True Blood: Well, That Was Saucy
|Written by April Yorke|
|Monday, 04 July 2011 22:14|
If “She’s Not There,” was set up, then last night’s True Blood, “You Smell Like Dinner,” is rapid payoff. Sure, a lot of it is just pushing forward everyone’s season arcs, but it feels less like soapy wheel spinning (secrets and lies) and more like actual things happening. Say what you will about True Blood; this show can cram a helluva lot of plot into an hour. Check it: Tara’s back, Crystal’s back, Bill flashes back, Eric flashes back, Sookie runs all over town trying to figure out how not to be Eric’s, and Pam gives some really good advice. Also, Louis Pasteur? Total vampire. Someone update that entry, STAT.
Two Sookies Enter, Only One Can Leave
Despite how we left things, with Eric advancing on Sookie fangs out and Sookie’s robe in his hand, Sookie’s hurrying down the stairs of Stackhouse Shack while tying her robe and denying that she will ever be Eric’s. Alright, let’s just get this one out of the way upfront, so we can concentrate on the proceedings: WHAT KIND OF AN IDIOT DOESN’T WANT TO BE ERIC’S? SIGN ME UP! Ahem. Right, so, Eric zips down the stairs and tells it like it is: Sookie’s blood tastes like freedom and sunshine. While vampires may not realize it or why, that’s what they smell when they smell her. Sookie asks petulantly if Eric is threatening her (get a clue, Sook). He explains that on the contrary, Sookie’s going to need protection, and, straightening up to his full height of GIANT, he can offer that protection. Sookie will take her chances and flounces off to the kitchen, but Eric’s not going to rest his case quite that fast. He also, as you may recall, owns this house. Sookie snaps back that the house doesn’t come with her inside it, and Eric fires off that if that is the case, he “grossly overpaid.” I still think it’s gross that Eric considers Sookie transitive property or property of any kind, really.
Anyway, Eric wants Sookie to understand that he is asking her to be his (which is news to me). He asks how she felt when Bill first claimed her as his, and Sookie says it made her angry (angry and turned on, she does not clarify, nor does she tell him about the time she almost masturbated on Bill’s porch. Oh, show). Sookie wonders if Eric thought he could just buy her house and claim her and her legs “would magically open up” for him. Can we just take a second to appreciate Alexander Skarsgård’s work on this show? It’s about to change in a big, not-at-all-well-kept-secret way, so let’s just admire what he does here. Instead of looking positively cross-eyed with lust at such an offer, sarcastic though it is, Eric instead looks slightly taken aback and amused by Sookie’s dirty talk. “Well, that was saucy,” he faux-chides her. Sookie starts mumbling about wishing she hadn’t said that, but Eric puts a stop to that nonsense. Eric goes on to explain what I think is going to be a fairly important talking point for 1) the season and 2) the show. Like on True Blood’s sister show, it’s all about the plurality of selves. There are two Sookies: the first is the innocent “my stars” Sookie and the second, the one who says things like that, is fairy-Sookie, and fairy-Sookie better start popping her head up a lot more often since she has a much better chance of survival. It’s also pretty obvious that Eric loves fairy-Sookie just that little bit more, while Bill loves folksy-Sookie that little bit more. While I would suggest that the right man for Sookie would be one who could embrace both these Sookies and any others that develop over time (Alcide?), she’s probably going to end up with Eric. Tough luck, I know. Eric finally bids Sookie goodnight but not before reminding her to consider his supremely delicious offer.
In the Hall of the Vampire King
Compton Plantation. After Bill learns that they raised a bird, he tells Katerina to drop the coven. It’s too dangerous. She’s letting down her hair, so I think we all know where this is going to go. Incidentally, as she does so, Katerina reminds me ever-so-slightly of Sookie’s cousin Hadley. You know, she belonged to the Queen. I wonder if the casting is intentional to make us wonder if Bill saw the same thing. Probably not. Anyway, Katerina asks if Bill wants her to send out the procurer, but Bill’s decided to dine in. He scoops her up and whisks her upstairs. Aw, look how far Bill’s come! He’s got his own procurer now!
