On this week's True Blood, Sookie heads off to Jackson with an unusual escort. Sam has a new dysfunctional family. Tara finds herself under the spell of the charming, sinister Franklin Mott. And Bill makes a decision that is equal parts selfless and selfish.
SOOKIE and ERIC
We pick up right where we left off. Sookie shoots at the werewolf and Eric dives in front of the bullet. They need to know who he works for first, you see. But he's a stubborn werewolf, and Eric has no patience, so he kills him, but not before Sookie hears him think something about "Jackson."
As this unlikely pair buries the werewolf, Sookie suggests that Eric killed him because he had an Operation Werewolf brand. Eric dismisses her theory and exposits that werewolves rival vampires in strength, and if they've had vampire blood, they can be very dangerous.
They deduce from the were's accent that Jackson is not a name, but rather Jackson, Mississippi, so guess where Sookie is heading tomorrow.
For the record, I'm not a Sookie-and-Bill hater or anything, but Anna Paquin and Alexander Skarsgård exhibited more interesting chemistry in this scene than Paquin has practically ever shared with Stephen Moyer. There, I said it. Let the side-choosing begin!
Baby vamp Jessica still has a missing-body problem, and with Bill gone and Sookie busy, she calls Pam for advice. Pam is, as usual, annoyed to hear from Jessica, particularly because she interrupted her, um, meeting with Yvetta. "Spit it out, cupcake, I'm in the middle of something," she purrs. And how! (For the record: "Lie back, sweetheart, and think of Estonia" has just become Reason No, 4,762 why I love Pam.)
So that leaves Jessica to sit around the manor and freak out by herself — that is, until the glassy-eyed Franklin pays her a visit. He not-so-subtly tells her that he "finds things." For example, Jessica's dead redneck, the head of whom he pulls from a shopping bag and drops on the carpet. So it's clear that she owes him for taking care of her little problem. Owes him what? How about we start with everything you know about Bill Compton? he says.
Franklin also worked his sinister magic on Tara this week. First, he got her into bed, which allows us the odd sight of Rutina Wesley's pupil-less eyes. Franklin's all about gathering information, but when he asks if she has a boyfriend, her guilt consumes her and she beats feet out of that no-tell motel without even giving Franklin her name.
The next day, Tara heads out to the cemetery for Eggs' funeral, at which she's the only attendee. Or so it seems until Sookie shows up. She paid for the burial and they make up over the casket. As a result, Tara agrees to move back into Sookie's house while she's in Jackson looking for Bill.
Later that evening, Franklin shows up on Tara's doorstep. He's a little too interested in the fact that she lives with Sookie, Bill Compton's human companion. Tara refuses to let him in, so he glamours her, and in he goes.
I was encouraged when I heard that Tara was going to have a vampire love interest this season, but for whatever reason I thought he was going to be a nice vampire, like Bill. You've all mentioned how much you dislike perpetually unhappy Tara, but I'm afraid there are darker days ahead for our gal. I hope she comes out of them relatively unscathed.
Two questions about the Mickenses: 1) Does Joe Lee ever wear pants? 2) Does anyone else find Melinda's maternal overtures to Sam a little strange? Sure, she obviously feels guilty about giving him up for adoption, but her attempts at intimacy with Sam are, to say the least, inappropriate. But as we'll later see, decorum isn't exactly this family's strong suit.
After they agreed not to see each other for a while, the Mickenses show up at Merlotte's, and it's like the Clampetts' first trip to Beverly Hills. It starts off cordial enough, with Sam offering to buy them dinner. But once a pants-wearing Joe Lee gets into the hooch, things get a little tense. Sam doesn't want Tommy to drink in his bar, which creates a confrontation between Sam and his birth father. "If you throw a punch, you are so one of us," Tommy cracks. Instead, and embarrassed Melinda intervenes and sends her boys out to the car. Her affection is sweet, if totally demented.
Later that night, the alarm goes off in the bar. Sam finds an eagle in his office, which is obviously bad-seed Tommy trying to rob his brother's bar. The bird flies the coop, leaving Tommy's clothes behind.
Good gravy, Jason wants to be a cop. It's a terrible idea, of course, but if nothing else, it's sure to provide us with some boneheaded comedy in future episodes.
Instead of studying for the exam, he decides, characteristically, that it's his fate to be a cop. His subconscious begs to differ, as a nightmare shows Jason unable to read the exam, which is written in hieroglyphics. He sees yet another bullet hole in Bud's head (I'm kind of tired of this motif already — can't we vary the symbols of Jason's paranoia, writers?) and, it seems he forgot to put on pants. Any excuse to get Ryan Kwanten naked, I suppose.
Jason wakes from this interlude in his truck; he's fallen asleep on the job, and Lafayette, who apparently works for him now, isn't happy about it. You see, Hoyt found a headless and handless (and bloodless) body in a drainage ditch, and we all know who that is, right?
