Holy mid-season melee, Batman! This week’s True Blood took the Sam bull by the horns (courtesy of a double-stuffed ep penned by Alan Ball hisself) and plowed through the china shop that is Bon Temps with extreme prejudice, hopefully reviving what has been thus far a somewhat off-key season. Rip open a bag of iFritos and join me!
We pick up mere seconds from where last week’s episode left off (remember, this entire season has been, like, TWO DAYS so far), with Alcide (Joe Manganiello) either succumbing to Sookie’s Orange Marzipan shooters or something even more sinister. Turns out it’s other wolves (duh – Russell has always had an entourage of juicers, so no surprise there), and our hirsute hero gets all tangled up in a furry frenzy with them as Russell (Denis O’Hare) – who isn’t as bedridden as he was letting on – makes his move on Sookie (Anna Paquin). A wave of her flash fingers later and he’s on his ass. Speaking of ass, a werewolf with a surprisinly bouncy tushie finds his way to the ground in the next room.
Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) wants to stake Russell, but Bill (Stephen Moyer) – ever the pragmatic thinkah – thinks Russell is worth more dead than alive, so he threatens to stake Eric if Eric stakes Russell. Mind you, this is NEVER BROUGHT UP AGAIN, so just pretend it’s not happening and repeat to yourself that Bill is still an opportunist, and all is right in the world. Colonel Mustard pops his head in, notes the two dead weres, quips, “Two corpses, everything’s fine!” and moves on.
Hoyt So Good (Pam, Tara, Jessica, Hoyt)
Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) enters the scene in the only way that a TRUE STAR enters a scene: flying, backward, over a pleather banquette and into a breakaway cocktail table. GORGEOUS. Seriously, the first real laugh I’ve had all season, and it was as overdue as the copy of The Merchant of Venice I still owe to my high school library. Jess spits at Tara (Rutina Wesley) that it looks like their whole BFF thing is as over as Uggs, and a delightfully unrepentant Tara spouts off about how it’s her house and yaddayadda. Pam (Kristin Bauer von Straten) swoops in to control her ward, collaring her and reminding her, “This isn’t YOUR house, it’s MINE.” Tara awesomely responds, “Yes, Missy Pam” (THEY JUST WENT THERE) and there seems to almost be a moment of simmering sexual tension between mother and daughter (HOW GOLDEN GIRLS IS THIS?!) before Pam insults Tara by calling her a dog and goes back to work. LOVE IT.
Later, Hoyt (Jim Parrack) corners Jess in a booth and tells her that he now knows that she still loves him. Jess almost crushes her wrist with her porcelain forehead, tired of having to give him the same speech over and over. But Hoyt is SERIOUSLY effed-up at this point – I don’t know if it’s all the blood he’s lost or what, but he’s hit rock bottom – he offers to let her glamour him and use him for whatever she wants. Poor thing. Jess is disgusted and humiliated and moved, and she tells him it will never happen while he’s wearing that Fred Flintstone Casuals outfit and storms off.
We catch up with Hoyt later as he is having his neck ripped open by a kind of icky dude in the alley (honey, WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE). The guy tells Hoyt that his heart is really slowing down, but Hoyt tells him to keep going, who cares. The vamp remarks, “Your funeral” and just then a Molester Van full of Obama-masked supe-killers (they even yell “YES WE CAN!”) pulls up and shoots the vamp with a wooden bullet, splattering blood all over Hoyt – who seems to like it. Not surprising, I guess, considering most of it’s probably his. An Obama-masked murderer sidles up to Hoyt in a familiar way – are these the guys from his booth at Merlotte’s from the first ep? – and tells him that they’ve got his back. DEVELOPING…
Okay, so it’s playing out kind of how we expected, but they’re handling it nicely. It’s really awful to see Hoyt in such a bad place, and it looks like the sun won’t be coming out for him anytime soon. And do we think that there may be a glimmer of something between Pam and Tara after all?
SOOKIE: OUT STANDING IN HER FIELD (Jason, Hadley, Claude, Sookie)
Meanwhile, Jason (Ryan Kwanten) is still having major daddy issues (not Major Dad-dy issues, mind you, which I have whenever I see an at-peak photo of Gerald McRaney), and dreams of telling his paw how happy he is and crap. It ends with dead dad saying, “The only thing you have to fear is …” Really? You’re gonna go there with that? Okey-doke, then. Jason’s dad killed Laura Palmer, whatever.
