And now we know why we got so much male nudity in the season premiere -- everyone stayed clothed in this hour. Did the episode drag a bit because of it? Yes. But at least all the story lines the writers are taking their sweet time setting up promise to be juicy.
Let's start with Tara. What I'm liking most about this arc: It's giving Pam, her maker, a reason to flashback to meeting Eric. But even that is moving slowly -- we've yet to see him turn Pam. What we saw was that in 1905, Pam was a madam in a San Francisco brothel, and she'd lost at least one working girl to vampires. One night walking home alone, she was followed by a man. She told him she was off the clock, and he pulled a knife on her. "That’s right, whore. I like it when you struggle," he said. This was years after Jack the Ripper had terrorized London. Could he have fled to America, where a tux and top hat-clad Mr. Northman stopped him from attacking Pamela by slitting his throat? (Alexander Skarsgard licking a bloody finger like he'd just had a piece of fried chicken was very Eric. Reminded me of him sucking on an artery from Marnie's freshly removed heart.) "You're not afraid," Eric said to Pam. "I'm no stranger to dead bodies," she told him. "The streets can be dangerous at this hour. A lady should really be more careful," he warned. "If I meet a lady, I’ll let her know," she answered. He smiled. You could already tell he liked her. He apologized for getting blood on her lovely dress and, I believe, dropped some coins down her cleavage to cover it.
What I'm not loving about the Tara arc: How long it's taken Tara to do more than rage. Maybe I'm spoiled by the speed The Vampire Diaries moves, or maybe I'm just remembering back to how chatty Jessica was after Bill turned her, but I've had enough of Tara zipping around the house, destroying stuff, and crouching on the sink as though she was Spider-Man (okay, that I'd definitely like to see again). I get that Tara, unlike Jessica, doesn't want to be a vamp. I just want to see her express it in a different way. Pam commanded Tara not to bite Lafayette and Sookie and to stay in the house, but they had to get her into Eric's cubby before sunrise. Lafayette eventually cut himself with a large knife and while Tara drank, Sookie used silver chains to subdue her so they could move her. Lafayette knew this wasn't a life Tara would have wanted -- that he'd had Pam turn Tara because he didn't want to be alone -- and he considered staking Tara in her sleep. Sookie talked him out of it, promising him it would take time, but Tara would be (mostly) herself again and they could make a life for her. When the sun fell again, Tara rose and told the two of them she'd never forgive them and bolted.
Sookie had made a trip to an anti-vampire store called Stake House and bought silver air misters that were installed on the porch to keep Tara from leaving. They made Tara scream when she attempted to flee, but she kept moving. So I guess those are more like vampire alarms -- at least you'll hear them coming/going. Now I think the Tara story will get interesting.
Another slow burn has been the introduction of Christopher Meloni's character Roman, Guardian of the Authority. Eric, Bill, and Nora were taken to the Authority's headquarters in New Orleans, which felt a bit like the Ministry of Magic, only once you visit reception you're sent to silver cells. I'm loving the solidarity between Bill and Eric. Bill tried to get Eric and Nora released, which resulted in them all (plus the newborn-eating vampire also behind bars) being exposed to UV lighting. That's an effective way to stop a prison riot, should there ever be one.
Eventually, Bill and Eric were interrogated separately with the aid of liquid silver IVs -- Eric by the curvy chancellor Salome (Valentina Cervi) and Bill by the shrink-like chancellor Dieter Braun (Christopher Heyerdahl). The Authority wants to know why Nora, also a chancellor, was willing to commit treason, which is punishable by the true death, to help them escape. Bill and Eric were each told the other had sold him out and cut a deal -- but they've no doubt sat through enough TV procedurals in their lifetimes to see through that trick. They also both knew they had one card to play -- Russell. They knew he was still alive and a threat to the Guardian's mainstreaming agenda.
As we learned through the interrogations and by finally meeting Roman, the Authority's top priority remains the peaceful coexistence between vampires and humans. There are, however, fundamentalist vampires who believe in a literal translation of the vampire bible -- the Original Testament that predates the Old or New -- which says that before God created Adam and Eve, he created Lilith. (I'm picturing a young Bebe Neuwirth, and I bet I'm not far off.) Like God, Lilith was a vampire, and Adam and Eve, like all humans, were created with the sole purpose of being food. The Authority believes Nora is one of these fundamentalists who considers emotional alliances between vampires and humans blasphemy, so perhaps Bill and Eric are as well, as that's why she was freeing them. After all, the Authority rightfully assumes they killed Nan Flanagan.
Roman made his entrance presiding over a meeting of his chancellors to decide Bill and Eric's fates. In addition to noting the bottles of Tru Blood on the table where glasses of water would normally be, how many of us yelled "Barb!" as we realized Cougar Town's Carolyn Hennesy was one of the chancellors and thought of The Anointed One from Buffy the Vampire Slayer when we saw another was a child? Roman used his blood to represent Lilith's and gave the chancellors each a drop or two while chanting about Lilith being "the First, the Last, the Eternal." To me, that whole communion event seemed like something the fundamentalists would do, not the Authority, but we got to see Meloni pop and retract his fangs for the first time, so let's go with it.
Roman told Bill and Eric that Nan used to call them F--- Up One and F--- Up Two, and even though she wasn't a prize, she was still Authority and they'd killed her. Bill assured him he was not a fundamentalist against the Authority and its mainstreaming movement, and Eric said he was trying to stay away from politics and religion. Roman, who said the mainstreaming agenda was vital if only because humans still outnumber vampires 1,000 to 1, was unconvinced and unamused. He was about to pronounce sentence and stake them when Bill piped up offering a deal -- their lives for Russell Edgington's. Nan had assured the Authority and TV viewers that Russell was dead, so Bill and Eric had to explain (vaguely) why they didn't kill him when they had the chance. It was, Bill said, because after all that Russell had done, they thought the true death was too good for him.
