gasps and comes back to life.

Outside, the healthy vampires rejoice at their victory.  Pam panics when she can’t find Eric, but he’s in a minivan feeding on a guy.  “I had to eat,” he says.  He goes inside and sees Sookie holding Arlene.  He smiles at her, and Sookie smiles back. 

I have to tell you—I think this is one of the best episodes of True Blood ever.  It was so incredibly well written, and so packed with drama, that I had to watch it twice to be able to recap it.  It blew me away.  I can only hope that the season continues this way.  I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Demise of Cursive and the Decline of Civilization

One of my students told me that I have nice handwriting.  I realized very quickly that she was referring to the fact I was writing in cursive, which isn’t taught as ardently in schools as it was when I was in elementary school back in the 1990s.  I remember sitting in Mrs. Labastida’s second grade class practicing my letters.  Capital Q always got me.  That, and capital Z and sometimes the L.  And heaven help you if you didn’t form your letters exactly as they taught you.  

Cursive is on its way out of the curriculum.  It’s seen as a waste of time given how much time we spend on our computers.  I watched another student struggle to write two sentences in cursive on an exam.  She is 17, and it took five minutes to write two sentences in cursive.  I look at how students (and some adults) form their letters with a variety of upper- and lowercase letters.  It’s strange that so many people have arrived at the same writing style independently of each other.

The fact that this student thought my handwriting is nice is amusing.  When I was in 6th grade, my father teased me mercilessly because I received a “Needs Improvement” in handwriting on my report card.  I had straight As (and went on to graduate valedictorian in high school) but I had issues with handwriting.  My father thought it was funny that I had a low grade in handwriting; handwriting was the only thing he ever got an A in (of course, he went to school with Catholic nuns, so go figure).  My hand can’t keep up with my brain, hence the shoddy penmanship.  However, it’s still cursive.  Friends begged to use my notes in college.  Not only were they thorough, they were very nicely written.

I think that the demise of cursive being taught in schools has greater and more far-reaching implications.  I think it’s great that students are allowed to develop their own writing styles.  But the next step in this evolution is to transition everyone into using computers to such an extent that they won’t have a need for handwriting.  I know it sounds extreme, but in a few decades, cursive will be a thing of the past the way calligraphy is now.  How many people do you know who can successfully use a fountain pen with the little quill-thingy at the tip?  I’ve seen them in fine pen stores (because yes, I do shop for nice pens…that’s a whole other story) but I haven’t a clue as to how to use one.  I remember seeing my grandmother’s phone book.  Her writing was beautiful.  In fact, everyone in my grandparents’ generation had good penmanship. It’s sad to think that will all go away.

We all develop our own writing style, but our style tends to develop out of a customization of cursive and regular handwriting.  Without learning cursive, future students will lack that piece of the puzzle. There will be very little by way of notes, letters and handwritten documents that future generations of historians can refer back to.  It will all be digital, and if it is written, it most likely won’t be the kind of penmanship you see when you read letters exchanged in the 1940s.  As a history major, this is sad to me.  Watching a 17 year old struggle to write two sentences is sad.  

With all of this in mind, I’m basking in the fact that my student thinks my crappy penmanship looks nice….






Daydreaming and its Perils

The 4th of July signals many American traditions. In my household, the tradition that has been around the longest is the Twilight Zone marathon.  

Reflecting on this year’s marathon, I’ve noticed that many episodes deal with the perils of daydreaming.  One man imagines an idyllic world of old, and when his job pressures him to the breaking point, he decides to get off the train into his idyllic world; back in reality, all we know is that he jumped off the train and died instantly.  So much for Willoughby.

I daydream a lot.  I do it all the time.  When I’m driving I even have imagined conversations with people in my daydreams.  I guess the trappings of reality aren’t enough for me.  I get my work done and then I find myself with extra time on my hands.  How better to fill it?

I need to put that same amount of creative energy into my writing.

True Blood Recap: S7E3 Fire in the Hole

True Blood Season 7, Episode 3: Fire in the Hole

Airdate:  July 6, 2014

Summary by: Sarabeth Pollock


There’s a crazy yoga class happening in LA.  “You are here in the now,” the Yogi says.  “In tune with yourself.”  He corrects his students as they take their poses.  All of a sudden Sarah Newlin rises from the floor.  “Namaste,” she says.  Oh great, she’s back.

Pam wants to know how long Eric has been sick.  He seems surprised that she knew where he’d been.  You know how she hates Russians.  He reluctantly says that she outwitted him, but only because he’s not well.  She tells him that Tara met the True Death and she gets mad when he doesn’t respond.  Eric has lost too many people.  He has a flash back to the Rhone Valley, 1986.  He’s speaking French, which is really hot. There’s a woman there and he’s seducing her in her father’s vineyard.  (Once again we start out with Eric Northman sex.  Go figure.)  Eric bites her and they have sex in the grapes.  That’s when our Authority friend the Chancellor shows up. 

