I know this one is coming late, so let’s cut the crap! No preambles, on to the review!
Walter White is a bad dude, and a big part of his journey from good guy to bad guy was working with Gus. But Walt’s work in the superlab is very different from his work with Vamonos Pest (love it) insofar as it impacts his character. Let me explain. Right from the start you could look at Gus as a predator, someone that Walt would have been ill-advised to screw around with. But, at heart Walt’s a selfish person whose ambitions will only get bigger until his cancer or Mike or some other damn thing puts him in the cold, cold ground so you knew it was only a matter of time before these two guys went head to head. And they did, and we all know how that turned out.
But it wasn’t all out war, guns blazing right from the start. Walt had to play it smart. But Gus was also playing it smart, so Walt had to learn how to play the game smarter. Which he did. And now that Gus is gone, Walt’s entered a new phase in his career. A phase that is less about learning than it is about the being the boss. So, while the goings on at Vamonos are and will continue to be important to the story, I think they’re less important than they were at the superlab. Does that make sense? I hope not.
These Women This Woman. Skyler is kind of driving me crazy this season. And a big piece of that is the complete 180 she’s made since last season, when she was really gung-ho about laundering Walt’s ill-gotten money. It’s going to be a long season if most of what we see is Skyler trying to figure out what to do with her hands while staring off into the middle distance because she’s worried about what Walt might do to the family. Or if we get any more scenes like Skyler and Marie at the car wash, which was like a perfect storm of crazy and all the things I hate about characters who are in the middle of a nervous breakdown (although I imagine most of you would say the same thing to Marie, given the chance). If one good thing came out of any of this this week, it was Walt telling Marie about Skyler’s affair with Beneke, and showing that he’s not above manipulating everything and everyone around him when the situation warrants it.
2. The End. I went back and forth on how to interpret this last scene with Walt talking to Jesse about why Gus killed Victor. Part of me thought it was a veiled warning to Jesse for offering to pay both his and Walt’s share of Mike’s legacy costs from his cut. Once he made the offer, there was no way Walt could just sit back and let him do it. He had to man up and offer to pay his share, too. Walt telling Jesse that Victor had “flown too close to the sun” may have been his way of telling him to sit the hell back and don’t butt in when the adults are talking business. A friend suggested that this was Walt letting Jesse know that if Mike didn’t change his cheating ways, it’d be him they were stuffing into a barrel. Upon much thought and reflection, I have to admit that seems the more logical of the two. Despite the horrible person he’s become, I think Walt genuinely cares for Jesse, and isn’t looking to get him out of the picture. At least not right now. While they’re throwing back a few brews, waiting for their batch to cook, Walt at least gives Jesse the choice whether or not to drop Andrea, although he steers him in that direction. But anyway, yeah, Walt was probably talking about Mike.
3. Scarface. I’m surprised it took the show this long to reference the movie. We’re all pretty sure this is where we’re headed, right? We know that a year from now, Walt is meeting Jim Beaver in a Denny’s bathroom, purchasing some pretty heavy firepower. So you’d think something bad is coming down the pipeline. Just remember what Walt says while watching the movie: “Everyone dies in this movie, don’t they?”
4. Landry Clarke. Jesse Plemons joining the cast may be the best news I’ve heard all year.
This was my stream-of-consciousness note-taking during the cold open:
What the hell was with that opening scene? Luna is Sam? Sam is Luna? Huh? Sam isn’t a skinwalker, is he? We know Luna is, but Sam didn’t actually kill any member of his family, did he? Okaaay… so Luna turned into Sam so that she could carry out her plan for revenge.
Yeah, that about sums it up. By the end of the episode we still don’t know HOW it happened that Luna shifted into Sam (unless she did it on purpose, which is possible, I guess, but it didn’t seem like it was played that way) or at least WHY she wasn’t able to shift back, but props to Sam Trammell for doing a hell of a job channeling Luna’s character into his physical body. That was fun to watch and as un-cartoonish as is possible in the True Blood universe. Looks like Luna might be in trouble though; their scene together on the couch was touching and very well done.
Between the vision of Godric and that fact that he’s Eric, it’s not surprising that Eric is the first to come down off the Lilith(?)/vampire-blood high and back to sobering reality – he’s the one who is most obsessed with control – a concept antithetical to “drug” use.
It’s good in moments like that to see these characters in their current circumstances reflect those we came to know in the first few seasons (case in point – the return of attitude-for-days Lafayette). I thought it was a nice call back to the original Sookie/Bill relationship when Jason confronts her about dumping her powers.
But it seems we may be losing Bill to the dark side; is his “evolution” going to trigger this season’s climax when it comes into conflict with preserving Sookie’s well-being? Bombing True Blood factories? Pretty cold and calculating, Mr. Compton. Tsk tsk tsk.
