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« Sundays In The Park With Nutbar | Main | Confessions of a Dangerous Mind »

September 13, 2010

Sucks So Good: True Blood 3.12, "Evil Is Going On"

If we changed the title of this episode to "Sadness Is Going On", it would accurately reflect my mood after the end of True Blood season three. Sadness! If we didn't have this supremely entertaining season of Mad Men to make Sunday nights wonderful, I'd have to upgrade that to despair, but for now: sadness.

Now it's time to write my True Blood Hiatus To-Do List which, to the surprise of absolutely no one, includes items such as:

1) Befriend Denis O'Hare

2) Be-more-than-friend Alexander Skarsgard

3) Perfect my imitation of Stephen Moyer saying Sookie's name

And so on.

After the jump, lots of thoughts on "Evil Is Going On"!

This episode, like much of the season, was a mixed bag. There were parts so amazing that I was basically foaming at the mouth, and there were long stretches that were just...offensively pointless. And then that ending! My lord, that ending.

Maybe we should start there, last part first? Okay. The mini-cliffhangers.

Tara and the adorable new haircut that was the result of a very tense "Will she kill herself? Won't she kill herself? Will Rutina Wesley ever learn to make the lip tremble a little more subtle? Does she know she's not on stage?" scene pull into the parking lot of Merlotte's to say a goodbye and then drive away to parts unknown.

Tara

The newly dark Sam catches up with Tommy, who has run off with all of the money from the Merlotte's safe. There is yelling and eventually Tommy runs and Sam takes aim and shoots.

Sam

Sophie-Anne, looking gorgeous in her best widow wear

Erw

comes to Bill's to get Sookie except it turns out that he totally played her and lured her there in order to fight her and he melodramatically pledges that only one of them will leave the house alive. Or dead. You know what I mean. Then they flew all over Bill's living room like The Matrix with fangs.

Flying


Sookie went to fairy land and we went to the credits.

Sookielight


For some odd reason, they chose the least compelling ending to close out the third season. I mean, it's true that they would probably never end a finale with Hoyt and Jessica (which, see below, was the most traditionally cliffhanger-y of all the stories) or the less exciting but still somewhat intriguing Sam/Tommy note, and maybe it's a good thing that it wasn't a huge cliffhanger, because how on earth would I contain myself for the next nine months with that kind of uncertaintly? But...ugh.

Fairies

What a silly way to end.

Divider

Now it's time for the segment I like to call Denis O'Hare Is Better Than The Rest of Us.

I mean REALLY. He spent most of the episode acting under about ten pounds of hideous burnt skin and still managed to be a better actor than the majority of people who appear on television.

Russellburned


He gave us comedy, he gave us crazy, he gave us sadness. He is magical. He is, to quote Russell himself, fantastic.

Only about this show would I be able to say the following sentence: I am so glad that he has been buried alive in cement. I was afraid that he would meet the true death and never have the chance to grace our screens again, except in flashback or as a moralizing vision (good to see you, Godric! No, really, it was. Godric was one of my favorite parts of last season). And while it's unlikely that he'll be a regular again, I am comforted by knowing that it is at least a possibility.

Seriously though, if he doesn't get nominated for and win an Outstanding Guest Actor Emmy, I am going to...rant angrily, and probably with the caps lock on and lots of exclamation points, and might even be forced to make him a fake Emmy which, considering the fact that I am the least crafty person on this planet, would be pretty embarrassing for all involved. So I really hope that the Emmy voters do right by him!

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If you ignore the whole fairy thing at the end (which I realize is difficult, if not impossible, to do), Sookie was pretty great this episode.

Anna Paquin and Denis O'Hare are delightful together--I loved their scenes in Mississippi a few weeks back, and this was equally wonderful.

Russell: It's about fucking time! Now drag me the fuck inside!
Sookie: You watch your fucking language! 

And I loved Russell trying to bargain with Sookie for his freedom, going so far as to promise her five million dollars, his mansion in Mississippi and the deaths of Eric AND Bill. She rejects the offer and he reacts...poorly, telling her that one of these days a vampire is going to want her blood and will rip her right open. His tangent about Bill's control over himself gives her pause, though and only added to her general anger with vampires.

Sookie: I feel better protecting myself since now I know I'm basically vampire crack!

