Reaction: True Blood (4×01)

As with all the episode recaps, there will be spoilers for the TV show, and minimal jokes referencing the books, particularly since True Blood TV canon ≠ Southern Vampire Mysteries book canon.

Because of personal schedule conflicts, I was unable to post the Game of Thrones finale review last week, so it will be posted tomorrow.

Fairyland: various attractive brunettes in flowing new agey pastels carry glowing tomato-apple things on translucent trays, among a widely varied group of people on a balcony overlooking a sunset/mountains/beach. Look, it’s Claudine! She says she’s Sookie’s fairy godmother. Sookie’s all, “OH, REALLY? NICE JOB, THERE. NOT LIKE I COULD EVER HAVE USED ANY SUPERNATURAL FAIRY MAGIC ASSISTANCE IN THE PAST 3 SEASONS.” *side eye* Interrupting this awkwardness is Barry the Bell-boy, from Season 2! He has a fairy godmother, too. Barry’s godmother is a man, presenting as male. …Huh. Pro… gressive? Idk. I think it’s meant to be funny, but isn’t.

“Would you like a lumiere? A light fruit,” a fairy in a drapey outfit offers. Sookie and Barry each take one, but Sookie sees everybody so enjoying the fruit that she knows it’s weird. What the hell, gaeity? Fuck that shit. But yeah, Sookie is suddenly displaying genre awareness, which is always nice to see in protagonists. She tries to warn Barry, but it’s too late.

“This is, like… biting into pure happiness. You gotta try this, Sookie.” Uh, no thanks, dude. You can stay six months a year in Hades or be stuck in that Lotus-Eater casino from Percy Jackson or take the devilrot peach from Hoggle and go into a bubble dream or fight the hand-eye man from Pan’s Labyrinth all by your damn self. NOOOOO THANK YOU. Sookie looks around, knowing she is surrounded by damned souls and sees an old guy. Sook flashes back to her him giving her a ripe apple off a tree when she was a little girl. Psychic grandpa!

“Granddaddy?” she says. Granddaddy? Really? Anyway. He’s incredulous, but seems amused, all the same. “Granddaddy Earl? I’m Sookie.”

He’s horrified. “I just saw you last week. It was your birthday.”

“Granddaddy, that was– 20 years ago.”

~I WANNA DO BAD THINGS WITH YOU~

Granddaddy Earl is sitting with Sookie on a bench, and asks if Grandma (henceforth Grandmammy Adele) died yet, and how it happened. “Peacefully,” says Sookie, with slight hesitation, and no visible discomfort. He only felt like he was gone for a few hours, but everything is so different, and Faery is just so beautiful.

SHE DID NOT DIE PEACEFULLY, but whatever, because THE WALLS ARE MELTING. NOT SO BEAUTIFUL NOW, HUH?! Turns out the stock fairyland prop foods (I feel like I may have had Glowing Fairy Fruit as a toy before, but mine looked more bell peppers– budget lumieres) serve a purpose, which is as a hallucinogenic glamour. Clever! Drugging up your quarry is surely more effective than maintaining an illusion over an entire universe. Sookie tries to telepathically communicate to Granddaddy Earl that they are in MAD DANGER, but EVERYBODY can hear thoughts there, apparently (Barry the Bell-boy should have been a hint), and she’s Admiral Ackbar-ing up the place.

A red-haired, tall fairy lady strolls up from in between the trees with assertive body language and arched eyebrows. Why would the fairies try and trap anybody? Hohoho, foolish child. Sookie stares. “No need to bow, we’re all friends here,” she says, passive-aggressively.

“Sorry, but I don’t know who you are.”

“Call me Mab.” she says, putting on her creep voice. OH SNAP. She tries to convince Sookie to eat the glowing fruit, and Sookie’s like, “Uh, double no.” This does not sit well with Mab, seeing as it’s Sookie’s fault that a vampire breached the wall between the worlds into their new plane, after nearly draining them to extinction in the Old World. I’m going to go on ahead and guess that Old World for fairies actually means the whole world *wax-on wax-off gesture* instead of, like, the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Which is also nice, to see the term used in a non-Eurocentric way, but probably won’t be explored. Ah, well.

“We’ve sown too many seeds with humans, now it is time to harvest.”

“You’re harvesting people,” Sookie realizes out loud, but remember, it’s pointless for her to just think it to herself, because everyone but us (the audience) will hear it anyway.

Mab has a bunch of fairies grab Sookie and hold her down, and takes a fruit herself to force it into Sookie’s mouth. Just as I was wondering if Mab was going to do the nose-pinching open-your-mouth-to-breathe trick (and/or be super strong enough to pry Sookie’s jaw open), or if the juice getting into her mouth would be enough, SHABAM, Sookie uses her hand lightning powers on Mab! It throws her off of Sookie, but then also across the pavilion area straight into a tree, and slaps the glamour off of her, and all the fairies and scenery in nearby proximity.

OH, SNAP! POTENT HYBRID POWERS FOR THE WIIIIIIN. So… Sookie is Namor? Yes? Yes. The strengths of both, the weaknesses of neither, and some bonus unlockable abilities! Fuck yeah. Anyway, now that everything has turned into a bad drug dream, and Sookie’s laser beams apparently also slapped the high off of everyone else (or turned what they saw into a HORRIBLE CIRQUE DU SOLEIL SHOW), Sookie grabs Granddaddy Earl and runs. (What is Barry the Bell-boy, chopped liver? …Yes.)

All the Unseelie court are now chasing the shit out of Sookie in the barren rugged Mad Max: Thunderdome wasteland the fairies apparently made their new home in, in crouched runs like movie-cavepeople with bad teeth. Is Sookie that special a snowflake, or is this just because she pissed off Queen Mab? (Throwing out there that I totally prefer Mab from the 1998 Merlin miniseries/movie, but I also didn’t make this show.) Except one fairy is a defector! He and his cohorts on top of a nearby cliff, use the speculated ancient method of woolly mammoth hunting to drop a boulder on a bunch of other fairies who were chasing Claude and the Stackhouses. This is also how pancakes were invented. …Not really.

Oh, it’s Claude! Hey, Claude. I… don’t want to see you strip. You’re so dirty. You’re like… Final Fantasy XII dirty. He tells Sookie to jump into a massive chasm, because it’s the only way back into PEOPLE world, and Mab’s all, “No waaaay, girl, it’s totally too high up, you’ll just splatter. To death! Hang with us!”

Sookie is indecisive on this. What? Go with not the demon queen who tried to force you to eat a demon paopu fruit. Who is also shrinking the hole as she says all this. SUSPICIOUS!! Sookie’s logic points have been used up for the day, however. Earl realizes time is of the essence, and grabs Sookie, throwing them both down…

…and into the Bon Temps graveyard. A flash to Bill and Eric each opening their eyes, as they realize Sookie has returned from the astral/neanderthal plane. Yay! Foreshadowing! But since Earl has eaten of the fae fruits, he flickers like a poisoned Pokemon. Knowing time is short, he asks to see his wife and children’s graves, and hands Sookie his engraved pocket watch to give to Jason. With an actual *poof* sound effect (really), Earl disappears. Sookie sobs. She’s had a hard couple of days, dude.

You know what I do when I have a hard day? I like mojitos, myself. Oh, and then that other thing. Going home to have a good cry and take a nap. Sookie decides to skip mojitos and go straight home, where she sees a workmen painting her house. Are they finally cleaning up all the maenad damage? Except no. One of the men, working near the front door, stops Sookie. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“This is my house,” she says, and enters to see her sofa covered with a dropcloth, and newly painted walls. The guy follows her and says if she doesn’t leave, he’ll have to call the cops. “Go ahead!” Sookie snaps back at him. She would love to see that. Love it. She wants an explanation, but Sookie is also just Done With This Day and wants everybody out of her damn house. She sits down in the kitchen and cries.

