Hi, I'm Mike Calia, the special guest blogger who's filling in for "TV Writer" on this week's "True Blood" recap. If you like what you read here, I invite you to stop by my site, cynicbytrade.blogspot.com, where I blog somewhat occasionally. And if you don't like what you see here, then I still encourage you to stop by my blog to berate and badger me.
Okay, now that I'm through with the shameless self-promotion part of this post, it's time for the obligatory Spoiler Warning. So, unless you want this week's episode of "True Blood," entitled "I Smell a Rat," spoiled for you, don't read beyond the jump.
"How f****n' lame!"
Indeed, Sookie, indeed. That's pretty much how I reacted when I found out our plucky heroine, Sookie Stackhouse, was actually a ... uh ... fairy. (Full disclosure: I knew about it way before this episode. My darling fiancee, who'll hopefully read this, has read all of Charlaine Harris' Sookie books so far and she told me about. No, she didn't ruin it for me. I asked.) I was worried about how the writers would handle the revelation in this episode, and I think they pulled it off pretty well by getting it out of the way in the first lines with Sookie scoffing at it with typical Sookie-like bluntness.
Well, actually, she's part fairy. No, no, she's not going to leave two bits under your kid's pillow in exchange for his baby molar, and she's not going to turn mice into coachmen. She may read your thoughts, or maybe use her quasi-fairy powers to take sexual advantage of you (as Bill tells her about her race, the Fae), or shoot light out of her fingers, but she's not going to hover into your bedroom and sprinkle fairy dust on you.
She might satisfy some vampire's sweet craving, though. According to Bill, the Fae were thought to be wiped out because vamps just couldn't get enough of the "delectable and intoxicating" fairy blood. Plus, it doesn't hurt that fairy blood acts as a kind of internally applied sunblock for our undead friends, if only for a few moments. Now at least we see why Sookie is such a hot commodity in the vampire community. Eric even accuses Bill of having been assigned to track down Sookie for Sophie Ann, the queen of Louisiana, an assertion that makes Bill quite uncomfortable.
And as for Eric's plot thread, he's convinced that Russell Edgington, who's gone spine-rippingly batty (if only vamps turned into bats on "True Blood" ... ), is going to kill him. He's even gone so far to hire a lawyer to draw up a will, in which everything is left to Pam, who, even though she stands to inherit a fortune, is not too keen on letting go of Eric, him being her maker and all. Pam, in fact, is one of the strong points of this season, which I'm getting a kick out of despite some apparent lulls. Kristin Bauer, who plays the icy blond, quip-happy vampire, is really sinking her teeth into the new emotional depth Pam gets to display these days. (Lord, how many sucky vampire puns can I work into this recap?) Anyway, Pam's the one to snap Eric out of his existential funk and get the plot moving toward the endgame, as her counsel compels the Nordic nosferatu to imprison Sookie as leverage for his inevitable showdown with Russell. Everyone wants a taste of Sookie.
Ah, Russell. There simply wasn't enough of him in "I Smell a Rat." He shows up 50 minutes in, cruising a male prostitute who looks an awful lot like his dearly departed Talbot. We get him for two scenes: the first one is the pickup, the second is the post-coital conversation that ends up with Russell talking to the young fella (played by some kid from the new "90210," my darling fiancee pointed out) as if he were Talbot, lamenting that he wasn't there as to experience his poor, high-maintenance lover's "True Death." So he stakes the kid in the heart. Only the kid dies like a normal person would in that situation -- agonizingly. He's no pile of goo, and no one will be toting him around in a hilariously transparent glass urn.
Oh yeah, a bunch of other stuff happened this week, including other revelations, all pretty much as anticlimactic as Sookie's. It's a good thing this episode moved along at a refreshingly quick pace because if the writers had lingered on some of this stuff, it could have been bloodless. Anyway, here's what else happened:
-- Hey, so Sam used to employ his shifting abilities to be a jewel thief of sorts. His hard drinking, which is the result of his violent outburst in last week's episode, triggers a couple of flashbacks to an instance in 2003, in which he got screwed out of a score by a con-artist couple. Sam, who's decidedly less scruffy in the flashbacks, hunts them down only to kill both of them, including the femme fatale for whom he still had feelings. I wonder how Sam's violent past will come into play as this season barrels toward its close.
