On Sunday's True Blood, The Newlins have a special job for Jason, and he couldn't be happier — or more clueless — about it. Sookie and Bill decide to take Jessica with them to Texas, where they discover that finding Godric is very important to all of them. The cops make progress in Miss Jeannette's murder investigation, which appears to implicate the same person who attacked Sookie and Daphne. Sam continues to talk about leaving town. Lafayette and Eric create a bond. And Maryann helps celebrate Tara's birthday, in the process demonstrating why she's always the life of the party.
WE HAD JOY/WE HAD FUN/WE HAD SOLDIERS OF THE SUN
Jason enters his Jesus-camp dorm and comes upon a scene of abject horror. All his bunkmates appear to have been attacked by vampires and left for dead. In shock, he's tackled by a hooded figure. Just as he too is about to be drained, the lights come on and we see that it's all a prank staged for Jason's benefit by Luke, his nemesis/potential repressed homosexual love interest. Jason, never one much for words, slugs Luke in the kisser and probably breaks his nose. "Vampires are not a joke," he announces to the rest as he removes his clip-on tie for effect. "There's a war going on, or you're either on the dark side or you're on the side of the light — there ain't no in-between." Somebody's been drinking the Kool-Aid, no?
At breakfast the next day, Jason and his cohorts bake their noodles over these timeless queries: Who was the first vampire? Lazarus? Dracula? Jesus? Cain? Who was the first evil? "Eve, that's why it's called eve-il," spits Luke. I have to admit: I'm a heathen who hasn't read his Bible since, oh, ever, so I know that all this competing disinformation was meant to be funny, but I don't know enough, religion-wise, to know who's telling the truth. [Insert Lazarus punchline here.]
You don't have to have read your Scriptures, though, to laugh at how inordinately stupid Jason is. He berates Luke for making "the premedicated choice to be a dick." When Luke warns that God will make sure that evil gets punished, Jason comes up with this snappy retort: "Yeah? Then explain Europe to me." Ha?
Rev. Newlin picks up Jason in a jeep, and he's packing heat. "Am I in trouble?" Jason asks feebly. No, son, it's time for target practice. Jason proves quite adept at vampire marksmanship, and when the rev starts talking about how to kill a vampire (wooden bullets, he says), Jason begs to differ, as he was there when Amy rendered Eddie into blood-flavored Laffy Taffy. The rev is suitably envious.
Back at the Newlins, something is heating up, and it's not just the grill that Sarah is using to make her famous ribs. It's Jason, who — finally! — uses that vivid imagination of his to have a sexual fantasy about Sarah. To the comic strains of Sammy Kershaw's "Louisiana Hot Sauce," Mrs. Newlin sways her hips as she, in increasingly suggestive ways, tastes the BBQ sauce, removes her apron, and licks the condensation off a frosty bottle of Bud. Mrs. Newlin, are you trying to seduce me? I mean, seduce Jason?
He snaps out of it just as dinner is being served. "You don't really eat Sarah's ribs; it's more like you take a bath in them," the Rev. says, letting rip his foolish/hearty chuckle. Sarah fiddles with Jason's substantial pectoral muscles as she attaches a plastic bib. The rev, who still hasn't noticed that his wife is the whore of Babylon, announces that he wants Jason to be "a true soldier of God" by joining his elite spiritual army called the Soldiers of the Sun. Jason enlists eagerly, thinking it's a great honor. "What a blessing," Sarah coos. Amen!
As part of his new assignment, Jason is moving out of the dorm and into the Newlins' house, even though the other 14 guys and four girls chosen for active duty will live in a dorm. Luke and the boys joke that Jason is Sarah Newlin's new plaything. This makes the apparently-now-pious Jason nervous, because, well, we know the boy is kind of a sex addict, so the last thing he needs is a distraction in the form of Sarah in her nightie helping him settle in. Mark my words: This will not end well.
THE STARS AT NIGHT/ARE BIG AND BRIGHT...
Picking up from last week, Bill and Sookie catch Hoyt and Jessica necking (no, not like that) on the couch. When Bill threatens to throw Hoyt through a closed window, Sookie intervenes, calling him rude. "It's not her that I'm protecting, son," Bill says with a Confederate harrumph. It's clear that Jessica, their new teenage ward, needs some serious supervision, so Sookie convinces Bill to take her on their mission to Texas. (More on that later...)
OH YEAH, WHO KILLED MISS JEANNETTE?
The Keystone Kops of Bon Temps are examining Miss Jeannette's brutalized body, which has scratches across its back just like we saw on Sookie and Daphne. The coroner says that the scratches paralyzed her and that she was still alive when her heart was ripped from her chest. Eek.
So we're looking at one suspect for all three incidents, and ironically, it's the off-the-wagon Andy who is hottest on the attacker's trail. He has some questions about that pig that Tara saw the night of her DUI, as he's wondering if it's the same one he saw "in a dollhouse" at Maryann's bacchanal last week. But he's also drunk, so Bud asks him to turn in his badge. Poor Andy.
ERIC HELPS LAFAYETTE GET HIS GROOVE BACK
Tara goes to see Lafayette, who is self-medicating at home but generally not getting any better after getting shot and fed on last week. He's irritated — "Damn, hooker, sh--," he tells Tara when she tries to mother him — and ultimately he throws her out... on her birthday. "If you die, I'm going to be really pissed," Tara says upon exiting.
Laf's next visitor is Eric, who offers him "the healing elixir that is my 1,000-year-old blood." Naturally, Laf is suspicious, but accepts Eric's feeble excuse for caring about his well-being: "What Sookie finds meaningful, I find... curious," he says. Much has been said about this scene, and its possible homoerotic overtones. There is a moment where Lafayette's feeding on Eric's wrist does seem a little, er, vigorous, but Nelsan Ellis, who plays Lafayette, told me that while he finds the observation interesting, thinks it's probably inaccurate as he's pretty sure Eric and Lafayette's relationship isn't sexual in nature.