Next we see the Chancellor charging Eric and Pam with failure to register with the local Sheriff and pay taxes.  Pam immediately says she doesn’t like the woman, though she appreciates her shoes.  The Chancellor wants them to know about the invention of True Blood, a product of Japan that will allow for full integration into society.  Pam agrees to behave, but Eric is necking on the couch and tells the Authority bitch to “go fuck herself.”  Pam is beside herself that he told off Ms. Flanagan of the Authority, but Eric promises to protect her from danger.

Alcide wakes up hungry.  He realizes that Sookie is gone.  He races over to Bill’s house and breaks down the door.

In the car, Bill assures Sookie that he’s covered their tracks.  She wants to know why he can’t feel her anymore.  It’s because he had been fully drained back at Vamp Camp.  Now he’s a clean slate, and while he’s a new vampire, he still has to live with the memories of what he did to her.  He insists that she take his blood so that he can sense her.  As she drinks, he gets turned on.  “I have a boyfriend,” she says.  Bill’s fangs pop back in.

Adilyn and Wade are in a jail cell.  He’s worried about his mom, so to distract him she tells him about the time they made out and Eric glamoured the memory from him.  They’re about to kiss when Jessica shows up with Andy.  Wade is worried about getting Rocky into trouble.  “We’re all in trouble,” Andy says.  Adilyn says the mob is after anything that’s different from them.

Sam and Reverend Daniels are having an existential conversation in the church.  Sam can’t believe that a family like Mary Beth would die when they had crosses in every room.  The Reverend confides that Death is always coming.  Willa bursts in ahead of Lettie Mae, who is in the middle of an equally intense conversation with Tara.  The Reverend asks everyone to leave.

Sam and his vampire defender drive off when they come across the mob.  They confront their mayor for being a shapeshifter.  Sam pleads with Rocky to listen.  Vince blows away his vampire friend, so Sam shifts into an owl and flies away.

Jason looks at a picture of his family and asks Violet if she’d consider having kids with him.  They could adopt, he says.  He says he’s a modern man who can love and fight.  Violet loves that about him.  There’s a knock at the door and it’s Andy and company.   They come in, even though Violet says that they’re in the middle of a fight.  Violet keeps Jessica at bay but agrees to join forces.

Lafayette is in the middle of a party when James shows up looking for weed.  He confesses to Lala that he’s not sure what to do with Jessica, who doesn’t seem to realize that he’s there with her.  It’s a much longer conversation, he says.  That’s why he’s looking for an escape.  Vampires can’t swallow pills, so Lafayette agrees to be the beaker for this little experiment to mix up the right drugs to take James to the beach.

At Fangtasia, the Hep-V vamps discuss how many humans they have left.  The disease is taking its toll on them, but they only have 4 people left and they’re going to need more.  Holly casts a spell with the women in the basement.  The vamp finds them and wants to take Holly hunting.

Bill and Sookie are in a field.  Bill says that Alcide would agree that this plan is not a good idea.  She reminds him that he called her vampire bait once before.  Bill asks if she wants him to bring Alcide along when they come to rescue her.  Bill wants to be friends, so he says they should be able to talk.  She confesses that he wants kids and he loves her more than she loves him.  She feels rotten and she doesn’t know how long she can deal with it.  Bill says love isn’t always equal.

Andy and the gang try to call Sookie’s phone.  Jason leaves a message.  They come upon Sam’s car and find the mob.  Vince says they mayor flew away.  Jason threatens to shoot them if they don’t walk away.  Mrs. Fortenberry claims Jason and Jessica for what they did to Hoyt.  She shoots Jessica with a silver bullet so Violet charges and rips out her heart.  The mob scatters, and Andy sends Violet into the woods to find Rocky.  Alive.  Jason hurries over to Jessica and tries to help.

Meanwhile, the Hep-V vamps find more food in the woods.

There’s a party at Lala’s house.  James and Lala are listening to Bob Marley and talking about how the drugs are in time with the music. 

Sam and Alcide meet up.  Alcide lost Sookie’s scent.  Together, they turn back into canines and continue the search.

Bill laughs at Sookie’s impatience.  She feels a bit insulted that they haven’t taken the bait yet.  Bill assures her that she still smells very good.  She tells him about the freefall ride at Six Flags.  He thinks the idea of a freefall ride would be terrifying, but she says the scary part is the waiting.  You know you’re going to drop but you don’t know when.  That’s the scary part, and that’s what this feels like.  He says it’s more like going to war.  This is a war, he says, and he recalls the time before he left for war that he had pictures taken of his family.  The photographer was a Fortenberry, and he Bill posed with his daughter first before posing with the rest of his family.  He smiles at the memory of his family.  Bill is jolted from his reverie when Sookie cuts open her arm and calls out to the vampires, telling them that she tastes like sunshine.

