"I Wish I Was the Moon," our halfway point on season 4 and a pretty decent one at that, got off to a blistering start but turned into the episode that just wouldn't end, piling on cliffhanger after cliffhanger and then ending on the less-exciting (although I'm sure for some people it's very exciting) sight of Sookie and Eric copulating in the woods. The love triangles are not what I like about True Blood, but even I might have been interested in such a union at some point in this show's run.
But, even though the amnesia plotline has been far more fun than I expected, its weakest element is that it's an excuse for Sookie to suddenly allow herself to fall in love with Eric. I would say I don't see the appeal, but that's not quite true. Alexander Skarsgard is convincingly winning as amnesia-Eric, all puppy-faced and of sturdy morals, so much so that we actually believe that Bill would spare his life. And sure, Sookie might be won over by Eric as a good guy, since she's on the rebound from Bill. But it just feels like a bit of a cheap trick to forgive Eric's misdeeds so the audience doesn't tut at Sookie too much. People do shit on True Blood that deserves tutting! There's nothing wrong with that!
Anyway, I really did enjoy that uninterrupted run of vampire skirmishing that opened the episode -- Bill and Eric dueling, Pam trying (and failing) to pump Eric up in jail, and Bill pursuing the more official route to rid himself of Eric by calling Nan (of course, his pesky conscience gets the best of him in the end). But largely, this episode took stock of where everyone's at halfway through, ending with a musical montage and a lot of melancholia. We got Lafayette and Jesus bumming around with magic in Mexico, Tommy shifting into Sam and causing trouble for him, Arlene and Terry's place burning down, Alcide joining a wolf pack with Debbie, and Jason maybe turning into a werepanther (but really just remaining interested in Jessica).
It was definitely a slow episode, but it wasn't an entirely bad one. It's nice to see Jesus finally have some energy outside of being generally affable and I like the creepy atmosphere of the bruja magic. Add an incredibly pregnant lady and a rattlesnake just to make everything seem weirder -- it works! However, one trope of the witchcraft plot is definitely getting boring -- the fact that both Marnie and Lafayette are unaware of what they're doing. It's fine once or twice, but six episodes in Lafayette still seems unconvinced and skeptical about the whole magic thing.
Luckily, Marnie has now been fully possessed by Antonia for maximum havoc-wreaking effect. Her confrontation with Peter Macdissi (I forget his character's name) at the end of the episode was nicely done; I like how the witch spells on vampires have varied each time. I figured she'd rip Macdissi limb from limb, but making him kneel suggests he may be used against other vamps. So far, it's hard to parse the subtleties of the witch-plot -- in the flashbacks, the vampires don't come off very well (Macdissi's rape scene was pretty disturbing) but Antonia is kind of terrifying herself. So far, she's only been attacking vamps, but as Jesus' grandpa noted, she's interested in possessing people. Not much good can come of that. If Marnie's character has been fully sublimated, well, I will miss her, but Fiona Shaw plays the imperious Antonia persona as well as she played the scatterbrained Marnie.
Sookie's heart-to-heart with Jason about his possible werepanther transformation was a lot of fun in one way -- I'm realizing Jason's becoming one of my favorites on the show. His stories, even when they're as dire as a lot of the Hotshot material, are saved by the bonus dose of dumbass humor that Jason can't help but bring along. Lines like "I'm in the middle of a secret special police investigation here!" just charm me. Sookie and Jason running around in the woods and bumping into other characters got absurd (I know everyone on this show is superhuman by this point, but really? They're all just jaunting around in the woods at midnight on a full moon?) but I liked Jason's side of things. His talk with Jessica didn't hit you over the head with their awkward sexual chemistry, but it was crackling by the end of it.
Sookie's awkward interactions with Alcide remain unconvincing, though. The sexual chemistry has just never been there. I liked how sheepish Alcide was about running with Debbie and the rest of the new pack, though. And he had a nice light touch when Sookie asked him about werepanthers and he admitted they probably had a lot in common.
More convincing was Tommy's transformation into Sam (because he killed his mom shifter, as Luna foreshadowed) which came suddenly and shockingly and led to Sam Trammell having a lot of fun as Tommysam, getting the speech inflections exactly right, I thought. But the whole Freaky Fridayness of it all quickly overwhelmed, and Tommysam's mistreatment of Luna was eye-rollingly bad. Not that I don't think Tommy would behave that way, it's just a little too contrived to have Luna coming over and taking off her top just as this happens.
In all, for a relatively quiet episode (the cliffhanger eventually turned out to be Pam readying an attack on Tara, which I welcome) "I Wish I Was the Moon" wasn't entirely disappointing. I'm pleasantly surprised by the development of season 4's storylines after a very slow start; the atmosphere has built well and the meandering has been cut down a bit. There's still whole plots that I zone out of (Tara, lookin' at you) but after the disaster of the season 3 finale and the season 4 opener, things could be going a lot worse.
Pam's speech to Eric in the jail was great. Especially saying that Bill is "self-loathing, power-hungry pompous little dwarf and you hate his guts!"
"That's treason!" Eric replies, shocked.
Nice to see Terry's armadillo (I hope he made it) in his arms after the fire. We also got our first look at whatever it is that's driving Mikey the baby.
Jessica's first experience waiting tables doesn't go too well, since she leaves halfway through the order. "Fucking vampires," Tara complains.
Honestly, Sookie and Eric's mossy lovemaking just looked uncomfortable. At least it's warm down in Bon Temps.