Every episode of True Blood this season has felt a bit like that love scene between Alcide and Sookie: There’s a build up, but instead of reaching a climax, the action stops short. Enough with the foreplay! This season needs to get it on already. With Russell located, a fire monster in play, and masked bigots taking out shifters, it could be go time. Then again, with so many story lines to set up, the writers may tease us a little longer (Jesus’ head?). Let’s dig in.
We start with that hot hookup: How does 6’5” Joe Manganiello fit on that couch? That couldn’t have been comfortable. Lucky for him, they didn’t stay there long. I’m thinking it was his Magic Mike hip action that made Sookie decide she was done talking. Alcide carried her up the stairs to her bedroom, like he was straight out of The Notebook. Truth: Him lifting her was probably just practical -- how else would they get face-to-face with the height difference? Even hotter: him taking off his belt and saying, “I’ve waited so long for this.” She caressed his abs, as naturally you would, and said his name. I thought she was going to pass out and fall backward, but it was worse -- she puked on his shoes. Of course, that is the moment Eric and Bill made their presence known. “Alcide, you sure know how to treat a lady,” Eric said.
When we next saw the foursome, they were in the kitchen. Sookie was wearing a T-shirt similar in color to the lingerie she wore in her threesome dream with Eric and Bill last season. Coincidence, because Anna Paquin just happens to look great in that color, or a playful nod by the costume designer? Sookie was trying to sober up and hydrate, and the boys were fighting over whether Alcide’s worker Doug had to get involved in all this. Bill wanted Sookie to try to de-glamour him, since he was the only one who knew who’d freed Russell. In her drunken mind, Sookie heard them barking at each other. All she could do was laugh: She thought if she made the choice to be with neither Bill nor Eric, she could actually live a normal life. But here they are again, and bonus, a 3,000-year-old vampire (Russell) wants to suck her blood. “Must be Thursday!” She put on her coat and that was that -- the search is on. Good thing Tara had broken the window so Sookie could make her exit there instead of having to take the slow walk to the front door. Far less effective.
They went to see Doug at the parking garage and Sookie held his hand and read his mind. She could see back to that night. Bill knew from Sookie’s description of a pendant that the woman who’d freed a skinless Russell was a female member of the Authority. Bill assumes it was Nora, but Eric insists he didn’t tell her anything about them burying Russell. (He looked like he might be lying though.) Cougar Town’s Barb wears pearls, so she’s out. We’re supposed to think it’s Nora, but I still believe Nora is covering for Salome. Both of them wear the pendant.
Salome asked Dieter for an update on Bill and Eric’s whereabouts. He told her they’d visited the home of a local waitress, and then a Kwik-E-Mart for a jumbo coffee and box of Nutter Butters, and then a parking facility in Shreveport. (How did he know about the coffee and Nutter Butters? I assume those were for Sookie. Did Bill expense them? Can Dieter check their credit card records?) Salome told Dieter to have Bill and Eric informed that they had until dawn to bring in Russell, or their iStakes would be activated.
Salome went to see Roman, who was in a special room that, to me, was Professor X-meets-America’s Next Top Model (the water runway). Roman was wondering how Drew (who’s goo), cowriter of the Vampire Rights amendment with Roman, could have lost his way -- and how he hadn’t seen it. Salome reminded Roman that the Sanguinistas were recruiting those closest to him. “Yes, no shit…” he said. It’s a funny line, but also proof that we’ve been treading this same ground for weeks. Salome wants Roman to “throw the religious base a bone,” he won’t hear of it. Blah, blah, blah, blood of Lilith.
Doug’s memory led the Scooby Gang to the deserted Babcock Hospital. We all would have been wondering what Sookie and Alcide talked about during that drive, at least now we know it wasn’t that she puked on his shoes (something he told her they won’t ever be speaking of again). Bill and Eric were in the back of the truck, fighting over whether Nora had orchestrated this whole thing: did she pretend to save them, only so she could serve them up to Russell and negotiate for him to become her ally? Bill asked what I’ve been asking for weeks: Why is she still alive? I think Salome is setting them up, exactly as Bill described. The two boys would have come to blows (or fangs) had Molly not called to tell them their countdown for iStake detonation had begun. “Bummer, right?.... Good luck. And if you don’t make it, it’s been rad serving you. Peace out,” she said. More Molly!
