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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

True Blood: Hard-Hearted Hannah

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True Blood's halftime show killed it. Michael Lehmann took another turn in the director's chair this week, producing another fast-paced whirl of an episode, leaping and bounding where others got stuck in pillow talk. Seriously, when the camera came up on some gentle bed-play between Sookie and Bill, I braced myself to groan. Instead, Isabel knocked on the door and away we went. After that moment, I was so sucked in that I was hardly able to take notes. (This recap, incidentally, is shorter.) Episodes like this remind me why I'm in it.

No surprises here, but the show stalls from time to time. The dialogue keeps things funny (see last week, for example), but the characters often just tiptoe into the future, resulting in more like a racy sitcom than anything else: We're just having fun hanging out with our good pals in Bon Temps. Here, however, we're reminded that our good pals in Bon Temps are seriously fucked up, and in some cases, fucked. That's why we like them, and that's when the show is at its best.

If last week held us close, this week threw a blindfold on us, spun us around three times, and shoved us out in front of the piñata. Everyone's full of lies, and we're left with so many questions. Let's start with Bill as Guillaume. Holy hell did I love the 1926 throwback. Unlike vampires my ass! Too sappy and human my ass! Our meek Bill, relishing in the torture and murder of a couple, and having crazy blood sex in the bed with a dying, blood-spurting woman. I'll stop with the exclamation points, but they're all over my notes. I'm thrilled to see this side of Bill. It transforms his character from pure Civil-War-victim-goody-vampire-shoes into something (I hope) much more complex. He seemed far from tortured while all of this was going on, so I'm hoping they don't play it as a forced situation/fluke. I can't wait to see what Lorena brings out in him. That Eric brought her on scene makes this even richer.

Sookie, meanwhile, adopts a persona of her own as she and Hugo go forth as anti-vamp crusaders who want to get married in the Newlins' church. She pushes it too far, though, and gets tossed in the basement, where they're keeping a vampire for the big "Meet The Sun" ceremony. Things have finally taken an official turn for the sinister at Camp Brainwash. Sarah fesses up that Steve is creating war, not defending against it, and Steve stuns her by calling Sookie a cunt as he throws her into the basement. That ain't like God. No, God is the type telling Sarah to give Jason a B.J.

Another duper this week is Daphne. We knew it was coming from the moment she showed up as the pig in the headlights of poor Andy's car. That pig is always tormenting him. Daphne's soft Southern lilt gave way to a flatter, meaner "not this time," and Sam's dreamgirl dissipated. The pig threw him to Orgymaster 3000, and as we learned from Tara and Egg's trip to the forest, Sam could be killed. The question is, at this point, do we really care? It's been awhile since we've really been invested in Sam; most of his character development took place in the first season as he moped and pined for Sookie while banging Tara. He hasn't done much this season but hang around and be fearful of Maryann. Honestly, I could take or leave him, but I'm guessing he'll find his way out of this one. Either way I'm hooked on this week's cliffhanger.

The only area of sincerity and surprising warmth came from Jessica and Hoyt's nascent relationship. Just when Jessica's ready to throw out the Tru Blood and order some room service, Hoyt's there to be super cute and charming and swoon-inducing. Our other favorite-but-dormant character getting a little more love this week was Lafayette, who's commanded to sell more V. Yes, Lafayette, imagine that warm globe of warmth, and perk it back up!

Grade: A


— Luke had me going again this week: "Or a vampire dude. That's like cream de la cream of sins."

— Direct from my notes: "Holy shit Bill used to be such a bad guy! Killing for fun, making them suffer, blood fucking by the dying woman!"

— Also interesting here was the first mention of vampires turning their lovers.

— Most disturbing thing: Andy's voice coming from Eric's face.