Oh my God. Where to begin?
After last week’s vaguely disappointing episode, tonight’s episode of True Blood was a triumphant return to form. Perhaps not coincidentally, it was also the second episode this season to be directed by Michael Lehman. As he did previously with “Authority Always Wins,” Lehman kept tonight’s episode moving quickly and managed to juggle the many subplots and characters with an ease that hasn’t always been present on True Blood in general or this season in particular. Along with bringing out the best in his actors (all of whom found the perfect pitch between comedy and drama in this episode), Lehman knows just how far he can push True Blood’s signature Southern gothic atmosphere before losing focus.
And speaking of tonight’s plot, after a season that has occasionally seemed to be a bit scatter-brained, True Blood’s many subplots finally started to come together tonight.
Let’s start with my Sookie, Eric, and Bill because they’re my favorites. When we last saw Sookie, she was about to get it on with Alcide and I was happily saying, “You go, girl!” because I had just seen Magic Mike a few days earlier. Well, unfortunately, thing didn’t quite work out as Sookie ended up throwing up all over Alcide’s shoes and then, if that weren’t mortifying enough, who should pop up in the bedroom doorway but Eric and Bill? It turns out that Eric and Bill have decided to go back on their “Fuck Sookie” policy and they now ask her to help them track down Russell. Though, by this point, Sookie probably wishes she could just get a night off, she agrees to help. As delivered by Anna Paquin, Sookie’s sarcastic little speech was definitely one of tonight’s highlights.
Accompanied by Alcide, Bill, Eric, and Sookie track down poor old Doug, the fellow who originally discovered that Russell had escaped. Sookie reads Doug’s mind and discovers that Russell was freed by a female member of the Authority. Though Sookie doesn’t see her face, Bill is quick to put the blame on Nora. Using a reluctant Doug as their guide, they track Russell down to a scary, old abandoned asylum. These wonderfully creepy scenes, where they searched for Russell and came across random, blood-drained corpses, represented True Blood at its best.
Eventually, they found Russell laying in bed and, instead of just killing him, Eric started to have a conversation with him. That conversation, however, was interrupted by what sounded like a wolf and Alcide apparently collapsing to the floor…
But that’s not all!
It wouldn’t be a season of True Blood without Sam getting into some sort of weird trouble and tonight was no exception. When last we saw Sam, he arrived late to a get together of his shifter friends and discovered that they had been murdered. On tonight’s episode, after he dealt with the police, Sam went to see Luna. While he talked to Luna, a group of redneck drove up in a pickup truck and gunned both of them down while Emma turned into a dog and ran into the woods. Sam appeared to have survived but, as the episode ended, Luna looked pretty much done for.
Meanwhile, Terry and Sgt. Devins are still up in South Dakota and the start of tonight’s episode found them tied up in the basement of their fellow vet, Bill Eller. Eller explained that, as a result of what they did in Iraq, they’re now being pursued by a fire monster known as an Ifrit. Terry believes Eller and Devins (who, the hotness of Scott Foley aside, is kinda turning out to be a real toadsucker) does not. It doesn’t matter, of course, because — as soon as they convince Eller to set them free, the Ifrit shows up.
As I’ve said before, I haven’t been a big fan of the whole Iraq subplot in the past because it just felt very predictable and obvious. And I have to admit that my fellow TSL contributor Senor Geekus figured out — long before I did — that it was going to be an Ifrit that was setting all those fires. But, I actually liked the direction that they took with it tonight. It’s still a bit too heavy-handed for my tastes but, at the very least, the Ifrit makes for an intimidating threat.
But that’s not all. Tara has a new job as a bartender and, on her first night at work, she unexpectedly bonds with Jessica but that bond soon falls apart when Jessica comes across Tara drinking Hoyt’s blood. Lafayette is still possessed and having to deal with Jesus’s disembodied head suddenly showing up. Jason can’t remember much about what happened at the Faerie “safe house” but he’s now having disturbing dreams about his parents. And Andy? Well, Andy’s still a dumbass…
A Few Random Observations:
- Tonight’s unofficial scene count: 40
- Molly, the cheerful girl who works at the Authority headquarters and who called up to tell Eric and Bill that they had been iStaked, is one of my favorite minor characters this season.
- How cute was Jason at the start of his little dream tonight?
- A definite highlight of tonight’s episode was Jessica and Tara’s conversation at the bar. I loved watching them bond and their discussion about how it feels to suddenly know that you’re different was a good example of how True Blood — at its best — uses vampirism as a metaphor for so many other things.
- I have a feeling that Salome is actually the one who rescued Russell. If it was Nora, the show wouldn’t have any reason not to have shown us her face tonight.
- No, the picture at the top of this post doesn’t have much to do with tonight’s episode but I just happen to like it.
- There were a few good lines tonight but my personal favorite was Sookie’s “I’ve seen enough horror movies to know you don’t split up when you’re in a big scary asylum and there’s a crazed killer on the loose.”