We learned a lot about Bill in this episode – including insight (via flashback) into an interaction with one of his children after he become a vampire, triggered by Salome’s invitation for Bill to join her for a “snack” of a young mother. When Salome asked why he didn’t change his kids, we find out that Bill believes immortality to be a curse. Is Salome changing his mind? Does Bill have more residual humanity because he’s “younger”? Is that a consistent characteristic throughout the vampires we’ve seen?
The scene between Hoyt and Jessica was heartbreaking (and as always, Deborah Ann Woll just kills it – in a good way) and also a really honest depiction of a “normal” relationship that has fallen apart (albeit skewed for the True Blood universe). Oh! And Mrs. Fortenberry is Dragon? Oh shiiiiiiiiiit.
I was about to be so disappointed in Pam for not coming to Tara’s aid against that high school slut, but of course, my girl Pam does not disappoint. If Tara’s character’s purpose is to serve as a catalyst for Pam’s struggle to form a new bond with someone in Eric’s absence, then I’m almost on board…. almost, and only because Pam is pulling it off so awesomely.
In less awesome news, I just wasn’t feeling the werewolf storyline this week. I thought they were going to fight, not hunt – wasn’t that what the training was all about? Wasn’t JD already villain enough after he tried to give Emma V – was it really necessary to have him suggest hunting a human? It doesn’t seem that JD would be strategic enough to anticipate that Alcide would forfeit rather than hunt the kid, and JD also seems to be confident enough (especially when he’s on the V) to think he could beat Alcide in a heads up competition (hunting and tracking or otherwise). That was just strange… and stupid.
My favorite scene this week had to be the séance, which is strange considering how much I despise that storyline and most of the characters involved with it. But that scene just shifted beautifully from hilarious to intense – thanks in large part to Nelsan Ellis, who is just extraordinary.
What kind of bond do the Claud-fairies have with Sookie’s family, exactly? And why did Sookie switch to the vampire’s point of view? Is it because she has a stronger connection with Bill than she does with her mother? Is the vampire in question actually Bill? Or is “Warlo” a new character? That seems like a cop out, but maybe the writers will make it worthwhile.
I guess I was left with more questions after this episode than anything else. Who is Warlo? Who pulled the gun on Hoyt? WTF was in Sookie’s bathroom (another moment, like last week’s Lilith vision, when I got a very distinct vision of the Fonz on water-skis)? Answers to these questions… and more… on next week’s True Blood!
- “Lilith wants me to eat a baby.”
- “Now you’re a member of two minorities!”
- “My mad face and my happy face are the same.”
- “Hooker, I ain’t in the helping bidness no more. I’m in the fuck off while I smoke a blunt bidness… and bidness ‘bout to pick way the fuck up.”
Up until now, Walt and Jesse have had things pretty easy, relatively speaking. Since they started working for Gus, all they’ve had to do is sit in the lab and cook**. But now Gus is gone, and if Walt and Jesse want to keep earning money they’re actually going to have to run things. That’s production, marketing, distribution, catering, the whole nine. And it’s obvious right from the start that the two of them can’t handle it alone. And that means bringing Mike onboard.
(**Sure, in between all that they had to go out and kill Gale and Gus, but, you know, work, amirite? Sometimes you just gotta stay late.)
Now, if you’ll remember, Mike has his reservations about Walt. Mainly that he’s a crazy person who’ll get them all landed in prison or killed. So it’s not too much of a surprise when Walt and Jesse visit him, offer him an equal share of whatever profits they make, and Mike turns them down flat. He’s getting old. He wants to spend time with his granddaughter. And then there’s the whole landing in prison or getting killed thing. Walt — who’s coming across as a completely different person this season — almost looks like he expected Mike’s answer. And from the slight smile we see on his face, almost enjoys the BS back-and-forth. He tells Mike to sleep on in, and I think he knows Mike will reconsider.
And in the end, Mike has no choice but to reconsider. As cold as Mike is, he can’t bring himself to kill Lydia. And if he keeps her around, he accepts the possibility that she’s going to come after him again. She already tried, sending Chris his way. And if she can be stupid once, she can be stupid twice. And now that the Feds have drained the account Mike had tucked away for his granddaughter, he’s in need of a new income source. So he calls Walt up, tells him he’s in, and Walt does a little victory lap around his kitchen. And why not? This guy’s getting everything he wants. And with that, gone are the days are the bumbling chemistry teacher, whose desperation belied just how scared of Gus he was. Now, Walt’s in control. And not just of the business, but those around him. I’m glad to see him and Jesse working together this season (why can’t everyone just get along?), but it was kind of sad to see Jesse played like a cheap fiddle in his search for the missing ricin**. And after a long day of manipulating those around him, Walt comes home to sooth his wife’s frazzled nerves while she stares with puffy eyes into the middle distance. I’m wondering if the show’s going to end every episode this season with Walt doing and saying something to Skyler that makes you want to take a shower.
