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Since when has any fanatic been held back by the improbability of their righteous mission?

At episode seven, solidly mid-season, I am still a bit meh about this season of True Blood. I’m not even sure what’s not clicking with me this go around ““ is it the endless flashbacks to the Spanish Inquisition, the sheer number of subplots, or the strangely chemistry-less coupling of Sookie and Eric?  We’ve finally gotten to the witch war and it’ll be interesting to see which way the show takes this ““ in previous years, the middle episodes resolved one major plot issue (see: Dallas/Fellowship of the Sun) so that the second could come roaring out of dark (see: maenad orgy Bon Temps). Will we spend the next four shows with the witches or will we see the return of Queen Mab? Or will possessed Baby Mikey be the dark horse Big Bad?

I don’t care. I just want to enjoy my stories again.

So let’s get to it. There’s a lot packed into these 50 minutes:

Last week there were a number of theories put forward about the resolution of Pam vs. Tara. We were all wrong. Pam attacks the girls, slaps the gun out of Tara’s hand, wallops the bejesus out of them while actively rotting, and finally is foiled by a crowd of gawkers filming the attack with their cell phones. TMZ will pay 10 grand for footage! And the Mountain Dew patron from season two accuses Pam of being a zombie! Pam has had one of the best arcs this year ““ in the first episode, she’s the one who is acutely aware of the threat of mass media and restrains Jessica in the parking lot of Fangtasia. By episode seven, she’s an unraveling mess, both metaphorically and literally. With her maker incapacitated and her beauty destroyed, Pam can’t hold it together.

 The “zombie” comparison seemed to be Pam’s last straw. She seeks out the services of the weird doctor from season two who is able to arrest Pam’s decay, but only on the surface. After a full body skin wax, Pam learns she’ll have to inject herself four times a day, with six different shots, for the rest of her unlife in order to be beautiful again. “Or whatever you called it before.” Ginger administers the injections while Pam lays in her Barbie Dream Coffin and then tucks her in with a silver chainmail blanket. Poor Ginger is just so put-upon.

 

Antonia is now in full Marnie control. We know she’s Antonia because she repeats it every time she enters a scene. Now with a meat bag to call her own, Antonia starts ripping through the vampire community ““ first, she possesses Luis, has him kill Katie, the Wiccan spy, sends him to assassinate King Bill, and stalks off into the woods. She’s drawn to Tara’s anger ““ after Pam’s attack, Tara’s dumped her girlfriend and stalked off to wander the world like Dr. Bruce Banner, though she doesn’t get far before the witch finds her. It takes 30 seconds of dialogue, several mentions of rape, a rape flashback, and a promise for vengeance to get Tara on Team Witch. Too much rape already.

Lala and Jesus have it out with Grampa. That whole “attempted murder to prove a point” thing doesn’t go over very well and the boys decide they’d rather take their chances back in Bon Tempts rather than become like the crazy old brujo. Oh, and Lala is a medium. He’s one of only two witches Jesus have ever heard of being able to contact the dead. Which totally won’t be important later at all! Ten seconds back in Bon Temps, Lala is already seeing Pretty Lady Ghost in his kitchen, creeping up on Baby Mikey.

While we’re at Merlotte’s, we get to see Andy’s disastrous date with Holly. It starts well enough, with Andy putting on a suit and picking up some sale roses to impress her and ends only moments later with Andy in V-withdrawal storming out of the bar. And he takes the roses with him.

Tommy’s skinwalking trick gets found out in about the same amount of time. Sam and Luna put the pieces together almost immediately so that Sam can storm back to his trailer and kick Tommy out. Again. I was terribly impressed with Tommy this episode even as I feel bogged down with his character ““ I believe him when he says he’s sorry for everything he’s done, and I believe that he really wants Sam to love him. But the kid is beyond messed up, with no moral compass and no example of decent human behavior to live by. I wish his story wasn’t wedged into an over packed season.

Jason tries to distract himself from thoughts of Jessica by doing shirtless push-ups. I, personally, was distracted from thoughts of Jessica, but I don’t think Jason was having quite the same amount of success.