Although...I know Russell is the villain and Sookie our heroine, but when Sookie poured Talbot out of his goblet (!) and into the sink (!!) and then turned the trash compactor on (!!!) while cackling devilishly (!!!!), I was overwhelmed with grief.

Talbot


Sookielaugh

Yes, Russell totally goaded her into doing it by making reference to his plan to bring Talbot back to life using her blood. And while that is insane, it is also sad. And on top of that, it's horrifying to me that Talbot, a well known lover of all things beautiful, wound up in the dingy Fangtasia sink!

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You know what was a pleasant surprise, except not really much of a surprise since it was in the previews for this week? Alcide! Eric called him for assistance with his punishment for Russell and in exchange, all of Alcide's father's debts are forgiven and Sookie was reminded that there is more to life than vampires.

Alcide: Are you in trouble again?
Sookie: When am I not?

Alcide

It turns out that Alcide thinks about Sookie all the time and even dreams about her, which she is both scandalized and flattered by. Although it was brief, I enjoyed this scene because (a) Joe Manganiello is super handsome (b) these two could actually work together, I think (c) it's amusing to think that having to listen to this was probably a more painful punishment for Russell than the cement burial (d) I actually guffawed at Alcide and Bill's staredown which was followed by Eric's impatient "If you two are finished eye-fucking each other, can we go?" Amazing.

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I was going to make a terrible joke about how Russell and Eric cemented their legacy and place in my heart, respectively, because...cement, you know? And then I cringed with embarrassment over my own lameness and have decided for some reason to relay this anecdote to you.

Anyway! I spent most of this scene biting my lip to keep from bursting out with peals of delighted laughter, because then I wouldn't be able to hear anything that was going on.

Cement


You have Eric telling Russell that he's unwilling to give him any shot at redemption, and all of a sudden Bill jumps in, and starts a monologue of his own. And it was really weird, because it was so over the top ACTING and DRAMATIC and I was like, "That's a strange choice, Stephen Moyer", but it all made sense later.

Russell refuses to give them the satisfaction of feeling like they'd beaten him.

Russell: One hundred years? That's nothing to me. That's a nap!

But Eric (who knows that Russell will be alone with all of his grief) and Bill (who refers to him, again in that self-important and in retrospect hilarious voice, as "mad as a fucking hatter") proceed, and then Godric tells Eric "You make me bleed, my child" and Eric chooses to react to that by screaming at Godric, who is not there, and Bill and Russell are both pretty much like "..."

Russell tries his hardest to get the last word, but... 

Russell: You will regret this.
Eric: Maybe. But right now, it feels fucking good.

Bill holds his hand out for Eric to shake, and Eric accepts it, which was shocking enough, but then! Bill handcuffs him and our delicious Mr. Northman finds himself on the wrong end of his own chute of cement. Bill uses Eric's phone to place a call to Ruben the assassin, pretends to be Eric and orders Pam's death. !!! I actually gasped with glee. I mean, obviously I didn't want anything to happen to Eric or Pam, but there were still about fifteen minutes left in the episode, so I didn't think they'd be dead-dead, and...well, it was kind of great move by Bill, who I spent much of the episode thinking of as "Fucking Bill Compton" because, really. From the very start, he was bugging me.

Sookie: You fucking betrayed me. Again!
Bill: I only pretended to betray you so I could save your life, again.

You'd think someone who was carrying around so many secrets and shady dealings would dial the smug back a few notches, but not Fucking Bill Compton.

What secrets and shady dealings, you ask? WELL! After being uninvited from Sookie's house, he goes to visit and she lets him back in (...) and he tells her that he's gotten rid of Russell, Eric and Pam (and plans to get rid of Sophie-Anne) because it is too dangerous to have vampires out there who have had her blood. He presents this as a very noble thing he's doing, because he loves her so much, and he starts to make a dramatic exit when Eric, covered in cement and still looking disturbingly hot, shows up at Sookie's doorstep and unleashes the truth.