Sookie’s hurrying through the cemetery in a jean halter dress and mustard cardigan that I covet. As soon as she’s in position to take in the much revised Compton Plantation, she’s surrounded by commandos. The King has no interest in unannounced visitors, it would seem, but Bill’s already either sensed Sookie’s fear or maybe just heard what was happening or, hell, even caught her scent, so he stops to giving it to Katerina. One of the commandos, based on whatever comes through his ear piece, asks Sookie to confirm her identity. Once confirmed, Sookie’s in. She wanders around taking in the difference, all those moments she and Bill shared seemingly erased by animal carpets and modern art (oh, Bill). Finding no one on the ground floor, Sookie heads upstairs and finds Bill and Katerina just finishing getting dressed in Bill’s room. Katerina takes her leave but not before Sookie notices the bite marks on her neck.
Seems Sookie wants help with her Eric problem. While Bill is obviously relieved that she’s not already Eric’s, there’s not a whole heck of a lot he can do. Knew it. Sookie suggests that if Bill can’t intervene legally, perhaps he can do something vampire-legally. You know, as King. Being as how Sookie learned Bill’s regal status mere minutes ago, what did she even think Bill could do as a resident within Eric’s sheriff-dom? Reclaim her? Honestly, what was on her mind? Besides, you know, Bill = save me. Listen, I’m all about Sookie learning that the world was not on hold for her and reminder her that she is always capable of saving herself, but I just don’t know where the subtext is in this scene. Is she here out of habit? Anyway, Bill doesn’t know if he can do anything on that level either, as Eric has friends in high places. He declines to share which places are higher than a King, but I’m guessing either The Authority (though that seems unlikely) or the AVL. Or they are one and the same. Hard to tell these days. Sookie throws some snappy mischief his way, and Bill relents, saying he’ll do what he can. Poor Bill. You can tell that he hates for Sookie to see him powerless. He advises Sookie to take shelter in another human’s home in the interim, but we all know she’s not going to do that. Sookie turns to leave, then turns back to ask how Bill became King. Before he can even open his mouth, Sookie answers her own question, “If there’s one thing I learned from my relationship with you, it’s that every time I asked a question, I got an answer I wished I never knew in the first place.” Bill looks wounded. Shut up, Sookie. I’m sure he’s really keen to do you a favour now. Bill doesn’t owe you anything, and I will not let you take Hot Bill away again this year.
Fortunately for everyone everywhere, Sookie’s question prompts a Bill flashback. Unfortunately, some or all of it was filmed after they redid the Compton Plantation, so there’s some obvious green screening. So, as you may recall, Bill and Sophie-Anne went flying at each other Twilight-style. They flip over in the air a whole bunch of times, and Sophie-Anne throws Bill into the foyer. She’s gloating before the fight even gets going, but the gloat goes out of her when six red sniper rifle dots appear on her dress. “You brought humans into our affairs?” she cries in disgust. Bill sure did. Their guns have wooden bullets with silver cores. For whatever reason, the Queen can’t escape them and recognizes herself as lost. She wonders, as is her right in this moment, why Bill would even do this to her, and we flash even further back to London, 1982. Oh fuck yes. Yes, yes, yes.
Punk rock Bill Compton pulls this neat manoeuvre while working his way through a densely packed club, setting down his nearly full pint and picking up someone’s discarded empty. He approaches the bar, and this deserves a new sentence. Rather than going the way of Hugh Laurie and Ed Westwick, i.e. Brits doing Americans doing bad British accents, Stephen Moyer just goes ahead and drops his real accent on the proceedings. Well, I think so at any rate. I like that it suggests that Bill’s either got an ear for these things or that he purposefully cultivated it to fit in. Does that mean that there’s shades of Rene to it? Shit, Season 1 is everywhere these days! Sorry, the point is Bill orders up another pint, offering that Margaret Thatcher has destroyed 10 years of sobriety. Callum, the bartender, is immediately like, “She could drive any man to drink.” He takes Bill up on his offer of a pint. Before you know it, Bill’s snacking on Callum’s neck out in an alley behind the bar. Callum, as you can imagine, is not terribly into this idea. With his real accent, Bill convinces Callum to look him in the eyes. As the rattlesnake takes hold of the sound track (still love that cue), Bill tells Callum that 1) this never happened, and 2) he’ll probably feel weak for the next four or five days, so he should take an iron supplement and B12 twice daily. He couldn’t have started with that? I suppose that’s not the point. Bill pricks his finger on his fang and heals Callum's neck. He releases Callum, who, a little ways down the alley, turns back to throw another “damn the (wo)man!” type cry Bill’s way. In his British accent, Bill returns the same.