Reverend Daniels comes out to tell Willa that Lettie Mae is finally sleeping.  She wonders if Lettie Mae burned herself on purpose.  He knows Willa is hungry so he offers his arm to her.  “But you’re a reverend,” she says.  While she feeds, he tells her that they moved to Bon Temps after the loss of his daughter.  It was the worst time of his life.  He lost his faith.  He hid from well wishing congregation members because he didn’t want to face them.  He was alone.  Then one day he got in his car and drove to a church that was boarded up.  A woman saw him and said that she’d been waiting for him.  It was Lettie Mae, and she saved him as much as he saved her.  Willa finishes feeding and he says that Lettie Mae has a disease.  He says that Willa’s blood is like a bottle of Captain Morgan to an alcoholic, and he says that she can’t stay there anymore.  He thanks her, and then rescinds her invitation.

James wakes up to find that Lala wasn’t moving.  Lala wakes up and says that he’s a professional when it comes to drugs.  James decides to erase the fang marks on Lafayette’s neck.  Lala realizes that James is coming on to him.  They share a sweet moment together.  Lafayette says goodnight to his vampire friend.

A group of Asian men arrive at Eric’s French estate while Pam is pleasuring a young woman and Eric is getting it on farmer-style with Sylvie.  The men are from the corporation that Nan referred to.  They have a silver chain around Pam’s throat.  Eric apologizes for not following the rules.  The man in charge, who has a gold tooth, forces Eric to make a choice between Pam and Sylvie.  Eventually, Eric chooses Pam, and Sylvie is stabbed.  The men take Eric prisoner.

Back in the present, Pam asks again if Eric contracted Hep-V on purpose.  She begs him to not give up.  With a fresh blood supply, he can live longer.  She vows to keep him well.  She begs him not to make her watch him die.  He says the world has been his oyster for a thousand years, but he’s lost his taste for oysters.  Before she leaves, Pam tells Eric that Jason didn’t kill Sarah Newlin.  She’s out there somewhere.  This gets Eric’s attention.  He slowly gets up from his chaise.  “Let’s go find her, shall we?”

Sarah isn’t in hiding.  She’s screwing her Yogi.  “Namaste!” she cries as she comes.  She tells him that she came to his institute a Christian woman who thought life was an audition for getting into Heaven.  He laughs and tells her everything is about the here and now.  He tells her to run off and get a bottle of red wine.  While she’s gone, the Asian men who came after Eric in the 80s arrive in the Yogi’s bedroom.  They ask if he knows Sarah Newlin.  He says he can’t lie, and that he knows her.  When they ask where she is, he refuses to say.  She hears the men chop off his head and she covers her mouth to keep from screaming as his blood seeps under the door.

Holly is in a glamoured gaze as she enters the field where Bill and Sookie lie in wait.  Sookie rushes over to her, and out of nowhere a Hep-V vamp takes Bill out of the tree.  They collar him with a silver chain while the others capture Sookie.  That’s when Sam and Alcide, in their dog forms, jump the vampire holding Bill, and Jason and Andy take out the vamps holding Sookie.  She’s soaked from head to toe in blood.  Alcide asks if she swallowed any and she shakes her head.  He tells her to go clean off in the river.  Violet offers to help her rinse off.  While she’s getting cleaned up, Alcide confronts Bill for allowing Sookie to put herself in danger.  Bill asserts that this was her idea.  As Sookie rinses off, there’s a noise.  She looks up to see two bullets hit Alcide.  One in the chest, and one in the forehead.  She screams and rushes over to him.  Violet, Jessica and Bill stand around her.  They could turn him, but they’d have to do it soon.  She says no.  Jason asks if she’s sure, but Sookie has been there before.  Andy goes over to Lou, one of the kids in Vince’s mob.  He’s alive and he’s bleeding out.  He asks for an ambulance.  Andy reminds him that he shot first, and he reminds him that everything changes once you pull the trigger.  Sookie weeps over Alcide’s dead body.

So ends the third episode of the season.  Alcide is dead.  I wish it didn’t happen, but we all knew Sookie wasn’t going to end up with him.

Alcide, you will be missed.  (And I’m saddened by the fact he died on my birthday…)

The Walking Dead Recap Flashback S3E2: Sick

The Walking Dead S3E2: Sick

Original Airdate: October 21, 2012

Recap by Sarabeth Pollock


This week’s The Walking Dead begins right where we left off last week.  Hershel’s leg has just been separated from his body.  Daryl tells Rick to duck so that he can target the men standing behind the counter.  Both groups want to know who the hell the other group is.  The Grimes Gang doesn’t look like a rescue team to the befuddled inmates.  While the inmates try to figure out what is happening, Glenn rushes past them to grab a wheeled table so that they can get Hershel out.  The inmates watch as T-Dog proclaims that they have the situation under control, which he demonstrates by efficiently killing one of the Swat Walkers in full body gear.  They rush out, leaving the confused inmates behind with Hershel’s severed leg.