Eric characteristically leaves out the part about how now that he's fed, Lafayette will be forever bound to him, but no matter. Lafayette is feeling a lot better, so much better in fact that he decides to hump the floor and all the furniture. Which is not — I repeat, not — homoerotic.
WHEN IS SAM ACTUALLY GOING TO GET OUT OF TOWN?
While they're swimming together in the altogether, Sam and Daphne argue sweetly about whether or not Bon Temps is a good place to live, and then they go get pancakes. Also: Sam sees the scratches on Daphne's back but doesn't say anything.
The next day, before Sam can leave for wherever, he squeezes in one last fight with Sookie. It's unclear where he's going and why, but they're kind of dragging out this plot point: Why doesn't he just leave already, you know? Andy is there too, getting wasted, and when Arlene suggests they close early so they can go to the party "that really elegant woman" is throwing for Tara, Sam has no choice to relent, and off they all go.
TARA ALWAYS CRIES ON HER BIRTHDAY
Tara breaks the news to Maryann that she's moving in with Sookie. Rather than slap her or something, she is supportive. "Go, flourish and don't ever say no to yourself," she advises. Pay attention!
Since Sookie has left for Dallas, Tara is alone at her new house, on her birthday, crying. She hears a noise on the front porch, and — surprise! — it's Maryann, Eggs and Karl there to surprise her for her birthday. You see, Maryann was planning a party, but Tara moving out "threw a major monkey wrench in the works." Oh, fiddlesticks!
So... the party. It's pretty much a repeat of last week's Ancient Greek Playboy Mansion affair. Maryann is dressed in a very Grecian gown with flowers in her suddenly floor-length hair. Tara and Eggs are dancing, positively (and literally) entranced by the beat. Tara points out that she doesn't know any of the people there, but among the crowd we see that Sam, Daphne, Arlene, Terry and Andy have all showed up. Just as things start kicking into high gear, Maryann removes a box from the present table (which Sam brought from Tara's mom) and tosses it into the garbage and wanders off into the forest.
We cut back and forth from various innocent scenes of party revelry to Maryann, who is now out in a clearing doing her vibrating thang, speaking Greek and — what's this? — showing off her heretofore-not-on display new manicure. Or rather, new hands, with those crazy, sexy claws we saw on the beast that chased Sookie earlier. So. We can now deduce that Maryann attacked Miss Jeannette. And Sookie. And Daphne. But why? (Read my two-part Q&A with Michelle Forbes for more clues about Maryann's complicated identity.)
Meanwhile, back at Sookie's house, people are going nuts, sexing each other up, gorging on food and wine (and, in one case, dirt) and — this is new — there are sudden bursts of violence among the crowd. They're acting on all their basest instincts, indulging their greatest vices. Their eyes go big and black, as if to indicate that their actions are not their own, but rather that they are very much under Maryann's spell.
Two love connections are made. While Tara and Eggs get BIZ-AY upstairs, Sam and Daphne smooch a bit in the kitchen. "I need to tell you something," Sam says. "No, you don't," she responds, whispering in his ear, "I know what you are." She says this simply, without menace, but this one line of dialogue made me suddenly suspect two things about Daphne: a) she is almost certainly also a shape-shifter, which is why she's so clued in to Sam's condition and b) methinks her showing up at Merlotte's was not an accident and that perhaps she's Maryann's plant.
...DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXAS!
"I've always loved these. They're like booze for dolls. They gave me 10," Sookie chirps at the limo driver at the vampire-airlines hangar in Dallas. He's a shifty type, so Sookie reads his thoughts and finds out he's up to no good. Bill springs from his travel coffin — because I guess that's how vampires fly — and comes to the rescue. Jessica, on the other hand, can't get out of hers, which is kind of funny in a tense moment.
They check into a vampire hotel, which looks pretty much like any hip boutique hotel except you can special-order a light-blockable room with a bed in case you're traveling with a human. I like these details about how the newly outed vampires are adapting to the human world.
Bill and Jessica tag-team Leon, the driver, by glamouring him and discover that the Fellowship of the Sun sent him to abduct the human flying with the Compton party, who, he says, is helping to locate the vampire Godric. This is an interesting development for Jason, because it means that his shooting buddy Rev. Newlin probably knows that he's Sookie's brother, and he also probably knows about her special powers. Methinks Jesus camp is going to be a lot more than comic relief in the near future.
After their run-in with Leon, Eric comes to Dallas to see Bill. Bill wants more information about Godric, and Eric gives it to him. He's twice as old as Eric and very powerful; his kidnapping is a bad sign, as it means that none of them are safe. "Vampires here are like cowboys," Eric reports. "If they don't get Godric back, they'll want justice." Uh-oh!
Meanwhile, back in the room, the girls are busy. Sookie is checking out the vampire-porn pay-per-view options. Jessica, on the other hand, has ordered herself a snack: a male, straight, B-negative snack, who arrives in a robe and nothing else.
Barry, the hotel porter who delivers said snack, also brings something else with him: his mind-reading abilities. Sookie and Barry have a funny moment where their thoughts have a conversation, but just as poor Sook is about to throw her arms around his neck — hooray! There's someone else like me! — he dashes off, and Sookie is in hot pursuit.
What did you think of "Shake and Fingerpop"? Will Jason make a good soldier? Why won't Sam leave town already? Did Lafayette make the right decision? Were you surprised by the reveal about Maryann's true identity? Will Sookie recruit Barry in her efforts to locate Godric?
Watch clips of True Blood in our Online Video Guide
Follow TVGuide.com on Twitter for more breaking news and scoop