Jason stops in to see Sookie at work to tell her that vampires killed her parents – it must be true, because the disappearing Fairy Cirque du SoGay in the lacrosse field tole him sos. Sookie counters that fairies are not to be trusted (not to mention “butt ugly”) but agrees to go with him to said field to find said disappearing strip club. After a few minutes of hilariously stomping around the field like a drunken yearling, she’s able to find the door to the club right away, which miffs poor J off to no end until she names him her plus-one.
Inside, Cody, the winner of Step it Up and Dance, that Bravo dance competition hosted by Jessie Spano (seriously, does anyone remember that show?!) struts his stuff on stage until Jason points out that he’s wearing the tie that he left there. Cody offers to give the tie back, and more, but Jason declines.
Meanwhile, Sookie reconnects with NuClaude (they explain away his recasting to Giles Matthey in the most awesomely fairy way imaginable – soap operas should use this trick!) and his sexy sisters, Claudette, Claudwina, Claudrains , Iclaudius, and Claudehopper. (There’s also cousin Claudeball, but nobody ever talks about her.) Actually, you could count me in as a Claudhopper now, because boyfriend’s lookin’ kinda clever these days. He assures Sookie that he and his sistahs defected from Queen Maab’s human-enslaving regime (sound familiar, vamps?) and also vaguely insults Sookie as having an “overgrown baby head” or something. I have no idea, because within seconds Sookie is trying to read Hadley’s mind (EMPTY EXERCISE, I ASSURE YOU) and Claude’s (he’s hiding something) about her parents.
Claude spins a yarn about her parents coming across some vampire in a Carmen San Diego outfit on a bridge during a rainstorm – and said vampire was attracted to their car because of – wait for it – a CHILDREN’s BAND-AID with Sookie’s blood on it in the backseat. Are you KIDDING ME?! Not to be indelicate, but if vamps were THAT tuned-in to Sookie’s blood, she would have to avoid more than just camping in bear territory at certain times of the month.
Anyway, Sookie’s buying exactly as much as I am, because she tries to zap them all – it misfires, and then all of Claude’s relatives (including Jeanclaudevandamme) focus their fairy iPhone Flashlight Apps at her. Seriously, what does a girl have to do to get an Orange Marizpan shooter in this joint?!
I hemmed and hawed about the fairy bar last week, but for some reason this episode it was a little less janky for me. Maybe it was the choreography or the camerawork, but it felt a little more put together and it didn’t bug me nearly as much. I’m glad that they’ve brought back Sookie’s fairy relatives, although getting zapped by her aunts in a strip club probably wasn’t the reunion Sookie was up for.
TWISTED SHIFTERS (Sam, Luna, Meemaw Martha, Emma, JD, Alcide, Andy)
So the fifth Charlaine Harris book’s shifter sniper storyline kicked in last week, and it looked like poor, sweet Luna (Janina Gavankar) had pranced her last prance. Thankfully, she hasn’t – she and Sam (Sam Trammell) are wheeled into the ER as Emma prances her puppy paws to grandmother’s house – Li’l Red style – for shelter. Later, Meemaw Martha (Dale Dickey) brings Emma to see her mama, and says that she just wants to be a part of her grandwolf’s life. I don’t buy it. Sam excuses his fine furry self (no rear-view hospital gown shot, unfortunately) to speak with Andy (Chris Bauer), to whom he pleads to let him join the hunt for the shifter sniper, insisting that his skills could come in handy. Andy isn’t buying it. Oh – and Sam is preeeeeetty sure it’s humans doing this because he could smell them.
Luna asks Meemaw to keep Emma safe until she and Sherlock Homingpigeon figure out who the shifter-killers are. Sam says, “You have no idea what it’s like to have people want to kill you just because of who you are” and we’re getting the point, kids. Unfortunately, the Westboro Baptist Church doesn’t have the money for premium cable, so you are preaching to the frigging choir here.
Later, after Alcide has shaken off his Orange Marzipan/Naughty Northman hangover, he heads over to JD’s … barn? … to confront him about ambushing him and Sookie and being the packmaster and BTW why is he shacked up with some hootchiewolf who isn’t Meemaw Martha? Never mind – JD isn’t feeling Alcide’s newfound drive to be packmaster, and he challenges him, pointing out that Alcide passed on the offer and now he needs to have a Second to challenge him for the position. Wait, a what? This is already getting way too complicated – is this like Catan? Because I have the feeling Alcide already has wood for sheep. [rimshot]
Anyway, the brunet wolfette who came for Alcide to begin with in the premiere episode stands up to be his second, which Alcide finds either amusing or arousing. I’m okay with either, BTW. But he leaves without fighting JD.
