True Blood: “Don't You Feel Me?”
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True Blood: “Don't You Feel Me?”

True Blood has an astonishing ability to consistently undercut its more interesting, entertaining stories with truly eye-rolling moments. This episode—save a few tired Alcide beats—was really trucking along well right up until the very end, when Sookie and Warlow consummated their strange betrothal in some sort of fairy dimension. I’ll give the show this: Sookie consistently makes the worst choices, so at least the characterization was on track.

The biggest doings this episode, however, were not Sookie’s strange soliloquies about owning her whore status but something True Blood has been teasing all season: Terry’s death. Comic-Con was rife with buzz about a major character death, with everyone assuming it would be a vampire. Does Terry count as a “major” character death? Given how reluctant the show is to kill anyone or drop any stories it seems unlikely another main cast member will fall, but it’s definitely still a possibility.

Whether or not Terry is the rumored “big” death, he went out on a sufficiently sad note. When Arlene gets concerned Terry is considering killing himself, she enlists Holly’s help to find a vampire willing to wipe all of his troubled memories from the war. Once his mind is clear, there’s just one problem: Now Terry has no memory of hiring his military buddy to off him. The second Terry becomes a happy-go-lucky character but it’s obvious he is not long for this world, which takes a bit of the shock and sadness out of his ultimate death, though Arlene’s reaction is certainly heartbreaking enough. At least she got a good 12 hours of happy husband before he was felled by a sniper rifle.

Although Terry’s plot seemed inevitable tonight there were certainly other surprises, mostly in the increasingly interesting vampire/human war. Governor Burrell’s vampire prison isn’t only a great setpiece to force the conflict between the two factions, but it’s also perhaps the most competent governmental facility of all time. The scientists working there are completely on point, creating a vampire-killing virus called Hepatitis V they plan to secretly disseminate among the vampire population by adding it to the new supply of TruBlood. Burrell is truly a fun human foe, which makes it a bit disappointing when Bill finally gets a clue of what’s going on and marches into his estate—during the day, as he’s all hopped up on Warlow blood—and beheads him.

Bill taking out the Governor doesn’t mean the vampires’ troubles are over. Eric, Pam, Jessica, Tara, Nora, and Willa are still stuck in the prison camp. The Governor’s plan to have Eric and Pam fight to the death goes sideways when they instead take out the guards, much to those behind the one-way glass’ delight and horror. Burrell tries to get back at Eric by infecting Nora with Hep V but that goes awry as well, with Eric using his summoning powers to get Willa to bust all of them loose. There basically isn’t anything as entertaining on this show as watching Eric execute some sort of jailbreak plan that involves impersonating a human, and this one’s military twist is especially enjoyable. This escape saga continues next week, which is a very good thing.

Also enjoyable was Jason’s quest to infiltrate the LAVTF, which honestly could be an entire show on its own. Jason Stackhouse in full-on comedic boasting mode is always a great place for True Blood to be, and Ryan Kwanten is definitely in his element here. It helps that Sarah Newlin is folded into his plot almost immediately, as their antagonistic dynamic is quickly becoming the best thing about this season. Sarah deviousness is certainly on point as well, as she brings Jason in to watch one of the prison’s “copulation studies” which of course involves Jessica. That a downtrodden Jessica was willing to subject herself to such humiliation without a fight (only to be saved by a very gallant new vampire) says volumes about Jessica’s headspace after killing the fairy daughters, and is a nice little heartbreaking note amidst this mostly fun—if disturbing—story.

Less interesting, as always, is Sam’s quest to keep Emma from Alcide and Alcide’s completely boring fixation on his pack. Spurred by Nicole’s influence, Sam gives Emma back to Martha on the condition she not return to the pack. This upsets Alcide, naturally, because he is the King of Not Letting Things Go. In retaliation, he bans Sam from his own hometown, where Sam's home and business and all his friends are, by threat of death. Sure, Alcide. You’re just swell.

Which brings us back to Sookie. Sookie exists in this weird place where she wants to reclaim her independence but is constantly beholden to the supernatural creatures in her life, first because she is tied to them by blood bonds and second because she can’t be bothered to just use OkCupid to find a more appropriate partner like a normal person. She showed some initiative by figuring out Warlow’s true identity and threatening him thusly, but this week she’s only saved from Lafayette’s possessed determination to drown her because she has a blood bond with Bill. Then, instead of simply helping Warlow and then sending him on his merry way she has sex with him and shares his blood. It’s like every time she asserts her agency she realizes she’ll never truly be free, so she jumps on the next non-human guy in her orbit.

But that’s the frustration of watching True Blood: It’s always two steps forward and one step back. At least this season the forward momentum is the far more interesting aspect.

Stray observations:

  • Hi there, new vampire James. You are attractive and respect women. Please come back, James!
  • Andy’s remaining daughter is indeed number four, now known as Adalind Braylin Charlene Danica Bellefleur. (I’m sure none of those names are spelled correctly.)
  • Vampire Matrix fight! That was silly, huh?

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