I know that plenty of people are clamoring for a Jason-Jessica romance now, but let’s keep something in mind; he’s not really attracted to her. He’s had her blood, so that makes his feelings for her less than authentic. And it would be nice to see Jason have a close relationship with a woman that he doesn’t end up sexing. Comparably, I think that for Jessica, Jason represents all the possibility of life. Hoyt is her first boyfriend, her first romance, her first everything ““ as much as she may love him, it’s natural for her desires to wander.

Hoyt shows up to check on Jason, see if he turned into a panther (what would he do if Jason had?) and to see how he’s coping with the rape(s). Which is more than anyone ever asked Tara. For all the mention of rape on this show, it just sort of”¦ sits out there, this word with a lot of terrible emotional weight, propelling some plots and never going anywhere.

Am I the only one confused by the progression of time in this episode? The beginning of the episode has to still take place during the full moon, but no one bothers to mention it at all, Marnie’s attack seems to take place nearly at dusk ““ the windows at Moon Goddess are awfully dark even though Jessica walks out in the middle of full sun, Hoyt shows up at Jason’s house on what has to be the night of the full moon but Jason talks about it in past tense, Lafayette was in Mexico the night before but is in Merlotte’s by the next afternoon manning the grill while having had time for yet another hair change. What the what?

The time lapse really is important, since it’s tied into the A-Plot. Antonia is planning on raising all the vampires in the immediate area and burning them in the sun. Bill figures out her plan after Luis tries to kill him and sends out his sheriffs to alert the local community. Anyone who can’t get out of town needs to be chained down with silver during the day ““ the vampires won’t have control of their bodies and the silver will keep them weak and bound.

When Mama Foytenberry’s neighbor walks out into the sun, completely and obviously unrestrained by silver, I thought to myself, “Well, obviously the sheriffs didn’t bother to tell her to protect herself, because she’s not as attractive as a vampire is supposed to be.”

He personally delivers the bag of chains over to Sookie’s house. Which probably smells like sex, because Eric and Sookie have been doing it all over her house, in every position that can be arranged to minimize the height difference between Eric and Sookie. Eric refuses to hide out in King Bill’s basement and Sookie pledges to keep him safe, so Bill heads back home to get Jessica and himself sorted out.

Upset by how painful it is to Jessica to be silvered, Bill takes it upon himself to arrange her chains, and uses a light touch. This bit of kindness will bite him (and her) in the ass. While they wait for Antonia’s curse, they have some maker-child intimacy ““ Jessica confesses that she doesn’t think she’s capable of loving Hoyt because she’s a vampire. Bill tries to convince her that at their hearts, they’re still human beings, but Jessica isn’t so sure. And it may not matter, since the curse comes, and Jessica is able to tear herself free of her chains and crawls like a dog upstairs and out the door, while Bill tries to command her to stay put.

Hey, Bill. You can’t command Jessica to do anything as her maker because you released her after three months because you’re a terrible sire. I don’t care how much Jessica reassures otherwise, he murdered her, dumped her on Eric, neglected even the most basic of training, abandoned her, released her, so this one time when he cares what happens to her doesn’t really make him Father of the Year for me. Yeah, yeah, I know that they were supposed to have grown close over the year Sookie was in Fairie, but, really?  If Ball wants to create sympathy for Bill, it would help if he wouldn’t keep glossing over all the crap Bill has done on the show.

It’s interesting to compare Bill, who we’re supposed to sympathize with despite his repeated betrayals and Eric, who at least was upfront about being an untrustworthy bastard and kept getting cast as the villain. Sookie still loves Bill despite all the horrible things he’s done, but in order to love Eric, his amnesia had to literally create a blank slate for her to start from. Why has whatever Eric done to Sookie been worse than what Bill has done?

Don’t worry too much about Jessica’s come to the light moment ““ Jason is coming to rescue her, even if Bill’s guards shoot him in the process.

 

Bonus content: Nick Lowe, “Cold Grey Light of Dawn.”

 

 

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