The actor who played Doug, Jayden Lund, deserves a special shout-out. He was a truly stellar scaredy cat. Bill and Eric wanted to split up and let Sookie stay outside with Doug and Alcide (so they didn’t have to worry about her), but she told them she’d seen enough horror movies to know you don’t separate when you’re in an asylum and there’s a killer on the loose. Also, her and her microwave fingers will protect them, not the other way around. And, she had a headache and had to pee, so she wanted to get this over with. (So the jumbo coffee definitely was for her.) Alcide gave a proud laugh, and inside the gang went.
Alcide quickly smelled that wolves had been there. Bill said they would have come with Russell. Perhaps they’re the ones the Authority member who freed Russell asked to bring him all those bodies to feed on. Doug, who’d been glamoured into carrying Voldemort-looking Russell the entire way apparently, continued his freakout. He’ll die never having made it to New York City. “New York City smells like pee, and the people are rude,” Eric said. Our first fight, Mr. Northman! It only smells like pee during a summer heat wave.
When they stumbled onto rats eating severed body parts, Alcide had to comfort Doug. How sweet! That's why you choose him over a vamp, Sookie. Doug was whimpering by the time they found a body pile. They headed toward the morgue and eventually heard a noise that made them think they were being watched. Doug apologized, used the excellent term “holy s---cakes,” and bolted. He ran -- straight into a room with humans on hooks. One begged them to take the fatties first. He’d just lost 40 pounds on the Atkins diet. He told them they take the people down the hall. There’s screaming until there isn’t. Doug decided to stay in that room -- big mistake, Doug. Do not separate!
They found Russell, in a hospital bed. "It took you long enough," he said, commenting on all the noise they'd made along the way. Eric quickly went to trash-talk mode. They were there to finish what they'd started. As Talbot used to tell Russell when they were buck hunting (Talbot hunted?), "Give it your best shot," Russell said. At that moment, Alcide made a commotion. Perhaps the wolves or whoever is guarding Russell moved in, and he turned. The promo for next week showed him being dragged away on the ground, with just wolf eyes. Also in that promo: Russell is recovered enough to walk, get in Sookie's face, and threaten to drink her. Now the fun will begin.
Moving on to Tara, she was actually interesting this hour! Pam let her borrow some of her clothes. I’d like to think they’ll always coordinate their outfits so they’re in the same decade: tonight’s bustier (Tara) and leather dress (Pam) felt very ‘80s. Pam made Tara tend bar at Fangtasia, which seems like a good fit honestly. Tara tried to feed on a willing patron, and Pam threatened to silver her in a coffin if she ever did that again. It seems to me like “Do not feed in public or anywhere someone could have a camera” would be a lesson Pam should have already gotten to. Or, you know, just common sense.
Jessica showed up at Fangtasia and ordered a drink (two parts O-, one part B+) from Tara. She was trying to befriend Tara with an “It gets better” speech, and you were just waiting for Tara to have some snarky comeback (in the vein of “Trade you makers”) and shut her down. But she didn’t. With tears in her eyes, she admitted she felt crazy. That was a great scene because it felt real -- like the joy you experience when you're bitching about work at happy hour with colleagues, and the way you have someone lean in so you can talk sex in public (or, in this case, how amazing sex and feeding at the same time feels). For the first time, someone got through to Tara: She has the same right to live her life to the fullest as everyone else, and as a vampire, she’ll always be young and the world is open to her. She actually smiled!
Next we saw Tara, she was outside learning how quickly a vampire can smoke a cigarette when Hoyt walked up in his goth wear. Seriously, was it ‘80s night at Fangtasia? The way he popped his collar and showed his neck to entice Tara was ridiculous. She told him to go home to his mama, and he walked away dejected, upset that his blood wasn’t good enough for her. We should have suspected from the look on her face it was…
We eventually saw her feeding on Hoyt in a bathroom stall, next to Jessica feeding on the girl who Tara had tried to bite at the bar earlier. When Jessica realized it was Hoyt that Tara was draining, almost to the point of death, she threw her off of him. Can't wait for that fight to continue -- at least until Pam steps in and slaps some sense into them both.
Now we can get to Jason. He had a dream that he was a child, dressed in He-Man footie pajamas, with his parents and Sookie. As his parents talked to him, blood squirted from vampire bites on their necks. His mother had particularly good splatter -- and was talking about how he should have sex, or at least a blowjob, to make himself feel better.
