“Get the f– off me or die, Warlow.”
I suppose it’s not necessarily a good sign for an episodic television show that I can miss an entire week and not be lost at all when I come back into the show. Moretta provided our lovely recap for “You’re No Good“ last week – I was unable to catch the episode in time for reviewing and as the week went on, I just never found the time. So when I sat down to “At Last,” I figured I might be a little lost on the specifics. But, nope. Not at all. Luckily “At Last” provided some good moments, mostly via Jessica and Sookie, because otherwise I might have to seriously start questioning how I spend my Sunday evenings.
What didn’t work:
The Weres. In the Southern Vampire Universe, werewolves are actually kind of dicks – they boss the rest of the shape changers around, they think they’re better than everyone else, and they eat each other. So they pretty much act in the same way that Alcide’s pack is acting, but the difference is that we’ve had a couple of seasons of getting to know Alcide. He’s seemed like a decent enough fellow up until this point, but now he’s nothing but a towering pile of asshole. Something better come of this, or no one is gonna care when the Governor’s stormtrooper forces show up to start hauling them away.
Andy’s unnamed fairy daughters. The magically aging supernatural child is such a huge trope in fantasy/horror that the show needs to be doing something special with the idea in order to make it work. I suppose the “˜twist’ is that there are four of them, and they’re alternatively mean and a bit strumpety. And then they’re (maybe) dead. With Warlow the fairy-vampire hanging around and revealing the nature of his in-betweeny state and four baby fairies getting drained by a vampire in the same episode, there’s at least a glint that maybe not all is what it seemed in that last shot. I’m willing to see if there’s something more to come from this terrible plot point, but for now, its terrible-no-good bad.
Every time the horrible djinn plot of doom gets brought up. Please find something else for Arlene and Terry to do. Maybe they could even be background characters again. I’d be ok with that.
Emma reminds us that her mother died a couple of days ago. Sam and Prettyface McGoodhair (which is the most accurate character nickname ever) hop into bed together. Not only do Sam’s girlfriends tend to have tragic fates, all I was thinking about was how unsexy I’d feel if some monster had just taken a bite out of my leg.
Sam non-sensically sends Lala away with the car while they’re on the run, as if the weres can’t track the scent of Lala’s car. I’m sure Lala is totes much safer now. Also, why is Lafayette being wasted on this piddling second string bullshit?
Pam and Tara. Just. Stop. Tara is wasted. Pam is wasted. There isn’t even anything entertaining in the snarky comments any longer.
The return of the fake vampire cashier from the very first episode! It was nice to see you, whatever your name is.
Jessica ““ as much as I am mystified by Jessica’s loyalty to Bill, Deborah Ann Woll knocks it out of the park every single week. She’s consistently one of the most entertaining and engaging characters, and one of the few that seems to have genuine emotional depth. As upsetting as it is to think that our Jessica slaughtered four little girls, there’s some real tragedy there – she’s a young vampire in over her head, holding out against temptation longer than vampires centuries older than she is. Nora lasted a few seconds with Niall before trying to eat him. Jessica only gave in after a day, during a moment of high stress.
Jason and Niall – Jason is often wasted on the show, but the introduction of Niall has brought back the buddy-cop dynamic that showcases Jason at his very best. Jason’s endearing dimness needs a straight man to bounce off of – that’s why Jason and Andy were such a great pairing, and the familial aspect that Niall adds just improves their scenes together. He’s just really terrific throughout the episode but especially in his glamor therapy scene with Ben/Warlow.
And speaking of Warlow! Of course he’s Ben. Which is awesome, I guess, because he takes his shirt off (among other things), and he gets to be evil, and the show does shirtless evil so well. His tenderness with Jason (and willingness to heal him) hints at a more nuanced Big Bad for this season. If there’s anything I’m excited about for the rest of the season, it’s seeing where Warlow’s storyline goes.
I had feared that the lingering shots of Anna Paquin’s post-pregnancy body this season signaled a return to “Sookie has a romantic problem” which is the least compelling of Sookie storylines. Instead, “At Last” treats us to Spunky Sookie and Bitch Face Sookie, which are way more enjoyable than Romantic Troubles Sookie. On her own she figures out Ben is Warlow, entices him into a trap (the hardening of her expression when she turns away from Ben at the hotel is a fabulous moment), proactively tries to poison/weaken him, and then gets him close enough to her to pull out her fairy nuclear option. I’m not quite sure why this required her to take off her party dress, but, whatever. Nor am I sure how two mind readers managed to keep their plans secret from each other when the show has firmly established that physical contact is a conduit to read other people’s thoughts. Sometimes you just have to accept what the show is giving you. And right now it’s giving me Sassy Sookie, which is enough to make me tune in next week. The return of the “white dress,” which was made so much of in the first episode, was a nice thematic touch. Both Sookie and Eric used “the girl in the white dress” as a touchstone for a time that was simpler for Sookie, when she was more innocent, and Sookie turns that on its head, using the white dress – and all its inherent symbolism – as a lure for Ben/Warlow. Nice touch, True Blood.