Queen Sophie-Anne has some advice for Bill about dealing with a maenad. Hoyt and Jessica have their first fight. Lafayette and Sookie try to protect Tara from Maryann. Sam, Jason and Andy form an unlikely alliance to protect Bon Temps, which includes an assist from an even more unlikely accomplice.
Queen Sophie-Anne of Louisiana (Evan Rachel Wood) is feasting, quite provocatively, at the femoral artery of a pretty young thing. This is a clever way for Alan Ball to tell us that she's same sex-oriented. "Is this a bad time?" Bill asks. "There's no such thing as bad — or time, for that matter," she answers flatly. I have to admit: My first reaction to Wood's portrayal of the queen was not positive. Wood is an actress who's good at both strength and vulnerability, but haughty insouciance ("I have this Latvian boy; he has to be tasted to be believed"), thus far, is not her bag. The idea of this character, however, is intriguing, so I'll keep an open mind for now.
That said, the character is written really well, an odd combination of old-world erudition and thoroughly modern teenspeak. ("A maenad? In Bon Temps? That's random," she says.) As it turns out, the queen, lounging over her scantily clad "court" and a fierce game of Yahtzee in her new "day room," has some ideas about how to stop a maenad, but her advice is totes confusing.
HOYT and JESSICA
Interestingly, Maxine, in her blissed-out, Maryann-induced stupor, rather enjoys Jessica's attack by fang. Hoyt, on the other hand, is not nearly as amused by it. But, Jessica protests, she said all those mean things about you! "She's my momma; she gets to," he says. Ain't that the truth, H-Bomb! Hoyt storms off, which leaves Jessica alone to have a tantrum of equal parts blood-curdling screams and, well, blood, coming out of her tear ducts. Poor Jessie!
Back at Casa Fortenberry, Hoyt might be regretting taking his momma's side in the argument. Maryann's pull is like a truth serum to Maxine. She confesses that she sacrificed her own pleasure to raise her son up right. She also, quite cruelly, tells Hoyt that his father was a secret drinker and possibly a closet homosexual — because he liked to dance. Oh, also: He wasn't killed by a burglar; he committed suicide. She just lied to get the life insurance money. Ouch.
Also: Anyone else think Maxine is much more important to Maryann's plan that we might have previously thought? Listen to her dialogue in this scene again; I think she gives something away.
Why can't Tara put herself in danger for the man she loves like Sookie always does? It's an interesting question, but one that Lafayette, Sookie and Lettie Mae are not entertaining at the moment, busy as they are hand-cuffing her (with Laf's personal fur-trimmed cuffs) to a coffee table. Laf and Sook leave Lettie Mae to guard Tara while they stand watch — with a shotgun -- outside.
Tara appeals to her mother's guilt over how badly she raised her daughter. Tara tells her she'll forgive her for everything if she lets her go — but it's a one-time offer! It appears not to work, as instead of freeing her, she kneels down to pray.
Out on the porch, Lafayette and Sookie figure out that they've both drunk Eric's blood. "Somebody need to slap that bitch," Lafayette says. "I have!" Sookie huffs. "Look at you," he replies. Heh. They've also both had sex dreams about him — which Lafayette says are both "nasty and fantastic."
Lettie Mae emerges from the house, visibly shaken, but it's all a trick to get the gun. While Sookie is in the house unlocking Tara's cuffs, Lafayette has a hallucination in which Eric — wearing Lettie Mae's clothes and holding the same shotgun — threatens to kill him. "I thought you wanted to be a vampire?" he says. Nelsan Ellis is really brilliant here. Lafayette is, by nature, fearless; it's pretty unsettling to see him lose his composure. Sookie tells him to man up, that she's going to need him to shoot Maryann in the head if she gives them any trouble. Can I point out how funny it is than Sookie is wearing a sundress while all this is going on instead of, like, military fatigues?
After Sam comes out to Jason and Andy about being a shape-shifter (they both basically shrug), Jason decides it's time to formulate a plan to save Bon Temps. His reference book: The Oral History of the Zombie War, as good a guide as any, I suppose. "Sometimes you need to destroy something to save it — that's in the Bible... or the Constitution," he says. Arlene's kids show up at Merlotte's, they haven't beed fed in two days since their mom is off on a sanity sabbatical. Sam takes them under his wing, which is kind of sweet and makes me think that the season finale (which airs in two weeks) is going to be really, really sad.
MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE CASTLE...
"William, you have to eat before we play Yahtzee," insists the queen, foisting her Latvian on him after all. "I love watching two men together," she squeals as Bill feeds from the young man.
But Sophie-Anne has bad news: Maenads can't be killed. Further, Maryann waiting for the god that comes is a fool's errand as, well, he never comes... because he doesn't exist. "He only exists in humans' minds — like money and morality," she muses. A further irony: Maryann thinks she needs to offer her god a sacrifice — she's partial to supernatural beings, hence her interest in Sam — so that the god (Dionysus, Satan, whomever) will come and... kill her. A true death, ravished and devoured by her true god. Um, okaaay...