(Seriously, he looked so cute despite the cement)

Eric


Eric1


(And also, why did we not get to see Pam go save him? I would have adored that. I know they only had an hour to work with but if the choice was between Pam and Eric and fucking Hotshot, I don't even think Ryan Kwanten would vote for Hotshot) 

Eric: Did you tell her you were originally sent by the queen of Louisiana to procure her because of what she might be?
Sookie: What?
Bill: I did not know why she wanted you. As I grew to know you, I purposely kept you from her.
Sookie: Were you ever going to tell me?
Bill: I hoped to someday. I swear it.
Eric: What about you letting two psychos beat her within an inch of her life so you could feed her your blood the night you met? Think she'll forgive you for that?
Sookie: Oh my god.
Bill: Sookie--
Sookie: Is it true?
Bill: Yes

I kind of loved this reveal a whole lot. I think it actually deserved a much bigger chuck of screentime to play out.

Sookie rescinds Bill's invitation again, screams at Eric to "Go back to hell where you came from, you fucking dead piece of shit" and then runs to talk to her grandmother's grave/cavort with fairies, while Bill tricks Sophie-Anne into seeing him, promising her Sookie, which gets her excited.

Sophie-Anne: I can't wait to feel the sunlight on my skin again. Maybe I'll get a yacht!

Except it turns out that Sookie's not there and he proposes the aforementioned fight to the death and I am so on the edge of my seat wondering who will survive!  

Divider

Now I am going to publicly beg for someone to explain to me the fucking point of this entire Crystal/Hotshot story, becaue I don't get it. It completely ruined Jason for me. RUINED.

Jason


So much time was wasted this season on Jason's inexplicable love for this girl and after twelve episodes of the same repetitive crap, Crystal has to leave with Felton (who is on V and shot Calvin dead which...whatever. All of it, whatever. And another whatever to the stupid high school quarterback plot, which was completely useless. Insultingly so, actually!) and leaves Jason in charge of Hotshot. How in the what in the why?

I have so many questions. Actually, just one question. And that one question is WHY WAS THIS TELEVISED?

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Lafayette spent most of the episode seeing things that he didn't want to see, like Sam with blood all over his hands and Rene holding Arlene by the throat and saying that he's inside her. He panicked that he could be a schizophrenic like his mother, and it was just heartbreaking. So much of Lafayette's story is about his fabulosity, but I think it needs to be noted again that Nelsan Ellis is just as good with sad moments like this and last season's PTSD.

Lala

Lafayette called Jesus for help with his visions, and Jesus revealed that he could also see things that people wanted to hide because--drumroll, please, and pats on the back for all of us who guessed something along these lines--

Jesus: I'm a witch.
Lafayette: You're a witch? You're a witch who's a nurse who's a dude? Oh, shit. I guess I lucked out then, huh?

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Here is the thing I don't understand about Sam's downward spiral: why couldn't they just have one character on this show who is completely good? Isn't being a shapeshifter dealing with his newfound family enough drama? The flashback to Sam's dark past a few weeks ago was so poorly done (and, really, seemed like the writers just did it to give Sam Trammell something new to do) and shooting at Tommy tonight...I just don't know, but I know I don't like it.

(And I have to admit that when Tommy admitted that he can't read, I actually said, "Awww!" out loud. I still think he's obnoxious most of the time, but that made me so sad)

Divider

Poor Hoyt found his mother, terrible Summer and his high school guidance counselor (!!!) at his job site, ready to perform an intervention. I have mentioned several times that I am a sucker for televised interventions (but, oddly, not Intervention. Only fictional ones), but this one just annoyed me because...well, because Summer is the worst. I can't stand the sound of her voice. She doesn't entertain me in the slightest. So while I did get a chuckle out of Maxine taking out a spiral notebook to recite her various thoughts on why Jess is so terrible and I was proud of Hoyt for standing up to his mother, I spent most of this scene ready for it to end.

But then came the end! Hoyt and Jessica were being all adorable and having an adorable conversation about their future and being generally happy (and adorable, if I hadn't mentioned that. He wants to make her a "tricked out hidey-hole"!) that had me screaming "Don't taunt the writers this way, you adorable fools! They will ruin you!"

Jess


Jessica: I love you so much. I don't know what I'd do without you.
Hoyt: Well, it's lucky for you you'll never have to find out.

