Here's something that True Blood was this week that it almost never is: creepy. Usually, this show is too wild or wacky to really get across a sense of foreboding atmosphere. I'm not saying I was quaking in my boots watching this episode, but there was an effective few scenes in there (Andy going to open Sam's van, Terry and Arlene talking in bed while you wait for some crazy shit to happen, the séance scene between Marnie and Sookie) that were, at the very least, well-directed.
The creepiness is mostly resulting from the witchcraft plotline beginning to snowball, with Bill and the other Louisiana sheriffs now fully involved and Sookie's "I'm hidin' Eric in the basement" plot hopefully coming to a close. It was good to see both Bill and Sookie get directly involved with Marnie, for one because I was tired of the formula that had been developing of Marnie chanting unknowingly, doing some crazy shit, and then dealing with Lafayette, Jesus and Tara yelling at her. Also, Sookie and Bill's scenes with her were the episode's two best.
Sookie's way of dealing with the witch problem (which I guess she's only now realized is a problem, even though Eric's been an amnesiac for three episodes now) is to employ a power I almost forgot she had — she can read minds! Seriously, it's been so long since she did that that I was vaguely startled when she poked around in Holly's. But that was just a prelude to the main event, where she uses her "oh gosh darn" dumb blonde routine to convince Marnie to give her a reading, and Marnie ends up channeling her grandmother, who warns her both against dating Eric and staying in the room with Marnie. The scene wasn't exactly scary, but Lois Smith's voice and Marnie's whole off-kilter personality had me uneasy enough that I got a little creeped out.
Bill's way of dealing with Marnie was fully within his character — he gets her arrested by some vampire SWAT team, puts her in a cell and talks with her via intercom. He's smart, but there's no excitement there. So the scene where he goes in and glamours her to get answers, well, that was cooler, because there was a real sense of threat. Pam's freaky face and those flashes back to 17th century Spain have convinced us of that. Plus, Bill is just automatically a more commanding presence in these suits. Really makes his glamouring scenes (the one with Portia was nice and funny) hit home.
The vampire sheriff meeting scene, with the arrival of Peter Macdissi, a great actor who Alan Ball ends up casting in everything (I'm surprised it took him this long to come to True Blood) to dispense some precious info about just what the witch (named Antonia) did — she summoned all vampires within 20 miles to walk into the sun and burn with her. So, they got good reason to fear. Although apparently they got some people in high-up places. Back then it was the Catholic Church. Now it's Fox News and Google. I'd love to see that expanded on past the joke stage.
The other big plot development this week, I guess, was Sookie and Eric finally makin' out, and it's not a dream or whatever, it's ACTUALLY HAPPENING, and I'm sure there are fans out there that just plotzed even though surely we've all seen it coming for weeks. Eric's routine of being like a little baby boy started to grate for me, this week. There was less humor, more emo-ness as he found out what a bad man he was normally, and put his head in Sookie's lap (and had an alarming dream about eating her with Godric). Again, Skarsgard does fine work, it just got to the point where you were thinking, just kiss already! So they did, and I'm sure Bill is on his way to huff and puff at them next week.
Another plot development that totally invalidates one of my complaints from last week — Tommy quickly killing both his parents after they try and chain him up. I dunno why I didn't see that coming! Very happy that it happened, though, especially in the case of Joe Lee who was a miserable, shitty character (so much so that I could barely stand his three minutes onscreen over the last two episodes). Now Tommy is even further bound up in Sam's business since they disposed of the bodies (and scared off Andy) together, with Sam showing how much of a badass he is by tossing in those marshmallows for the crocs. That was a nice touch.
The main plotlines were strong enough again that some of the side-stories just paled in comparison, particularly Tara complaining at Sookie for perfectly valid reasons. That's why you know Tara's no fun — she says a lot of things that make sense about the company Sookie keeps, but she's such a bummer you just want her to go away anyway. Also, she continues to have no friend-chemistry with Anna Paquin, one of the problems they've always had. Jesus and Lafayette's journey to Mexico was a little better just because it was kinda foreboding (that flashback, yuck!) and I'm hopeful it means Kevin Alejandro has something to do past just look well-meaning and nice.
Of the less-good side-plots, I think my favorite this week was Jason's. Just because his face looks so funny when he's wrestling with things. Now he thinks that God is punishing him for having so much sex by having him repeatedly violated. I laughed when he got annoyed at Hoyt for sharing his own marriage troubles ("Jessica raped you?") but I don't think we need another season of Jason being chaste, we already got that in season two. His fantasy about banging Jessica, who turned into Hoyt, was the cherry on top (although he didn't turn into a panther, which I was sort of expecting to happen).
Runner-up would be the exorcism done by the Reverend and Tara's mom Lettie Mae in Terry and Arlene's house. Terry just looked so damn cute in that suit and I liked that Arlene was uncomfortable with being visited by the black church (but Terry thinks they’re livelier, cause they sing). That scene didn't exactly reflect well on the Reverend, but I guess the show has already castigated him as a hypocrite. Not exactly balanced TV, but that's not why I watch True Blood.
"This kind of dog ate my homework shit doesn't really work with the vampires, because they sniff that shit and then they eat you!"
Terry, of course, has a religious streak to him. "Don't sell God short, okay? He loves love."
Pam needs to get her real face back but I'm enjoying her pain at being ugly-looking. "Convene your sheriffs so we can kill this uppity wiccan cunt…your majesty."
Tommy has a good grasp on the ten commandments. "Don't kill shit, don't fuck with your parents. I did both."
Jason's reaction to his Hoyt sex dream was utterly priceless. "Oh, my gravy."