SAM and ERIC
(Anyone else remember that the twins in Lord of the Flies were named Sam and Eric, but everyone called them Samneric? No? Just me? OK, carry on...) Sam and Arlene's kids head off to Fangtasia to find Eric, to see if he can help them defeat Maryann. The kids exposit that their absent father is named Duane and he has Arlene's name tattooed on his stomach. I'm wondering where this plot seed will sprout. Any ideas who Duane might be? Also: I love Ginger, and I think it's hysterical that every time we see her, she has a mini-breakdown. Also: Pam! Hooray! At first I thought her red bodysuit was a little much and definitely out of character for the 1950s housewife, but as the camera got closer, I noticed the sequins, the miniskirt and the giant bow and all was right with the world.
I was a little nervous when Eric became so fixated on the kids, even going as far as to call them delicious. But his interest, for now, seems innocent enough. "Good night, tiny humans," he says, as he flies off toward the queen's castle.
BILL and ERIC
While the queen's (basically useless) maenad primer sinks in, Hadley, Sophie-Anne's previously mute female companion, asks, "How's my cousin Sookie?" Interesting. It seems she left Bon Temps in somewhat of a state of disgrace. Bill gets even itchier to leave when he learns that Eric has arrived at the palace. "All this alpha-male posturing," the queen huffs. "You two really should just f--- each other and get it over with." This chick isn't shy about making her desires known, ay? Bill and Eric face off for, like, the cagillionth time. Eric is all: How are you different from me? We both tricked Sookie into drinking our blood. (True.) And Bill is all: Nuh-uh, I'm telling you're dealing V. (Also true.)
JASON and ANDY
"You think Sam's ever turned into a dog and then had sex with a lady dog?" Jason asks. This was the first of two goofy questions that Jason asks about Sam's particular talent (the other: "You think Sam could turn into a chicken and eat an egg he just laid?"), but by the episode's end, I wondered if the dumbass wasn't actually on to something. I mean, it's clear that bestiality — as Michelle Forbes hinted earlier in the season — has something to do with Maryann's plan.
Tara rushes over to Sookie's house to save Eggs. Maryann drops a bombshell: Tara summoned Maryann when Miss Jeannette conducted that exorcism. So does that mean that Miss Jeannette wasn't a fake after all? Actually, no. Maryann was apparently duped by her as well, believing her to be the vessel through which the god that comes will come. But... not so much. There's a moment where Tara resists Maryann's vibrating attempts to win her back, but after a quick slug to the jaw, Tara is back to being black-eyed.
Terry, Arlene, Mike (the coroner), Jane (his frequent orgy partner) and others show up to tell Maryann that Sam Merlotte has been "smoten" (heh) by the god that comes (aka Jason Stackhouse in a gas mask). Their gullibility infuriates Maryann, which she expresses by emitting a high-pitched noise that reminded me of that scene in Splash when Daryl Hannah tells Tom Hanks her name in her language and all the glasses in the restaurant break. "Must I do everything myself?" Maryann huffs, ever the diva.
Sookie and Lafayette are met by Arlene and Terry as they approach the Stackhouse place, and Laf plies them with drugs while Sookie makes her way inside. There she finds Jane, who is singing that Greek incantation to the tune of "Row Row Row Your Boat" and cutting off her own finger as a present to the god who comes. Ew. There's a rotting animal head on the kitchen table and a naked reveler bathing himself in the sink. On the floor at Sookie's feet is Mike, who is feeling rather randy. Fortunately, Sookie is able to subdue him quite comically with a handy frying pan.
Outside, Maryann corners Lafayette and gives him a little lecture about horse nettle, (aka bull nettle, devil's tomato, or the apple of Sodom). It's a savory addition to any wine-based sauce in small doses, but also poisonous! Laf may be a cook, but he's in no mood to talk recipes. He aims the shotgun at her head and pulls the trigger. She deflects the bullet with her hand and it kills Karl. She mourns her faithful pal for about four seconds.
Inside, Sookie makes her way upstairs to Gran's former boudoir, where Tara and Eggs are breaking everything in sight and using the various fragments to build a makeshift nest in the center of the bed. A nest for what, you ask? For the giant egg that sits inside it, of course. The hell? Where did that come from? It makes me wonder if a shifter, in avian form, didn't lay it, just as Jason imagined. Maybe that's how all shifters are born, via animal gestation. While we ponder that head-scratcher though, we are dismayed to discover that apparently Laf didn't man up enough, as he's now black-eyed as well, leaving Sookie as the only clear-eyed one left standing. Naturally, upon discovering this, she screams. (Also: She's still wearing a sundress. Silly girl.)
Outro is the raucous "Frenzy" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins.
What did you think of "Frenzy"? Who will make the ultimate sacrifice for the god that comes? Will Queen Sophie-Anne make her presence known in Bon Temps? Will Bill and Eric just get it over with? How does Maxine fit into Maryann's dastardly plan? And what's in that egg?
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