Bud actually doesn't care who it is, as he's had quite enough of all the genuine insanity on his beat and quits on the spot after 43 years. I wonder if his hasty departure means that William Sanderson is leaving the show? Too bad if so: He lends some nice seasoning to the jambalaya that is True Blood.
Whether this gruesome discovery or all those pesky bullet holes is also the final straw for Jason, we don't know. We do know that he burns the police force application, which apparently wasn't his fate after all. So much for that Jason-and-Andy spin-off I was imagining.
Arlene has an ultrasound and discovers that she's nine or 10 weeks' pregnant. By her reaction, we can assume that this puts the moment of conception smack dab in the middle of her cult-related orgy phase, which puts the paternity of said baby into question.
Rather than deal with that sticky wicket, though, she makes a quick decision, upon telling Terry she's expecting, to allow him to think he's the daddy. Which... I mean, imagine the alternative. Probably the best bet.
SOOKIE and ALCIDE
While Sookie is scrubbing werewolf blood out of her carpet with some Resolve, Alcide Herveaux (One Tree Hill's Joe Manganiello) shows up. It seems he owes Eric a favor, so he's been drafted to help Sookie infiltrate the were world.
They head off to Lupine's, the werewolf bar in Jackson, where Sookie is hoping she'll be able to read some thoughts that will help her find Bill. Paquin has some fun here playing the dumb barfly, and of course it works. She quickly finds the one werewolf who got away when Bill was kidnapped.
Just as she's about to get information out of him, though, he forces himself on her and she screams. Alcide comes to the rescue and a fight breaks out. The bouncer misreads this situation as Alcide acting out because of his breakup with the as-yet-unseen Debbie Pelt, who we learn is engaged to Cooter. I've heard some fun stuff about her; it'll be interesting to see what The Middleman's Brit Morgan does with the role.
LAFAYETTE and ERIC
"Hello, sweetheart," Eric says when he rolls up to Lafayette's place in the middle of the night. Eric gives him a car and hints that he'd like Lafayette to be more involved in his enterprises. Lafayette says he'll think about his rather vague offer.
Meanwhile, at the king's manor house, a charred Lorena starts to heal. Talbot hilariously expresses more concern for the Celtic tapestry they used to snuff out the flames.
The king wants to know how much Bill loves Sookie, and... why not turn her? Bill replies mysteriously that that's not possible. How are we to interpret this information? Is this just Bill being a standup guy who'd never want to take Sookie's mortality, her most precious gift? Is it that he can't because of his shadowy deal with Sophie-Anne? Or is it that Sookie's special properties make it an impossibility? All three are interesting avenues; I can't wait to see which direction Alan Ball chooses.
An enlightening flashback/nightmare seems to suggest that Bill's motives are more romantic than anything else. In it, Bill returns to his wife, Caroline, three years after he disappeared. Caroline sent their daughter Sarah away to Tennessee, probably to save her from the smallpox that has taken the life of their son Thomas. Sadly, the pockmarked boy lies dead in a coffin in the living room.
Bill kneels at the coffin and begins to cry — blood, of course. So he's got some 'splaining to do. She shoots him, and he heals.
Then Lorena is there and she feeds off Caroline. She instructs Bill to make Caroline forget and he buries his son. "The only way to show your love for a human is to stay away... forever," Lorena says. This is a telling piece of advice as we'll soon see. As much as we're meant to hate Lorena, this moment indicates that there was a time that Lorena cared for Bill.
Meanwhile, back in the waking world, Talbot offers Cooter a Zima. Heh. Bill enters the room, and perhaps sturdied by the lesson of his nightmare, he renounces the queendom of Louisiana and accepts the king's offer to work for him.
This pleases the king, who says as a result he'll let the girl go, by which we can assume he means Sookie. It can't be that simple. Lorena is not pleased.
Bill goes to bed and Lorena is there (always!), golf-clapping for his performance for the king. She reiterates that it's impossible to show love for a human, and that his plan to protect her will backfire.
Her baiting works, as Bill's fangs come out and he lunges at her.
He pins her to the bed and twists her neck a full 180 degrees, Exorcist-style. In the muddy puddle that is Bill's rage, anger quickly morphs into passion and they start having sex! Lorena says through a bloody smile that she still loves him. Bill lets out an anguished, "what have I done?" scream and the screen fades to black.
The outro is "It Hurts Me Too" by Tracy Nelson, hence the title of this ominous episode.
What did you think of "It Hurts Me Too"? Are you excited to learn more about the weres as Sookie infiltrates their world? Did Sam's family outing remind you of your last Thanksgiving? Will Tara ever catch a break? Can you believe that Bill had hate sex with Lorena? Which one character are you most interested in learning more about? And once and for all: Are you Team Bill, Team Eric or perhaps... Team Alcide?
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On this week's True Blood, Sookie heads off to Jackson with an unusual escort. Sam has a new dysfunctional family. Tara finds herself under the spell of the charming, sinister Franklin Mott. And Bill makes a decision that is equal parts selfless and selfish...