After being captured and tortured by the Authority, Bill (Stephen Moyer) and Eric (Alexader Skarsgard) were on the verge of being executed by Roman (Chris Meloni) until Bill revealed that not only was Russell (Denis O’Hare) not killed but that he was now missing. Meanwhile, in Bon Temps, a newly vampiric Tara (Rutina Wesley) fled into the dark night while Sookie (Anna Paquin) and Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) watched helplessly.
This week on True Blood…
The majority of tonight’s episode was dominated by Tara and Rutina Wesley’s wonderfully angry performance. We opened with Tara wandering through the night, searching for blood and nearly sucking it out of the first unfortuante stranded motorist that she comes across. (“I got no problem with vampires!” the poor motorist protests.) Eventually, Tara ends up locked up in Sam’s walk-in freezer where she has dreams about attacking Arlene. (Like a lot of people, I went: “Oh. My. God” at this scene until it became apparent that Tara was just having a dream.) Eventually, Tara manages to get out of the freezer and, quite cleverly, breaks into a tanning salon so that she can expose herself to some UV rays. I guess that’s one way to express your self-loathing.
The main reason that Tara’s having a hard time adjusting is because she’s been abandoned by her maker, Pam (Kristen Bauer Von Straten, who brings such life to the undead), who refuses to have anything to do with Tara. For me, the highlight of tonight’s episode was seeing the continuation of the flashbacks to Pam’s origin. In this episode we got to see how, in 1905 San Francisco, Pam went to rather extreme lengths to convince Eric to turn her. Even better, we also got to see how Eric and Bill first met in Pam’s brothel.
Speaking of Eric and Bill, they’re still being housed over at the Authority headquarters. They’ve convinced Roman to release them so that they can track down Russell but Nora (Lucy Griffiths) is still being held prisoner and, while being tortured, she admits to being opposed to “mainstreaming.” Both Bill and Eric are seduced by Salome and there’s a great scene towards the end of this episode where they compare notes in an elevator. (Seriously, the vampire bromance between these two is always fun to watch and Moyer and Skarsgard always appear to be having fun acting opposite each other.) Of course, it turns out that Salome’s apparently working for Roman and was testing Bill and Eric’s loyalty.
Or was she? To be honest, I have a feeling that Salome has an agenda of her own…
The Rev. Newlin (Michael McMillan) also shows up in this episode. Apparently, the reason he’s been on TV so much is because he’s groomed by Roman to be the new face of vampire-human coexistence. Showrunner Alan Ball has been very open about the political subtext of True Blood in general and season 5 in particular and that subtext was pretty obvious in Meloni and McMillan’s scenes tonight.
Usually, I’m not a huge fan of obvious subtext for the simple reason that it’s often … well, way too obvious. In the past, I have to admit, I’ve felt that Ball — like most writers — is at his weakest when he’s hammering home a point. (That’s why I’m wary of this season’s subplot about Terry’s service in Iraq.) However, tonight, I thought that Meloni and McMillan both saved what could have been a rather heavy-handed scene. Both of them brought just enough of a hint of perversity to their lines to keep the scene interesting. Between Meloni’s barely suppressed rage and McMillan’s nervously insincere smile, their conversation was a lot of fun to watch.
But that’s not all that happened tonight!
Sookie finally confessed to Alcide that she killed Debbie. Lafayette was briefly tempted to serve poisoned gumbo and it appears that he might be posessed. And Jason met a woman in the super market which, of course, meant that he ended up getting laid. That woman, incidentally, was a former teacher and lover of Jason’s and promptly after re-seducing her, Jason apparently had such a change of heart that he was even able to resist Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) when she came calling later on that night.
To be honest, I wasn’t as big a fan of this episode as I was of Turn! Turn! Turn! and Authority Always Wins. Don’t get me wrong. Whatever I am, You Made Me had plenty of good moments and the script was full of the type of snarky one-liners that I’ll be repeating for weeks to come. Overall, however, tonight’s episode felt a little bit off, just a tad bit uneven. The final fourth of the show was genuinely exciting but the scenes leading up to it often seemed to alternate between playing out either too slowly or too quickly. I’m looking forward to next week’s episode and I can’t wait to see how season 5 plays out but tonight’s episode was just okay for me.
Random Thoughts and Observations:
- Whenever I watch a new episode of True Blood, I always grab a notebook and I jot down what happened in each scene. I did this even before I started reviewing the show because 1) it was often the only way that I could actually keep track of what was going on and 2) I’m an obsessive list maker. Anyway, by my very unofficial count, tonight’s episode had a total of 33 separate scenes.
- For scene number 6, I simply wrote down “Skarsgard shirtless.” Just in case there was any doubt where my mind usually is while watching True Blood…
- How cool is it that Salome is the actual Salome?
- I thought the scenes at the beginning of this episode, where Tara was on the prowl, were very well-directed and did a good job at capturing the disorienting nature of Tara’s new existence.
- Much like last week, I continued to be impressed with the set design of the Authority’s headquarters and the contrast between the baroque upper level and the rather shabby lower levels. If nothing else, it provided a perfect reminder of the corruption that often lurks behind the benevolent facade of most authorities (including, it would appear, the Authority).
- Most effective “Oh my God!” moment: Lafayette pouring bleach into the gumbo. I have to admit that, after watching Arachnoquake last night, I was hoping Lafayette would shout out, “Now that’s how you make jambalaya!”
- After last week’s rather grim outing, this episode featured several laugh-out-loud lines:
- “Can I hug you without you thinking about my boobs?” This was my favorite line in this episode, if just because I’ve often been tempted to say the same thing.
- “And right now, I’m fuck buddies with the love of my best friend’s life. Who’s a teenage vampire.”
- “These beans are as cold as titties in a brass bra.”
- “My dick starts shouting, ‘Just shut up and fuck her!’” At least Jason is honest.
- “Go back to dry humping each other and buying my overpriced drinks or get the fuck out!”
Finally, I’ll close with a quick prediction: By the end of this season, Salome will try to engineer a coup in order to take out Roman and install either Bill or Eric in his place.