Hearing something behind him, Bill jumps around, fangs out. It’s Nan Flanagan! She’s very Designing Women in this moment. Blue eye shadow was no one’s friend. Nan’s got her fangs out, too. Having proven their bona fides, both retract. Nan wants to know why Bill doesn’t kill his prey. In his real accent and with his real gait, Bill clarifies that while they may be dinner, they don’t have to be dead. Nan informs him that there are many vampires who would argue the contrary, but there are also many who would rally to that cry. Bill’s kind of like, “That’s nice, but where are you going with this?” Nan pushes the idea of Bill as the face of vampirism for a while (Bill laughs at the idea of being able to mainstream) before outing with it: brilliant scientific minds, Louis Pasteur among them, are working on synthesizing human blood at this very moment. Bill gets temporarily stuck on the Louis Pasteur part but eventually offers up that the royalty would never go for it. Not sure, why, exactly. Would they fear their power eroding? Nan makes an oblique reference to those even higher up than the nobles wanting mainstreaming. In the meantime, they need a few good vampire spies in with said royals’ courts to help the process along. Bill, it seems, is being recruited. Remember all that noise last year about Bill being special, and then we thought it was all only because of Sookie? Maybe it was true.
Back in the more recent past, the commandos blow Sophie-Anne to sticky smithereens. Nan appears and states the obvious: killing Sophie-Anne was personal for Bill. Was it because of Sookie? Is there more to the story that Nan needs to know? Bill claims that while Sophie-Anne was obsessed with Sookie, there was no good reason other than craziness. Nan warns Bill that lying is what got Sophie-Anne killed, but Bill smoothly lies that he would never. Smooth operator! Bill’s a smooth operator! Bill takes the oath and swears his fealty to the Authority.
I Steadfastly Refuse to Believe that Evil is Hereditary
At work the next day, Sookie gently tells Sam that as soon as it not dangerous for her to do so, she’ll tell him where she’s been. Naturally, that’s all Sam needs to hear to back down, so he kindly tells her he appreciates that. Next!
Terry and Arlene show up to Merlotte’s late, Mikey strapped to Terry’s chest due to lack of babysitting options. You just know that Sam says literally nothing about this. Sookie is excited to meet the little one. She wonders if he looks more like his mom or his dad, and Terry immediately yells that Mikey’s a dead ringer for Arlene. I can see why they’d want to lie to Sookie specifically about the kid’s true parentage. Arlene starts to panic that Sookie can read Mikey’s evil, evil thoughts. Sookie laughingly reassures her that kids don’t even have thoughts at that age, but Arlene’s into a full on cry as she goes on to add that Sookie is not to read her thoughts either, she loves that kid very, very much. Arlene flees, leaving Terry to lie/explain that sleep’s hard to come by these days. Later in the kitchen, while Terry blah blahs about their plans for the night, Arlene starts deeply into Mikey’s eyes until a blood clot bursts in one of her own. She claims that Mikey did that because he is EVIL. Oh, for the love of flippin’ peace, Arlene. Rene wasn’t evil. Drew was a truly mixed up soul, and Rene was awesome. You just know that the plurality of self is completely lost on Arlene. I bet Terry would get it.
Black Magic Comes From a Dark Soul
While pulling approximately 100 pillows off the bed, Lafayette would like Jesus to know that he’s not terribly excited about this whole avian necromancy deal. He thinks it’s black magic. Jesus, on the other hand, thinks that magic is a reflection of the soul that wields it: if the person is good, good magic follows. Only evil people wield black magic. Lafayette, therefore, would be incapable of such a thing. There might have been more to this scene, but I’m completely distracted by Lafayette’s rat tail. Why? Just why.