(**Which Walt did not get rid of, and which I think we can safely assume we’ll see again before the series ends. Because as the saying goes, any time someone takes out a vial of ricin, you know they’re gonna use it.)
And speaking of Skyler, I’ve got questions about where the show’s taking her this season. Unfortunately, not all character arcs are created equal, and sometimes a show just comes off as a little clueless on how to handle this or that character. A good example would be Apollo from Battlestar Galactica. From season to season, it seemed like the show just really didn’t know what to do with him. First he’s a pilot, then he’s in the government, etc, and I’m wondering if Sklyer’s following a similar path. Last season we saw her embrace Walt’s business (which itself was a turnaround from the season before), and with the carwash, actively help him to cover up his tracks. Now we see her not even able to get out of bed, and I’m worried she may be snapping back in the other direction. I can understand a character having reservations about something, and Skyler should have had some major reservations about getting involved in Walt’s business. But once they commit, I like to see them commit. They can only go back and forth so many times.
And speaking of Hank, how many of you noticed that while he and Gomez were in ASAC Merkert’s office talking about Gus, Hank grabbed Merkert’s whiskey and topped off everyone’s cup? It’s small, I know, but I’m still trying to figure out how Hank’s obsession with
rocks minerals was worth the time we spend on it last year, and I’m hoping we don’t see him go off in some other crazy direction, like becoming a drunk. I know, the chances of that happening are pretty small, I admit. But then again, minerals. Of course, it’s just as likely that Hank will go off in the complete opposite direction. The mystery of Gale’s death got him out of his funk last season, and now that things are heating up with Madrigal, it’s possible he’ll turn into supercop and bust Walt’s door down. It’s possible. But then again, minerals.
A quick word about Madrigal. Alan Sepinwall praised the show’s set design in showing the company’s German office. But as a snobby asshole who used to live there, I saw one GLARING omission. Light switches. American light switches, of course, look like this (what we saw at Madrigal), while German light switches look like this. I understand there was no chance that production was going to take off across the Atlantic to shoot a five minute scene, but still, I hope the show is retroactively stripped of all its Emmys.
Amid all the chaos of the opening scene, what stood out to me was Bill calling out Eric’s name. I get that they have a history – you might even call them frienemies (ugh), and yes, they’re each others’ only allies while in the Authority facilities, but still – I heard from Bill an awfully desperate cry for Eric’s safety. Hmmm.
I also find myself wondering why Jason doesn’t have any kind of fairy powers – the writers have never given us any indication that he and Sookie aren’t biological siblings, have they? And Lilith help us all if the fairy Claud-sister’s reference to additional fairy powers is a harbinger of more convenient super powers trotted out when they further the plot. Groan.
We got a little of the superhero storyline trope in this episode (admittedly, acknowledged by the writers) when Sookie finds out that she might be able to live a normal life again, but as Sam (Raimi?) reminds us… with great power, comes great responsibility. As usual, Sam asks the everyman questions, and gives the everyman answers. He’s the audience surrogate, and I love him for it. But the episode ends with Sookie eschewing his advice and the honorable course in favor of a life more ordinary, but something tells me Jason’s recent streak of nobility is going to have him convincing her to hold on to her powers. (Oh, and why would he and/or Sookie have thought that Jason was responsible for their parents’ death? Did I miss something there?)
Sam’s certainly embracing his powers – how funny was it watching him roll around on the floor of the weapons shop? I’m wondering who this mysterious “Dragon” is – how funny would it be if it turns out to be the slack-jawed drawling deputy? He doesn’t seem hateful, but the interesting thing about hate is how easily it disguises itself.
While I’m finding the politicizing a little heavy-handed, I will say that I watched the interactions among the members of the “hate group” with interest. The rhetoric they use – while not intentionally manipulative – is pretty persuasive when you put yourself in the shoes of a character as sympathetic as Hoyt, which, of course, is the MO for any group with a similar agenda.
And speaking of agendas, I do kind of like where we’re going with the Sanguinista movement. Who woulda thunk that Bill would turn out to be the one the Sanguinistas may have successfully recruited? We’ve always known that Eric had a pretty ironclad set of principles, but Bill has always been kinder, especially to humans. But he’s got an edge to him, too. We know he had an agenda when he first pursued Sookie, and I always found his dismissal of her after she returned from fairyland a little off-putting, but I am still hoping he’s just caught up in the “enthusiasm” of the new Authority council and that he’ll snap out of it soon.