After the credits roll, we see the team rolling Hershel through the Walker-infested hallway.  While their main focus in on getting Hershel back to the cell block haven, they also have to think about the inmates, who have left their cafeteria to follow the newcomers.  Carl meets the group at the door and opens it.  T-Dog and Daryl remain outside the door.  They bring Hershel into one of the cells, and Carol (Carol!!) takes charge.  Carol!  Carol takes charge!!  She works to stop the bleeding, ordering people to grab more supplies.  She takes control of Hershel’s care, and she seems very competent.  Before leaving, Rick tells Glenn that he has to be there for Maggie and Beth.

Outside the cell block, Daryl and T-Dog keep their weapons trained on the inmates as they slowly enter the room.  They’re wary.  And they have every right to be.  Tomas, the self-proclaimed leader of the group, tries to take control of the situation.  Cell Block C is his home, which means they follow his rules.  (Little does he realize, Rick Grimes was a law enforcement officer)  Tomas wants to know why civilians would bother breaking in to a prison.  That doesn’t add up.  The wheels start turning in their heads.  Did this group rob a bank or something? Why aren’t they taking their friend to a hospital?  Now the truth comes out.  This group of inmates has been locked away for over ten months. (They bicker between the actual number of days, which is so hilarious because any inmate would know exactly how many days they have been locked up)  There were riots.  They heard rumors about people turning into cannibals.  One of the guards who had watched out for them locked them in the cafeteria.  No one ever came for them, though.  They expected the National Guard to arrive, but nothing.

Rick takes in what they have told them.  Daryl and T-Dog have the same stunned expressions on their faces.  These men have no idea what is going on.  “It’s all gone,” Rick finally says.  “For real?” they ask.  They want to know if Rick has a cell phone they can use to call their families.  The reality of the situation sinks in but they still can’t grasp it.  They go out into the yard.  Big Tiny stretches his arms out and basks in being able to feel the sun for the first time in months.  The inmates take in the sight of the bodies of all of the Walkers all over the yard, and they see Walkers locked in behind a gate across the way.  What is going on?  Is it a disease?  Rick informs the group that everyone is infected, but it’s not like AIDS.  If you die, you become a Walker.

Tomas decides that the prison belongs to his group.  They were there first.  He demands that Rick and his group leave the prison.  Rick refuses.  They spilled blood here.  They cleared the place out.  He proposes that they cut a deal so everyone wins.  Daryl knows that these men can’t be trusted.  He points out that they have their freedom, so why not leave?  They can try their luck on the road.  The inmates don’t like this idea.  Rick calls their bluff—these guys have access to food.  Clearly they’re not starving.  In fact, they look very good for people who have been locked up in one room for ten months.  So Rick offers to help clear out another cell block for them in return for half of the food.  Tomas wants weapons, too, but Rick’s not going to fall for that.  He makes the deal, with the caveat that once they help them, the inmates must stay on their cell block or risk being shot.

Carol and Lori work on Hershel.  He’s not losing as much blood, but obviously he needs medicine and more bandages.  Carol sends Beth to look for something to use as crutches, trying to give hope to his daughter.  Lori helps her care for Hershel, and once they’re alone, Carol asks if she’s worried about the baby given that Hershel might not be around for the birth.  “Do I look worried?” Lori asks.  “You look disgusting,” Carol replies.

In the cafeteria, the inmates show off their secret cache of food.  Rick sees the fridge and opens it, despite their warning.  Apparently the fridge has served as the outhouse for them.  “I can’t wait for a pot to piss in,” Axl sighs.  You can only imagine being locked up with the same guys in the same room for ten months.  These guys actually seem very well adjusted, all things considered.

Back in the Sweet Home Cell Block, Glenn comforts Maggie.  She thinks it was stupid that they allowed him to go with them in the first place.  What will they do without him?  Glenn tells her that this won’t break him.  He’ll push on.  Maggie isn’t sold.  Glenn explains that he’s prepared for whatever happens.  Maggie knows that he’s right, but she’s understandably torn by what’s going on.  She finds her sister hemming Hershel’s pants, which is incredibly pragmatic.  Lori and Carol continue to work on Hershel.  We learn that Hershel has been teaching Carol things to help for when the baby comes.  But it wasn’t a lot.  There’s still a lot to learn, although judging by the way she handled everything, her education has progressed more than she’s admitting.  Rick, T-Dog and Daryl return with the food they’re taken from the inmates on their trade.  Rick tells Glenn to cuff Hershel to the bed as a precaution in case he dies…because he’d become a Walker.  Lori pulls Rick aside and asks about the inmates.  Can they be trusted? What are the options?  Rick shrugs.  “Kill them,” he says, without emotion.  Lori nods.  “If that’s best,” she tells him.  She continues to say that she realizes she was a “shitty wife” and she wasn’t mom of the year, but if she knows one thing, it’s that Rick has never had malice in his heart.  She gives him her blessing to do what he needs to do in order to keep the group safe.

