This Sunday’s True Blood played for keeps. Written by series creator Alan Ball, it explored the way all of this season’s major characters seek love and control, and tend to lose both. Russell was not welcome in Sophie-Anne's territory. Lorena and Sookie battle for Bill's attention. Lafayette and Jason face obstacles with their newfound flirtations. Jessica and Pam bond, vampire-style. Tara attempts to resist Franklin's bizarre charms, and the rift between Tommy and his parents becomes clearer.
It was an episode entitled “I Got A Right To Sing The Blues,” and nearly everyone in it did. Eric had to pretend, in the opening moments, to not care for Sookie while he was in the presence of Russell. Dispatching Bill to the “slave quarters” to allow Lorena to have her way with our hero, Russell turned his attention to Sookie, intrigued to know more about her powers.
Russell and Sookie engaged in a game of asking each other questions about their origins and abilities, and it was both cleverly amusing and menacing. They were taking the measure of each other.
Two other couples were busy in more romantic matters. Jason was rolling around on the ground with Crystal, when the latter sniffed the air and jumped up, saying, “I gotta go.” I think she smelled that “finace” we met a bit later on. Lafayette and Jesus continued their flirtation, making out in Lafayette’s car; their quick, teasing kisses were languidly romantic.
Unfortunately, another couple, Bill and Lorena, were engaged in an intimacy that may have once been rooted in love but has rotted into a death-wish. As Russell observed, Bill “has been [Lorena's] drug of choice for some time now.” Indeed, for hundreds of years: Having pinned Bill to the ground like a butterfly in a lepidopterist’s tray, Lorena slit Bill from throat to sternum, and prepared to slice him up. He begged her to “do it quickly,” but not before acknowledging the tragedy of Lorena’s existence: That she was once someone capable of smiles and light “instead of darkness.” Her tears may have been red upon hearing him, but her sorrow, knowing Bill was correct, was true blood.
Another couple: Tara and Franklin. Yes, Franklin was good for one big laugh: Pouncing on tied-up Tara, he yowled gleefully, “You haven’t even noticed that I shaved!” Tara was faking passion in order to plot her escape, and when Franklin commanded her to “Feed on me!” we saw her grimace but then take some lusty chomps. A bit later, Franklin sated, Tara sent a mental message to Sookie, telling her, “I’m gonna get us outta here”… and made good on her promise by bashing in Franklin’s skull with a mace.
Still another couple: Russell came upon Queen Sophie Anne, fresh from a session of scratch-off-ticket playtime, and proposed to her again, this time his entreaty carrying some weight. He promised to settle all her debts, and so she grudgingly became his betrothed.
Sam and Jason each had to make discoveries. Sam has tumbled to the idea that those scratches on Tommy’s back aren’t from the beatings of his father, but, it now seems clear after a conversation Tommy had with his mother, and another that Sam had with Sheriff Andy, that Tommy shifts into a pitbull and is used in illegal fights.
Jason, meanwhile, had to discover something about himself. He came upon the hot-shot quarterback having back-seat sex with a girl, and rousted the kid out of the car with cheerful vigor. But when he said, “Here’s the difference between you and me… ” he had to pause, because he realized there’s almost no difference — he’s just a barely grown-up version of that cocky quarterback, and that self-revelation threw him.
But the episode circled back to its bleeding heart: Bill still alive but gravely hurt, Sookie at his side — “Please don’t be dead” — ending with Lorena biting deep into Sookie’s neck.
Stray silver-bullet observations:
• Sookie’s imitation of Bill has now been equaled by her imitation of Eric.
• Russell saying that Hitler was right about there being a “master race,” but “Adolph” didn’t have the right one — his words as creepy as anything he’s actually done.
• I hope Lafayette and Jesus can patch things up, despite Jesus finding out that his new lover-man deals in V.
• Arlene and Jessica in the restaurant, taking advantage of a picky eater: fine comic relief.
• The return of the political element — TV news debate of the right-wing’s attack on vampire rights; Russell mentioning that the American Vampire League would work with the IRS against the Queen if it would tamp down rumors that “vampires are running Wall Street” — all of this was most welcome.
What’d you think?