That “enthusiasm” led to one of the more memorable scenes in True Blood history – an Authority-led massacre of a wedding party in a New Orleans karaoke bar, preceded by a pretty hilarious group stroll through Bourbon street (Bill’s admonition of the taxi driver was especially fun). A few weeks ago, I said I was ready for less character and plot positioning and more action, and true to form, the re-emergence of Russell Edgington has brought forth the action.
His character is so much fun; how great was his sultry and smug delivery of “Edgington” on the karaoke stage? I have trouble buying that Salome or Nora believe that he’s truly, genuinely invested in the movement or the principles behind it. Surely they see his mocking glances and over-exaggerated gesturing for what it is? Blatant mocking of their religion. And look, I get that Russell is an awesome character, and the writers had to find some way to bring him back, but I have a hard time believing that among the entire vampire race, he was the only vampire Salome could think of who was more powerful than Roman and able to take him down.
It was interesting to see, though, how quickly the chancellors all changed their mainstreaming tune when they saw how far those now in power (Russell, Salome and Nora) are willing to go to enforce compliance with their new regime. Not that it’s surprising, necessarily, but it clearly indicates that among the vampires, there is no Authority greater than power and personal survival, which makes Eric’s conflict between commitment to his principles and his self-preservation all the more exciting to watch. Even the seemingly devout Nora is pretty flippant with her “she does” when Russell calls on Lilith’s forgiveness for murdering the dissenting chancellor.
Also, I’m sorry, but is there a budding romance between Russell and gay vampire-American Reverend Steve Newlin? Because…. Awesome.
Oh, and I guess I have to acknowledge Lilith. Well, she’s a naked chick who rose out of blood, may have been a hallucination, and seems to inspire enthusiastic blood lust in her followers. What else is to be said? I’ll admit that the phrase “jump the shark” floated across my mind when she first came on the scene, but then I remembered that I’m watching True Blood and quickly disposed of those silly “standards.” I’m wondering, though, if “seeing” her might legitimize Russell’s (or the other recently converted chancellors’) commitment to the religious principles of the movement.
I guess I have to talk about that disgusting scene with Lafayette’s mouth getting sewn closed while Jesus’ loco tio tries to take back his family’s magic. Not sure why tio’s baby mama got all murdery on him, but it sure was good timing. I wonder if she killed him before or after he transferred Jesus’ braja magic from Lafayette to the unborn loco-tio-spawn – nah, actually, I don’t really care.
Also still don’t care about Terry’s inner (and outer) demons, but I did think it was appropriate that Arlene shared her issues with Holly. As a Wicca, Holly is at least open to the idea of supernatural forces, though it’s ridiculous that after all she’s been through, Arlene is still resistant to the idea that – in the town of Bon Temps – something supernatural could be effing with her life.
I did enjoy the wedding video for the chance to revisit past happy couples and characters. I got a little sad at Hoyt and Jessica, and I loved the interaction between Lafayette and Jesus (though I remain glad Jesus is gone as a regular character). Oh, and Godric was back and so was former Sheriff Bud Dearborne was back – and he’s a dirty old man! Loved it! I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating – Andy Bellefleur’s exasperated exclamations and ham-fisted attempts at police work have slowly but surely become one of my favorite parts of this ridiculous show.
Okay, final thoughts. First, Alcide’s already moved on to a new wolfskank, which I guess is fine, but it really devalues the “love” the writers made us believe he had for Sookie (/goes to edit last post where incorrectly predicted this relationship would be one-sided). Like Eric, Alcide’s character is steadfastly principled, and it seems inconsistent for his character to go from committed to Debbie to Sookie to wolfskank in a matter of days. But, you know… men.
Second, I feel like the relationship between Jason and Jessica is meandering without much of a purpose, but I enjoyed their confrontation primarily for the awesome line about Jason remembering every cow he’s ever eaten… and secondarily for how 0 to 60 this show goes in terms of cranking up the drama. These two go from having an argument to her biting him and him SHOOTING HER IN THE HEAD. Yeah, I know she’s a vampire with super-healing powers, but I still feel like going straight to SHOOTING SOMEONE IN THE HEAD is slightly drastic. Call me old fashioned.
Finally, Tara still sucks, but it was hilarious to see her “minister’s wife” mother dressed in her Sunday best and making her way through the crowd in Fangtasia just to disown her vampire-stripper-bartender-cagefighter daughter. It’s also telling that while this is the best Tara’s looked… ever, Pam still steals every single scene with just the slightest raise of the eyebrow or shifted glance. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I have a raging girl crush on Pam. Homegirl can ROCK the CRIMP.
Line of the week, from Gay-Vampire-American Reverend Steve Newlin: “I’m like a tree in the wind. I’m just so happy to be included.”
P.S. Dear True Blood writers, Tina Majorino is being underutilized. Please remedy.