Perpetually shouting Roman didn't like that answer -- they disobeyed the Authority for their own selfish reasons -- and he was about to stake Bill when Eric lied and said he was the one who'd killed Nan. (Technically, Eric took out her guards, then Bill staked her. I love this male bonding!!) Roman wanted to stake Bill "so f---ing bad" but he didn't. He's thinking of the greater good. Bill had said the only thing Russell wants more than destroying the mainstreaming agenda is to see him and Eric dead. (Again, they had to explain that vaguely -- it's because Russell pissed Eric off, then Eric pissed Russell off, Eric said.) Bill and Eric can therefore be used as bait, and Russell can be killed before he causes another PR disaster. Bill said he fully expects to meet the true death either way, but this offer is to
prove his and Eric's loyalty to Roman's cause.
prove his and Eric's loyalty to Roman's cause.
I'm ready for Russell to return. We got a shot of him in a dark cellar littered with body parts, wheezing in a hospital bed and still looking all kinds of hideous. How many more episodes until he's healed and causing trouble? Who's nursing him back to health? We still don't know. Also, I'm ready for Roman to get naked. His shirt and tie seemed extra tight, just to torture us. I know he's supposed to be all business, but a vamp that powerful must also make time for pleasure.
As for the rest of the story lines, Alcide's continues to inch along. If you kill the pack master, you're supposed to become the new pack master -- and like the rest of the pack, you must feed in wolf form on the deceased. Ewww. Alcide politely declined the position andthe snack, which did not go over well with Marcus' mom.
Marcus' mom came to Luna's house and wanted to see Emma, who she's convinced will be a wolf and not a shifter. Sam was arguing for Luna to show the woman some kindness and not keep her out of her granddaughter's life. "She just lost her son," Sam said. "She just ate her son," Luna countered. Luna didn't appreciate Sam thinking he had any say in how she raised her daughter (who he'd almost died protecting), so they fought and she kicked him out. That night, Emma was making noise in her room and when Luna opened the door, she found the cutest little wolf ever. "Holy f---," she said. Will Luna turn to Alcide for help? Could we be looking at a potential Sam-Luna-Alcide triangle? (How dreamy would big Alcide look in scenes with little Emma?!)
Steve Newlin was the real comic relief in this episode. When Sookie was in the Stake House, he was on TV explaining that he still talks to God and Jesus loves vampires. "I mean anyone who’s been dead for three days knows where we’re comin' from," he said. Ha! Newlin showed up at Bill's house to talk to Jessica and crashed a party, for which she was using her vampire strength to hold the keg in the air with one hand and her vampire speed to get a girl outside before she puked. After he danced a bit (hilarious), Newlin explained to Jessica why he was really there. He wanted to offer her $10,000 in cash for Jason. Jessica pretended she would negotiate. "Have you seen Jason's butt?" she asked when Newlin balked at $20,000. "When it’s rock hard, you could chip a fang on it." After Newlin got a fang boner and a traditional boner, he agreed to her price, and she revealed she would never sell her friends. "Hair pullin'? Really?" she said when Newlin tried to fight back.
Speaking of Jason, he and Andy spent some quality time together this episode. Andy confided that he'd slept with Holly and she'd been ignoring him ever since. He asked Jason if he'd done something wrong. "That means you did something right. I mean that’s getting to eat the pie without havin' to pay for the cow. Win-win," Jason said, as only Jason Stackhouse can. They found Debbie's abandoned vehicle, which included a vial of V that Andy first pocketed then handed over to Jason. "Good man," Jason said. Yes. Andy deserves more of a story than a V relapse. Back at the precinct, a kid came in and tried to beat up Jason because Jason had slept with his mother and now his parents are getting a divorce. (Every time Jason's past comes back to haunt him I wonder if we'll ever get a payoff to him being used as a stud by Crystal's werepanther pack. Are we just to assume all the females are barren from generations of inbreeding and that's that?)
Andy wanted to know if Jason has slept with every woman in town. "I don’t know. I’m close, I guess," Jason answered. We get it! Jason doesn't want to be a douche anymore! Jason went to apologize to Hoyt again and offered to let him stay at his house so he wouldn't have to live with his mother. She, of course, pretended she was upset with Jason for hurting Hoyt but whispered that she was going to bring him a pie for breaking up Hoyt and Jessica. Hoyt said no to Jason's offer, which made sense but bummed me out. Jason said he'd move into Sookie's, and I had visions of Jason and Tara living under the same roof. Remember, she used to like him.
Last and always least, we get to Terry and Arlene. He was sleep-stalking and talking and stood over her and said, "We’re all gonna die. It’s comin' for us." He had flashbacks to combat and fire. Arlene got scared enough that she went to visit Patrick (Scott Foley), who was packing to leave town. She told him about Terry's nightmares and that she has two kids and too much invested in Terry to watch him lose his mind. Terry showed up and Arlene told them to figure it out. Terry told Patrick he'd lied -- the troubled friend of theirs Patrick was looking for wasn't dead, he was just off the grid. Patrick said they had to visit him before he visited them. I love Terry and Arlene (and seeing what sexy Sears lingerie she sleeps in), but this story hasn't hooked me yet.
Your turn. Do you like where the season is headed but wish it'd get there faster? What was your favorite line of the night? I'm gonna go with Pam's response to Ginger asking her why she was all dirty: "I was in the ground. What’s your excuse?"