A police officer comes to the door and enters Sookie’s house. It’s Officer Ryan Kwanten! “Jason… why are you dressed like a cop?” And nice bro goatee, bro. Jason is shocked. Sookie’s back! Holy crap!

Sookie’s wonders why her brother is being so weird. “What is today’s date?” October 21st. “I’ve been gone 2 weeks?”

“Sook. You’ve been gone 12 1/2 months.” LE GASP! Nice twist, actually. The writers and/or editors decide to skip the part where Sookie explains all of what happened and cut right to Jason’s reaction and the conversation that follows.

Sookie may have been gone a year, but she is still unfolding all the petals of the shit sandwich day she has been having when she finds out why people are painting her veranda. “You sold my house?” I guess she isn’t footing the bill for all that nonsense, anyway. All Sookie’s stuff is still there, packed up, but she’s mighty pissed. Emotional yo-yoing, dude. 10, 15 minutes in a fairy ring, and next thing you know, EVERYONE YOU LOVE IS A YEAR OLDER. Am I right?

Jason is defensive, because Sookie has been missing over a year, and she’s not the type to run off without telling anyone (TARA). They had a search and a website and everything! Aw. I’d make a missing white girl joke, but Sookie is really angry, and I am also tiredof HLN covering the Casey Anthony trial, so it wouldn’t be so much a “funny joke” as a “bitter yet pithy observation of reality.”

Sookie reminds Jason that she was in fairyland, and, uh, for her it was like, a quarter hour. She isn’t being totally fair right now, but neither is he, you know? Jason has a moment where he tries to figure out how to phrase to Sookie that that shit is bananas (b-a-n-a-n-a-s), even for her. In response, she pulls out the pocket watch from Granddaddy Earl. Jason realizes what this means, and freaks out a little bit, thinking Sookie may have left him behind.

“He’s gone,” she tells Jason, I guess letting him know Earl is dead, but not reaffirming that she did rescue him from an eternity of life/undeath with creepfairies. Jason, seeing that the watch doesn’t appear to be working (I couldn’t tell if it was broken in a significant way or if it was just a manual clock), asks when it happened (when Earl poofed). Reminded of the time, Sookie realizes that some vampires are about to show up at her house, since it’s dusk now.

Bill shows up first. Stephen Moyer is putting a lot of tremulous teary intensity into his voice, here, and it’s really well done. I generally dislike the execution of Bill as a TV character because I don’t think Moyer’s as consistent as some of the other actors on True Blood at masking his own accent or portraying an accurate Louisianan accent, and I also think he and Anna Paquin have incredibly stiff screen interaction, despite the weird squickiness of their being a couple IRL and playing a couple on an MA-rated cable TV show. This was really good, though. He thought Sookie was dead, and is feeling a lot of feelings, even though he knows he isn’t welcome in Sookie’s house.

Which, by the way, wouldn’t rescinding a vampire’s invitation into your home extend to your property? I perceive my lawn as part of my home, as does American law, but it might be for creep factor. Or for a heavier sex metaphor, what with all those thresholds and windows and things being the entrances into your house. It’s not quite as sexy to be like, “So, your fence actually is into your neighbor’s property, I’m going to press myself really flat against the chainlink now!”

“Well, I knew you weren’t dead.” OH, ERIC, SUCH A TROLL. He walks up the driveway toward Sookie’s porch, where she and Bill are talking. Bill tries to politely dismiss Eric (“Aren’t you needed at Fangtasia?”), which Eric shuts down (“We’re fine, but Pam and I appreciate your concern”), until Bill outright snaps, “Eric, go!

A pause. “Apparently, I have to go.” Hmm. Was he waiting for Sookie to say something? Or is he actually listening to Bill? Whaaaat? He tells Sookie that even though Sookie’s friends, family, and ex-lovers may have given up on her, he knew she wasn’t dead, and never gave up hope. Keep the dream alive! “Nice paint,” he says, and leaves.

Then a police car shows up. Andy Bellefleur seems really wound up. “You have got to be shittin’ me!”

“Nice to see you too, Andy.”

He is really upset, but at very least seems relieved that she’s okay– Bill explains that the Bon Temps PD had Bill as their main suspect in Sookie’s potential murder, which makes sense, seeing how many witnesses close to Sookie knew Bill was kind of a piece of shit last season, and that they’d had a falling out and all. Andy lets Sookie know she can come up to the station the next day to fill out the paperwork around her abduction, and Sookie lets Andy know she wasn’t taken anywhere. This does not go over well.

Andy cannot believe that Sookie has been such an ass. She’s been gone for over a year! All those man-hours were put in! All that money! “We dragged the fuckin’ lake for you, where the hell’d you go?” he barks, invading Sookie’s personal space.

“Hey!” Jason runs out from inside the house, inserting himself between the two of them, but making eye contact with Andy in more of an alarmed and incredulous way than an enraged “WTF” kind of way. Interesting.

“She was working for me,” Bill puts in. He makes up a “vampire business” mission he had to put Sookie on, that he couldn’t tell anyone about, because human lives were at risk until its completion. “I will repay the cost of the search effort, of course, once a statement has been made clearing my name. As you can see, she is not dead.”

This is a sweet deal, but Andy is still hot under the collar. Apparently, having the Missing Stackhouse case open cost him the Louisiana Safe Streets Plaque. Is that a thing? “YOU OWE ME A PLAQUE!” he screams as Jason leads him back to his police cruiser.

Bill gives Sookie a pleading look, like a dog who you caught stealing your food, and who knows they did wrong, but would totally do it again, so you can’t trust them. It is a look I know well. He’s sorry, but more sorry he got caught being a jerk a year ago than he’s sorry about actually being a jerk. He’s so sad! Can’t they patch things up? No. Sookie reminds him that for her, he broke her heart yesterday, and she tears up telling him that she’s glad he’s okay and everything, which I would guess is more out of sentiment for the relationship she thought she had a week ago and gratitude for Bill’s kindness in covering up her disappearance than about actually being happy for his well-being.

In the police car, Jason is ready to confront Andy. “Are you using?”

“What? NO! I had maybe one drop this morning, but I’m gone, it’s out!” Jason digs all through the car, but Andy’s unimaginative, so while he hasn’t hidden what I would guess is his last vial of V in the glove compartment or front seat divider, he has it under the driver’s side sun visor.

“You are now,” Jason says, pocketing it, and Andy punches the dashboard. Chris Bauer is going to do an excellent job portraying a struggling addict this season, guys.

Meanwhile, outside the MOON GODDESS EMPORIUM! Lafayette has the sassiest sassy frohawk ever and a cropped denim tuxedo vest with zipper pockets. “Ten good motherfucking months I’ve gone without a freaky vision,” he says. Why would Jesús want to fuck that up for him?! Lafayette does not want to stay. “5 minutes. 10 if they got drinks.”

They walk in, and it’s very typical neopagan/new age/headshoppy. “Smells like where old air fresheners go to die.” Oh, LaLa! I wouldn’t call patchouli and nag champa an air freshener smell, but maybe there’s just a lot of stale potpourri in there.

“They’re cool, trust me,” Jesús reassures him. “They even got a beaded curtain.” The mark of any classy coven.

“Aw hell to the naw.” Lafayette and Jesús walk into a mostly furniture-free room where a largeish group of women sit cross-legged on the floor arranged in a circle. A witch with glasses and Holly, the witch (both “traditional”/magical and religious/Wiccan) who works at Merlotte’s stand and greet the two men with hugs! Aw. It’s almost like the writers aren’t deliberately toeing a really bigoted line!

They explain that everyone meets there pretty regularly, and their head witch, Marnie, acts as a shaman/conduit to the astral plane to communicate with the dead. Uh-huh. I see. Lafayette is skeptical, which, considering how he has seen some shit, he should not be. Then again, I don’t think he remembers most of season 2.

