Previously on True Blood, Sookie Stackhouse decided to become revirginized, complete with “white dress” imagery and a vow never to use any curse word that could earn her a PG-13 rating. She just wanted to be normal, okay? Basically she was being set up for a lesson about self-acceptance and—the one lesson True Blood tries to glamour into everyone’s minds—the only normal is abnormal, and we’re all our own kind of supernatural creature. This lesson has proved to be more than usually difficult to instill in our sweet waitress, because she is continually distracted by men and various apocalypses.
So of course, right on cue, here comes this season’s Big Bad, which is not a monster or a serial killer or even a politician, but an entire world full of mistrust and prejudice and loaded guns. Last week saw alliances broken and forged, and this week continues setting up the chess board. In fact, the one player who is still a mystery is the infamous Warlow. We see him appear at the beginning of the episode, bursting in from another dimension looking like the lost keyboardist of ZZ Top, but we still don’t really know where he will fall in terms of the rest of the action. My guess is that he will face off against Bill, since Bill drank Lilith’s blood and Warlow is Lilith’s progeny, but then again I also spent years defending Bill’s character, so my powers of observation may not be perfect.
For example, the guy who picked up Jason and who I thought was Warlow is actually Jason and Sookie’s Fairy Grandfather. I have to say, this is sort of disappointing to me, since Rutger Hauer seems to be taking some of whatever Harrison Ford has been on for the last decade, and if he were a villain, at least I could dislike him, guilt-free. He tells Jason that he’s here to protect the last surviving members of the Stackhouse clan, which: where have you been up until now, Gramps?
Back at Fangtasia, Tara is lying on the bar, grievously injured. Pam holds her hand an calls her “baby,” which makes my heart feel like it got shot too. The reason she can’t heal, is that she was shot with a silver, UV light-emitting bullet, which admittedly is an idea stolen from Underworld, but still makes things interesting by leveling the playing field between vamps and humans. Eric digs the bullet out with a broken bottle, because HE HAS NEVER HEARD OF TWEEZERS, APPARENTLY, and decides that this means war. He zooms off, leaving Nora to try and figure out how to kill Bill, and Pam to contemplate the fact that she just felt fear for the first time in a century, and it was fear that she was losing Tara.
Also terrified is Jessica, who discovers Bill in a state of great distress. He’s in the throes of a Lilith-inspired vision, in which he can feel the pain of every vampire in the world being persecuted by human mobs. The show assaults us with images of a young vampire being burned alive, and another being dragged behind a truck while human onlookers cheer. We are meant to pity the vampires, and be horrified at the humans. After witnessing this, Bill falls into a coma in which Lilith, who I barely recognized with clothes on, speaks to him. Clothes or no clothes, Lilith is still being cryptic as fuck; like, when Bill asks her what is going on she is about as helpful as Professor Trelawney with a mug of earl grey.
Speaking of turning a blind eye, Sookie is walking to work—although even she kind of can’t believe that she still has time for a day job in between apocalypses—when she sees a handsome man writhing around next to the road. Since this is basically how all her doomed relationships start, she holds her head high and resolves to be a very Bad Samaritan. But he groans so piteously that her conscience compels her to come to his aid. His name is Ben and he is a half fairy, but the most important thing about him is that he has a moustache like the kind boys have in high school when they are so excited about being able to grow facial hair that they sport these awful little tufts that look like sickly caterpillars. Anyway, of course he wants to do sex stuff to Sookie, but I guess his ill-advised facial hair is a sufficient stop sign for her, so she sends him packing to the nearby fairy nightclub.
Over at Merlotte’s, Sam is attempting to be normal, just like Sookie, and with even less success. The Very Prettiest Girl strolls up to him and tells him that she is an activist looking to promote equality and would he please come out as a shifter for the good of all supernatural beings, pretty pretty please? Because he is still in mourning for Luna he declines this offer. I don’t think he’ll hold out very long though, because seriously this girl is part veela and part Bette Porter. What’s important here, though, is the overriding “all oppressed groups need to stand up for each other” message, which is particularly timely, I think, when the gay movement stands poised to join the mainstream. True Blood loves to pore over the advantages and losses of “mainstreaming,” and I love to watch them do it because it is So Cool. (FYI this super-smart episode was penned by The L Word alum, Angela Robinson) Anyway, this season they are exploring the idea that gains made by minority groups are not necessarily permanent, and that it’s everybody’s job to stand up for everybody’s rights. And (hopefully), by the end, shifters, werewolves, vampires, and fairies, will come to recognize that even though none of them are human, all of them are people. Oh and also at Merlotte’s the show is attempting to continue the smoke monster storyline from last season, but maybe if we just ignore it, it will go away.
Anyway, back in Bill’s hallucination, Lilith tells him that he’s not a god, and neither is she, although being worshipped is a sweet little bonus of his situation. While he’s exploring his messiah complex, Jessica frantically orders him up a lady so he can feed. Rather than taking a careful, consensual bite, Bill—or whatever part of him is currently in control—brutally murders her. I’m not going to get into it because I want to sleep tonight, but it involves contortionism. In this case, we are meant to pity the human and be terrified of the vampire.
In a further exploration of this moral grey area, let’s head over to the governor’s mansion, where Eric does that hilarious thing where he pretends to be a human dweeb. He then tries to glamour the governor into being less of a fascist, only to find that it’s impossible; the government has developed contact lenses that render the wearer glamour-proof. He tries to lock up Eric, who escapes handily, and tries the glamour trick again, this time on the governor’s comely daughter.
Back at the Stackhouse Residence of Neverending Crisis, Jason introduces Sookie to their Fairy Grandfather. He tells them that they are fairy royalty, and I am betting this scene has about a dozen outtakes in which all the actors struggle to refer themselves as such with a straight face. Gramps teaches Sookie a neat trick with her Light that will enable her to vanquish Warlow, although it is so powerful, she can only use it once, after which she will be Fae no longer. Don’t do it, Sook!
Now, the last moment of this episode involves Bill emerging from his coma to find that a. vampires no longer have any civil rights and can be murdered at will and b. he can see the future, at least as it relates to his kind. It’s very interesting, but the best moment comes right before, when Jessica the baby vampire gives voice to a desperate prayer. She prays for her friends, even the ones who are currently convinced they are her enemies. She prays with no agenda but love. Among the people she prays for, incidentally, are Pam and Tara. Here’s what I think about what’s happening between them right now: do you remember the flashback in which Pam was still human? She wasn’t the cold, hard one-liner machine we know and love; she was vulnerable. She got to be the way she is after a hundred years with Eric, who taught her how to shut down her emotions. And now Tara, probably the unlikeliest of people, is starting the painful process of opening her back up again. Back to love and loss and fear. And obviously, if we never get to see some physical affection between them, I’m going to be pissed. But in the meantime, give me a good, slow burn. I want to savor it.
See you next week.