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You are incapable of love. You are damned. You cannot be saved. You are a creature of death, and the living are only good for one thing, and it is not love.

Is it just me, or have the last two True Blood episodes been kind of “meh”? Despite my joy at having Sookie, Eric, Pam and the rest back on my screen and the tremendous amount of plotline story dump we’re being treated to, something hasn’t been clicking for me. “Me and the Devil” has some fantastic individual moments ““ rotting Pam, Portia’s tirade, every single moment Marnie is on screen ““ but there’s a sense of holding back. We’re spending an awful lot of time setting up the various stories that will get us through the season, so I can only hope that Ball and Co. will cash in on it.

 I’m appreciating the return of the zingy one liners. There haven’t been a ton of great ones so far this season”“ we’re only five episodes in and the only really memorable quote I can pull from the first four is Lala’s bird line. (“I’m sorry that after all that trouble, your bird is still dead.”) So let’s take a moment to savor the best:

 “Oh good, the world needs is more beekeepers.”

 “I can put up with a lot, but if you fuck with my face, it’s time to die.”

“The sage smokes out the evil. You gotta get it up in the corners.”

“Lady, when my gran tells me to run, I run.”

“Vampires have often found it advantageous to maintain a hidden presence in humanity’s most powerful institutions, and in the 1600s, that was the Catholic church. And today, as you all know, it’s Google and FOX News.”

So what do we have this episode? A lot of parents (the Mickens, Arlene and Terry, Godric and Eric, Lettie Mae, Jesus’ grandfather, Gran). A lot of ghosts (Godric again, Rene, Antonia, Gran). And a ton of exposition ““ they are really making sure we understand how much is at stake in a potential witch-vampire war.

 Well, I have to say that the Tommy storyline took a turn I wasn’t expecting. I thought we’d be subjected to Jo Lee and Melinda (who seems to really enjoy these horrible mother roles ““ she was also Darla in The Crow) for most of the season, but Tommy flipping out and killing them was both justified and surprising. As was Sam’s reaction when Tommy told him he was in a spot of trouble. (“I can see that, Tommy.”) I assume that this will be the bonding/trust circle fall that both men were moaning for earlier in the season. And I predict that it will go bad for them ““ Luna’s story about the two-skins isn’t likely to be a red herring. Tommy’s killed another shifter now.

Speaking of bad parents, Lettie Mae returns. She’s gotten the reverend to leave his wife, she’s stayed clean, and now she’s a Preacher’s Wife ““ everything she wanted the last time we looked in on her. And since she has so much experience with possession and all, she’s helping out with the de-ghosting of Arlene and Terry’s house. Baby Mikey continues to be horrible and creepy but the “Baby Not Yours” incident seems to have pushed Terry over onto Team Something Isn’t Right Here. He arranges for the reverend (and Lettie Mae) to come chase the specter of Rene out of the house. I’ll lay money down that this does not work. Any takers?

Jason heals up well enough thanks to Jessica’s blood. He’s up and walking around the day after they find him ““ which also happens to be the day before the full moon. He’s also accurately calling what happened to him “rape,” which is an issue no one seemed sure how the show would handle. (I remembered, quite late, that there is another question of female-on-male rape that comes up in the show, in the second season, when Arlene thinks she’s taken advantage of Terry during Maryanne’s blackout orgies.) I feel, all practical issues aside, that Jason Stackhouse is approaching this how Jason Stackhouse would — he knows that this is a traumatic incident, has a bullshit theory on why it happened to him, and will be slow to deal with the repercussions. He’s not a guy who spends a lot of time delving into his feelings. Given his track record (running to the Fellowship of the Sun after Amy’s death and his bullet-wound hallucinations after Eggs’s killing); dealing with his emotions is going to be a back-burner thing. Also, he’s got the whole panther thing to handle.

And I’ve seen this question floated about, so I’ll authoritatively state my theory on this: No, drinking Jessica’s blood will not turn Jason into a vampire-were hybrid. This isn’t Underworld. And we’ve seen a shifter drink vampire blood to heal wounds before ““ Sam drinks a lot of Bill’s blood after being tortured during season 2 and as far as we know, he’s still a plain ole shifter.

Bill gets to flex some of his newfound authority this episode ““ he has Marnie kidnapped, he uses his glamour like it’s going out of style, and he assembles his sheriffs to deal with the mess Marnie’s made of his kingdom. It’s during this little meeting that Pam slips up and mentions that she knows that Eric has lost his memory, which means she’s seen him, which means she’s forced to tell Bill where Eric is. All of this is so startlingly out of Pam’s character ““ she’s absolutely one of the most competent characters on the whole show and her loyalty to Eric is iron clad ““ that I can only assume the rotting spell has made its way to her brain.

So let’s talk Eric and Sookie.

They kiss, y’all. Like the way they feel for each other, the moment is a slow build, tentative and hesitant. It took them a long time to get there, to each other, to that place on the porch of her (their) house. Bill and Sookie’s kisses were full of drama. Big explosions, lots of passion. But they were also predicated on a lie and false lust. It was Sookie’s girlhood ideal, you know, the kind of thing you imagine when your only exposure to romance is a lot of TV and movies. I see this as her grown-up kiss. The one for someone you love in spite of their flaws and sins, because you know that love is complicated and hard, and people aren’t white knights or black hats.

It took them the entire episode to end up on that porch. Eric is tormented by Godric in his dream. I know that Godric is supposed to represent the inner vampire urges Eric is struggle against. But I also think it’s no coincidence that it’s Godric ““ who Eric loved more than himself ““ urging him to destroy the other thing he loves. They don’t really do coincidences on True Blood. Eric seeks out Sookie for comfort after he wakes up and sleeps platonically in her bed while she stares at him and thinks about how low his shorts sit on his hips. Or like, contemplates her mental anguish or something. But I bet she’s thinking about the shorts.

Sookie’s dead grandmother puts in appearance to tell her what a bad idea falling in love with Eric is because the situation’s temporary, courtesy of an afternoon visit to Moon Goddess Emporium and Marnie. And then she tells Sookie to hightail it out of there because Marnie is dangerous to her. I guess no one likes the fae. Not even burned at the stake Spanish witches who are channeling themselves through middle-aged Wiccans. Tara throws another wrench in the works by flipping out when she finds out Eric has been living in Sookie’s basement ““ not because Sook tells her, but because low-shorts, fang showing, Eric pops up in the middle of a girl’s heart-to-heart. She throws in Eric’s face every sin he’s committed against Sookie and flees.

Eric is devastated. He really is. You can see it on his little boy face. He leaves to keep from hurting Sookie any further, out into the night and the darkness, but she slips out after him in her sun-yellow dress, standing in a pool of light. And calls to him. Holds out her arms.

And they end up there, on her porch, in that kiss.
 Bonus Content: Robert Johnson’s “Me and the Devil Blues”

 

 

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