YOU GUYS, that is basically encouraging something bad to happen. And how! Because the camera pans back in Hoyt's new place to reveal an incredibly creepy doll, no doubt belonging to Summer the doll fetishist, on the floor. Horrifying! And even more horrifying was Mrs. Fortenberry shopping for a Rev. Newlin (LOVE the glimpses we've gotten of him this season) endorsed rifle to get rid of Jessica.

Doll


Rifles

I just have to say that if anything bad happens to these to because of creeper Summer or Hoyt's crazy mother, I am going to be devastated. DEVASTATED. I love them!

(Although I have to admit that my love for them doesn't stop me from cackling whenever people talk about how annoying Jessica is. Pam and Eric hated her, Franklin called her "annoying as all get out" and tonight, Russell made reference to Bill's "unbearable progeny". It cracks me up)

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There wasn't enough of two of my favorite supporting characters, but is there ever?

PAM!

Pam

Pam: Eric, do the world a favor and let that little fuck fry.

Pam: Eric, who the fuck are you right now? He killed your family. Rip off his fucking head.

Pam: Ruben tried to kill me by the way. I took him out.
Eric: Great. On top of everything, I'm out an assassin.
Pam: I have zero patience with that shit.

TERRY!

Terry


Terry: Just when I thought it couldn't get any better! I swear, sometimes I just feel so lucky and so grateful and I feel it so hard that I feel like it's going to just split me in half, but I don't want it to stop, you know?

I was also jubilant to get an update on his armadillo, Felix. I am so happy that Felix is doing well.

Divider

I am conflicted about this episode and this season. They were both just so uneven. What was good was great, and what was bad was...aggressively so. But it was better than season two, I think. Just think: Russell, Alcide, Talbot, Franklin Mott, Jesus...even Cooter and Debbie Pelt, PLUS Pam as a regular. And the good parts were so good that I am going to have a hard time waiting for season four to roll around!

What did you think, Serial Drama readers? And, by the way, thank you SO MUCH for reading the True Blood posts! I have had such fun writing about something, you know...good and reading your thoughts about this campy fun, too. Thank you for being awesome!

Comments

I seriously almost cried at the end of the episode because the season was over. And I totally agree with your comments about Russell. He was cracking me up! And even though he's crazy, I still liked him. Can't believe we have to wait 9 months for another season. Great job on the recaps!

It's so much to comment on I don't know where to start so I might have to post another comment later. The show was ok I guess with all the craziness that happened this season I was expecting a huge over the top ending. Your recap was great and it actually reminded me of some things that I had forgot about. Waiting until next summer for the new season sucks (yeah I said it)! We Truebies have to stick together and support each other in our grieving process for the next 9 months. Thanks Mallory for your weekly True Blood blogs my Mondays wouldn't be complete without it!

That cackling Sookie did over Talbot's remains, made me remember how Paquin started her career as an obnoxious child who cost her mother her finger. Brilliant plan on the writers part that is if they were trying to make me hate Sookie more.

I pretty much skipped all things non Eric, Pam, Russell and Jessica & Hoyt. And by that standard this season was definitely better than the previous one, magnificent even, but unfortunately that wasn't all of it.

Alan Ball needs to hone his fanficcing talents.

I read this site religiously but have never posted a comment. I love your take on all things GH and True Blood. I am totally with you on the sadness that I felt as soon as True Blood was over last night. So much so that I didn't want your recap to end either!! :)

Another thing I am with you on: your True Blood hiatus to-do list!

Thanks for doing these recaps for True Blood. The finale was definitely uneven, and I would've preferred a better cliffhanger, but it was an exciting season. Praise Jeebus that Russell is still alive--woo!! I truly hope Hotshot is not a continuing story. I'm excited for more LaLa & Jesus though.

"Here is the thing I don't understand about Sam's downward spiral: why couldn't they just have one character on this show who is completely good?"

But there are a couple of genuinely good people on the show...Hoyt and Terry. Sam on the other hand needed something because his character was basically a doormat for everyone who wandered into Merlottes.
Giving him an edge and a dark past works especially if the plan is to try and have him attempt to move past it once again after his little episode of backsliding.

I really doubt Sam is going to shoot Tommy. I'm almost positive we'll open next summer and he'll have shot the tree next to Tommy, and then he'll tell him to come home because they're starting again. At least, I hope so, because this InexplicablyDark!Sam just ain't working.