Sookie’s bringing in her groceries when Mab and a mob of fairies attack. Nah, it’s just Tara. Wow, I didn’t think she was going to come. Sookie lies that she was away on Bill-mandated vampire business (very intriguing who she chooses to lie to and who she wants to be honest with) and quickly turns the conversation to New Orleans (whoops, got that one wrong last week), as it has obviously been doing Tara some good. Tara doesn’t get a chance to drop the MMA/lesbian bombs on Sookie, though, since they are distracted by a caligraphied note affixed to the backdoor with a shiny red bow. It reads, “Out with the old . . .” Inside, there’s a brand new stainless steel (i.e., not at all keeping the décor, but totally in keeping with the theme) microwave with the same bow and the rest of the note, “In with the new?” Oh, Eric. Tara assumes that this corniness is down to Bill, and I wish Eric could hear her say that while I laugh. Sookie quickly explains that it’s actually Eric, who owns the house. She also finds nothing but a decanter of blood in the spotless fridge. Hee. Sookie pours it down the drain. Tara grabs the ice cream out of Sookie’s grocery bag, as this is going to necessitate a talk. Attagirl. Sookie goes to grab some blankets (for cuddling? Are they going out on the lawn?) and notices what’s either a brand new armoire or just something different about an old one. She opens it to find a stainless steel (sensing a pattern here?) shaft with a long ladder leading down, down, down. “Panic room?” my viewing companion wonders. “Eric’s cubby,” I reply. Sookie’s even more succinct: “Motherfucker.” Downstairs, Sookie tells Tara that Eric built himself a cubby in her house. Tara immediately recognizes her need to blow.
Fangtasia. Eric’s not around, so Sookie appeals to Pam. Pam, quite reasonably, is like, “Are you for real?” She thinks Sookie should take Eric up on his offer to avoid getting her ass killed by another vamp. Furthermore, Eric’s “handsome, he’s rich, and, in his own way, he cares about you. He really does.” She punctuates that last with a tiny eyebrow that kills me dead. Pam for President, you guys. Also, this scene reminds of (again) of the time in Season 1 when Bill was all, “What’s it like to be up Eric’s ass all the time, Pam?” And she was like, “It’s amazing, obviously.” I love Pam. Sookie declines to be Eric’s puppet, and Pam positively purrs, “Shame for you then. He pulls good string.” I . . . don’t even know what that means. Perhaps a reference to entry 3? I don’t know what’s more distracting in this scene: Pam’s sparkly one-shoulder dress with the absurdly popped up shoulder, Sookie’s orange tights (‘cause it’s fall, y’all), or the briefly glimpsed guitars and drum kit, leading me to imagine Pam and Eric as the White Stripes. Eric gets a wig. Okay, I’m done.
Eric is, you see, at the Compton Plantation by order of the King. My viewing companion: what is Eric wearing? The usual black pants, a teal (for real?) low cut tank, and a quilted (wtf?) leather jacket. Yup, that was a good question. Bill informs Eric that there’s a coven in town, and Eric’s like, “Whoop-dee-do, I’ll send Pam.” Bill, however, puts his foot down and demands that Eric deal with it himself. “They’re necromancers, Eric. They’ve already raised a bird.” Eric stops dead in his tracks. Bill explains, for the benefit of the audience, that vampires are dead bodies and therefore easily susceptible to necromancy, but Eric cuts him off to tell him that he remembers the Inquisition; he was there. That’s what the Inquisition was about? Alright, maybe that’s what it was about on this show. Still, I love to see Bill and Eric jockeying for power like this when no one’s around. It makes me feel like these boys have issues with each other outside of Sookie, which is what I like to think anyway. Eric’s off.
Tara rolls up to Lafayette’s, who’s only too happy to see his favourite hooker. Everyone’s hugging, and Lafayette drops in a reference to Naomi to let us know that Tara’s come out to at least one person. Lafayette has this fantastic look on his face, too, like, “Isn’t being gay GREAT?” Doubtless, Lala. Jesus and Lafayette are on their way to meet with the coven, and Tara’s like, “So you’re a witch now?” Lafayette demurs, so Tara comes along for the ride.