“It’s like fishing. You cast your line out into the dark, sometimes you get a bite, sometimes you don’t,” Holly explains.

“On nights we don’t, there’s vodka.” Glasses Witch! I likes the cut of your jib.

Marnie, still apparently in her trance, points to Lafayette upon realizing a new presence has entered the room. She starts choking out some words. “Ee–ee–ee–eed.” Edith? Edie? …Eddie? The atmosphere becomes tense.

“It’s a common name,” Lafayette reasons, though he’s remembering his vampire john and blood supplier for his drug-dealing activities. This is all before Jason staked him and Learned some Lessons about trust, the seduction of drugs, guilt, murder, etc., and is reminding me that I have really been wanting Jason to get a more extended PTSD subplot like Lafayette and Terry Bellefleur have gotten.

Marnie-as-Eddie “offers” LaLa a “rose” (her empty hand) and then grabs him, saying that being sold out by Lafayette was worth it, just to have a glass of Merlot with him. Lafayette jerks back and accuses Jesús of telling Marnie about his past, since there’s no way she could know that, then storms out. Marnie collapses, blissfully babbling about how she’d contacted a real spirit, and can’t remember anything, and it’s totally awesome! This does not bode well for Lafayette!!

In the year Sookie was gone, Arlene has carried her pregnancy to term. As she walks into her trailer, she finds that Baby Mikey has decapitated all Cody and Lisa’s fashion dolls while Terry was in the bathroom for two-to-three minutes. This really freaks her out, considering she thinks René (season 1) is the biological father– initially, it was up in the air for the audience, since Arlene also doesn’t remember season 2, when she actually did have sex with Terry (and possibly other men in Bon Temps) while under a district-wide hedonistic possession. In season 3, after the “freaky visions” Lafayette mentioned due to a shared spirit-bonding drug trip with Jesús, Lafayette was having visual and auditory hallucinations/psychic insights about people he interacted with the next day, including Arlene. He pictured her with René choking her, saying, “I’m inside her.” Arlene’s voice piped up in the background: “This is hell.” Later, Jesús said he went through a similar thing after his magical training and enduring a sweat lodge, seeing things that were inside people that they wanted to hide– but I’m still not sure if that’s supposed to be something Arlene is thinking/feeling/worrying and is true from her perspective, or if Lafayette is seeing objective fact about the people he’s looking at.

Anyway, Terry is very chill about the whole thing. Arlene wonders what kind of baby rips the heads off of Barbie dolls, and, yeah, little babies doen’t have that kind of fine motor control to apply precision property damage like that. They have the strength plenty, but that has to be either a magic baby or a baby with a lot of ingenuity. “Just boys!” Terry exclaims. “Regular ordinary curious boys. When I was a boy I used to put squirrel heads on lizard bodies and invent new animals.” Arlene is WEIRDED OUT, but will not be distracted. In barely-suppressed panic, she tells her infant that he has to understand killing is wrong. Mikey’s all, “Buh?” because he is a baby.

Scene change! Tara has apparently taken notes from Sam, and applied them to becoming a badass MMA fighter in a new town. YES! Excellent!! Best fake identity ever. She chuckles, victorious after kicking her opponent’s ass in front of a cheering multiracial and gender-equal crowd. Yay!

Scene change!! Jessica and Hoyt have a couple’s spat. Jessica is watching a nature show and seems to be enjoying the killing parts, but is otherwise a bored 17/18/19-year-old. She asks how Hoyt’s day was, and Hoyt snaps back that he’s been pouring asphalt in the Louisiana sun next to a mosquito-infested swamp all day, how do you think it went? What the hell, dude. He’s really hungry, and Jessica’s like, well, you put your leftovers in the fridge, didn’t you?

“You remember I eat, don’t you?” Hoyt says, upon seeing his nearly-bare fridge.

“You remember I don’t eat, don’t you?” Jessica grumbles to herself from the sofa, sipping her TruBlood.

“You eat me,” Hoyt says, tugging his collar down to show the puncture wounds on his neck. Fair point. Hoyt is of the opinion that Jessica should cook for him on occasion, and Jessica is of the opinion that Hoyt is being an ass, since human food as mega-gross. It’s all dead and already decaying and stuff. Blergh!!

“You think bleeding out into your mouth wasn’t gross at first? You get used to it.” OH, REALLY. Jessica is about done at this point. You want some eggs? She’ll make you some goddamn eggs. She cracks the entire cardboard pack into a frying pan, shells and all.

“What are you doing?”

“Making you eggs, just like your mama!” Hoyt is offended, because his mother is dead to him, you hear, dead! And he cut those ties for Jessica, etc. etc. I think Jessica meant more because Hoyt wants her to take care of him, which, let’s face it, is totally annoying, but since we’re on the subject, his mother did try to shoot her into a pile of goo.

Then they try and out-absurd each other in their rage, and Jessica breaks and laughs first, since she dumped a plate of raw eggs and eggshells onto a plate and Hoyt decided to eat them to make a point. They both laugh and hug, because sometimes couples fight over stupid stuff. I still wish they would talk about what they both want from a relationship, since they’re cohabitating, but I don’t think they’re married yet (and I’m not even sure if it’s legal in True Blood for vampires and humans to marry each other)– but either way, that was a silly fight that touched on some pretty serious core issues they have re:compatability. Even though I think Hoyt and Jessica are sweet, and funny as hell, I’m not sure if that relationship is going to work out into the nice domestic situation they both seem to want.

Back at Sookie’s house, she comments that TV hasn’t gotten better in the year she was gone, but she’s still enjoying watching it on her/the new homeowner(s)’ brand-new flatscreen. If you have to watch Spongebob… Jason sits next to her, and he comes bearing hot cocoa! GOOD JOB, BIG BROTHER. Thumbs up. Sustenance! Comfort food! Chocolate! I like seeing Good Sibling Behavior on TV, because those relationships tend to strike a poor balance between “Best Friends”/”Hated Enemies”/”Older Siblings Are Parents”/”As Close As BF/GF” in TV, and I know more writers have siblings than that. I don’t know if there’s pressure for the eye candy actors to be CONSTANTLY SEXY or CONSTANTLY TROUBLED or something, but they should stop it.

“I’m not letting you spend the night alone,” he says. Oh, now it’s weird. I wish Anna Paquin was more controlled with her body-awkwardness, because when Jason relaxes next to her on the sofa, she doesn’t also relax in the bummy way you do with your siblings, she just kind of poses, and doesn’t even hug him or punch him or do any of the stuff you do with siblings when the moment gets emotional. (I punch.) So it became an “Ogle Ryan Kwanten” moment, and a “They Could Be a Couple” moment. It passes really quickly, but was super distracting and bizarre.

Fangtasia! Finally! Pam has been lassoed into recording… a commercial of some sort? “Men, women, families, pets. Everyone is welcome, so come on down. The blood is warm, and so is the service.” Pam! I have missed you!! If Kristin Bauer delivered all her lines in that deadpan, I would still love everything Pam said. (Speaking of, Kristin Bauer and Chris Bauer are speculated not to be related at all since their IMDB pages list them as being from different places, but, having moved around a lot myself, I know that doesn’t actually mean anything one way or the other. It’s still really interesting, even if it’s just a coincidence.)

“Do human families have anything to fear from vampire-owned businesses in their communities?” the cameraman prompts.

No.” Haaa.

“…Could you elaborate?”

No, human families do not have anything to fear from vampire-owned businesses in their communities,” she says, showing mastery of the elementary-school English-class rules to use full sentences in short-answer questions.

Nan Flanagan, vampire PR woman extraordinaire, is pissed. In a post-Russell-Edgington world (oh, REALLY? Denis O’Hare was already confirmed for this season, dun dun DUN!), making a political video should not be this difficult. Pam wonders how stupid Nan thinks the general public actually is.