YES. Really, what more can I say? We’ve finally come out of the desert and into television’s Promised Land. I love Game of Thrones. I love Mad Men. But those two shows are like the secret family I keep hidden in Canada. In the end, Breaking Bad is the woman I come home to every night.
Tonight we begin Walter White’s endgame. Now, there are only fifteen episodes left, and I don’t know whether it’s a crazier ride not knowing where Walt and Jesse are going to end up, or knowing that Vince Gilligan doesn’t know either. You may have noticed that tonight’s premiere opened up about a year ahead of where we are in the show’s timeline. And at first, I thought we were going to go back to what the show did in its second season, where it slowly meted out the fate of Wayfarer Flight 515 over the course of the season’s teasers. But in an interview with ZAP2it, Gilligan says that it may be some time before the show circles back around to this particular thread (think next summer). So, it may be a while before we get hard answers, but there’s a lot I think we can safely conclude from what we saw tonight. If Walt’s on the road, using a fake ID, different hair and glasses and a full beard, buying some pretty heavy ordnance off Deadwood’s Jim Beaver (remember his appearance in season 4?), it looks like the king (as it looks like Walt is, with Gus out of the way) may have been knocked off his throne.
And assuming the saga of Breaking Bad ends badly for Walter White, which I think is the consensus out there, can any of us really claim to be surprised? I’ve been reading a lot about the mafia and the Mexican drug cartels recently, and the one thing I’ve seen pop up again and again is that the guys on top end up either dead or in prison. There are several reasons for this. Greed, carelessness, getting taken out by some young’n who wants your job. So these guys have already got a pretty bad track record, and when you add that the effing horror stories you see coming out of places like Juarez, you wonder why anyone would go into this business (well, I guess the money is pretty good). All I can hear is Tobias from Arrested Development saying, “But it might work for us.” Anyway, it doesn’t seem like Walt is interested in learning the lessons of his fallen comrades. Like he told Skyler, he won, and he won by being really smart, so he’s just gonna sit back and soak it in for a while.
But like Biggie reminded us, more money equals more problems (direct parallel, nailed it), and even though Gus is out of the way, Walt and Jesse aren’t home free. A lot of tonight’s premiere was about tying up loose ends. Walt has to get rid of the bomb-making materials lying around his kitchen. And just as he’s done that we see him run back outside to dispose of the Lilly of the Valley plant he used to poison Brock. Mike’s still out there**, as pissed off and cranky as ever. And it turns out that the Albuquerque police have got their hands on the hard drive Gus was storing all that camera footage of Walt and Jesse cooking on. So, you know, the to-do list is filling up.
(**And didn’t Mike’s reunion with Walt and Jesse feel a little clipped? I have a feeling we might see an extended cut of the premiere once the DVD comes out.)
And even though Jesse’s the one who has the idea of using a magnet to wipe the computer’s hard drive, Walt’s the one who implements it. There are a few bumps in the road, but a plan that by all accounts should have failed miserably came off, which only served to puff up Walt’s already over-inflated ego. As they’re speeding away, and Mike asks what proof Walt has that their plan actually worked, Walt sits back all smug and says, “Because I said so.” So Walt’s changed.
And you know what? I think we can accept that, and even sympathize with it to a certain extent. Walt’s plan to take out Gus was pretty brilliant, with the Hectorbomb and whatnot. And we’re all fans of violence and stuff, so watching Gus with half his face blown off scratched an itch. But by the end of the episode I think Walt’s well on his way to getting rid any goodwill he may have built up over the couple of episodes. He has his sit down with Saul, who recaps the entire Beneke ordeal and explains why Skyler gave away more than $600,000. So Walt goes home, hugs his wife who’s so obviously terrified of him now**, and tells her that he forgives her.
(**Okay, a couple of things about Skyler. 1. Was she serious when she told Walt that with all the money they were making at the car wash last season that he could start thinking about an exit strategy from his cartel gig? If Walt’s the cook for the entire Southwestern meth trade, to the point where he or Jesse taking a day off screws up business, then there is no quitting. He’s got the job for life. And 2. I understand that Skyler might have a legitimate reason for being scared of Walt, now that she’s finding out that in addition to cooking meth he may also be a stone cold killer, but I’m really getting sick of her bi-polar attitude toward him from season to season. She’s already made the decision to stay with him, even help him, so I hope we don’t see her relitigating that decision too much. Especially when we see how hard she turned in the scene with Ted, when he promised not to tell anyone what happened, because hey, he’s got a family.)
I see Walt as Tony Soprano. Bad things that happen aren’t his fault. In this case, the stuff with Ted really wasn’t his fault, but he came at the situation as if he and Skyler weren’t do things together. It was all Skyler. The thing that’s interesting about the Walt/Tony comparison is that Tony grew up with organized crime. He’s the boss so he’s got the huge ego and sense of self-importance that goes with it, but I think he knew when to keep it under control. Walt’s just getting a taste for this now after kind of being walked on his entire life, so he hasn’t developed that control yet. And if he can’t, if “The Life” is just too much for him to handle, then he’s probably gonna join Gus and all those other dead cartel guys sooner rather than later.
