Sunday, July 18, 2010

"True Blood" recap: All about the teasing, never about the pleasing

Spoilers for this week's "True Blood" below. Don't click through if you don't want to know.

This week on "True Blood," we saw a bunch of characters practicing the art of flirting, either to get closer to object of his or her affect, or to get closer to some other goal. Jason tracked down the hottie he spotted outside the Norris compound in Hotshot, and she quickly struck up a game of hard to get. Lafayette found himself the object of some unexpected (and pretty heavy) flirting from his mother's handsome nurse. Eric used Talbot's not so subtle admiration of him to get closer to Russell. And Tara, in a show of cunning and intelligence that hasn't been on display since season one, tries to cozy up to her new psycho boyfriend Franklin in attempt to save her own skin.
Now, some of these dalliances are clearly manipulative (unless she's developed the worst case of Stockholm Syndrome ever, I seriously doubt Tara is really into Franklin), but what of Crystal and Jesus? Are they really into their supposed objects of desire? Or are they, too, just using sex to get something?
Maybe that's a route that Bill should try. Lying to Russell doesn't seem to be working for him, as the king vamp, with Franklin's help, learns that Bill seems to have an extracurricular interest in Sookie. This quickly puts Bill in Cooter's cross-hairs, and the redneck were attacks Bill in his prison/bedroom. Luckily for him, Bill is still stronger than Coot and overpowers not only him, but also Russell's vamp security guard. But, by episode's end, it seems escape will be only temporary.
Sookie, meanwhile, manages to control Alcide not with flirting, but by being so annoying that he just gives in to her. A smart tactic, and one I often employ myself. After all, flirting can get so messy. Why not just put your hands on your hips and whine until you get it done?
At any rate, here a few more of my thoughts, musings and reflections on this week's ep, "Trouble."
* OK, so, I know that Russell, Lorena and Bill just finished feasting on poor Ann the Stripper, but couldn't they at least have the decency to clean the blood off their faces before they come home? I mean, whenever humans eat messy foods, we usually get some wet naps or something. Aren't there wet naps for vampires? If not, this seems like an untapped market.
* So, apparently, poor Tara isn't the first girl psycho Franklin has brutalized. In fact, he's seemingly prone to the world's worst rage blackouts whenever a girl rejects him. Yeesh. After an ill-fated escape attempt (loved the old-school horror movie quality of Tara in a Victorian nightgown being chased across a beautiful landscape by a were), Tara starts trying to work Franklin any way she can. She tells him it's the other vamps that scare her, not him. She says she's into him. It seems to work...except for that whole thing with Franklin wanting to turn her into his vampire bride. Look, I know I take a lot of potshots at the character of Tara, but Rutina Wesley gave a pretty awesome performance this episode, particularly in the scene where the lovestruck Franklin announces his plans to turn her. Her look of utter revulsion is hilarious.
* Franklin might be a psycho and all, but I'll give him this -- if you need someone to text curse words to your gay short-order cook cousin, Frankie's your man.
* Meanwhile, Bill is still trying to play the prick at Russell's, refusing to help a terrified Tara. I was kind of amazed at how easy that was for him. Yes, I know he's trying to protect himself, and Sookie, but couldn't he have at least TRIED to help Tara? He looked momentarily pained by her plight, but seemed to forget her pretty quickly. Yes, by episode's end, we do see the return of Badass Bill, who will do anything to protect Sookie (including burning the vampire security guard's face on the silver door. Nasty!), but I just think it's too little too late. He clearly felt that Sookie was in trouble last week, and decided to dine on stripper Ann instead. He doesn't help Tara. And he's up to some sort of weird business with Sookie's family tree. I'm starting to wonder if Bill isn't about to pass some sort of point of no return with Sookie.
* Though Debbie has already passed that point with Alcide, she does come to his house to warn him...wearing a shirt that looked as though it had been through a meat-grinder. Seriously, what was up with that outfit? At any rate, something's fishy in the were pack, and even the pack leader is terrified of Russell. So what is Russell's deal? Why are the straight (i.e. non-V-addicted) weres so frightened of him?
* In his attempt to save Pam from the Magister, Eric travels to Russell's, and strikes up a flirtation with Talbot. It pays off -- Eric finds a crown that, seemingly, belonged to his dad in Eric's pre-vamp life. We see a flashback of Eric's family's murder, and it seems pretty likely that Russell was the perpetrator. Interesting.
* So, Eric wasn't just a Viking before he was turned. He was, apparently, a Viking king. Wow. No wonder he's got an attitude. Going from king to sheriff is quite the demotion.
* Back in Bon Temps, Sam is dealing with his increasingly creepy birth family. Tommy is working at Merlotte's, and happily flirting with a receptive Jessica. But Joe Lee seems none too pleased with this arrangement. Why is Tommy so scared of Joe Lee? Does his dad beat him? Or is it something even worse? At any rate, Sam has found himself square in the middle, and is torn between his desire to protect Tommy, and his desire to stay out of the Mickens's business.
* I know the "I'm so bored at work" montage has been done to death, but the sequence of an antsy Jason killing time at the police station was priceless. A limbo bar made of paper clips is never not funny.
* Not that I'm complaining, but what was with all the cheesecake shots of Jason this episode? Yes, he's often shirtless, but this episode saw him wet, shirtless, and washing a car. Thank you, Alan Ball, for knowing that a man can look just as nice washing a car as a lady does. I salute you!
* Yes, Lafayette's new love interest is cute, but does anyone else think it's too bad that Talbot is taken? I think he and Lafayette would make an adorable couple -- that is, if they can control the urge to out-"pizazz" one another.
* OK, by episode's end, we get another tease about Sookie's magical powers -- the ones that involve her shooting lightning bolts from her fingers. Russell laughs uproariously, as if he knows what she is. Does he? And what is she? (Yes, I know that the answer is revealed in the Charlene Harris books the show is based on. But please don't spoil the reveal in the comments).
What did you think about this week's episode? Please comment below.


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cjames said...

I totally agree about the Vamp-Naps. I thought the same thing seeing them come in covered in their dinner.

I am finding Franklin's bizarre behaviors disturbingly amusing. I agree that Tara is probably manipulating the situation the best way she can. She definitely did shine in this episode in a way that I haven't really noticed before.

Bill's reaction to Tara's situation and his "way" to get over Sookie, in a previous episode, left me with a less devoted image of him. I'm guessing the end justifies the means, but yes I agree it did seem a bit "too easy" for him. Bill lost me a couple episodes back and Eric is quickly becoming my favorite in the whole scheme of things.

As for Lafayette, it was fun to see someone with so much flair and confidence display the blushing embarrassment, for lack of better words, that came with all the flirting. I am rooting for Lafayette to find love.

Overall I enjoyed this episode. Great recap! :)

einnoczg said...

the whole mickens storyline is too much for me. i wish that sam was just sam, and not "sam and the gang".

i love psycho franklin! i think he's hysterical.

and i am thrilled for lafayette's storyline to be expanded. he needs to be more than just the V-seller, gay short order cook. hopefully, jesus is as good as he seems. though talbot-lafayette would be swe-eeet!