Monday, July 12, 2010
"True Blood" recap: Cruel to be kind, or just kind of cruel?
This week on "True Blood," we saw several people behave with utmost cruelty to those they love (or, at least, like). Bill, fearing for Sookie's safety (and still in a pretty dark place after his head-turning rage boink with Lorena), broke up with his human love in a devastatingly heartless phone call. Urging her not to find him, he told her they could never be together. Oh, and he also informed her that he'd slept with Lorena, just to make the whole thing extra painful. Bill, of course, is just trying to protect Sookie. He knows that coming after him -- that being with him -- will only put her life in danger. It's no coincidence that the most convincing part of his kiss-off speech is when he tells her that being with him has only brought her suffering.
Yet, perhaps spending time exclusively with vamps has brought back Bill's dark, primal side. By episode's end, he's ripping into poor Ann the Stripper like she's an all-you-can-eat buffet. And even when Bill senses Sookie's in danger, he opts to be with Russell and Lorena instead of rescuing Sookie from the were-fest at Lou Pine's. I know he was just trying to maintain his cover, but that one's pretty hard to forgive.
Still, Bill's cruelty to Sookie mainly stems from his deep love for her and his urge to shield her from -- well, from him. Other characters are mean to others for far less unselfish reasons.
For instance, this week it was confirmed that Franklin the British vampire is a complete nut job. At first, he just glamors Tara to get information on Bill and Sookie. But he also seems determined to make her some sort of love slave, kidnapping her and professing his (literally) undying love for her. Eek.
And we learned that Alcide's ex, Debbie, isn't just messing around with Cooter and his pack of Nazi weres. She's a V addict who gets indoctrinated into the pack, with a creepy quasi-Swastika brand of her own. She's also a nasty piece of work who practically spits on Sookie in Lou Pine's, laughs in Alcide's face and forces him to watch her branding. Yeesh.
Meanwhile, Jason, just weeks after telling Andy he's his best friend, attempts to blackmail the new sheriff for a spot on the police department.
The only characters who actually behave with some degree of kindness to those close to them are Sam and Eric. After catching Tommy rifling through his safe, Sam is ready to cut off the Mickens family completely. But he can't help but feel bad for his half-brother, and offers him a place to stay. Tommy, however, refuses to leave his parents, so Sam reluctantly takes in the whole bunch.
Eric, meanwhile, seems to be his typically cold-blooded self, fantasizing about Sookie while the poor Estonian dancing girl writhes before him. But, when the magister breaks in to Fangtasia looking for Eric's V stash and begins torturing Pam, Eric's icy facade is shattered. We see then how much he truly cares for Pam, who is, after all, the closest thing he'll ever have to a daughter. Yes, he ruins that goodwill just seconds later, when and he and Pam try to blame the V-dealing on Bill. But still, it's a nice moment.
Here are a few more thoughts on this week's episode, "9 Crimes":
* I should mention the bevy of really creepy visual images this week. We had that disturbing scene of the weres all transforming, almost against their will, at Lou Pine's as a horrified Sookie looks on. There was also the branding scene, in which a pathetic Debbie screams in pain and ecstasy as she's given her new mark. There was Russell feeding the weres with his own blood, and the torture of an atypically helpless Pam. And, of course, there was that gruesome final image of blood leaking from Russell's car as he, Lorena and Bill feasted on that unfortunate stripper.
* True to the theme of the week, we had two glamored women both denouncing love as a cruel joke that only breaks your heart. First, Tara tells Franklin she doesn't believe in love at first sight, that love only causes pain. Then Ann the stripper tells Bill that she's better off without love. The words affect Bill, and give some validity to his decision to cast Sookie aside. I mean, that doesn't save the poor stripper, but whatever.
* I've forgotten to mention Jessica, Merlotte's newest hostess. So, in addition to never having babies and always being a virgin, she'll also always be too young to serve liquor in the state of Louisiana? Bummer. But she is growing into her vamp powers, glamoring the boy from her Bible study into forgetting that he saw her. Good job, Jess, but how long will it be before someone else recognizes you?
* Given his status as a were V source, it sure seems like Russell is the vamp that the Nazi werewolf was talking about in that WWII flashback from a few weeks ago, doesn't it? Does that mean he and Eric have a past? What's their connection? What is Russell's end game? Is it just to amass as much power as possible? Why?
* OK, did Sookie's "I'm a bad girl" get up remind anyone else of Sandy in the last act of "Grease"? Just puttin' that out there.
* In the midst of all this darkness, we got some solid comic relief from "True Blood's" latest unlikely duo, Eric and Lafayette. How much did I love Eric swooping in to save Lafayette from the rednecks in Hotshot? Also loved Lafayette's annoyed, but not shocked, expression when Eric suddenly flies out the window of his car. Great stuff.
* But honestly -- "Ru Paul"? How does Eric even know who that is? Do you think he's a big "Drag Race" fan? If so, I think I just fell a little more in love with Eric.