Before leaving to overtake the neighboring cell block, Daryl, Rick and T-Dog issue advice to the inmates about killing the Walkers.  Consider it an issue of Best Practices for Walker Removal.  The biggest piece of advice is to aim for the head.  No other blow matters.  Even though they have no practice experience, the inmates tell the other men that they don’t need to be told how to kill.  Says T-Dog, “They ain’t men, they something else.” 

Maggie sees the hand cuffs restraining her father.  She knows that they are there as a precaution, but it also signals the unspoken possibility that her father might not make it.  Glenn tells her as much, and she nods in understanding, asking for a moment with her father.  Alone.  “Dad, you don’t have to fight anymore,” she tells him.  “Go ahead, Dad, it’s ok….Thank you for everything.”  It’s heartbreaking to watch her say goodbye to her father, but it seems to bring her some peace as she sits with him.

The hunting party edges through the hallway.  The inmates want to know why they don’t use the lights.  You’ll hear the Walkers before you see them, Daryl explains.  And, as if on cue, a lone Walker emerges from the shadows.  There is a hesitation, and then the inmates charge him again.  For a moment, it’s like you’re watching a raw episode of Lockup.    Another Walker approaches, and the Grimes Gang watches in horror and disgust as the men go to town on the Walkers.  They ignore the message about going after the heads and instead target everything else. 

OK, who is watching Carl?  Did anyone even notice that he was gone?  Because he was….  Carl decided to take matters into his own hands.  He returns to Hershel’s room with a duffel bag full of bandages and medicine.  Lori looks at him in appreciative horror.  Carl informs the group that he found the infirmary and got supplies for them.  Someone needed to do it.  Lori is furious that he left; after all, Hershel was hurt when he was with the group.  Carl screws up his face in boyish consternation. “We needed supplies,” he insisted, “so get off my back.”  Lori’s eyes are as big as saucers.  Carl isn’t her little boy anymore.  Beth chastises him for speaking like that to his mother.  But the damage is done.

Out in the hallway, Rick tells the group to stay in formation or risk being picked off.  And no more of that prison riot crap.  As they come upon a herd of Walkers, Big Tiny backs away from them.  Moments later he is attacked by a Walker.  He doesn’t go for the head, so the Walker, who is bound by handcuffs, rips his own hand off in order to attack Big Tiny.  And he does.  Tomas doesn’t waste any time ignoring Rick’s advice, emptying three bullets into the Walker’s head.

Carol asks to speak with Glenn.  She wants to go outside.  He insists that he’s not supposed to leave Maggie and Beth, but she convinces him.  They leave.

Big Tiny insists that he feels fine.  It wasn’t even a bad bite, he argues.  There has to be a cure.  Rick points out that he was bitten on his back and they can’t cut off Big Tiny’s back the way they cut off Hershel’s leg.  Big Tiny starts to panic, but before he can escape, Tomas bashes his head in with a pickaxe.  Once he’s on the ground, Tomas smashes his head in violently.  It’s hard to figure this guy out.  Is this a show of camaraderie or is it self-preservation?

Outside, Glenn and Carol walk along the fence.  Glenn is telling her that her idea is completely sane, but it’s still crazy.  Carol is resolute.  She wants to kill a Walker and use the body for practice.  Lori will need a C-Section, and Hershel didn’t explain it all.  She needs to be sure she can do it without tearing through some vital organ.  Kind of important.  She chooses a female Walker in a dress.  She drives a piece of rebar through her eye.  The Walker falls to the ground, dead (again).  Glenn distracts the other Walkers while she pulls the body to their side of the fence.