“I have proof, scientific. People are far dumber than they realize.” I can’t argue with that, Nan. “That’s the man we need.” Eric! Hay gurl, haaaay. He figures Pam is doing poorly at the public speaking game because she doesn’t actually care if anyone believes her. She just kind of lives for the humor in anything she says. We’ve all had those days, yeah? He really adorably flicks Pam’s hair off her shoulder (confession time: Pam and Eric are my favorite relationship dynamic on this show) and unclips the mic from her shirt, shooing her off the stool set up in front of the cameras.

“Action.” Guys, Eric cued himself. Dude has swagger. He goes into his awesome PSA of awesomeness. “Would you rather trust a politician, or a vampire?” HOHOHO. You so funny. Bill simultaneously gives a speech at a nursing home, and is appropriately humble and sweet where Eric is humorously snarky and charming. And Swedish where Bill subtly flirts with Portia Bellefleur immediately before referencing his long-dead wife! Awkwaaards.

“We’re always happy to serve humans here at Fangtasia. And we don’t mean for dinner.” Bill cuts the ribbon outside the nursing home with novelty scissors as Eric makes his fingers into scissors to “cut” the video. Nice. Nan’s happy, the senior citizens are happy, the vampires seem pleased with themselves.

Tara smokes a cigarette outside the arena where the cage fight was held, as her opponent comes out. I thought they were going to have a street fight or a confrontation about Tara’s past or something. Instead, she’s like, “I totally let you win,” and they both smile. Then they start to make out.

…Alan Ball. There are some problematic implications, here. My first thought was the “Rape Makes You Lesbian” trope, which is a million miles of bullshit, especially considering Tara was never even hinted to be bisexual in a series where drinking vampire’s blood makes you have sexy sexy gay and het sex dreams about them. I’m not sure if Tara’s plots have been so aggressively horrible because they’re horribly written or because Alan Ball secretly hates Rutina Wesley, but I’m reeeeeally hoping I’m wrong about the woman-hating (and supernatural-prejudiced) lesbian-due-to-assault subplot. HEAVY SIGHS ALL AROUND.

A drunk guy on the street harasses Tara (now going by Toni) and her girlfriend, Naomi, offering them $10 to watch them have sex with each other, talking about how he wants to see that “chocolate-banana swirl” (DID WE MENTION NAOMI IS ASIAN I HOPE YOU ALL NOTICED), etc. etc. Naomi is all for murdering this guy in the street, but Tara/Toni has apparently moved to a much more peaceful place in her heart. “I’m sorry for you,” she says to him. Sorry you’re such a LOSER, that is. Oooohhhhhh! She seems to genuinely mean it, though, and doesn’t even take a taunting or angry tone– she’s genuinely full of non-emotionally-invested pity, which is an interesting stance from someone who’s been so consistently victimized in-series. Tara/Toni does take his money, though, and tells him to consider that payment for not turning him in for solicitation.

Sookie goes to Merlotte’s and hugs Arlene and Terry. Arlene fauxpologizes for thinking Bill killed Sookie, but feels it’s pretty justifiable seeing as her first reaction (“in love with a serial killer”) comes from personal experience. Sookie also totally wants to meet the baby! Arlene tenses up at that, and Terry says Mikey’s a really smart baby, and don’t worry about missing the birth.

“Still, we were gonna name the baby after you, but then it turned out to be a boy, and there ain’t no boy version of Sookie.” Well, I know it’s a very old-fashioned and/or “country” nickname for names like Susan, Susannah, etc., like how “Snooky” was an actual thing before Nicole Polizzi, but whatever. It is kind of a weird name.

Lafayette comes out of the kitchen to get hugs before his gumbo burns, and Sookie asks if Tara’s working that day.

“Naw, she– she moved.” Lafayette doesn’t know where Tara’s staying, since she sends postcards from different places every month or so, but she’s presumably doing well. At first, Sookie’s all, “I can’t believe Tara would leave!!” and Lafayette peers over invisible glasses at her until Sookie remembers Tara has also been through some tough shit (even besides her best friend disappearing for a year). This is something that I actually really like about the show versus the books, because Sookie’s actually not as involved in her friends’ lives as she likes to think she is, but she’s the only PoV character in the SVM. In the show, you see how other characters are like, “Sookie, we like you well enough, and you are going through a lot of Southern vampire mysteries, but so is everyone else, and we’d appreciate you taking your head out of your ass for five minutes.” They aren’t necessarily any better, but Sookie seems to struggle with the demands of multiple interpersonal relationships.

“‘Vampire business,’ huh?” Sam asks angrily, standing by the bar. Sookie apologizes that she can’t say any more, because it was a Super Secret Mission, but Sam calls bullshit. Sookie could have texted. “It must’ve been pretty important, to keep everyone grieving here for a year.”

Sookie starts to say she knows what everyone must have gone through, but Sam interrupts her to say, actually, you have no idea, on account of you weren’t here. Which seems kind of harsh, since we know Sookie met her “dead” Granddaddy Earl (still funny), rescued him, and then saw him die, but Sam doesn’t know that, and fresh grief can actually be a very different beast from old grief, even if re-opening those wounds is a bitch in both situations. “A lot has changed in the past year,” he explains. Sookie says he’s gotten a lot more prickly, and Sam ignores it.

“You start part-time,” he says instead. “Holly and Arlene have kids and they need the hours.” NOT LIKE SOOKIE WAS GOING TO SHOW UP TO WORK ANYWAY. Though she may need to start paying a NEW mortgage on a house that was already paid off, which is a bummer.

Jesús walks into the kitchen, and Lafayette and his silver-and-black headwrap are having none of it.

“Are we still not talking? What reason would I have to purposely freak you out like that? Marnie found Eddie on her own.” Jesús thinks Lafayette is trying to rationalize away unexplainable phenomena like magic because he doesn’t understand it/fears it, but he says it in a much less nerdy, condescending way than I just did.

“Got by my whole life just fine without magic,” Lafayette says, because he is more familiar with the everyday hurts of people using and manipulating you than he is with the uncharted territory of magical people using and manipulating you, in addition to his considerable baggage with his mother’s schizophrenia and his own hallucinations/visions that he is only recently free from.

Jesús is hurt. “I care about you, and I hate to see you run away from what makes you special. That’s why I want you in my ‘crazy witch cult.’” I don’t like the way he phrased that, because it’s a reduction of a person to their abilities and/or one/few of their features, but I think he probably meant that you shouldn’t be afraid of your own success and your own potential, just like Laurence Fishburne said in Akeelah and the Bee. Unless Jesús is a user and both pills are an elaborate scheme to get Neo to join a coven. It could go either way.

Andy busts in and demands that Jesús leave, since he needs to speak to Lafayette on official police business. Jesús invites LaLa to join him and the coven that night for their next meeting, but Lafayette doesn’t know if he wants to go back yet. Andy is visibly antsy. After Jesús leaves, Lafayette turns to him and asks, “Can I help you, Mr. Po-Po?” This is not a reference to a DragonBall Z character, much as it may sound, and as hilariously ironic as it may be in the light of what’s about to unfold.

Andy is jonesin’ hard. He makes up a flimsy story about needing V as bait for a narcotics sting, and he knows everything that goes on in Bon Temps, so Lafayette needs to cough up the goods. Lafayette, however, is so done with selling vampire blood, you don’t even know. I mean, we-the-audience know, because Pam had her excellent intimidation moment with Lafayette last season, and that was how Hotshot got tied in to the overarching plot, but Andy is not privy to the cool details of the series. He’s just a grumpy drug-addicted small-town cop. “You can check as many orifices as you need, I’m clean,” Lafayette says.