Later, Andy – on Sam’s advice – visits The Stake House to chat up its owner, Junior. Junior is watching Hillbilly Hand-Fishing, which is always a good sign. Andy asks him about wooden bullets and “supes” while Sam browses innocently (THOUGH NOT INNOCENTLY ENOUGH), and Sam recognizes Junior’s scent just in time to GRAB A LOADED CROSSBOW FROM THE RACK AND KILL HIM before he can grab his gun and kill … Andy? I actually thought he was gonna go for Sam, but Sam convinces Andy that he just saved his life. So that works, too. Yay Sam! Oh – and Andy yells “Jesus tits!” at the moment of impact, which might make a repeat appearance a little later in the Quote of the Week section.
Okay, I didn’t expect Sam to kill someone while shopping. And I CANNOT GET ENOUGH of that penny-eyed little werewolf baby.
Ifrit is Just Another Word for Nothin’ Left to Lose (Terry, Patrick, Arlene)
Terry (Todd Lowe) and Patrick (Scott Foley) run from Ellar’s compound, where Sandman from Spider-Man 3 (in need of a bath) crashes out of the cellar and spins himself into nothing. It’s every bit as exciting as a third-tier plot from a 5th-season show should be, and Terry yells, “Go f*ck yourself, sargeant!” to seal the deal.
Later, on the way back to Bon Temps, Terry panics (rightfully) and jumps from the truck (stupidly … but still rightfully) and runs into a field, insisting that he can’t take the demon back home, or something. He reminds Patty that he’s the one who gave him the order to shoot the Iraqi woman, which Pat isn’t too thrilled to hear, but he accepts it.
Later, Terry goes to see Arlene (Carrie Preston) at work and when he stammers, she reminds him, “Baby, I ain’t Sookie – I can’t read yer mahnd.” TOUCHE, BOTTLE GINGER. He then proceeds to tell her that the smoke monster from Lost is after her and the kids so maybe she should sleep with the light on, or whatevs. She tells him to get back on his meds, which is extremely stupid, given all the insane crap that has gone on in this town in the past day since the show began, but whatever. He says that if he stays, she and the kids will die, so she’s all, “mmmmmmmmmmkay, then you can go” and he does. SCENE.
Eh. I love Terry and Arlene but this isn’t really doing much for me.
JESUS LOVE ME THIS I KNOW (Lafeyette, Ruby)
Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) shows up at his mama’s nursing home, apparently because he got a call that she had a seizure. He’s too busy screaming at the on-duty nurse to care. He gets to his mom’s room and Ruby (Alfre Woodard) is staring glassy-eyed at the ceiling – but she snaps to when Laffy arrives. Remember the Sophia/Dorothy relationship they had last season? Well, break out the cheesecake and the Lithium, because it’s back. She says Jesus came to her (not the long-haired one, but the gay, adorable, Ugly Betty one) and told her that he wanted to talk to Laffy. She says that the man who made Jesus drink goat’s blood is behind all this, and Laffy is all, “Oh, DON BARTOLO!” or whatever. Isn’t that a pasta sauce? Actually, I think it’s Jesus’s abuelo.
Ruby gives Lafayette an Eskimo nose-kiss and insists, “Jesus love you.” Yes, we know. She also asks him if he “been smokin’ that bone lately” and says that “Jesus love all the little faggots.” Lafayette gives her a finger-wave that speaks a thousand “f*ck you, crazy bitches” and he’s out the door.
Not much to go on, but it’s always fun to see Woodard get all Strasberg in these kooky-lady scenes – I really got the feeling here that Nelsan had no idea what she was up to.
ROMAN’S HOLIDAY (Russell, Sookie, Bill, Eric, Roman, Salome, Molly, Alcide)
When the Authoritaay shows up to tag-and-bag Russell, he insists, “There is no Lilith!” just like Diana Scarwid at the beginning of Psycho III (and my undying love to ANYONE who gets that reference). He also barks that the Authoritaaay may as well be praying to leprechauns (they’re all after his lucky charms!) or the Kardashians (>>>>>>>) as to Lilith. Alcide, having half-transformed from half-woolfing out (seriously, why didn’t he go all-wolf? Or did he? Why is he shirtless? And why am I questioning this fact?), looks GOOOOOOOOOOD. Unforunately, Eric quickly glamours him – but first, he ever-so-delicately wipes a drop of his blood on Alcide’s wounded cheekbone, so I can sleep happy tonight. Also: Alcide with glamour-face is CUUUTE. It’s hilarious, actually, especially when Eric throws in a few extra lines about Sookie being physically repulsive and poor Alcide trying to process it.
Oh – meanwhile, Bill pretends to glamour Sookie, by which I mean he takes the opportunity to try to get on her good side again by painting a picture of an impossible future for her. Still got it, Bill!
