Monday, August 3, 2009
"True Blood" recap: Mother Maenad
This week on "True Blood," we learn that if you believe in something or someone and risk everything for that thing or that person, you'll only end up alone, betrayed and usually suffering some sort of wound.
Thanks for the uplift, Alan Ball.
So, we finally learned what Maryann is, a maenad, aka the handmaiden of Satan himself. Wow. I know Bon Temps is full of supernatural beings, but that's a little heavy-duty, isn't it? At any rate I'm glad that, thanks to Daphne, we know a little more about Maryann and what she's doing here. She's fixated on Sam because Sam escaped her clutches when he was a boy. She wants him in her sway -- but (and it was stupid of Daphne to mention this, really) Maryann might not release Tara and the rest of the town even if she gets what she wants. She's having too much fun. Sam is properly appalled.
At any rate, who wonders if any of this is true as, shortly after her expository monologue to Sam, Daphne is knifed in the belly (oh I get it! Because she's a pig!), by Eggs, converted into a dead-eyed zombie assassin by Maryann. Yeesh! Creepy.
We also learn who betrayed Hugo and Sookie to the Fellowship of the Sun: it was none other than Hugo himself, so full of self-loathing and anguish about his relationship with Isabelle that he "repented" for his ways, only to end up trapped in a small, dark room not unlike a closet.
The homophobia metaphors on this show really are subtle, aren't they?
And let's not forget poor Jason, who always seems to be just dumb enough to not figure anything out. When Steve learns that the fang-banger in his lair is Jason's sister, he automatically assumes Jason is a spy. Noooo, but he is boffing your wife. Not quite smart to suss that one out, are we, dear Reverend? Steve goes after Jason, who, of course, believes Steve knows about Jason and Sarah. This leads to Jason admirably beating the stuffing out of the sadistic Gabe, only to later be shot by a scorned Sarah (who, thanks to her husband, probably believes Jason was using her all along).
Here are some more thoughts on this week's episode, "Release Me."
* I kind of liked that Andy is the one who, however unwittingly, frees Sam from Maryann at the orgy. Again, I must point out the very under-rated work by Chris Bauer on this show. The shock and drunken confusion on Andy's face when he happens upon that scene in the woods is spot-on, as is his almost absent-minded firing of the gun.
* One other key point about that scene -- Sam, in trying to escape, turns into a bird. So he's not just a dog! Interesting...
* During his confrontation with Daphne, Sam learns that Maryann can't seep into the brains of supernatural beings, including shifters and (I'm guessing) vampires and telepaths. But she can influence them in other ways. We've seen her force Sam's shifts and almost kill Sookie -- what can she do to vampires, though? Guessing we'll find out...
* Assuming Daphne is dead, I'm kind of glad she's gone. She didn't really add much to the story, except some much-need explanations. But couldn't that have been accomplished with another, more interesting character?
* We also learned a little more this week about Lorena and Bill, though I didn't find that stuff all that interesting -- until poor Barry the telephath wandered into their clutches. Poor guy.
* Side note: My husband is a big racing fan and thinks the actor who plays Barry looks uncannily like controversial NASCAR driver Kyle Busch. Google him. My husband's kind of right.
* OK, I have to put this out there: I love that Gabe is basically presented as being the world's most evil gym teacher. He dresses like a coach, yet all the sadistic stuff that you believe is lurking deep in the heart of your average PE professional is right on the surface with Gabe. As someone who hated gym class, I deeply appreciate this.
* I must add that I really like the way Alan Ball adapts Charlaine Harris's books. This episode took a lot from the novel on which this season is based, "Living Dead in Dallas," but Ball managed to be somewhat faithful while simultaneously creating something original. It's not unlike a musician reworking a song to the point where the basic DNA is still there, but has been used in a way you might not have expected.