You know what my favorite part of this episode was? The 1,200 times my cable provider’s expensive-as-shit service paused and then skipped, causing me to miss a second or two of dialogue and really improving the entire viewing experience for me. Time Warner is the Tara of cable companies.
About half this episode was taken up with storylines I couldn’t care less about… the ifrit, stupid fairy stuff, Jessica and Hoyt’s relationship, and Lafayette’s discovery that he has to go rescue Jesus’ spirit from his insane grand-uncle or whatever. The other half was awesome thanks to Russell-fucking-Edgington in all his batshit insane glory!!!
If ever there were a scene or performance in True Blood that would be award-worthy, it would be Russell’s diatribe against the Authority right before his execution. He’s right – he is the only honest one in the room, and while it might seem at first like he has no reason to be dishonest, after all, he’s about to die, what does he have to lose? In actuality, he’s setting himself up as a beacon for the other side – both the Sanguinistas and those who, like Eric, don’t subscribe to any particular religious viewpoint. Plus, he had some awesome lines with spot-on delivery.
A close second might be Alfre Woodard’s scene with Nelsan Ellis. Holy crap that’s a lot of acting power in one room. Their interactions are just so perfectly timed and natural, not to mention the stellar dialogue. Love every second of it.
Has it been proven before that Sookie is impervious to glamouring? Because I don’t remember that, but (and excuse me for potentially stating the obvious here), that appears to be the case because she certainly seemed to remember everything that happned at the asylum the morning after Bill’s glamouring. And damn Eric for cockblocking Sookie/Alcide, though it seems that Sookie’s fairy powers were able to restore part, if not all, of Alcide’s memory, so maybe there’s hope for a hot fairy-werewolf hookup yet. I hate myself for writing that sentence.
Did the prisoners give up the name of the traitor, and then the chancellor killed them? Or is he a traitor to the Authority as well? Is anyone genuinely on the Authority’s side? And who is the Authority now that Roman is dead? I’ll be pouring one out for Christopher Meloni tonight… Detective Stabler’s visit to the True Blood world was far too short (but since you’re dead now, please go back to Law and Order: SVU. They need you. Desperately.)
Loved seeing Eric and “Boy Scout” Bill verbally spar over the religious aspects of their state of being. Bill’s a shrewd guy who can appreciate playing the game in the short term in order to preserve himself in the long run, and Eric’s clearly too “cool for school” as Roman put it later in the episode. I keep going back to Salome’s observation earlier in the season that Eric is committed to nothing but himself. I wonder if we’ll ever witness an Eric who feels differently (and is not under the effects of a necromancer)?
And what has he uncovered about Nora? Anyone else think she wasn’t referring to Lillith when she said “It’s all part of her plan. She was right… she’s been right all along?”
So, let’s talk wolves and shifters for a second… Alcide is teaming up with some random chick to fight for his right to par… I mean, to be pack leader. A new love interest? Probably. But my prediction is that affection will be one-sided, and presuming Alcide is no longer “disgusted” by Sookie romantically, she’ll still be his main priority. Sam and Luna seem to be okay. I’m actually kind of surprised – seems Luna would be a pretty expendable character, and if any show is willing to kill a mother in front of her child, it would be True Blood. But as it is, it seems she and Sam – and maybe even the wolf pack, under Martha’s direction – are going to join Sheriff Bellefleur in the search for the supe slayers.
The big question from this episode is, of course, which vampire smelled Sookie’s blood on that band-aid in the back of her parents car, leading to their death? Seems Eric, Bill or Russell would all be solid bets, but I’m going with Bill for the exquisite potential for drama.
Great lines this episode:
- “I guess that whole friendship thing’s on hold.”
- “You did good out there, fighting… made me proud… proud the way a human is proud of a well-trained dog.”
- “Slap an iStake on him. I don’t want to get dirty.” Forrrreeeeeshadowing!!!
- “Jesustits!” Andy has slowly but surely become one of my favorite characters if only for his powerfully funny one-liners and the understated delivery that makes them come across so naturally.
- “In the name of MY ASS!” – There were two other delightfully obscene exclamations from Russell during this scene, but this one was my favorite for being flippant and rebellious for the pure joy of being a jerk.
Terrible acting and ridiculous storylines… must be Sunday! That’s not a knock against this episode, by the way. In fact, I really liked it, and “boot and rally” just happens to be one of my favorite expressions. The majority of the scenes, taken individually, were just “meh,” but the ones that hit, hit big. Like that cold open. Oh my god, that was hilarious. There was something about the framing of vulnerable drunk Sookie in her pink bra, and Alcide shirtless and puked-upon juxtaposed with very cool, very in-control Bill and Eric all in black blocking the door – it was greatness.