T-Dog leads the group into a storage room.  Beyond a set of double doors lies another herd of Walkers.  Daryl and Rick confer quietly about Tomas.  Did you see his face? Daryl asks.  He tells Rick to give him a signal.  Daryl will take him out if necessary.  Rick gives the keys to Tomas and tells him to open one of the doors so they can control the Walkers.  The goal is the kill them as they come through the doors.  But Tomas throws open both of the doors while trying to make it seem like an accident, saying “shit happens.”  Tomas takes a swing at a Walker, but he’s really aiming at Rick.  He shoves the Walker in Rick’s direction so that Rick falls onto the ground.  Daryl takes the Walker out and helps Rick to his feet.  Rick and Tomas have a pissing match, staring at each other.  That wasn’t an accident.  Rick knows that Tomas is a threat to their safety.  Without hesitation, Rick kills Tomas by splitting his skull in half.  The force behind that blow is incredible.  Andrew, the smallest member of the inmate gang, takes off running.  Rick gives chase while Daryl and T-Dog manage the other two inmates, Axl and Oscar.  Andrew runs all the way out into the yard, which is full of Walkers.  Rick locks the door and leaves him to his fate, walking away as he starts to scream.

Maggie is sitting with Hershel when he takes one final breath and then goes still.  Beth comes in and sees this, and she panics and calls for help.  Lori rushes in and starts CPR.  Suddenly Hershel reaches up and grabs her, but then he takes a deep, shuddering breath before collapsing back down on the bed, unconscious.

Rick interrogates Axl and Oscar.  Axl swears they had nothing to do with Tomas’s plan.  He was the bad guy, not them.  Look at what he did to Big Tiny.  He says he was in love with his pharmaceuticals but he never hurt anyone.  He wants to live.  Oscar is much more stoic.  He has never pleaded for his life and he’s not about to start.  “Do what you  got to do,” he tells Rick.  They take the pair to their new cellblock.  We see the cell doors open and a dead body in each doorway. Their hands had been tied up before they’d been killed, suggesting that someone went through and executed them as a precaution.  Axl is clearly affected by the gruesome sight, saying that he knew some of these men.  They were good men.  Rick tells the two men that this is their new home.  As he leaves, Daryl informs the shell-shocked duo that it’s worse on the outside.  T-Dog suggests that they take the bodies outside to burn them.  I’m not sure why these two were so helpful.  Perhaps they felt sympathy for them?

The men return to find everyone gathered in Hershel’s room.  Carl tells his dad that Lori saved Hershel’s life.  He had stopped breathing but she brought him back.  So far, Hershel doesn’t have a fever but he’s still weak.  They all watch as he starts to wake up.  Rick uncuffs him, and Hershel grabs Rick’s hand.  Carl gives his father a big smile.  Lori leaves the room, and Rick follows, leaving Beth and Maggie with their father.

Outside, Carol prepares herself for what she’s about to do.  She lifts the Walker’s dress up and palpitates her sunken abdomen to figure out where to make her incision.  The viewpoint shifts so that we’re watching her from someone else’s point of view.  Someone is in the forest watching her.

Rick finds Lori in the hallway overlooking the yard.  Rick says they’ll start cleaning it all up the next day.  Lori says that this will give Carl plenty of room to do “whatever it is that he does these days.”  Rick looks at her and says that she isn’t a bad mother.  She jokes about getting divorced and splitting up their assets in the middle of this mess.  She thought Rick had gone outside to talk about their relationship.  After a long pause, Rick thanks her for what she did for Hershel, and then he walks away.

Tonight’s episode was full of excitement, starting with a bang but ending with a whimper.  The Walker of the Week goes to Handcuffed Walker.  What an effort he made.  Second Runner Up goes to Cadaverous Jane.  Now we know that Walkers wear underwear.  Didn’t it seem like there was quite a bit of CGI blood in this episode, or was it just me?  And did you notice how white Maggie’s teeth are?  I can’t imagine having teeth like that so far into the Zombie Apocalypse. 

Walking Dead Flashback Recap: S3E1 Seed

The Walking Dead S3E1: Seed
Original Airdate: October 14, 2012
Recap by Sarabeth Pollock

The last time we saw the Grimes Gang, Rick had finally revealed the secret he’d learning in Atlanta: Everyone is infected with the virus. That said, if they want to survive, he continued, they needed to keep moving. “This isn’t a democracy anymore,” he added.

Tonight’s episode starts with a shot of a Walker’s eyeball. As the shot pans out, we can see that these two Walkers are in a house and it looks like they’ve been there for a while. Rick kicks the door open, and he, T-Dog, and an older-looking Carl take them out. Carl has a big gun with a modified barrel (it looks like of cartoonish, really, but it gets the job done). In fact, Carl comes upon an old woman in a bedroom and he shoots her in the head with one-aimed shot. Rick creeps through the house and comes upon a door. When he opens it, he’s staring down the barrel of his gun at Daryl, who is pointing his crossbow at Rick. They exchange a smile. Daryl continues through the house, and when he comes to one of the (many) bedrooms, there is an owl staring at him from the rocking chair across the room. Just when you think it’s one of those magic, symbolic moments, he shoots the owl.

