Witches? Oh, great, now I have to deal with witches?! No! Not my problem!
I have to say that I think Ball and co. seem have taken the complaints about last season to heart. Sookie is much closer to the Sookie of early 1st season and the book series ““ sassy, smart, and self-reliant. There’s a fine line between sassy and intolerable brat, and season 3 trod the hell over that line and well into “What the hell do I care about this girl?” territory. Tara also seems to be hewing more closely to her 1st season characterization ““ smart and strong. It helps that she’s more centered now after three years of having crap heaped on her shoulders ““ within the show it speaks to a real growth for Tara. It’s unfortunate that growth has to be tied to “(possible) political lesbian conversion after bad experience with men” clichÃ© arc, but I’m willing to extend Ball the benefit of the doubt.
This episode is all about power, who has it, what they’re doing with it and how they wield it over other people. Jessica glamouring Hoyt, Tommy trying to screw over Maxine, Crystal and Jason, Bill and his role as King (I am the Authority!) and of course, there’s the sudden power inversion between Eric and Sookie. The scene where she washes his feet is cute and all, with Eric’s little shirtless giggle, but that’s some heavy symbolism going on there. We have both the washing away of sins, in which Eric literally becomes a new man, but we also have the Biblical story about Jesus washing the feet of his followers as a sign of humility.
“He said to them, `Do ye know what I have done to you? Ye call me, ‘The Teacher’ and ‘The Lord,’ and ye say well, for I am; if then I did wash your feet — the Lord and the Teacher — ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given thee an example, that ye should do as I have done to ye. Verily, verily, I say unto ye, the servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.”
Sookie has power now, but of all the people in this episode who are handed control over another person, she’s the only one not to abuse it. She does the right things ““ she lets Pam know that Eric is in her care, she agrees to care for him once she recognizes he’s in real danger, she tucks him away safe and sound and even feeds and clothes him. Though she tries to foist his care off on Alcide (Hello, Debbie Pelt!), ultimately the responsibility rests on her shoulders. She could really screw Eric over if she wanted to, but she hasn’t, and she won’t, not intentionally.
I mean, the girl even hugged Debbie Pelt. She’s a goddamn saint.
I think, in the question of power and what kind of person you are, the one to watch this season is Lafayette. It’s pretty obvious that he’s the supernatural battery to Marnie’s Wiccan spellage and sooner or later, he’s gonna realize that. I’ll make my predictions now ““ Jesus is going to lean towards abuse of power in the name of keeping people safe, just like Jessica and Bill, and Lala will have a chance to get even with Eric and Pam but won’t. I mean, I hope he won’t. Lala is a monetary opportunist, but he’s not an asshole. Look back at his first season interaction with poor, sad Vampire Eddie. Lafayette treated him with real tenderness when he could have easily manipulated Eddie instead.
- Bill executes a vampire for being filmed feeding on a human, not for the actual feeding. An important distinction ““ especially given how natural and warm Bill’s complexion is these days. He also pretends to be a good father to Jessica after treating her like crap for 3 seasons, and, oh yeah, murdering her. And he starts banging Portia. If I know my True Blood, this will become awkward before the end of the season.
- Jason is most certainly going to become a werepanther. Yay?
- Eric murders the shit out of Sookie’s fairy godmother.
- And, hey, I’m glad to see that my insistence that the first episode originally had a figure lurking in the woods was proven correct — Claudine, prior to being eaten, admits she was the one hanging around in the shadows when Sookie fought off the Rattrays.
- Jessica tells Hoyt about feeding off the fangbanger and then glamours him into forgetting it. And then she gives an obviously possessed doll to a creepy baby.
- Creepy baby is creepy. As a parent, how do you think you’d feel about your child getting cast in a show because he gives off demon vibes?
- Marnie gives a really depressing plea to the nether world. She just wants to know she’s special, even if that means becoming a vessel for a spirit. Any spirit. An evil one will do just fine. Next week, she’ll have a picnic in the park and take into her all the powers of Manno.
- Pam and her red dress. I would like her to just parade around in that all season, because it’s fabulous. She had a lot of great moments in the episode ““ the way she smoothes back her hair and pastes on a fake smile after Eric throws her across the room, the desperation she breaths when asking Sookie to look after him, the threat she levels on Tara, Jesus and Lafayette ““ I think this is going to be her season to stand out. (Again, Ball seems to recognize that the audience just loves this character and is responding accordingly.)
There’s one thing left to discuss about this episode and I know you all know exactly what I’m going to say: Jason gets raped.
I’ll eat my hat if no one on the writing staff has seen the movie A Boy and His Dog or read the Harlen Ellison novella. The last scene with Jason is set up essentially the same as the sequence in the movie ““ “˜Boy’ Don Johnson (seriously) has been lured to an inbred mutant community to help fertilize the women, and after being drugged, ends up strapped to a bed while his semen is harvested while a line of young women eagerly wait their turn.
Apparently there’s some sort of dancing around the way to discuss this part of the episode. But I don’t know how anyone could view this scene and frame it in any other way. Jason is drugged and tied to a bed while Crystal has sex with him ““ even the establishing shots seem like something out of a horror movie. Just because he’s not yelling “no” or “rape” doesn’t make it any less of an act of violence.
I don’t know how the show will ultimately deal with this ““ they did a fairly unapologetic take on Tara’s storyline last year. They never shied away from saying Tara was raped and even had her attend a survivor meeting as part of her healing process. And like Jason, Tara had willingly had sex with her rapist at one point, as well as being shown having several unapologetic dalliances throughout the series. It’s not a show that deals in slut shaming or punishing people for their sex lives. Jason is not “getting his” for being heavily sexed-up as some people seem to be suggesting; he just has had the bad fortune to get involved with and trapped by two really screwed up methheads (V-addicts).
Female on male sexual violence is not something usually dealt with in popular culture and I’m going to be keeping a close eye on how the story develops. Clearly they’ve deviated heavily from the Hotshot storyline in the books. Now that Jason is going to be used to impregnate the Hotshot women, or at the very least, become a were-panther, there seems to be no way of extracting him from this storyline. We’re going to be dealing with the fallout from this all season long.