At the coven, Marnie’s suggesting that they raise a person this time. Oh, no. No, no, no. That’s pretty much Jesus’ reaction. This one’s a keeper, Lafayette. Some weird dude thinks it’s a grand ol’ idea, and, before anyone could even wonder if they are going to be ghouls now, too, Eric pulls open both doors in a double door set, briefly making me wonder if he’s taking up Angel’s War on Doors. That vamp hated doors. Anyway, Eric inquires after their leader, then informs Marnie that they will disband. Lafayette is doing this hilarious thing where he is wigged, but he doesn’t want to draw too much attention by running, but he also doesn’t want to draw attention by trying to hide, so he’s just trying to remain inconspicuous. This is Lala, remember, so that’s next to impossible. Yup, Eric’s gives him a hey and gets back to the threatening. They will disband. They will not lie to his face and then get together behind his back because there is no behind his back. Marnie asks what’s in it for her, and I yell, “Not getting murdered isn’t good enough for you?” Eric’s been doing his so-matter-of-fact-it’s-borderline-ironic threatening thing this entire time, but that single question is too much to bear. He raises his voice, and all the glass in the room seems to rattle and shake as a result. “This is a deal, not a negotiation. Do I negotiate, Lafayette?” Lafayette encourages Marnie to just take the damn deal already, but she’s not into that. Idiot. She’s about to, I don’t know, counter offer, when Eric grabs her, dips her, and sinks his fangs into her neck. Some of the witches start to panic, particularly Lafayette, but Holly busts into an incantation that unites them. Eric’s unmoved, sucking the life out of Marnie, but Tara’s had enough. She puts down her Good Housekeeping and picks up a combo cross/stake. Eric grabs her before she can do much damage, but that’s enough to get Lafayette to spring into action. I like how they aren’t strong enough for dick all without our man Reynolds. He joins the circle, and Marnie immediately starts channelling. Whoever this brunette lady is, she’s powerful. Eric seems to recognize her. Whatever those two bitches get up to, it gets Eric wigged, which is no way for Eric to be. When it’s over, Eric looks petrified. He drops Tara and vamp-zips out of there. He’s gone full on Meekus, you guys. After he’s gone, Marnie asks what happened.
Why Do You Smell So Good?
I forgot to mention this earlier, but, when Hoyt and Jessica left Fangtasia the night before, there was a group of protesters there chanting about how Steve Newlin was right. Hoyt got into it with one of them about there’s nothing wrong with him loving Jessica, loving is Christian and hating is not. Agreed. Things got heated, Hoyt threw a punch, then Hoyt got circle beaten while Pam held Jessica back. Not because Pam didn’t want to kill every last one of them but because, in this post-Russell Edginton world, they can’t very well get caught committing a massacre. Pam also says something about exercising their first amendment rights, but I’m pretty sure they don’t have the right to express them on her property if she doesn’t want them to. That’s why people are always protesting across the street from things, right?
The next night, Jessica wakes up and offers a hurting Hoyt some of her blood. Hoyt blows her off, which is one thing, but he adds that he doesn’t need that shit, which is another entirely. Jessica is understandably upset. Hoyt makes a totally reasonable point about how humans can get really fucked up from V, but it’s too late. She demands the keys, and Hoyt tells her not to run off every time they have a fight, which makes it sounds like this is a recurring problem. Jessica, however, is only off to get some Advil if Hoyt is going to refuse her blood. Hoyt doesn’t want Advil, either, but Jessica has to get out and finally get the keys from him.
At the literal crossroads between Bon Temps Town Centre and Shreveport (sigh), Jess turns for Fangtasia. She drops her plaid, revealing a sexy tank underneath, and works her way through the protesters. Inside, the entire club vibrates in response to the vibes she’s sending. Jessica lets down her hair and catches the eye of the fangbanger from the night before. She walks up to him, and, cutely, the spell is broken when all she has to say is, “Hey.”