Sookie was actually almost tolerable in this episode… and when she imagined the “boys” fighting like literal dogs, I laughed along with her. Maybe she should always be drunk. I guess it could be an indication that she’s really taken Lafayette’s criticism to heart, but we’ve thought that before with her and other characters, and it hasn’t resulted in any long-term change in perspective. In any case, she was blunt and take-charge and had this great attitude that essentially said “fuck it, if I have no choice but to be an active participant in this supernatural freak show, let’s get freaky, bitches.” And I liked it.
The flashback/dream sequence scene with Jason in the Masters of the Universe footie pajamas was also too much fun to hate, despite the ick factor of his mother talking to him about blow jobs. Also icky? Tara and Hoyt. Is there some big redeeming moment coming for Tara? Because they are just sending her further down the hate-hole as far as I’m concerned. I liked where the Tara-and-Jessica-as-girlfriends story was going, but that was kaput by the end of the episode. Tara’s even bringing Pam down. Pre-Tara Pam would’ve come up with a much better comeback than “No, I want you to sit on your ass and play scrabble. Yes, I want you to bartend.” WEAK.
But that scene did help me put my finger on one of the reasons I don’t like Tara. Check out her delivery of these three lines:
- “If I wanted to look like a drag queen, I’d have raided Lafayette’s closet.”
- “The more things change, the more they fucking stay the same.”
- “I am many thangs, but sweet ain’t one of them.”
In the span of two minutes, she delivers three lines that are way too deliberate to be believable, even in the True Blood universe. Not only are the lines themselves weak – a little too nail-on-the-head – but her delivery smacks of intentional and measured pacing. It’s all just too artificial and it bugs. Plus, her shoulders are too broad to pull off that corset.
Pam, on the other hand – can rock that trashy eighties style like nobody’s business. I also like that Pam’s clearly dealing with her release from Eric by pouring herself into her work. It’s very clear what matters to Pam. She’s motivated by loyalty for Eric (though it remains to be seen to what extent that’s still true) and her dedication to Fangtasia, which is, in itself, a displaced loyalty to Eric. But anyway, I digress. The point is that right now, we’re not clear on what motivates Tara – I mean, sure, she died for Sookie, but now that she’s estranged herself from Sookie and Lafayette, what does she have to “live” for? And maybe that’s why I’m struggling with her as a character – because she’s struggling too. She’s rudderless and purposeless… but I think that’s kind of always been true for her; it’s just more obvious now. Up to this point, she’s served primarily as the go-to victim for the bad guys in the supernatural world and the go-to wrench in the good guys’ plans to right things in that world.
This week, the good guys go hunting for the bad guys in an abandoned insane asylum… because, obviously. And there, they find new horrors around every corner including our long-awaited reunion with Russell Edgington. But first – does anyone think that there’s any chance the woman who dug up Russell is NOT Salome? Because I don’t. And if I’m wrong, well, it’ll be a first… but also, it will be a huge credit to the writers who I feel have been foreshadowing that big reveal since the second episode. So, if it turns out to be Nora or the red-headed Texas chancellor or someone else, well, they’ll have pulled one over on me.
I guess I have to address the smoke monster and Terry and Felicity’s boyfriend and the crazy guy in the basement and Iraq and war and fire and the curse and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. In case my analysis is too subtle for you, I am not compelled by this storyline. Nor by the Lafayette demon/Jesus head situation, though it was, as always, awesome to see Alfre Woodard on the screen.
It appears we have an anti-supernatural hate crime spree going on in Bon Temps. Interesting that Jason is heading back to the anti-vampire mindset he had in season three (I think). He noted that vampires have been “getting away” with murdering humans and covering it up for centuries… it looks like the writers are setting it up to equate this revelation with his search for the truth about his parents’ murder, but I wonder if he will swing back toward the less tolerant side of the fence during his investigation… or after. I won’t be too sad if Luna dies, but I hope Sam pulls through. Something tells me he will.
- “Apparently” and “I’m sorry to hear that.” No one can say so much with so few words the way Eric Northman can.
- Drew is goo!
- Tinkerball! (Confession: I watched this episode five times, and I laughed at this line every single time.)
I wonder what it would take for me to like Tara as a character. I’m really trying to pinpoint what it is about her, exactly, that just ticks me off. Her accent is terrible. She’s always bitching and whining but never doing anything about changing her situation. But is she redeemable, as a character? I don’t know. At this point, I just want Pam to command Tara, as her maker, to stop being lame.
So, Pam saved Tara for the time being, and after a quick chat with Bill, Tara seems to be on track to accept her new vampire lifestyle. She’s inexorably linked to Pam now, and it remains to be seen if that makes Tara a better character or Pam worse.
