On Sunday's episode of True Blood, Bill gets a proposition from the King of Mississippi. Sookie and Eric team up to find him while fending off werewolves. Tara, Jason and Lafayette all meet new love interests, while Sam meets his family.
We begin this episode Mike Tyson-style: Bill, with a severed ear in his mouth, all Mike Tyson-style. At his feet are a pile of bloodied naked bodies. Cooter's still alive — "Cooter? Seriously?" Bill asks with a snort — and just as he's about to attack Bill anew, up gallops Russell Edgington (Denis O'Hare), aka the King of Mississippi, in full equestrian gear. He couldn't look more out of place. (For more on Russell, check back tomorrow for my Q&A with O'Hare. There is a lot more to this guy than meets the eye.)
The king is not concerned that Bill killed three of the wolves, but he is not at all happy that Cooter and his friends fed off Bill. "You drank from my guest?" he spits. As a punishment, he takes out a pistol and shoots the only remaining living guy. He orders Bill into the saddle, and off they go.
Meanwhile, back at the castle, we meet Russell's husband Talbot (Theo Alexander), who has just redecorated the castle's guest room with a bed that once belonged to a famous Hungarian serial killer. He's hilarious. "I think I'm going to have to bring in the girl," Russell says mysteriously to Theo after they've escorted a befuddled Bill to his quarters. What exactly is he doing there?
He's there for a dinner party, of course! What's that? Vampires don't eat? Well, somebody better tell Theo that because he has quite the spread planned. First up: carbonated blood with a citrus finish. "This one ate only tangerines for weeks," Theo says. Ha!
The king says he wants to make Bill sheriff of Area 2 in Mississippi. He insinuates, however, that his eventual goal is much larger. He says he's asked Sophie-Anne to marry him (huh?), but that thus far she has rebuffed him. (OK, I did some research on this, and in the books, marriage between vampire monarchs is more of a political endeavor than a romantic one, meant to consolidate regions of power — just like humans in past centuries. They don't make that distinction clear on the show. In fact, Russell doesn't mention it until Theo has left the table to "drain the second course." "Carlo, bring me that Thai boy," Theo sing-songs as he re-enters the kitchen.)
Ah, warm blood bisque infused with rose petals — my favorite!
Then Russell says something interesting here, which picks up on an interesting plot line that was hinted at last season in Bill's dealings with the queen. Russell thinks Sophie-Anne is crazy to not utilize Bill, such a talented, young vampire, for better means than babysitting a waitress in Bon Temps. Bill weakly protests that it wasn't her idea, that he's not working for her, but it's clear from their conversation that Russell is on to something. (More on that later...)
Blood sorbet! A nice palate cleanser before... well, more blood.
Then, the worst party-crasher ever, Lorena, shows up. Bill welcomes her by throwing a hurricane lantern at her. As she bursts into flames, I find myself thinking how funny it would be if that was it for her, but I happen to know that it most definitely isn't. I get it — she's Bill's Kryptonite, so any time he needs to be bent to someone's will, she shows up. I like howMariana Klaveno plays her, but honestly, plot-wise I find her mostly to be annoying and extraneous.
Meanwhile, over at Fangtasia, Jessica sweetly asks Pam how to feed without killing. It's like the vampire birds-and-the-bees talk. Pam's advice: You force yourself to stop when the heartbeat slows; she likes to think of crying children with soggy diapers and maggots to calm her impulses.
Back at Compton Manor, Hoyt is on the doorstep with some B-positive TruBlood. He's sweet, as usual, but Jessica's got a corpse rotting under the floorboards, so this is no time for a midnight stroll. She blows him off and starts weeping bloody tears yet again. Oh, you crazy kids; I want it to work for them so badly.
She goes to sleep next to the decomposing redneck, who really must be stinking up the joint. The next evening, her frantic spraying of Lysol isn't doing the trick, so she looks into renting a chainsaw. But when she returns to take care of the body, it's gone.
INSIDE COMPTON MANOR
Presumably while Jessica was out at Home Depot, a figure wearing a mysterious pair of boots enters Compton Manor and ransacks Bill's study. He finds a secret drawer panel that contains a very detailed dossier on Sookie, including her family tree and a newspaper article about her childhood spelling-bee victory.
This is interesting on many levels, as it hints at a big secret that has yet to be revealed: As in the books, Bill was, in fact, sent to Bon Temps to protect Sookie. If she were ever to find out that she is a job for Bill, she might not feel so tender about his French-restaurant proposal.
ERIC and GODRIC
There was a series of flashbacks to Augsberg, Germany, in 1945 in this episode, and for lack of a better location, I'm going to write about them here.
An American soldier comes across a crouching, naked woman who appears to have been traumatized in some way. But no. As Uncle Sam's Finest approaches gallantly with his coat, she transforms into a werewolf and attacks him.
If Eric and Godric were action figures, these would be the special World War II Editions. They're dressed as SS officers, which is perplexing. Eric pins the naked woman to the wall with swords (yuck). Featured prominently is the Operation Werewolf brand on her collarbone. As such, she says they're on the same side. "No, we're not," Eric says. Clever Nazi disguise, Eric!
Eric wants to know who her master is, information she'll reveal if he gives her some of his blood. He obliges and she says her master is one of them, a vampire. (Russell?)
Unfortunately, with an infusion of vampire blood, she's strong enough now to overpower him. Fortunately, Godric steps in and breaks her neck, lickety-split. "A vampire is never at the mercy of his emotions. He dominates them," he says solemnly to his ward. Yes, sensei.
When we last saw Tara, she was attempting suicide. Lafayette arrives just in time to stop her and take her away from the hapless Lettie Mae, whose only assistance is to remind Tara that she can go to hell for killing herself.