I'm convinced that halfway through the season they realized that it would be criminal to get rid of Denis O'Hare, so they rewrote stuff and it just didn't quite work. And I still have no idea what the hell Sam and Jason were doing. They really, really fell down with those two.

I think the final third or so of the season was more set-up for the next season with the witches and the fairies, and I think it hurt this season a bit.

Ugh, nine months to season four!

I still don't watch True Blood, but I love the screencaps (what can i say, I'm a screencaps whore). I wish I could have you recap all my favorite shows. Sigh. When I have that kind of money, I will hire you for *just* that!

I wanted to see Pam dig Eric out of the cement. Can you just imagine her doing eenie meenie minie moe or a coin toss to pick the right pit. Or, better yet, she chooses the wrong one and has to push Russell back under!

Sam is just ruined for me. I am so disappointed.

Eric was awesome, though, wasn't he? I love him so much ! He is extra awesome for bringing Alcide back. Sookie was mostly great during this episode, except for when she invited Bill in after specifically uninviting him. Sometimes I think that girl got hit with the stupid stick as a child. It was fun watching Bill fly out the door when she re-uninvited him, though.

Russell! I thought Eric would turn him over to the AVL http://americanvampireleague.com/index.html to make Godric (GODRIC!) happy. They could have had a trial or tribunal or something and we could have had more Russell (RUSSELL!). Oh well.

Does anyone else think that Ryan Kwantan looks like George W. Bush lately? It's kind of weirding me out.

I wish Alan Ball had stuck closer to the way Charlaine Harris wrote Hot Shot (which is mostly "off screen"), if he had to include it in the show at all. I was so disappointed that so much of the precious short time allotted to the finale (should have been 2 hours!) was spent on that "storyline." I thought I had finally seen the last of creepy old men in dirty underwear when Sam's parents left town. How do I purge this from my retinas?

The same thing has happened to me both of the last two seasons: I loved the first half SO MUCH and then the second half is only 50% tolerable. The Newlins and Russell were such treats and I hope we still get at least occassional glimpses of each of them.
The good: Pam is amazing. Alcide has great potential and I hope we see more of him. Hoyt + Jessica 4-Evah. Tara's haircut.
The bad: The Fae continue to be lame. Jason Stackhouse is irrelevant which is sad to write.
The ugly: Mrs. Fortenberry cracks me up. I mean, Hoyt + Jessica 4-Evah and all, but I don't mind her being the source of some drama. As long a H+J come out okay in the end.
The worst: Bad Sam. I loved Sam. I got why Sookie coudn't be with him but I think every show needs a morally grounded character. I missed his friendship with Sookie all season. I am very disappointed the writers chose to go in that direction. There are ways to make a character more complex without making him do morally reprehensible things. And I agree that the flashback was handled poorly. Hopefully this will be fixed next season.

How many times is too many times to watch the Big Reveal of Fucking Bill Compton? Wait, don't tell me. it's embarrassing how far past whatever number that would be i've gone already.


Words cannot describe my shock that Bill actually did something dastardly and my glee when Eric showed up on that porch. Brilliant.

But my favorite thing about the episode as a whole is how much I really kind of almost loved Sookie.

That, like, never happens.

See, Denis O'Hare really does make everything better.


Big huge thanks to you, Mallory, for taking up the True Blood recappage. I've loved them all and hope the mood strikes you again next *sob* summer.

My theory is that Sam didn't shoot at Tommy at all. I think he saw a werewolf or some kind of animal about to attack Tommy, so Sam shot it to save Tommy. They've seriously screwed up Sam's character this year, but I don't think he'd shoot his own brother. In the back, no less. He totally is shooting at some other creature.

I do not care if Tara ever comes back. In fact, it's cruel to end with her leaving, which only gives false hope that she will stay gone.

I hate the entire Jason/Crystal/Hotshot storyline. It's just the worse.

I absolutely cracked up when Sookie was "babysitting" Russell and reading a Star Magazine. And then just about died with glee when I saw that the cover had Russell on it. AWESOME!!!

I feel like a lot of this season was about showing some of the less morally and ethically reconcilable, for humans, aspects of vampires and vampire culture, and it will be interesting to see how they play that out in future seasons.

