I’m an organic vegan and my carbon footprint is miniscule.
At least we open up with naked Sam. I mean, that’s a nice way to start your day, but of course Sookie is overreacting and screaming. Just because she went to bed with a dog and woke up with a naked man, it’s screeching time. Sam tries to explain that he’s not the murderer who killed Sookie’s Gran, but instead is a shapeshifter.
Sam: I’m not the killer, I swear. I’m a shape-shifter.
Sookie: Shut the fuck up.
There’s some consternation after this confession. Sam explains that it’s a genetic thing and that he “got” shapeshifting from his family. Despite the fact that she has spent most of her life trying to hide her telepathic abilities and flat-out refused to say that she was a psychic earlier in the season, she gets huffy with Sam because he didn’t tell her that he was a supe. Or that there are werewolves. Frankly, Sookie is acting like a total brat.
While Sookie is pitching her fit, Tara is out in the woods with the hoodoo woman who cured her mother. All that talk about demons has finally gotten to her ““ last week Sam lent her the money to have her own exorcism done, and so we find her sitting around the fire with Ms. Jeannette. There’s evil inside her, Ms. Jeannette says, and gives her some poison to kill it off. Whatever the concoction is (ipecac syrup and peyote we find out later), it causes Tara to vomit copiously and hallucinate a black-eyed child. This is supposed to represent Tara’s demon, so Ms. Jeannette gives a tripping Tara a knife and has her go “kill” it.
Surprisingly, the next morning finds Tara happy and cleansed and looking cleaner than any woman who spent the night hallucinating in the woods has a right to be. She reunites with her mother, Lettie Mae, who graciously forgives Tara for what a bad mother Lettie was and the two run off to Mamaw’s Mudbugs for a celebratory lunch. Poor Tara ““ anyone who wasn’t so desperate to have their mother love them would have been worried about that exchange with Lettie Mae. It’s not going to go well for them, ever,
And then there’s Jason.
Jason is still the dumbest box of hair this side of the Mississippi. He’s pretty. He’s got a nice body. And he bumbles around in life, going from one conquest to another, one job to another, one game to another. He’s not very bright and he’s not very motivated, which means falling in with someone like Amy Burley. He has, as he notes later, lost the upper hand in the relationship, and basically lets Amy direct things. Unfortunately, her moral compass is gone and Jason’s barely functions, so that’s how he ended up with Vampire Eddie tied to a lawn chair.
Eddie has helpfully pointed out that Amy is a psychopath before. However, since I just finished Jon Ronson’s The Psychopath Test (and Bob Hare’s books, Without Conscience and Snakes in Suits) and am now an Internet Expert, I ran Amy’s behavior down the checklist to see how it matches up. Let’s look at this the entire exchange I pulled the intro quote from, for funs! Amy has a vampire locked up in the basement that she is draining the blood from to get high and sell, and refuses to feed as she bleeds him to death:
Amy: If I were you, I’d get my filthy mind off of him. What is it that you vampires say? “Jason is mine.”
Eddie: It’s not like that. He’s a good person.
Amy: Are you implying that I’m not?
Eddie: Well Jason isn’t planning to kill me after I’m no longer any use to him.
Amy: Sophomore year of college, I walked away from an academic scholarship so I could go to this Guatemalan village, help build their first irrigation system so they could have fresh water, crops that didn’t give them dysentery. So don’t you dare get morally superior on me. I am an organic vegan, and my carbon footprint is miniscule. Because I know that, ultimately, we’re all just a single living being. But you are not.
According to my superior diagnostic skills, Amy is showing signs of 2 (Grandiose Sense of Self Worth), 6 (Lack of Remorse or Guilt), 8 (Callousness or Lack of Empathy), 10 (Poor Behavioral Controls), and 16 (Failure to Accept Responsibility for Own Actions). Certified psychopath! Also, she has a guy tied up in her basement. I mean, I guess that’s a tip-off.