As a cautionary tale, Lafayette takes Tara to see Ruby Jean Reynolds (Alfre Woodard), aka Lafayette's mom. What are her first words for her son, who she tells people is dead, after not seeing him for six months? "God killed him, because he's a faggot. But he keep coming back." Oh boy, she's clearly a handful. They meet Jesus (Southland's Kevin Alejandro), Ruby Jean's handsome nurse, and exchange pleasantries. "God killed you too," Ruby Jean says of Tara. "Almost," Tara replies.
So Lafayette says that there's some darkness in their family, and that he wanted to remind Tara that they are strong enough to overcome it. Point taken, Tara says. Lafayette also mentions that he thinks Jesus is hot, so get ready for all that to happen.
Franklin Mott (The Tudors' James Frain), a rakish, shifty-looking vampire, shows up at Merlotte's and sets his laser flirting sights on Tara. She's in no mood (when did we last see that sweet smile?), but she's polite. A pan down to the floor reveals that those were Franklin's boots we saw earlier in Compton Manor. Did he dispose of the redneck's body too?
Later, Tara is outside taking a slug off a bottle when she hears two rednecks mocking Eggs' death. Franklin intervenes in this confrontation, and is helpful enough to hold one of them while Tara beats the crap out of him. His fangs come out, but he doesn't bite anyone. In this context, I think it means he's turned on. So get ready for all that to happen too.
Quick note: Last week a lot of the comments were really anti-Tara. I understand that many of you think she's a whiner, but keep in mind, she's also a total sad-sack. She's had nothing but bad luck, and her troubles have hardened her. It doesn't bode well that now she's playing Sexual Fight Club with what appears to be a very sinister vampire, but I'm hopeful for more scenes of a lighter Tara in the future. She's a tough girl, so she doesn't need my protection, but come on, give her a break. (For what it's worth, Rutina Wesley is the sweetest, nicest person, the complete antithesis of Tara. It's a real testament to her acting abilities.)
Now, if I were to write negative comments on my own recap, it would be about this story line. I have an idea where it's heading, but man, is it slow going for now.
Sam wakes up in his truck outside the Mickens house with Tommy pointing a shotgun in his face. He takes him inside where he meets Joe Lee, who's sporting his best BVDs for the occasion, and Melinda — Sam's mom and dad.
Melinda tells Sam that she was 16 and Joe Lee was in jail when she gave him to the Merlottes. Sam says that he thinks he knows the real reason she gave him up, but Melinda says she was hopeful she'd be like his dad, the only non-shifter in the family.
Tommy is a petulant, jealous little twerp, so he takes off. Sam follows. They fight about their grass-is-greener childhoods until Tommy decides he'd like to go for a run. So they strip down — Tommy's covered in scars, by the way — and shift into their canine alter egos. Tommy laughs at his big brother's go-to shift, the cute collie; he's a more scrappy pit bull.
On the run, Tommy lures Sam into the street and transforms into some sort of eagle and flies away, leaving a naked Sam lying in the dirt, having narrowly escaped getting hit by a truck.
Andy gives a press conference, at which he's lauded as a hero. Later at Merlotte's, a drunken Jason tells everyone that Andy is the "wind beneath my wings." So he doesn't drive home, Andy offers him a ride. On his way, Andy gets called to a drug bust at a suspected meth house. Jason stays in the car, from where he sees a mysterious girl, who we'll later learn is named Crystal Norris (Lindsay Pulsipher). So get ready for all that to happen as well. He also sees a dealer escaping, hops out of the car and apprehends him. Thus begins the germ of an idea in the tiny brain of Jason Stackhouse.
ARLENE and TERRY
Terry makes a list of 10 reasons why Arlene can trust him with his kids, including that he nursed a baby armadillo and has a "diploma" in anger management. It's sweet, but her hormones decided this was a good time to puke. I guess it's no surprise that the dimwitted Terry hasn't caught on to her condition yet.
Sookie is at Fangtasia with Eric, Pam and Jessica, and she's telling them about the Operation Werewolf brand they found on the dead guy at the scene of the car crash. "Never seen it before, sorry," says Eric unconvincingly (see above).
Once Jessica and Pam head off to the ladies' room "to stare at themselves in the mirror" though, Eric says that werewolves are territorial, vicious, and pathologically secretive. "Boy, does that sound familiar," Sookie cracks. He's worried about her getting involved with them. "Your life's too valuable to throw away," he says.
At that point, Sookie plays the Godric card and cries about losing Bill. "Don't do that. It makes me feel... disturbingly human," Eric says. Heh.
The next morning at Merlotte's, Sookie sees a strange man in the woods and hears his malevolent thoughts. He disappears, but Terry is there, and the two of them track him, but find only his clothes. She makes Terry promise not to reveal what they've seen and says that a vampire sheriff is on the case.
Terry gives her a gun to protect herself. "I've always liked you, and I'd miss you if you got killed," Terry says. Aw.
Eric shows up at Sookie's house that night and tells her the whole story about werewolves that we saw in the flashback. He says he owes Sookie, presumably for finding Godric. But he's still the same Eric. "You're going to invite me so I can protect you or have passionate, primal sex with you," he says. "You're not going to distract me by talking nasty," Sookie, ever the lady, replies.
But then, Eric has a twitchy vampire sensory moment, and asks her again, more insistently, to invite him in. So she does. Inside there's a werewolf, and just as he's about to strike, Sookie fires the gun and the screen fades to black.
"I'm Alive" by Shelby Lynne is the outro, which I guess is all anyone in Bon Temps can hope for these days.
What did you think of "Beautifully Broken"? Lots of new love interests on the horizon — any predictions? Will Sookie find out about Bill's job? Will he take a new one in Mississippi? Am I being too hard on Lorena? What do you think happened to the body?