At any rate, Pam’s role should be more interesting now that she’s been released from Eric. The scenes between those two were so powerful and intense and beautiful – it was a good demonstration of the range True Blood can master. From cornball, self-aware comedy to serious, meaningful drama. I loved her initial attempt to recreate normalcy in her relationship with Eric – “congratulations, you’re a grandfather,” and I thought she verbalized very effectively how hurtful Eric’s distrust of her was – “if you can’t trust me more than Bill Compton or a werewolf…”
I wonder if we were getting some foreshadowing in the juxtaposition of Pam’s scene where she coaches Tara on eating Melanie and says “This is who you are now. Top of the chain. No human can hurt you any longer. They’re yours to savor” and the next scene, in which the Guardian rails against the Sanguinista traitor and commands that the chancellors fall in line with the mainstreaming movement. Great performance by Christopher Meloni, by the way.
I could see Pam, if not favoring, at least empathizing with the Sanguinista point of view. But is she political? Her interests so far have seem pretty focused on Eric and Fangtasia and on preserving her relationship with the former and the relatively peaceful success of the latter. She’s a pragmatic, problem-solving kind of gal, and I’m not sure she can be compelled to care about something quite so broad or the Authority’s agenda if it doesn’t affect her daily life.
Speaking of the Authority, know what else I loved this week? Stabbing a kid right in the heart! YES! This is why people watch – and love – True Blood. Because this show is not afraid to go there.
Not afraid to go here either: “It’s just a book. I know the guy who wrote it and he was high the whole time.” That was pretty ballsy, and I appreciated it for the subtle implications for the non-True Blood universe, but even more so for the questions it raises about the legitimacy of both sides in this political showdown.
We had a lot of intense drama this week. Alcide telling Debbie’s parents about her death was another truly moving scene and great performance by my future husband, Joe Manganiello.
I also really enjoyed Lafayette calling Sookie out for always being rescued at the expense of her friends. Referring to her as the angel of death was harsh, but not unwarranted, and it was a good tipping point to send Sookie over the edge from barely hanging on after Debbie’s murder to losing it completely after her accident and turning to the drink. And FINALLY, Alcide and Sookie get physical. ‘Bout damn time, but man talk about two ridiculous names for two hot characters.
And of course, Bill and Eric just happened to swing by as Sookie and Alcide were getting it on. I’m glad to see the Bill/Sookie love storyline revived, though, because they’re the core True Blood couple. We obviously couldn’t be satisfied with watching them live out happily ever after, but it’s nice to be reminded now and again that these two are where it all started and like Jessica said, “Sookie and you is different than Sookie and anyone else.”
Enough love crap. Here’s my question – why is the authority trusting Bill and Eric to catch Russell? Don’t they have the entire army of vampires at their disposal? Bill and Eric, aside from knowing the area and the conditions under which Russell was buried, have no special skills or insights that would make them uniquely qualified to capture Russell. Lest we forget, Bill and Eric killed a chancellor of the Authority, broke the rules, betrayed the Authority. There should be nothing more than cleaning products left of them at this point… I’m not holding out hope for some kind of satisfactory explanation. I think this is just one of those plot lines I’m going to have to chalk up to “supernatural TV show” and let it go. I did appreciate, though, that with Nora’s confession, they set it up so that the Authority won’t be a constant threat to Eric and Bill. Salome presumably secured their safety with her blood oath, but who knows what that’s worth to the Authority?
I’m still not feeling the fairy crap, Lafayette’s demon possession or the Terry storyline. It’s like the writers feel obligated to give every minor character s ome dramatic arc. I’d be fine with just concentrating on the main characters (there are plenty to keep us busy) and having them get into different situations that intersect with one another and the “normal” world inhabited by those minor characters… like the first three seasons. But maybe that’s why this show stays fresh – because it concentrates on other characters and doesn’t solely manipulate Sookie, Eric and Bill to provide the drama.
Okay, loose ends – Sam’s out of one scrape and back into another. His shifter friends got shot, which means he’s most likely a target as well. I can’t think of who might be after the shifters, other than the werewolves, but I wonder if it has anything to do with Emma being revealed as a wolf. And how much truth is there to the idea that vampires will drain anyone with a drop of fairy blood? Is that just political propaganda put forth by the fairy leaders in order to recruit “refugees?”
This was a great episode, and I think this season is shaping up really nicely. If nothing else this season, I’ve really enjoyed examining the meaningful relationships that have been formed in the vampire world. It was touching to see Bill recognize the “good job” he did in training Jessica.
Not a lot of pithy quotes this week – more poignant… like Eric saying Pam shouldn’t trust anyone, that he doesn’t. Good stuff.