-- Lafayette fixes up Calvin Norris with some vampire blood, thus saving him, Jesus and Crystal, Calvin's daughter and the most recent object of Jason's desire, an embarrassing and perilous trip to the hospital. Calvin is not so grateful, though, and he slaps and disowns his daughter for cavorting with humans before running off into the night. So, that means Crystal is not human, then? Bingo. REVELATION: She's apparently a were-panther, which she reveals to Jason toward the end of the episode. A sex panther, even. (Sixty percent of the time, that reference works every time.)
-- Great Lafayette quote: "Them f***ers is a whole new dimension of trash," regarding Calvin Norris and Crystal.
-- Jason feels horrible for killing Franklin. There's no reason to feel bad, says Sookie, Franklin was an evil sicko rapist. Sure there is, says Jason. He's a killer after all. He killed Eggs, Tara's onetime sex zombie boyfriend, and he can't hold it in anymore. So, REVELATION, he tells Sookie, who tells him to tell Tara. He does. And Tara continues to run out of rooms crying and cursing and hating life. She even gets a pathetically on the nose line this week, after sharing an uncomfortable kiss with Jason: "I'm totally f***ed up!" Blah, blah, damaged goods, blah, as Pam would say.
-- Yes, Jason and Tara kissed. That's right. Oh, and so did Sookie and Eric, only it was for real this time. So there you go, Team Eric. You got one.
-- Hoyt finally breaks up with the cute but unbearable Summer and declares his undying love for Jessica, who's been on the receiving end of alpha dog advances from Sam's little brother, Tommy. You see, little Tommy gets reaaaaalllly turned on when Jessica bares her fangs. They share one of the better exchanges of the episode, about why Jessica won't suck it up and get together with Hoyt:
JESSICA: "He's too good for me."
TOMMY: "I'm not."
Anyway, Tommy isn't too happy when Hoyt comes along to make one last-ditch appeal for Jessica's love. She greets him with anxious, awkward silence, and poor, goofy Hoyt stomps out of the bar. Tommy runs out to taunt him, and Hoyt decks him. Tommy unleashes his rage in pitbull form and tries to maul Hoyt. Jessica dashes out to the rescue, flipping the Tommy dog into the woods, and tends to Hoyt's gnarly wound with a declaration of love and a hot dose of V.
-- Speaking of V, Jesus is very intrigued in the blood's effects after seeing how it heals Calvin so quickly. He and Lafayette indulge together and embark on a trip into their shared consciousness in a sequence that looks like Terry Gilliam doing a "Fear and Loathing" riff on a Marilyn Manson video. They encounter ancestors and family members from both of their blood lines, which, REVELATION, show that both of them have shamans and healers and really scary voodoo priests in their bloodlines. It's an interesting sequence, but I'm not sure of the point. I hope it has a good payoff, if not this season then next, since I'm really digging the chemistry between these two.
-- Oh yeah, REVELATION, Arlene, whose fervent anti-vampire views are growing in the wake of Russell's attack on live TV, tells Terry that the baby in her whom is actually Renee's. (And how exactly is it Renee's? How long ago were the events of season one? These questions are nagging me and are downright frustrating my darling fiancee.) Terry, as usual, responds with a mix of dutiful sweetness and dedication, pledging to raise the child as his own. Arlene clearly doesn't deserve this guy since, despite Terry's assurances, she still looks to terminate the pregnancy with the help of new waitress Holly, who's -- REVELATION -- wiccan, and threatens to be a very boring and annoying addition to the cast.
Okay, that's enough out of me. I hope you enjoyed my recap. I certainly enjoyed writing it. "TV Writer" will be back next week, and she'll be here for the final two episodes of the season. I'm sure I'm not alone in looking forward to reading what she has to say.