In the Fangtasia ladies’ room, Sookie hears a certain sucking, which she correctly pegs as Jessica. She emerges from a stall, shoving Fangbanger back inside. Sookie asks, pointedly but not unkindly, if Hoyt knows where Jess is right now. Jessica is in no mood to deal with that reality, so she drops another one back on Sookie: she hated that step-mother shit before, and she likes it even less now. How can Sookie sit in judgement after what she did to Bill? Aw, Jessica cares about Bill! That’s a nice reminder. Before Sookie can even choke out an aggrevied, “What I did to Bill?”, Jessica goes on that Sookie broke Bill’s heart, and she’s still breaking it, even now. Awesome. Just awesome. I bet that shit never even occurred to Sookie. Oh, you can so tell it didn’t! Jessica slams back into her stall, tossing off a perfectly teenaged, “I can eat whoever I want!” Sookie’s no longer interested in waiting for Eric. She fights her way through the dumbass crowd, yelling at them to learn a new chant, and drives home.
Out on the road, Sookie spies a shirtless Eric wandering down the street. I bet he also wondered what he was wearing. I wonder if he’s wearing shoes. She calls out to him repeatedly with no response. Finally he turns because, hey, noise, but has no visible reaction to his name or Sookie’s questions about what he’s doing. He’s basically like, “Whatever, lady,” until he catches her scent. He turns back, perplexed. “Why do you smell so good?”
Huh. 1) You would think he would speak in Swedish if he had amnesia. 2) Usually amnesiacs are portrayed as desperate to figure things out, but I guess they usually know they have amnesia. Plus they usually aren’t 1000 year-old vampires, so it might be different. Oh, uh, spoiler. Eric’s got amnesia. That’s what I’ve been saying this entire time. We’re about to get a new Eric on our hands, and I’ve already dubbed him Puppy Eric.
This Week in Plotlines that Can Be Summed Up in a Paragraph
Tits! Just so you know it’s HBO. In human form, Sam find Luna lounging naked in the moonlight. He makes a pass at her, which goes over well enough until they mention having done some bad stuff, and Luna runs off in horse form. The next day she swings by Merlotte’s to seduce him, and they kiss. As they leave, Tommy picks up the scent and tries to get info out of Sam, but none is forthcoming. That night, while roasting marshmallows, Sam’s Shifter Club talks about the craziest thing they’ve ever shifted into. Suzanne shifted into a hen in order to infiltrate an egg farm and expose their bad practices. While Emory mocks Suzanne’s bourgeois preoccupations, Luna admits that she once shifted into her mother. My viewing companion thought it couldn’t be done, while I seem to recall that Sam said it wasn’t impossible but too difficult to make it worth trying. At any rate, Luna is half-Mexican, half-Navajo. Her mother died in childbirth. As Luna explains that the Navajo believe that skin walkers get their power by killing another walker, well, you can tell what they thought of Luna. Still, Luna shifted into her mom at some point, which was supposedly very touching to be in the skin of the mother she never met, but it’s pretty clear that something terrible happened when she did so. I’m guessing something terrible involving her dad. Sorry, my mind went there. It’s all very bonding worthy indeed until they sniff out Tommy. Sam goes after him. After flying around for a while, Bird Sam tackles Bird Tommy, and they land on the ground in a naked man heap. I do love that all these shifters are down their Edenic selves. Naked? No problem! So Tommy and Sam yell at each other for a while about the lies that they’ve told and which is worse, shooting your brother or getting shot. Finally, Tommy cracks and admits he still wants a brother. They make a deal to start distrusting each other a little less every day. Tommy flies off before the other shifters catch up.
Also, Jason wakes up strapped to a cot with Timbo (the one who lured him to the busted ice box) licking his head. Jason manages to convince Timbo to release him, but Felton comes back before Timbo can get through even one knot. Andy shows up looking for V, which Felton recognizes instantly. He turns over a vial, neutralizing Andy and sending him on his way. Crystal and Felton haven’t been able to conceive, so Felton’s finally relented on Crystal using Jason instead. Trouble is, she wants to have panther babies, so Jason needs to be a panther first. “What if I don’t wanna be a panther?” doesn’t get Jason very far. Felton and Crystal shift, then start biting the shit out of Jason’s torso as he screams.
In other news:
Next time: Though I still don’t get scenes, I’m going to go ahead and suggest it’s the episode where Sookie punches Puppy Eric in the face and Alcide shows up and makes that noise.