On the way home, Sookie cries profusely while Aclide tries to figure out where the hell they are and how they got there. WELCOME TO HETEROSEXUALITY, PEOPLE.
OMG, totally kidding, btw. Half the time I can’t find my own bed without a pickaxe and night goggles.
Eric, turns out, is REALLY not the religious type: “Enough with all this religious bullsh*t, already. Lillith can f*cking blow me.” Which she probably has.
Meanwhile, the statuesque black man in the Authoritaay soothes the human near-victims of Russell with comforting promises of class action settlements and then slaughters them on a shuttle bus. Seriously?! On a SHUTTLE BUS?! Oh the humanity. To die on the way to a Holiday Inn Express…
Alcide wakes up in Sookie’s bed – and he is HUUUGE. It’s seriously kind of amazing how much square footage this man can command in a single shot. He comes downstairs to find Sookie sulking at the kitchen table. He can’t remember what they got up to, but she sets him right – but not before he snatches his hand away from hers, as a conditioned response from Eric’s glamour. Sookie marvels, “Did you just RECOIL from me?!” It’s amazing. Actually, I kind of love woe-is-me, still-half-in-the-bag Sookie. Alcide remembers everything, and it’s kind of great. He marches his marvelous mudflaps out the door. Sookie couldn’t care less. WHAT IS WRONG WITH HER aaaaanyway…
Later, back at the Authoritaay’s Interior Illusions Lounge (seriously, who picked out those couches?!), the Authoritaay celebrate the delivery of Russell, greeting Bill and Eric with flutes of bubbly blood. Blubbly blood? Bloobly? No idea.
Anyway, Molly (Tina Majorino) takes off their iStakes, and already I’m wondering what the hell she’s doing there – isn’t she tech support, essentially? Hmm. Anyway, Eric isn’t happy to hear the news that Nora is a confirmed Sanguinista and whatever, but Roman (Chris Meloni) interrupts by storming in screaming “MY BOYS!” and waving around a vintage bottle of hemophiliac Patron. He is also wearing the UGLIEST SHIRT EVER. It’s Nike. I get it, and I love it – he’s an undead douchebag and the Authoritaay are shameless corporate whores for product placement. Capice.
Roman launches into his usual “ARE YOU OR AREN’T YOU” challenge, but Eric isn’t feeling it, claiming to be “a pacifist”. Roman laughs. Eric asks to see Nora and admits to Roman that he is her brother. There are lots of loaded glances among Roman, Eric, Bill, Salami, Janet, Brad, and Dr. Scott. “ROCKY!”
At her cell, Eric realizes that Nora (Lucy Griffiths) is a loonypants just as Salami (Valentina Cervi) passes, whispering that “he has been sentenced to die AT THIS VERY MOMENT” or something, and Eric looks worried for a split second but then Russell is sentenced to death right then and starts raving about his vampire d*ck being hard and he makes this awesome Chicken Run face:
But when Roman tries to fire his iStake it doesn’t work and Russell gets the upper hand and he stakes Roman – right in the swoosh! – into a melting pudding of his former self, screaming, “PEACE IS FOR PUSSIES!” (That’s good enough for me.) I guess you could say that Roman is Roman, alright … roamin’ all over the floor!
SO! The sisters are doing it for themselves, eh? Because it seems that Salami, Molly, and Nora (who is babbling praises to Lillith in the sky in her cell) must have schemed together to some degree on this, right?
Not bad! This is the first time this season that The Authoritaay hasn’t bored me to blood-tears. And love Chris Meloni though I do, his talents were wasted here – and I’m not just talking about the fact that he never dropped his pants, I swear.
NOTABLY DEAD: Roman, all the human on the shuttle bus, Junior, Hoyt’s hickeymaker
NOTABLY NOT DEAD: Luna
NOTABLY ABSENT: Steve Newlin (Seriously, where is he?!)
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Hmm – lots of tossed-off (ahem!) one-liners this week, but I think Arlene’s “Baby, I’m not Sookie, I can’t read your mind” was my favorite, because it also had the sting of truth to it.
All in all, this episode was a refreshing return to form, IMHO. Everyone seemed to find their groove – be it Tara’s fabulously understated eye-rolls, Hoyt’s heartbreaking pleas to Jess, or Sookie’s hilariously wonky morning-after stumbles. And I think we can all agree that Alcide needs to be at least half-naked in every episode. Can Eric glamour him to have a phobia of clothing?
But that’s just me – what’d you think of the episode? Of Roman’s demise? (And why the hell did he morph into Herman Munster before he popped?!) Sound off in the comments!