“I’m your Aunt Fanny!” Andy shouts, and begins patting Lafayette down violently, and then starts to choke him when there aren’t any drugs in his pockets or anything. Lafayette, as an openly and visibly-apparent gay black man in rural/suburban Louisiana, does not push Andy off of him, but seems more stunned than scared/alarmed, though he does have extensive experience with addicts professionally and personally. Jason Stackhouse seems to have been following Andy around, knowing he’d get himself into some mess without supervision and busts into the kitchen, too, pulling Andy off of Lafayette.

“He’s not a suspect! He’s not a CI!… You got no reason to be questioning him.”

“Sorry. Uh. Musta got my drag queens mixed up,” Andy spits, and leaves. Lafayette just raises an eyebrow.

Jason does not help the situation. “I’m not saying anything happened just now, but if something did happen, it didn’t happen. Okay?” Jason is simple, so he’s trying to be a peacemaker and look out for his friend, but there’s a lot of racial, cultural, and professional power dynamics at play in a statement like that, and I think that’s when Lafayette is officially out of spoons for the day. He shakes his head and chuckles darkly, because can you believe this shit.

“Ow! Shitfire.” Oh, snap, Tommy and Mrs. Fortenberry? And Tommy’s cleaned up and in a button-down with a Howdy Doody hairdo and everything. Gak. They come into Merlotte’s, Mrs. Fortenberry complaining about lack of a handicap-accessible door to the restaurant, and then snapping her fingers at Arlene for biscuits. Yo, what the fuck? I guess if she’s a regular or something a punk might take that kind of treatment, but you don’t snap at me, waitress or no. She’d better leave an awesome tip, because Mrs. Fortenberry was stank to begin with.

“How’s that leg, Tommy?” Arlene asks.

“Beats a sharp stick in the eye,” he practically chirps back. Ew. Tommy! You vaguely reek of door-to-door evangelist’s artifice! Also, I totally thought he was going to say “a sharp stick in the ass,” which a busted leg does beat. I can’t see very well, though, so I’m not sure if a busted leg would be worse than a stick in the eye.

Tommy says grace out loud over the biscuits while holding Mrs. Fortenberry’s hand, looking at her adoringly when he talks about blessings received, blessings to be given, etc. God, I hope she got him into an adult literacy course. It could also be loaded glances because they’re knocking boots. You never know! It would be totally “edgy” and all. *eyeroll* Then he loudly compliments Sam on the biscuits, making exaggerated delicious-food moans. Sam wants to punch everybody in the face. EVERYBODY.

“How’s that physical therapy I’m paying for?”

“Could use a few more months,” Tommy says, and I don’t think it’s just me that he’s being deliberately funky, even if it’s true. I can’t tell if it’s his old personality and a challenge to his brother, or if it’s just Mrs. Fortenberry’s nastiness rubbing off. “How’s that anger management class?”

“Probably need to go more often,” Sam says in a tone that suggests he really really wants to punch every single person in the world’s face until they each explode into a thousand tiny faces.

Tara/Toni gets a text from Lafayette about Sookie! He signs it Laf. LaLa is so much better a nickname! Unfortunately, she gets the text mid-foreplay. You can tell it’s not mid-sex, because she and Naomi both have their panties on, and Tara/Toni still has her bra on. She lies that it’s a text from her father that her grandmother has passed, back in Atlanta. Naomi, being probably-less-broken than Tara/Toni, wonders if she’ll want to go back “home” for the funeral, and worries for her girlfriend’s emotional state and obviously crapsack father, if he would text her about a family death. Tara/Toni says she’ll just send flowers. Then they go back to making out and straddling each other. I do not look forward to the fanfiction of this, because it will all be about how much their skin contrasts with each other and how much they each do look like chocolate and bananas, since sometimes fandom is a cheaper version of that drunk guy in the alley. I doubt his existence was a meta commentary or anything, because I’m not sure Ball and the writers are thinking about it that hard, and that’s very much a “minorities in porn” problem, but still.

Back at Merlotte’s, Sookie is holding a business meeting with Portia Bellefleur, ace local attorney, about trying to get her house back. It turns out the Stackhouse residence was bought by a company, not an individual– and, not gonna lie, I totally thought of Mr. Cataliades from the books when Portia said that. I hope he doesn’t get written out of the show like Bubba (though that’s probably for legal reasons), but I also have a weirdly goofy image of him in my head, since I do everything for the lulz. Besides which, the company’s address is a P.O. Box, and the phone number is an answering service somewhere in the Caribbean. Portia does that thing where people feel like if they touch you, they’ll seem more sincere and helpful, since she’s also an expensive lawyer– but that amplifies her thoughts to Sookie. Portia has some complicated emotions where she pities Sookie for her grisly bad luck in the past few years, but is also super possessive of Bill, who is very likely her new man (or will be soon). Sookie seems a little bit weirded out, but decides to file that under “Stuff to Worry About Later.”

That night at Fangtasia, Jessica is straight up rocking out in the center of the dancefloor in a red dress. Go Jessica! Hoyt watches lovingly from the bar, and Pam watches from the bar, waiting for anything entertaining to happen. A fangbanger approaches Jessica to flirt, and Jessica’s super into it because he is aroused and also delicious. She has difficulty pulling herself back to the Jessica she wants to be, but tells the guy she came to the bar with her boyfriend. As he walks off, Hoyt strides up and hugs her from behind, offering a martini glass full of TruBlood.

“O-neg with a twist of B-pos,” he says. “Can you dance with a drink in your hand?” I always get a jolt when my blood type is mentioned in vampire shows, so I’m glad she wasn’t drinking Gena-flavor, but Jessica also thinks TruBlood tastes like ass. TruBlood and non-dancing Hoyt Fortenberry pale in comparison to a flirting and delectable dancing, living food, and Jessica needs a minute, excusing herself to the bathroom to get composed. Pam follows.

“Toilets are for humans only, do I need to explain why?” She means the glamoring and biting of ‘bangers in the bar, but also I think vampires might not have to pee, ever. Convenient! Pam wants to talk, and Jessica hasn’t stayed in touch for the entire year-plus that Sookie was gone.

“We’ve been worried sick about you,” she says. Then, in the exact moment Jessica asks, “Really?”, she grins, responding, “Not really.” Pam is great. She also has concerns for Jessica’s well-being, which she shows by telling Jessica she’s stupid. Who hasn’t had that relationship, honestly?

“He seems sweet and all if you’re into that sort of thing, but if you’re making him bring you here, I strongly suspect it’s not enough.” Jessica protests that Hoyt was the one who invited her to Fangtasia, as a date night, but she’s nervous and fidgety. Pam notes that eyefucking fangbangers on the dance floor was a totally classy touch for a date night, of course, with requisite sarcastic eyebrow action.

“You’re a hunter, you’ve never been on your own, you live with a human, monogamously.” Monogamy tickles Pam. It is apparently the antithesis of the Vampire Way (which I imagine would be sung to the tune of Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It”). Having sex with only one person! Hilarious!!

Actually, I think that’s just the part Jessica has decided to take home as the core message of mockery, and snaps back that if she wanted to be killing and fucking all the time, she very well would be. I got the impression the well-intentioned overall message was both that Jessica is denying her internal nature (and possibly her pre-turning personality as well) to be a live-in girlfriend for her first serious boyfriend before ever having experienced being an independent adult (jumping from her family, to Bill, to Hoyt), and, as a teenager, that shit is redonk. I mean, like I said, Pam is great, she’s just also kind of catty in a really snarky way– but I also consider that a different kind of great. “I don’t know what you saw, or what you think you saw, but I’m going home with the man I love, and I’m just sorry that you never had that,” Jessica announces as she quickly leaves the bathroom. Pam is double-tickled! Teenagers are ridiiiiculouuuus.

