Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

True Blood: Shake And Fingerpop

Illustration for article titled True Blood: Shake And Fingerpop

I wasn't yelling at the quickly disappearing bellhop-telepath Barry this week when I cried out, "Wait!"—I was yelling at the show. Tonight's episode built up such momentum that by the end, I wasn't ready for the credits. Wait, True Blood, don't go!

But fudge, it did, leaving us all as blue-balled as Hoyt and Sookie. My protest, though, wasn't just the provocation of your average True Blood cliffhanger. This episode hinged on fun, and I wanted more. The actors (aside from some runaway moments from Tara) all seemed be winking in unison, saying, hey, we get it, we're ridiculous, and we love it. In his first writing credit of the season, Alan Ball delivered dialogue that had me laughing pretty much straight through.

With the return of Ball at the writing helm comes the most emphasis yet on Light Of Day, which ate up about a fourth of this week's show, with great results. I'm starting to really dig the Newlins, particularly Anna Camp as Sarah. She delivered an amazing performance this week, and I'm not just talking about the over-the-top barbeque fantasy sequence. Camp nearly licked her lips with each religious utterance, making God's work seem downright smutty. "Amen" and "what a blessing" have never sounded so dirty—and funny. (I'll set aside Ball's barbeque fantasy for now.) Mr. Newlin also had me laughing at the close of his and Jason's shoot-up game when he nearly ejaculated with jealousy after hearing that Jason had witnessed "God's awesome power" in the form of vampire death.

This week also delivered on the promise of Fangtasia, which has until now been our only pure tie to modern vampire culture and order. It's not a place where vampires try to make nice with humans; it's the place where vampires deal with themselves. The wonder of those first Fangtasia scenes in season one has since dimmed a bit. Sitting with Eric and the gang while they talk vampire shop has become old hat. Most of what's been going on there recently points to something bigger, which has been out of our reach until now. I've never been so happy to land in Dallas, an apparent vampire hotspot of luxury. Modern vampire culture is again at the forefront, and if details like the light-proof hotel and B-negative Travis are any example, Dallas is going to be awesome.

Another favorite Dallas scene was Jessica's lesson in glamouring. Bill's taking a softer approach with her at Sookie's behest, and it seems to be working—Jessica's glamour out of the gate seems to be stronger than Bill's. Poor Leon and his quivering lip. I fear we've seen the end of him, but I hope not. Dean Norris is a force in Breaking Bad.

So what's going on back in Bon Temps? Well, a big pile of confusion, that's what. Oh, and people are eating dirt. Maryann's third attempt at whatever she's attempting is finally coming together, and it's got people smashing cake in their faces, getting naked and making out, eating and writhing around in mud, and punching people. Say, it's almost like they're acting as pigs. Eggs and Tara finally do the deed and seem to be in sync with Maryann's gyrating and chanting the various surnames of Dionysus. The big reveal is those claws Maryann sprouts: Is she the Minotaur? Seems too easy. Then again, she could have scratched up Daphne and sent her after Sam. But not even this weaker plotline could pull away from this week's episode. It just acted as a side of crazy to the truly tantalizing bits going on in Texas. And it gave us our requisite sex scene.

Grade: A


—It'd be interesting to see what's going on behind those big double doors at the end of the hall. We haven't been privy to any of the Newlins' conniving thus far; we've only seen them when they're in around Jason. Their absurdly canned dialogue ("Steve, I think Jason has the makings of a true soldier of God. / I was just thinking the same thing") tells us the Newlins' plotting is hardly innocuous, but they seem almost too involved at the ground level to be at the top of the fellowship's organization.

—"I hope you are enjoying your blood substitute which is costing me forty-five dollars." The other great moment here was Bill's half-assed attempt to "release Sookie from her agreement" after Eric lays down the severity of what's brewing in Texas. Nice try, Bill.

—Jason's clip-on tie saved that opening scene.

—"She wants your hot beef injection, dude." And she used to be a vegetarian!

—This might seem far-fetched, but has anyone else noticed that the music that often plays when Bill and Sookie are together is almost exactly the same as the instrumental intro to Disney's animated Beauty And The Beast?