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There’s vampire in your cleavage.

So this is the kind of night Sookie has had:

We’ve all been there, right?

Last week, Eric hired Sookie to psychically deduce who embezzled 60 grand from Fangtasia. Process of elimination and the Swiss-cheese memory of the resident bar fly, Ginger, leads everyone to Long Shadow, vampire, bartender, and now attacker of Sookie. Neither Pam nor Eric seem inclined to do any rescuing, so Bill pops a fang and stakes Longshadow with a bit of broken beer tap. We haven’t seen any vampires bite it (har, har!) so far in the show, so this next part is an education.

True Blood vampires don’t dust up nicely like in Buffy or Blade. They explode in the messiest, goriest way possible. “Blood geyser” would be an apt description. They leave behind sinew and muscle tissue and all their clothes ““ all of which Sookie gets the business end of. Ginger screams and vomits. Sookie looks like she’s auditioning for the Carrie remake and Bill just fucked up big time.

Important Book Deviation: In the book, Eric saves Sookie. The show takes necessary liberties in adapting the characters and plot lines for television. What works as a first-person point of view novel does not exactly translate into scintillating TV. But this is a pretty particular plot change. We, the viewers, are supposed to be overtly involved in the Sookie-Bill romance. Creepy undertones aside ““ which I freely admit to being more noticeable to fans of the book than newbies to the show world ““ Bill has been sketched as the romantic knight to Sookie’s damsel. Eric has to be Bill’s counterpoint. I’ve said before that this is a show that plays on tropes and expectations ““ I think this is action that does more to play with our ideas of heroes and anti-heroes, and allows both of male lades to hide their natures for a bit longer.

Back at Fangtasia, Pam helps Sookie clean up. By help, I mean, she picks dead vampire out of Sookie’s cleavage and lends out one of her latex work outfits. The boys are busy discussing Bill’s faux pas. Vampires don’t just kill other vampires. They exact their retribution out of sight, if they’re smart, like Eric. If they’re dumb and hotheaded, they act on impulse and get dragged to vampire night court. Eric offers to trade Sookie for hiding the truth, but Bill’s heated reaction betrays him again.

Bill: Sookie must be protected.

Eric: That sounds like an edict. But it couldn’t be, because I would have heard about it.

Bill’s dropped glance speaks volumes.

Later, bringing Sookie home, Bill tries to comfort her by insisting he’ll always be there to protect her. Sookie’s not big on that, because all this hovering around and saving her makes her feel infantilized ““ she’s not wrong, you know ““ but Bill says that all the trouble she’s in is because of him. And he’s not wrong either! To underline this, Bill and Sookie find her cat slaughtered and tied to her ceiling fan.

Remember, there’s this murderer on the loose? Yeah, I know. I’ve given that plot a bit of short shrift in these recaps. Maybe it’s because I already know who did it – though I knew who did it before the season even aired, thanks to the books, and found it interesting on the first go around. But I’m far more interested in Sookie’s relationships in this rewatch, as it’s interesting to see how the characters come alive. The murder plot is important, in so much that it’s a Big Deal thing that ties directly into the vampires being in Bon Temps and it has repercussions well into season 4, but it’s just that; a murder mystery. Ladies who are connected to vampires (or accidentally in the wrong place) are being murdered. Pro-tip: the culprit is pretty obviously Not-Jason.

Speaking of sociopaths, let’s check in on Amy and Jason, who were last seen abducting Jimmy James from his house. Amy is an old hand at bleeding out vampires, which is probably how she supports her spoiled girl backpacking across the country. Jason has a rare moment of lucidity where he claims he knew she was bad news when she showed up with her giant bag:

This! Kidnappin’ vampires! Jesus! I should’ve known something wasn’t right the second you walked into my life carrying that big bag of crazy! ‘Cause any woman with a purse that big’s bound to have something in it I don’t wanna know about!

Amy basically la-la-las-I-can’t-hear-you all the way back to the house, where Jason fights every morsel of humanity in his soul while wrestling his kidnapped vampire into the basement. She sets up a shunt in Jimmy James’s ““ his real name is Vampire Eddie, the accountant ““ arm and more or less flat-out says she’s planning on bleeding him out for V. Jason abandons his morals as soon as sex is on the table and they proceed to get down in front of their victim. Amy insists on “thanking their source” while they’re having sex. And Eddie rightly tells her to fuck off.

Comeuppance comes quickly for Vampire Bill; Eric interrupts his Wii game to let Bill know that they need to go to the tribunal the next night. Bill enjoys playing golf on a projection screen and gets pissy when Fangtasia’s new partner, Chow, has a better score for Pebble Beach. In the books, most vampires have an area of special ability. Bill’s happens to be an affinity for technology ““ I only point this out because the show doesn’t do a good job of making this seem important. Likewise, next season we see Eric fly, which isn’t something all vampires can do, but they don’t make that distinction either.

The field trip makes a pit stop at Merlotte’s to let Sookie know what’s going on. Behind her back, Bill makes a deal with Sam to keep an eye on her, because Sam is the only one who’s capable of protecting her in his absence. Cue Significant Eye Contact.  While they’re chatting, Eric and Pam are passing out flyers for free admission and drinks at Fangtasia ““ but not to the AIDS Burger trio, because Eric seems to know they were involved in the vamp burning last episode. Then he makes a pompous announcement about how vampires are going to get retaliation for those murders and maybe you yokels shouldn’t be pissing monsters off.

Sookie and Bill have a tearful parting in the parking lot that seems to stir emotions in everyone that’s watching ““ Pam and Tara ““ but not Eric, who seems very detached from their display.

Later that night, Sookie heads out to Bill’s house to sleep ““ figuring whoever is trying to kill her won’t think to look at the vampire’s house ““ and takes along the collie that hangs out in Merlotte’s parking lot. Well, the dog just shows up, really, and Sookie eagerly invites him to hang out with her. She’s a lonely girl, really, and babbles on to the dog like you might talk to another human being. Which is appropriate because the dog is Sam, y’all!

Bonus content: We get a lot of Eric this episode, so we learn a lot about him too. These two bits point towards what kind of man he is, though they’re slipped in subtly:

1 ““ After Ginger cleans up Long Shadow’s remains, Eric has Pam glamour her into forgetting what happens. When Pam suggests that’s not a good idea given how many times she’s been glamoured before, Eric says there’s only two options ““ glamour her or embrace her. There’s a third option, of course, of just killing her ““ but he notably doesn’t bring it up.

2 ““ He’s the Sheriff of his area and it is within his rights to punish Bill himself. (And claim Sookie afterwards.) But he insists that Bill get a trial instead, where he can defend himself. (We’ll see that next week.)

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