Sam is at an anger-management group, but everyone there is too traditionally good-looking and the room is too well-furnished and Sam is too open about shooting his brother for this to be a regular session. Oh, it’s a drinking group! Nice. Wine for everybody! One of them asks about pouring more alcohol, and one woman says she has to teach tomorrow. The guy pouring jokes that it’s public school, who’ll know? He and Sam laugh, but the other woman in the group is like, “No politics, I’ll bust into hives, I swear.” Huh. Um. I… don’t know what to say to that. Public schools in the South do tend to suck, based on standardized test scores, compared to the rest of the states. Ball. Are you saying Southern teachers are drunk/hungover all the time? Or just that Southern schools suck? Or that if you taught public school in the South you’d be driven to drink? And then I don’t know if it’s actually funny anymore, or even pretending to be funny. Is this real life??

So something stronger than wine then? …Tequila? Nope. They all strip. An orgiastic drinking anger management group? No, a shifter anger management group. With the potential for orgies! As drunk horses who may bone later, they stampede into the suburbs of Lousiana with music vaguely reminiscent of Lawrence of Arabia in the background. It’s funnier than I think it’s supposed to be, but horses don’t give me hives, so I laugh anyway.

Jason, who still grapples with wanting to provide for EVERYBODY AND EVERYTHING (to repent? to deal with a sense of responsibility to his sister, who he has failed by allowing her to suffer? just because that’s him?), has delivered a crapton of food to Hotshot, where ruffian inbred redneck-stereotype were-panther (I wanted them to be pumas, because we have those in the South) children try and eat meat raw through the plastic. Kwanten does a good job being an overwhelmed parental figure here, because if you’ve ever had to deal with large numbers of small children at once before, you know the feeling of “Don’t put that in your mouth! What the hell are you doing? WHERE ARE YOUR PARENTS?!” It’s hilarious and also gives me sympathy flashbacks to dealing with toddlers for my mom’s friends or elementary school aged Girl Scouts. Dredging up mild psychological trauma is the core of true comedy, though, so I’m very okay with that.

But really, are there no grown folks left? A skinny nervous boy with his shoulders up to his ears calls Jason back to the icebox that isn’t working, since they propped it open to use as an air conditioner, and now there’s nowhere to put the ice cream. Jason is like, “Guuuyyys. I just fixed this.” when PSYCHE! IT’S A TRAP. Jason is knocked over the head with a fire extinguisher, shoved into the open top of the freezer, and locked in. He rattles around inside, yelling to be let out, and that he’s going to suffocate. If the air seal around the lid is good, he could suffocate, actually, and I think there’s a lot of issues with, like, heavy metal toxicity and melting ice/coolant leaching into the environment that it’s probably bad to be exposed to, but it’s kind of a shitty freezer, so Jason may be okay. Except for, you know, whoever it is that locked him in there and their nefarious plans. SUSPENSE!!

Marnie, at the Moon Goddess Emporium, is sad. Minerva, her familiar, has died, and was more than any pet. “I guess this was her way of telling me she had more work to do in the spirit world,” she says of her companion. Zoom out– Minerva is a budgie. Lafayette has a very impressive “what-the-fuck” look on his face. The witches all form a circle– or would, if Laf would complete the hand chaine. He sullenly refuses, because he is not a kindergartener on Barney, goddammit. The chanting starts out simply enough, with an incantation Marnie says she studied to help Minerva find peace. “Guardians of life and shadows of death, ease her passage into the next plane.” And then shit gets freaky.

“Restore within her the spirit of life. (Something in Latin) AND RETURN HER TO THE PLANE OF THE LIVING.

“…Uhhhh. We haven’t studied this,” the other witches say, giving each other nervous glances.

“YOU! JOIN.” Marnie uses her Invasion of the Body Snatchers scratchy-voice-and-point on Lafayette, who is still very weirded out. All the witches glare at him, like all of their not studying is somehow his fault. Lafayette gives them a long-suffering look and an implied sigh, but takes their hands, like, “Fine, motherfuckers, goddamn. I didn’t want to be here anyway.” But then the ring pulses power through all of them, and LaLa’s face says, “OH I may have made a mistake just now guys,” and the bird moves.

WHAT. Everybody stares as the decroted bird body is restored and starts to fly, but then it flies straight toward Lafayette– however, when it reaches the border of the circle, the bird drops again.

“Um. I’m sorry your bird is still dead?” Lafayette offers, looking kind of dazed.

“It doesn’t matter,” Marnie gushes, holding her dead bird and staring awestruck and conspiratorial. Jesús rubs LaLa’s knee, and Glasses Girl has a significant close-up.

Cut to a fancy mansion. The Vampiyah Kang o’ Mississippi’s house? “The king is expecting me,” Specs says, walking briskly up the walk to the front door, carrying a soft briefcase. Several suited men with walkie talkies report on Glasses Girl’s exact location on the grounds as she makes her approach.

She walks into an office, and if it’s Russell’s old digs, they have been redecorated to be less… Rococo-tastic. “Your majesty,” she says, kneeling, and looking very much the cat the swallowed the canary. “Please, sit anywhere,” a disembodied voice says for the dramatic pan-up and high-backed chair-swivel. Bill is king! But king of where? Mississippi? Louisiana? …Both? The last episode of season 3 had Russell Edgington buried alive in concrete by Bill, Eric, and Alcide Herveaux, and the final scene was the beginning of a vampire wire-fu battle between Queen Sophie-Anne and Bill. Since Bill had maneuvered himself into politically favorable positions with both monarchs before their perceived death(s), and the two were in a political marriage, he may have succeeded to the throne of both states’ kingdoms by proxy. And at first, I thought it must be Louisiana, since when he outright ordered Eric to leave Sookie’s property, Eric seemed to have to– but that might be a matter of rank beyond loyalty to one’s own king, or, Eric might just have been testing Sookie, like I’d initially thought. Political intrigue is a bonus on a show like True Blood! I like it.

Sookie’s back home after another long-assed day. She scootches her bed over to be even between two pictures hanging on the wall, because it was moved by the painters, either just put back wrong, or to be centered in the room, or maybe for something sinister or something. You never know. She’s just showered, so she’s in a bathrobe with wet hair, and now has to find pajamas in the box of things she’s brought back into the house she grew up in. The thing on top is some kind of red satin teddy-negligee thing, and Sookie looks at it, shrugs, and takes off her bathrobe, dramatically tossing it up and behind her as she prepares to change into her nightclothes. Who does that? Geez. Just let it drop to the floor, or chuck it sideways like a cloth frisbee or something. Whoever wrote this scene doesn’t have an understanding of undressing while emotionally drained.

But tossing the robe up and back allowed for a nifty camera transition where Eric, standing behind Sookie, has caught the robe in midair. Not hearing the expected soft thud of terry-cloth on hardwood, Sookie turns around and sees a leering Alexander Skarsgaard.

“What the hell?! Excuse me!” Sookie yells, covering herself with the short nightie.

Hmmmmm,” Eric grunts appreciatively and skeevily. He makes a comment about how nice it is when reality matches your expectations. Uh, squick? I mean, I like a tall Swede as much as the next girl, but nonconsensual voyeurism along with breaking and entering is not my thing.

“Is this a dream? It’s been over a year, how much of your blood is left in me?” Sookie is bewildered, both because I think she’s finding the whole thing kind of invasive-but-sexy, like her dreams with Eric in them tend to be, but also because she rescinded his invitation into her house.

“You don’t own the house anymore. I do.” Eric pulls the keys out of his pocket and dangles them, and I think he might have been hoping naked Sookie was going to try and take them from him based on the way he angled his arm to display the keychain. I am so not comfortable with that. Manipulation into physical behaviors is just so… horrible. Sookie asks why he would buy her house, while I mentally added, “like a dick, because he has also not offered to give her her house back.”

