Although tonight’s episode contained roughly the same story and character beats as last week’s clunker, this one was significantly more entertaining. This is the weird side effect of the way True Blood tells stories: one week they’re awful, but the next week they are perfectly fine. The main thing driving tonight’s improved episode is a few of the disparate storylines finally coming together, clicking into place like the outside edge of a puzzle. All we need is the inside to get filled in a bit more, so we can see the whole picture.
The first two episodes bungled Tara’s storyline, but tonight it felt right for the first time. Most of this is due to it finally being told from Tara’s perspective. Nothing about what she’s going through feels especially fresh—new vampires seeing the world in greater detail and being obsessed with blood are old, tired tropes—but at least it’s finally hers to feel instead of her presence being some sort of penance for Sookie and Lafayette’s poor decisions. The moment where she pleadingly went to Sam to help was a surprisingly touching callback to their history as well and a good reminder of a time where Tara was a character with potential.
That brings us to the most interesting thing about Tara’s story, now that it appears to finally be dovetailing with Pam’s. Pam’s flashbacks to her meeting with Eric have been pleasant but existing on a bit of an island, moving too slowly to really thematically connect with anything else going on. Tonight, however, True Blood finally got to the point: Eric and Pam’s beginning was just as complicated as Pam and Tara’s, and now Tara is Pam’s responsibility just like she was Eric’s. The episode ends with Tara attempting to fry herself in a tanning bed, but Pam feels her in trouble and is immediately vexed about what she knows she needs to do. Knowing just how much training Tara is going to annoy Pam throughout this process is delightful. More Pam is always a good thing. More angry, frustrated Pam is a great thing. Seeing Eric and Bill meet for the first time in flashbacks and Eric completely own him, well, that’s just a bonus.
Rounding out a trio of successful story threads this week was Bill and Eric’s continued captivity at the Authority. With Russell in the picture again, the path on what to do with them is less clear. What is becoming clear is that with Russell alive, the Sanguinistas have a figurehead leader to worship (called “their Osama bin Laden” in a clunky attempt to tie this to religious fundamentalism) and gain strength from. Their anti-mainstream missing could lead to an all-out civil war between vampires and humans, which is exactly what Roman is trying to avoid.
What’s confusing is how Bill and Eric fit into all of this in the first place. Nan was a traitor, but they killed her (and replaced her with Steve Newlin, which seems like a disaster waiting to happen). What have either of them done to make Roman believe they are Sanguinistas? Still, he spends the entire episode continuing to determine their true loyalties, this time eschewing torture for pillow talk with Salome. Salome is the Salome from the Bible, and uses her legendary seduction powers to determine both Bill and Eric’s true goals and reports back to Roman. The one vampire who does turn out to be more than she appears to be is Nora, who crumbles under the pressure of torture and admits to being with the Sanguinista movement. What will happen to her, and to Bill and Eric once they help Roman bring in Russell, is still completely up in the air.
Back in Bon Temps, things are heating up for Sookie as Debbie Van Pelt’s parents come to town looking for their daughter. It seems when Sookie and Lafayette dumped her body they neglected to think about moving her car, which was found near Sookie’s house. Geniuses, both of them! Sookie admits what they did to Alcide, but keeping the secret from her parents (and from the Sherriff) is sure to be a trickier proposition. Not to mention Lafayette’s guilt leading to his inner witch beast attempting to poison everyone at Merlotte’s with bleach. Advice: Stay away from the gumbo.
The award for most pointless story of the night goes to poor Jason Stackhouse, who is wandering around this season like a lost shirtless puppy who can’t help but put his nose where it doesn’t belong. This time his nose goes right up the skirt of his old high school teacher, the woman who started him on his mission of sexual destruction all those years ago. But Jason wants to be more than just a piece of meat, because he’s so smart and has so much to offer otherwise. Or something. Other than a nice little moment where Jessica agrees to put on a less revealing outfit and teach him how to be friends with a girl, this whole storyline has been pretty much a wash. Yet, in normal True Blood fashion, I assume we’ll be following it the entire season. What does a non-naked Jason Stackhouse have to offer the show? I’m not sure, but they might consider dialing up the buffoonery. This season could use some comic relief.
- Jessica was chasing a fairy, I assume. If they’re going to bring the fairies back into this I hope they learned something from the last time they did that storyline, because it was fairly awful.
- The fact that Tina Majorino is basically playing a vampire version of Mac fills me with joy. And all of these characters would totally fail Mac’s purity test.
- Sookie used her lightning hands again. Yawn.
- Where can I request Pam’s super-fast Blackberry typing ability?
- Hoyt Fortenberry in a mesh tank top and eyeliner: Discuss.
- Sookie: “Is she okay?” Sam: “HELL NO, SHE’S A VAMPIRE!”