Ohhh, I totally forgot about Summer's doll thing. I thought the doll had something to do with next season's witch plot.

I really hope they find a way to salvage Jason's storyline next season. It sucks especially, because I thought his Season 2 material w/ Fellowship of the Sun was one of the most compelling storylines they've played.

So I'm not usually a big Sookie hater, because I get that self-involved Mary Sues are kind-of a convention of this genre, and as far as self-involved Mary Sues go, Sookie is far more hilarious and entertaining than most, especially considering some of what we have to deal with in daytime, but even I was ready to slap her when Tara apologized for being a bitch, and she responded, "Don't beat yourself up." Seriously?

Its weird that, when season one started, there was a very unbalanced normal to freak ratio (i.e. more humans than non humans) that made the freaks all the more interesting. But at the end of season three, there are just too many freaks, and normals that have become freaks, so none of the storylines are really as spicy as they once were . Its kind of like what happened to GH: at first there was alot of normal people, and just a couple of mobsters. But now everyone has their hand in the effing mob, and its become a muddled mess of boring. Sure there are some bright points (Hoyt and Jessica, Robin/Patrick/NutJob Lisa), but you kind of have to squint to see them through all the blah. Even though GH is a lost cause, I hope True Blood rebalances for the next season.

It seemed like the last episode didn't exactly "fit" properly with the rest of the season, at least in terms of what you thought you knew about most of these characters.

The biggest case for that point is Sookie's garbage-disposing of Talbot in a Goblet. Her freakish cackling like some evil bitch from hell while watching Russell writhe is just not SOOKIE. I actually thought they were going to cut back to her still sitting in the chair with her Russell-on-the-cover-Star Magazine (HA!), proving she was just fantasizing about doing something so heinous. Nope, she did it. I think my "oh poor Russell!!!" reaction was probably not what the writers were hoping for.

I agree with the over-the-top acting on Bill's part during the cement scene. I realize we were supposed to say, "oh, OKAY!" once we knew Bill's true intentions, but it didn't make up for the completely ridiculous and STRAINED southern accent. When he said "mad as a hattah!!," I cringed like crazy. Again, it just felt...WRONG.

As someone who grew up an hour from Alabama and then 20 years in Virginia, let me say...the south is offended by most of the accent renditions in this show.

Jason Stackhouse?? Screwer of everything with a vagina, out for numero uno on almost every front, is now suddenly a Goodwill ambassador for HOTSHOT? Are you KIDDING ME? All because some girl who has basically slapped him in the face for 12 episodes asked him to?? My husband wanted to know why they didn't just go get jobs. LOL! What a krap season for the adorable Ryan Kwanten. I hope they do better by him next season.

It was just...skewed. But there is no way I'd give up this show, not with the possibility of RUSSELL "FABULOUS" EDGINGTON COMING BACK!! Mallory, I'm with you. I've never been so thrilled to see someone buried in cement. It was my greatest hope of the season that he wouldn't suffer the true death. Long live Russell!!

Askars.....hotness covered in cement. That is all.

Alcide...yummy.

Pam...please be my bestest friend I can call when I need someone to set my shit straight and cut a bitch if I need it.

I thought being pregnant for nine months was a long time...this is going to be longer!

As crappy as the Hotshot storyline was, it gave us the best. line. ever.

"Here you go, Uncle/Daddy Calvin."

I rewound several times and could not stop cracking up.

Other than that, I too wish they kept to how Charlaine wrote Hotshot.

*Also, I keep hoping they introduce the character of Bubba into the show.

On a semi-side note - Mallory, now that True Blood is no longer for NINE LONG MONTHS, can we hope you might continue to blog about other awesome shows, like Dexter, Big Love or maybe the what-looks-to-be-amazing-new-show, Boardwalk Empire?? Sure would be fun to read about a show that doesn't make me reach for the Maalox when I watch it!

Unfortunately, I am lame and don't watch Dexter or True Blood, which concerns my friends with good TV watching habits. I am SUPER looking forward to Boardwalk Empire, though! I guess we'll see what the first episode brings...

Mary Beth, too much is never enough when it comes to that reveal! And I pledge to blog next summer, if the wait doesn't kill me.

Looking forward to reading your post again. Thanks for making such a great blog.

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