“Because I always knew you were alive. If I owned the house, then I would own you.” VIKING VAMPIRE STRUT! SHOULDER ROLL SWAGGER BONUS COMBO POINTS!! Jon Snow ain’t got shit on Eric Northman. However, Jon Snow also hasn’t done anything as creepy as exerting ownership over another person yet (he’s left that to his father). Sookie looks appropriately alarmed by this, recognizing the implicit threat to her autonomy, privacy, and physical safety in the last five minutes of the episode.

“You. Are. Mine,” Eric says in his weird throaty semi-whisper voice that means SRS BSNS. FANGS! Aaaaand, scene.

…AGHAGHAGHAGH. I started typing so fast watching this that my right hand up into my arm started to act up, and I thought, “CARPAL TUNNEL,” but I think I’m just sleep deprived and typing really emphatically on a narrower-than-standard netbook keyboard. There was just a lot going on in this episode, and I, for one, thought it was a really great season opener. There was so much set up for an AWESOME season (with plenty of book teasers!) and really fun character development that I am PRETTY STOKED despite the things that irked me.

Thoughts?

Comments

  1. M.C. says

    I didn’t get the impression that Tara’s abuse had supposedly turned her into a lesbian. To me it looked like she had defined herself in a new way and that included getting a loving girlfriend (who btw reminded me so much of Juliet “Jade Princess” Butler from the Artemis Fowl novels.)

    Oh Eric, I love you and your Swedish tall hotness, but you need a personality makeover. Thankfully this season is going to provide you with one. And once that’s done, call me and we can have a nice shower together ;-)

  2. Patrick McGraw says

    Beautiful write-up. The geeky asides especially.

    So… Sookie is Namor? Yes? Yes. The strengths of both, the weaknesses of neither, and some bonus unlockable abilities!

    Actually Namor’s bonus abilities have nothing to do with being a hybrid, but with being a mutant. (Which could come from either side, since IIRC the Celestials put the X-Gene in humanity long before Homo mermanus split off.)

  3. says

    M.C.,

    It’s not so much that True Blood explicitly suggested Rape and Switch per se, but it’s something I’ve seen used in fiction/fanfiction before, and heard people IRL express belief in it as fact. I would love if Tara was legitimately lesbian/bisexual and her relationship as Toni with Naomi was a way of exploring that and healing herself– but, while I was really happy Tara/Franklin was in-your-face about being an abusive relationship, and Tara got some strong moments in escaping that situation, large portions of her characterization and subplots are cliche stock tragedy taken to 11 already. For example, I could totally see Tara/Toni (who is already being set up to be the Token Minority Bigot in the cast) being written as “man-hating”/”man-fearing”/”man-averse” and/or having the, “I’m done with men,” line. I hope I’m wrong, I really do, but it definitely stuck in my craw.

    I love how horrible Eric is, though! I don’t think a character has to be likeable to be interesting, or even sympathetic. I love Cersei in Game of Thrones. It’s all about execution. :)

    Patrick McGraw,

    Haha, thanks! And nice catch! Idk how I forgot the whole “First Mutant” thing; I know the flight ability was retconned into a mutation (Namor’s actually a really old character), but I think everything else was a side effect of BEING A BOSS. Probably a Blade comparison would have been better/more ironic there, but he doesn’t have any bonus powers, yeah?

    Still, those wacky Celestials! Now the Inhumans have to live in a plastic germdome. Didn’t think that one through!

  4. minuteye says

    Hmm. Some interesting moments in this episode (thank goodness they went the evil-fae route, there’s only so much light-and-white-clothing I can take), so I’m cautiously optimistic about the season?

    Couple of plot queries, though:

    1. How the heck did Jason manage to sell her house? If I remember season 1 correctly, there was a big fight between them about Adele leaving the house just to Sookie, so she would be the sole title-holder. I’m not familiar with the US legal system on this point, but it seems like a year isn’t long enough to have someone declared dead, so how did he take control of her estate?

    2. Do vampire-owned houses have the typical threshold-magic to keep fellow vampires out without an invitation? It seems doubtful, in which case an Eric-owned house would be a very unsafe place for a tasty human.

  5. MaggieCat says

    (DID WE MENTION NAOMI IS ASIAN I HOPE YOU ALL NOTICED)

    I… actually did not notice (What? The lighting was terrible, okay?) and in fact didn’t even register it then because he was clearly a drunken moron and I was too busy waiting to see how Tara was going to react given her formerly low tolerance for human stupidity. The penny didn’t drop until the scene where Tara got the text from Lafayette. (Where the lighting was better, by the way.)

    However I did assume that Eric had bought Sookie’s house the minute Jason revealed he didn’t know who bought it and was even more certain Portia started talking about how convoluted the holding company appeared to be. So there are perfectly reasonable people who overlook blindingly obvious things in favour of suspecting sneakier ones who should not be pointed at and mocked for their obliviousness to the former. ;-)

    I do love that they’ve gone with the more sinister version of the Fae and that Sookie realized something was off so quickly. Isn’t ‘don’t eat the food’ one of the most well known rules of fairyland? Persephone? Then again, I just found out some months ago that my mother had never heard about the dragons/virgins story connection, so maybe I’m asking too much of fictional characters who frequently do very dumb things.

  6. Theora23 says

    Alan Ball and Rutina Wesley have said in a couple of interviews (with variations on the basic idea) that it wasn’t that Tara was “done with men”, it was that she’d gotten to a place with herself that she felt able to be open to life, and that she happened to fall in love with a woman.

  7. Laura M says

    I was concerned before watching the episode that if the character with the leaked apparent-sexuality-change was Tara it would be in a RAPE MAKES YOU A LESBIAN way, but I really didn’t get that from how it was played so far. Obviously there are issues going on there with the girlfriend not knowing much about her, but – the impression I got was very much that part of Tara working through all the shit from Bon Temps was her striking out on her own and doing what she wanted to do but maybe hadn’t had a chance to, and those things she wanted to do were be a cage-fighter and have a nice girlfriend. Which is fair enough, really. The “banana-chocolate” line made me wince because even though I thought it was obviously set up as nasty it felt a bit gratuitous on the writers’ part, but otoh, it would probably be stupid to have a scene where an interracial female couple got sexist and homophobic harassment without considering the fact that those comment would also be racialised.

    Are you saying Southern teachers are drunk/hungover all the time?
    I’m pretty sure he was saying that guy was a bit of a tosser.

    Wow, this makes me sound far more defensive about True Blood than I usually am! Mostly I find it a fun show with nice characters that tosses concepts around in an intermittently clumsy way and has done things that UNBELIEVABLY SKEEVE ME. Clearly the things that make me go o_O are just not the same as for you.

  8. says

    minuteye,

    I think it varies from state-to-state how long a missing person stays on the books before being declared dead/likely dead; the search can continue indefinitely, particularly if the family is doing a privately-funded search, but after a certain amount of time missing (usually between a few days and about a month based on circumstances, going off of local news stories?), the person is presumed dead. This would also be different in a world with vampires, though, so idk. Jason, as Sookie’s only living relative (Hadley was presumed dead, so nobody would contact her or her son), would probably be considered her sole beneficiary unless her will stipulated otherwise (unless she doesn’t have a will yet, which she should, considering the past three seasons’ antics– but then her possessions would go to her closest living relative anyway). Though they hadn’t had a funeral yet, or haven’t mentioned one, so Jason probably illegally seized her assets because he is a derp. Wonder if Sookie had life insurance?

    And last season, it was revealed that vampire-owned homes do not have anti-vampire protection (Franklin entering Bill & Jessica’s home without an invitation)– based on the books, vampires aren’t the big issue Sookie would have to fear this season, but the show is so dramatically changed up that I would be super pleased if Russell Edgington came back as a threat sometime in SE4.

    MaggieCat,

    It’s okay, I didn’t notice, either. I just thought it was awkwardly shoehorned in as a line, hence the ALLCAPS. It might have just seemed awkward to me because I don’t talk like that and have a zero-tolerance policy around people who do, and present as racially ambiguous, so while I get racialized street harassment, it’s heavier on the boobs and lighter on the food analogies, LOL.