Once the house is clear, the rest of the group comes in and we see that obviously several months have passed. Carl’s hair is longer and he’s taller and more…wizened by his experience. Lori’s pregnancy has advanced considerably and she looks to be almost full term. The group sits in the living room. Daryl plucks the feathers from his owl and Carl starts to open cans of dog food that he’s found. Has it really come to this? The tired and worn out group is willing to eat dog food? Rick doesn’t accept this. He takes the can and throws it into the fireplace, disgusted. T-Dog looks out the window. Walkers coming. They get up and run from the house.

It would seem that this isn’t the first time they have done this.

The caravan of cars comes to a stop on the road. Carl is put on watch duty while the adults consult a map. Apparently a herd has been chasing them, but there is a fear that the initial herd may have merged with another herd. The last one had about 150 people in it. T-Dog gives us some insight into how much time has passed when he says that they have been going in circles all winter. Rick knows his group is tired, and he tells them they just need to find a place to hide out for a while. Hershel pulls him aside, pointing out that if they don’t stop soon, Lori will give birth on the road. While the group takes a break, Rick proposes a little hunting expedition with Daryl. It’s a welcome distraction for Daryl, and it happens to be fortuitous. For there, in the distance, is a prison. It’s not just a prison…it’s the prison. You can see the wheels turning in Rick’s mind as he looks at this fortified safe haven, littered with Walkers.

The great thing about prisons is that they are surrounded by fences that are surrounded by fences. The group cuts a hole in the outer fence and quickly seals it up. Now they’re perfectly safe in the middle ground between the inner and outer fence. Rick points up the hill and says that they could easily take over the yard if they can get up to the top of the hill and lock the gate. They come up with a plan that calls for a loud distraction while Rick slips inside to get to the gate. Hershel and Carl climb up one tower and Daryl and Carol go to another. As Rick makes his way across the yard, Maggie and the group behind the fence make loud noises to attract the Walkers. When they come up to the fence, they use knives and poles to take them out while the pairs in the tower take out anyone who gets in Rick’s way. He gets up to the gate and closes it, using some modified chains to lock it up. Rick looks relieved that his plan worked as he looks out across the grassy prison yard to see that it is now littered with dead Walkers. The West Georgia Correctional Facility is theirs.

Later that night, Daryl and Rick are on watch duty as the rest of the group sits around a campfire in the middle of the yard. Rick is pacing around the perimeter, restlessly. At the fire, T-Dog talks about setting up a well to maintain their water supply. Hershel talks about planting crops. Clearly, the group can see making this place their home, and a permanent place to stay seems to be something they are looking forward to. Betsy (Maggie’s younger sister) tells Lori that this will be a good, safe place for her to have the baby.

Carol brings Daryl some of the food, but there isn’t much food available. Daryl comments that “Little Shane” has quite the appetite. Carol chastises him, saying that Rick got the group farther than she ever thought he would. She rubs her neck, which is sore after using the shotgun earlier. Daryl gives her a little massage (making sure to wipe his dirty fingers before touching her). They share an innuendo-filled conversation before they return to the campfire. Clearly something has progressed in the relationship between them, but it’s still under wraps.

Hershel asks Betsy to sing a song for them. She chooses “Heart and Glass.” As she sings, the camera shows the other members of the group. They look tired. The winter has been harsh, and clearly there are things going on that we don’t know about yet. Rick returns to the group, and Carl offers him food. He takes it and offers it to Lori, but she doesn’t want it. There is tension between them, and though no one speaks through the song, their body language says it all. Maggie joins in with Betsy and they finish the song.

Rick acknowledges that taking over the prison was a big win for them, but he says that they need to push a little more. Most of the Walkers they killed were wearing guard or prisoner uniforms, which suggests that the Walkers were from inside the prison. That means the supplies could be intact. They could be sitting on a gold mine right now. But they’ll have to stick together and go hand-in-hand if they want to make it inside. Hershel agrees, citing that they are low on ammo. Rick gazes at the group. “These assholes don’t stand a chance.”

Lori goes after Rick and tells him that she appreciates everything that he has done for them, and for her, but the group is exhausted. They need some time to regroup before they do anything else. Rick persists and says that they have to push through. Lori knows he isn’t going to budge, so she resigns herself and changes topics. They still need to talk about “things,” she says. Rick stares at her, pointing out that “I’m still here.” End of discussion. It is obvious that there is tons of tension between these two, and boatloads of unresolved issues. The strange thing is that these issues are either from the end of Season 2, or they have developed over the winter. Why are they still outstanding? Don’t these two get time to talk?

In a (presumably) nearby town, there is a shredded American flag blowing in the wind. A person moves into a shop, disturbing the Walkers inside. Michonne swiftly cuts them apart, effortlessly decapitating them. One of the heads is still moving. We don’t know what she’s doing there, but clearly this woman means business.