Amy discovers that Jason has been sneaking Eddie True Blood to keep him from starving. Rather than confronting Jason with that, she pretends like it’s all her idea to start taking care of the vampire, to treat him like a pet instead of a hostage. She’s adaptable. Jason is totally snowed by this turn of heart, because that’s the person he expects Amy to be ““ smart, nice, the kind of girl he can marry and have little Jasons with.
Later, at Arlene’s engagement party, he says exactly that. He tells Hoyt and Rene that he thinks Amy is the one. Amy tells Arlene and Sookie that she thinks Jason is the one. Arlene thinks Rene is the one. And then there’s Sookie. She thinks Bill is the one, because she’s never had anyone else, but she’s at the party alone, with no one to dance with, and Bill didn’t tell her where he was going or when he’d be back. It’s clear she’s starting to worry about the relationship.
What she should be worrying about is getting killed. When ducking into the bar to get some more ice, the Bon Temps killer comes after her again. She’s warned by picking up on the killer’s projected memories of murdering a woman we don’t recognize. After a dash through the bar, Sookie manages to get away and runs smack into Sam, who is supposed to be keeping an eye on her. Despite their earlier fight, Sookie asks him to stay with her.
Tara is also having a shitty night. First, on her way home from lunch with her mom, an unexpected stop at a drug store introduces Tara to the real Ms. Jeanette ““ a perfectly ordinary manager at a chain drugstore. She has a family to take care of and fleecing the weak is how she does it. Tara stomps out of the store, disillusioned and cursing, but she doesn’t tell her mother that Jeanette was a fake. Then she shows up at Arlene’s party drunk and wearing her old prom dress, tries to get Sam to nail her, and nearly instigates a fight with Andy Bellfleur. When Sam rejects her, Tara can’t handle it. She storms off, gets into her shitty car, and nearly runs over a woman and her pet pig standing in the middle of the road.
We get a glimpse of the woman as the camera pulls away. She looks wild and unconcerned that she also got hit. Also, it’s Michelle Forbes, who is the bomb. Every show she’s in is improved by her mere presence. (Seriously, check the woman’s resume ““ Homicide: Life on the Streets, Star Trek TNG, BSG, The Killing, In Treatment“¦ )
And then there is Bill.
Eric brought Bill before the Magister, who is like a roving vampire court system. He hears the crimes of vampires and pronounces their sentence, clearly on behalf of some organization we haven’t met yet. Bill’s staking of Long Shadow is a Big Deal. Vampires don’t kill their own kind and they certainly don’t kill their own kind to protect a human. That kind of soft-heartedness is frowned upon in their society. Yet you don’t screw with another vamp’s income ““ it’s Long Shadow’s embezzling that seems more important than his attempted murder of Sookie.
Rather than strapping Bill inside a coffin to starve for five years ““ the typical sentence for killing another of their kind ““ the Magister comes up with a “creative” sentence. He orders that Bill must replace the life he took. And then a teenaged girl is dumped at Bill’s feet. He either turns her into a vampire or he dies.
And he can’t use glamour to comfort the girl ““ it’s full-press brutality here. The embrace scene is clearly shot and scripted to look like a murder/rape. It’s highly uncomfortable and says even worse things about Bill. For all his pretence at playing the gentle Southern man, when push comes to shove, he murders a girl to save his own ass. (And later, he treats her just terribly to boot.) I find it odd that this scene has never really had repercussions for Bill. Unlike in the Buffyverse, where a sin this large would have major consequences for the committer, Bill doesn’t ever really answer for kill Jessica. Yes, he’s saddled with her for a while, but that’s not quite the same thing. This is certainly a different moral universe.
The introduction of Jessica was one of the changes from the book series that I was really resistant to on the show. She felt, frankly, like a Dawn, a child shoved into the narrative to appeal to a younger demographic. I’ve completely come around on her ““ the actress is really just fantastic, compelling and charismatic. This introduction scene is so difficult to watch and most of it is because she’s so convincing as the victim. Debra Ann Woll has done terrific things with the role, and unlike some of the other characters on the show, her story arc is very well done. But we’re just meeting her ““ we’ll have plenty of Jessica in the series to come.
Two more episodes this season, gang!