    Similarly, things that are considered a given in SF/F (even back to mythology/religion) are, like, totally out there for your average non-fandom audience. It’s really jarring to use cultural shorthand for something and have someone interrupt you, like, “WHOA, BACK UP, WHAT? What do you mean vampires are a sexual metaphor, the Grimms’ fairy tales were edited into inherently Christian-centric patriarchical tools, Romeo and Juliet was a political story, etc. etc. etc.?”

    Theora23,

    Alan Ball and Rutina Wesley have said in a couple of interviews (with variations on the basic idea) that it wasn’t that Tara was “done with men”, it was that she’d gotten to a place with herself that she felt able to be open to life, and that she happened to fall in love with a woman.

    Awesome! I’ll still be scrutinizing the show, because while Word of God is great for figuring out intention, it isn’t as important as execution, but that’s very reassuring news. Thanks!

    Laura M,

    Oh, man, it wouldn’t be True Blood if people’s relationships weren’t wholly built on foundations of crazy shitbricks. I am hopeful for Tara/Toni and Naomi, though obviously if Naomi is psychologically and emotionally in a place where she wants an invested, honest, long-term relationship, sticking with Toni when/if she reverts to Tara will probably not happen (unless Tara comes clean but wants to continue living as Toni and Naomi knew/suspected Tara/Toni was/is as broken as she is– which would be iiiiinteresting). I’m just theorizing at this point, and it will be AWESOME if Rape-Induced Sexuality does not enter the conversation at all, but I’ve seen it too much to not bring it up myself.

    As far as the Shifters Anonymous meeting goes (I typed it Anonymouse first, haa), I just thought it was a weird joke and wasn’t sure what exactly to pull from it, whether it was a public education joke, or a Southern joke, or a Southern public education joke. I think the guy was definitely a tosser, and I think the group of shifters aren’t going to be pure as the driven snow or anything (it’s True Blood), but I’ve lived in attended schools in Southern and non-Southern states, and know teachers from and who teach in the South and elsewhere, so my personal background probably needlessly complicated the whole thing.

    The skeeviest things for me this episode were my concerns about Tara, closely followed by the Lafayette/Andy/Jason interaction and Eric’s creepage (but that’s also his baseline, so *shrugs*). This episode was low on skeeverocity, as far as True Blood goes, y’know?

  9. minuteye says

    Gena,

    Thanks for your reply! Now that I think about it, it sounds like the sort of legal area that could get very fuzzy (like a spouse needing insurance or decisions about what to do with children etc.) particularly if someone involved has ties to local law enforcement. Anyway… maybe it’ll be brought up again, maybe not.

  10. SunlessNick says

    The “banana-chocolate” line made me wince because even though I thought it was obviously set up as nasty it felt a bit gratuitous on the writers’ part

    I haven’t seen this (and I don’t know if I ever will; no TV now), but the “supernatural monsters are just like gay people or people of colour” subgenre always bothers me. I like it when True Blood acknowledges the existence of real prejudices alongside its made-up ones.

  11. says

    As far as thresholds go, I think they’re the magical equivalent of slamming the door in someone’s face. Most fantasies still let the banned party chill out on the front porch or tap on windows or even rip the siding off the house. I’ve never closed my front gate on anyone. Lawns don’t have the same emotional resonance, which is what I think they’re drawing from here.

  12. Patrick McGraw says

    Gena,

    Knew you were a Troper. We can smell our own. :)

    Speaking of the Celestials not thinking things through, don’t forget about the ship they left lying around where Apocalypse could find it. They’re the perfect example of Neglectful Precursors.

    I am very glad to see that TB went with the scary fae who seem to regard humans as pets. As much traction as it has managed to retrieve in literature, general popular culture still seems stuck in a Cottingly Fairies mold.

  13. says

    draconismoi,

    I actually like Sookie as a member of a flawed ensemble cast; I don’t like her as a person, or as the sole POV character, and I do think she does a lot of stupid stuff, but people do that. Tbh, she’s probably just grown on me over the years, and the way the storylines have pulled the whole True Blood group around each other has made for some excellent plots that I’ve really enjoyed.

    minuteye,

    I would be highly amused by legal issues becoming a headache for Jason Stackhouse, Andy Bellefleur, and Eric Northman angrily poring over confusing paperwork, but I have a weird sense of humor. If it does come up, hopefully it will be in a tactical way for providing defenses against unwanted intruders! What I really, really hope is that Pam will deliver the news in the snarkiest way possible, though I’m probably biased.

    SunlessNick,

    I think True Blood has had some moments that are better than most other media in the Supernatural Minority Metaphor “genre,” but they’ve also had some moments that were… iffy. There was a preview for season 3 where Tara and Sookie have an argument at Merlotte’s in which Sookie accuses Tara of being prejudiced against vampires, and it’s “the same as racism.” Tara, who was already like, “No, I am prejudiced against them because they want to eat people with zombie magic, which Black people do not,” is just done with the whole conversation, because explaining a culture of colonialism, slavery, and its aftermath as compared to an underground society of murderous people-eaters is sometimes not worth the energy. While Lafayette rolled his eyes behind the bar, and Sookie (who has been coded as naive and optimistic) and Tara (who has been coded as an Angry Black Woman) both storm off in a huff. Which is a complicated exchange, even beyond all the race, sex/sexuality, and drug associations with vampirism already, and the fact that you can catch it like an STD/STI. Also, a lot of the discussions of race/ethnicity (and even class) have either been sexualized or specific to the boss monster plot of the season.

    Don’t get me wrong, True Blood is still one of my favorite vampire fictions EVER, and I think there’s a lot the show does well, but I don’t think this is their strongest point.

    Sylvia Sybil,

    It’s an interesting way of “protecting” oneself as well, because I don’t think I’ve ever seen any writers toy with RVs or mobile homes as floating fortresses against vampires, and it is something that only homeowners/landowners have the power to enforce. I have seen people insist that apartment tenants have control over their space due to “ownership” of that area (even if the landlord had allowed vampires in). In Western patriarchal tradition where only men, and only a certain kind of men (monied, professional, educated, White), could even own their land or a house, and that becomes the only defense for a race/class/sexual metaphor like the relatively modern concept of vampires is (older vampires weren’t sexy/sexual so much as ghoulish and OCD)– particularly when so many vampire stories feature preying upon women and the dangers of their “conversion” to radical concepts/”supernatural deviance,” the threshold imagery becomes more potent, imo.

    Anyway, tl;dr, I’ve seen the creep factor done really, really well, but True Blood is all about the supernatural sexin’, so I wasn’t sure in this instance what was up (though uninvited vampires have hung out on porches and stuff in TB before). However, Sookie’s house was already not hers at that point, so it’s moot in this case anyway?

    Patrick McGraw,

    Anytime I get to reference Greco-Roman mythology, YA SF/F lit, Jim Henson/Brian Froud, Guillermo del Toro, and link to TV Tropes is a good time in my book!

  14. SunlessNick says

    Tara (who has been coded as an Angry Black Woman)

    There isn’t one time Tara hasn’t been angry where I haven’t sided with her (even if I’ve kinda sided with the other person too – taking both sides isn’t quite the same as taking neither). But I do wonder whether I’m “supposed” to keep siding with her. Or wishing she was the lead (actually, I’d rather ditch the vampires, and see what the rest of the setting – including the remaining supernatural elements – would be like without them).

  15. Casey says

    SunlessNick: There isn’t one time Tara hasn’t been angry where I haven’t sided with her [sic] But I do wonder whether I’m “supposed” to keep siding with her.

    I don’t know if this is appropriate, but that reminds me of Strawman Has A Point[/TVTropes].

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.