Back at the prison, T-Dog asks the group if they’re ready. Rick, Glenn, Maggie, Daryl and T-Dog go into the yard while the rest of the group makes noise to distract the Walkers. Maggie is quite the badass now, taking out a Walker with her knife. There is riot gear on the ground, so T-Dog takes one of the shields and uses it to hit and stun the Walkers in front of them. Then the new batch of Walkers comes out. They’re dressed in full riot gear, including masks and full body armor, which makes killing them very difficult. The group soon learns that they have to get close enough to pull up the masks and stab them in the neck. That’s really the only place that they can get through on their armor.

Once they have taken out the Walkers, Rick surveys the bodies, noting that there are civilians mixed in with the guards and prisoners. There could be a wall down somewhere on the grounds, so the place could be empty or overrun.

Inside, the halls are empty and quiet. Rick goes up to the control tower to find that the guard is dead, presumably from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The good news is that he has keys. Most of the cells are open and empty, with a few dead prisoners lying around, but they come across a few cells with prisoners—now Walkers—locked inside.

They clear the area quickly and bring in the rest of the group. This two-story cell block will be home sweet home for now, and they can all take a cell to sleep in. Carl goes into a cell with Betsy, and it looks like they’re going to room together until Hershel chases a smitten Carl away. Glenn and Maggie take a cell together, and Glenn makes sure that Maggie isn’t scratched. Their relationship seems to be as strong as ever. Daryl opts to sleep on the “perch” overlooking the cell block, while Lori and Carol take a room together. Rick sleeps on the floor outside in the hallway.

Back in town, Michonne goes into an establishment known as the Deer Cooler. Her pets are tied up in the front room. She continues through the meat locker to find Andrea curled up in a back room. She’s really sick. Michonne gives her pills and presses a cold water bottle to her forehead. Andrea wants to know what is going on outside. Michonne tells her it’s “the same,” but there are Walkers everywhere. Andrea knows she’s lying and wants her to leave her there. Andrea will just hold her back, and she needs to leave. She goes on to say that she watched Michonne’s back all winter, so now she has to leave her. Michonne is steadfast. They’ll leave in a few days. Andrea is afraid that she’s going to die there. The next shot is of Michonne leading her pets out the back door, with Andrea following behind.

At the prison, the men check out the ammo they found. As they plan their next move, Carol asks Hershel to come with her, saying there’s nothing to worry about when Rick looks at her, concerned.

Lori tells Hershel that she hasn’t been able to feel any movement from the baby. Then she starts freaking out, because if they are all carriers of the virus, then the baby is infected. If the baby is stillborn, it would be a Walker. It could even pull an Alien and eat its way out of her. Or she could die in childbirth and try to kill them all. Hershel calms her, but not before she is able to exact a promise from Hershel. She makes him promise that if she dies giving birth, he’ll kill her before she turns. She doesn’t want him to hesitate at all. He agrees. Lori tells Hershel that she thinks Rick hates her for putting him at odds with Shane. Hershel points out that the baby doesn’t care about any of that.

The survey party dresses in riot gear. Rick tells Carl that he has to stay behind in case something happens (something tells me he will probably disobey this later). It’s possible that Carl will end up as the last man standing if something happens to them. Carl reluctantly agrees.
As they move down the hallway, they mark their path with spray paint. Rick, T-Dog, Daryl, Maggie, Hershel and Glenn move through the hallway apprehensively. The halls are silent save for the occasional bangs and rattles. There are dead and decaying bodies everywhere.

Suddenly they come across a group of Walkers, and as they run, another group chases after them. Maggie and Glenn are separated from the group. Once they are clear, they go back to search for Maggie and Glenn. Hershel hears Maggie’s voice, and as he creeps down the hall, one of the bodies on the floor reaches out and bites him in the leg. He screams in agony.
The group makes it to the visiting room, and Maggie holds her father down while Rick takes his hatchet and chops Hershel’s leg off to keep him alive. While he’s screaming, Daryl looks across the room. “Duck,” he says, and he stands up and points his crossbow at the group of men dressed in prisoner uniforms standing in a barricaded room across from them. A blond man with a Three Musketeer moustache looks at the newcomers. “Holy shit,” he murmurs.

Well, that was the first episode. Obviously some time has passed, but it seems like many of their issues are still unresolved. I want to point out now that I have purposefully avoided reading the graphic novels so that I can focus my attention on the show, so I will not be commenting on the difference between the two. I’m glad that we’ve arrived at the prison already, given that we rarely left the farm last season (I’m kidding—they left the farm every now and then). My hope, though, is that we get to hear about where they have been the past few months so we can be in on some of the uncomfortable silence going on between Lori and Rick, or the innuendo between Daryl and Carol.

I’m eager to hear what you all think about tonight’s episode. What was your favorite moment? What was your favorite Walker death? Let me know in the comments section below!