Later, when he and Andy visited the crime scene for dead shifters Suzanne and Emory, Jason asked Andy if he remembered how they'd gotten home. They each had woken up naked (Ryan Kwanten butt shot!), and neither knew what happened after the fairy bouncers zapped them. "Watch that homo talk, Stackhouse," Andy said. "Folks will sue you for that s---." Ha! Jason explained that those men, along with those strippers in that club, were actual fairies -- "like Tinkerball" [sic]. "I f---ed a fairy?" Andy asked. I can see the T-shirts on Cafepress now! Andy said he didn't care if the woman he'd slept with was a fairy, leprechaun, or Ewok, he was going to steer clear of that place so as not to ruin what he's started with Holly. I hope it's not too late. I'm still thinking the fairies are trying to breed with humans to increase their numbers. Why else fraternize?
Sam had told Andy that Suzanne, Emory, and he were all shifters. When Jason found a wooden bullet with a silver core in a tree near the house, they assumed the killers might be hunting vampires as well -- or maybe all supes. “You know what’s f---ed up?” Jason said to Andy. “I got a pretty long list," Andy said. Jason's realizing that vampires have been killing humans for years and getting away with it by making them look like natural deaths. Last we saw Jason, he was visiting his parents' graves and had been crying. (A new depth for Jason!) I'm all for him finding out the truth about his parents, and I assume he won't go all Fellowship of the Sun again, but he's making me nervous...
Sam went to see Luna and tell her that Suzanne and Emory were killed. She cried. She may have let Sam stay if Emma wasn’t in her room making noise. When Sam left, a truckload of men wearing masks was waiting. One yelled, “Hey, shifter!” and shot him in the gut. Luna came running out, and they got her in the arm and gut. Emma came out, and Sam told her to run. She shifted just in time, making herself a smaller target as a wolf cub, and fled. Luna either died or passed out. Sam was still breathing. One of the guys on the truck had been filming with a camera. It sped off. Those yard shootings were more disturbing than anything we saw in the hospital this episode. Do you think Luna's gone? What will that mean for Emma? Will she have to go with her grandmother?
Terry's story line yielded some answers this hour. He and Patrick were tied to chairs by Eller, who was prepared to kill Terry if it meant "it" might let him be. The "it" is an Ifrit, and yes, you can actually Google it. It's a winged creature of smoke in Islamic mythology. According to the Britannica Online Encyclopedia, "While ordinary weapons and forces have no power over them, they are susceptible to magic, which humans can use to kill them or to capture and enslave them." (Ah, so this is where Lafayette will come in...)
Eller said he saw this creature kill their friend Kessler and his wife when he was crashing on their couch. Their house was on fire, and the flames actually chased them. He saw the fire monster look at him, and he bolted. Eller believed an Iraqi woman cursed them before they killed her. Terry had a flashback that seemed to confirm it: She was wounded but still alive after the gunfire. Terry wanted to help her, but Patrick told him to "dead check" her because their only concern was themselves. She said she wanted the Ifrit to burn them and everything they'd ever loved. Terry put three more bullets in her. They poured gasoline on the pile of bodies, and Eller tossed a lighter to set it ablaze. Terry saw the dark smoke monster rise from the fire.
Terry told Eller he wasn't crazy -- he'd seen the Ifrit, too. He convinced him they had to leave the fire-retardant shelter because they were sitting ducks there all together. Eller freed them, and Patrick punched him out cold. He tied him up and told Terry they'd turn him into the authorities and get him help the next morning. Patrick told Terry he hadn't seen an Ifrit -- they were on drugs that night. Still, we saw the dark smoke figure enter Eller's shelter and surround him, burning his face.
That brings us to Lafayette. He came home, upset over the fact that he could have killed Sookie when he magically screwed with her car, and saw his demon brujo face in the mirror. He tried to pray to God, but when his figurines went all Wonderfalls on him, he smashed them. "I’m good enough. Better than most. So cut me a break," he said. He tried reaching out to Jesus for help. Later, he awoke to mumbling and saw Jesus' severed head with his mouth sewed shut. Lafayette screamed. Meanwhile, Lafayette's mother, Ruby, also awoke in her room and saw the same thing. "Jesus. Where have you been?" she asked, as if she wasn't looking at a severed head. Brilliant. He kept mumbling. She understood him. The only thing I could decipher was “You have to tell him."
Your turn. What did you think of the episode? What are your theories? Are you ready to see Roman get out of his compound? We got a new suit this week, and next week, he's in a polo shirt (!), but I want to see Chris Meloni do more than perform lengthy monologues recapping his position for the 100th time and bowing down to the blood of Lilith with the world's vampire leaders.