Every season of True Blood starts off with the ceremonial uncorking of about six to eight different metaphorical bottles of plot, which then explode with excitement (or at least the guise of excitement) over the course of the first three episodes. It’s a testament to the writers that True Blood manages to be so successful despite juggling so many different story lines each season. And even when the show feels scattered and choppy, it’s almost always enjoyable. (Unless Bill is involved.) So let’s do an inventory of the various plot lines we’ve got going so far this season, starting with Bill and Eric Thelma and Louise-ing it right into the cold, unforgiving arms of the Authority. What began as a bromance-on-the-run plot seems to be morphing into an in-depth look at the Authority (namely Chris Meloni’s domineering but controlled Guardian, Roman), their rituals, beliefs, and political agenda.
I have to say, for vampire Authority upper-management types, these guys really were not great at interrogating suspects. Well, Christopher Heyerdahl was alright I guess. You may remember him from Supernatural, where he played the demon Alastair, or from the Twilight movies, in which he plays another vampire in a position of authority. Can you say “type casting”? (Then again, he’s also played John the Baptist and Reverend Jimmy Criss, so I guess he’s run the gamut.) Heyerdahl was appropriately creepy as Dieter while questioning Bill about his possible fundamentalist alliances. Meanwhile Salome (Valentina Cervi) was trying to get Eric to spill his guts, even going to far as to tell him that Nora was dead in an effort to get him to ‘fess up. I was really surprised that Eric would actually believe her, but he was visibly distressed when he heard his sister/lover had met the true death. I wanted to be like, “Come on, Eric — she’s just messing with you.” They also tried to get Eric and Bill to turn on each other by telling each of them that the other already had. Anyone who has ever seen an episode of Law & Order knows that’s the oldest trick in the book. It reminded me of that scene in Four Brothers where the police laughably attempt to get the brothers to confess. But enough unnecessary tangents about Mark Wahlberg movies …
During his interrogation of Bill, Dieter explained the basics of the vampire creation myth of Lilith, who — according to the vampire bible — was created in God’s image. Humans were actually created as a food source for vampires, though most vampires do not take this passage literally. It seems like vampires have the same disagreements among themselves as humans do with regard to interpretations of the Bible. Later in the episode, Roman performed an intense-looking ceremony where all the vampires drank a drop of his blood. At first I was like, “Umm ew?” But then I realized that’s basically the vampire equivalent of the Catholic sacrament of Communion, so who am I to judge? It’s always interesting to look at human issues through the lens of the supernatural.
Religion has a particularly unique position in the world of True Blood because of the parallels between vampirism and homosexuality (or any lifestyle that’s not condoned by some religious institutions). Steve Newlin is the perfect example of both ends of the spectrum. As a human, Steve was a figurehead of the anti-vampire Christian fundamentalist group The Fellowship of the Sun. Now he’s trying to buy Jason as a sex slave for $10,000. Possibly the best line of the night was when Jessica, trying to get Steve to up his price for Jason, asked if he had seen Jason’s butt, to which Steve responded, “Of course I’ve seen it. Why do you think I’m offering $10,000?” But Steve has more going on than just his infatuation with Jason. As a vampire, he’s become the face of tolerance, proclaiming that it is possible to be a vampire and a Christian. Again, I love the supernatural spin on the struggle for gay rights, and the fact that Steve is also gay just ties it all together. As annoying as Steve is as a character, I can’t help but almost like him, especially because he brings out the BAMF in Jessica. After toying with him for a bit, she shut down his offer to buy Jason, telling him that she doesn’t sell her friends.
It’s great to see how Jessica has evolved since her early days as a newborn vampire. As Sookie mentioned to Lafayette, I hope Tara can adjust to her new life as a vampire the same way that Jessica has. Based on Tara’s rather destructive tantrum (I don’t think a house has been trashed on such a regular basis since Buffy’s house) and her parting words to Sookie and Lafayette, I’m guessing she has a ways to go before she accepts her new lease on life. I loved watching Sookie and Lafayette chase her around the house and try to catch her. I laughed so hard when Tara was momentarily paused on the kitchen counter, and Sookie was like, “Grab her,” to Lafayette. HA! Right, because it’s easy to just grab a mentally unstable newborn vampire with super speed. Good one, Sookie. They eventually caught her and put her in Eric’s cubby so she wouldn’t burn in the daylight. When she woke up, she almost seemed like Tara again — which is to say, she seemed like an ocean of fear and anger that could be unleashed at any minute. She told Sookie and Lafayette that she would never forgive them, and then she made a break for it, pausing only for a moment to writhe in pain as the silver mister Sookie had installed on the porch burned her.
As I mentioned in my last review, I’m really not looking forward to the Tara-as-newborn-vampire arc. She was already a tortured soul, permanently angry at the world, and now she’s been turned into the thing she hates most in the world. I understand why Sookie and Lafayette did what they did, but I still don’t feel like watching Tara try to come to terms with being a vampire. Of course, knowing this show, it will probably find a wonderful, entertaining way to show Tara’s transformation, and I’ll eat my words. At least I hope so.
We got to see a glimpse into Pam’s backstory this week as she recalled her time as a madam in the early 1900s. I loved these scenes because, 1) Pam is awesome, and, 2) ERIC IN A TOP HAT OH MY GOD STOP EVERYTHING. Sorry, I’ll try to compose myself long enough to finish this review … What was I saying? Right, Eric in late-Victorian era formalwear … Pam was attacked by a Jack the Ripper type, who held a knife to her throat and told her, “That’s right, whore, I like it when you struggle.” Pam immediately stopped resisting and went still, her eyes showing her determination not to give him the satisfaction of watching her fight back. Before he could do any damage, however, a tall blonde stranger stepped in and took out her attacker. Eric seemed interested in Pam’s strong will and her courage in the face of death. And she seemed interested in how he’s the most attractive person ever to walk the face of the earth. Back in the present day, Pam was more distraught than ever over losing Eric. She left a pleading voicemail with him, but he was obviously busy being tortured by the Authority and discussing potential dog names with Bill and whatnot. It seemed like this was only the first chapter in Pam’s story, so I hope we get to see more as the season goes on. Like why and how Eric turned her, and what happened with her first attempt at making another vampire.
Photo Courtesy of HBO