Friday, July 29, 2011

Review: True Blood "Me and the Devil"

Non Spoiler Review:
Sookie's efforts to help Eric finally begin to backfire, while Jesus and Lafayette head to Mexico to get some help from Jesus' evil grandfather we saw in last season's flashbacks. Bill steps up his game against the witches. Tommy and Sam are thrown together again after his family reunion goes awry. Jason is on the mend. Evil baby gets an exorcism.

Carrying on the fun from last week, we get some more King Bill awesomeness, and further details about the bad witch stuff that happened in Spain. We also get to meet the rest of his sheriffs. The direction of the storyline is beginning to crystallize, tying in to Jesus' visions from last year. And similarly with Sam and Tommy, it's a sure thing now who will be the next skinwalker. Jason, now back in the world, has to come to terms with what happened to him (and the infusion of Jessica's blood) as well as an impending full moon. The problem remains with Arlene and Terry's D storyline which just isn't gripping me at all. Best of all, though, Sookie's lies start to come back to bite her in the ass, despite the growth of her relationship with Eric. 

Spoilers Now!
Tommy plays dead to get a leg up on Joe Lee, which prompts a huge brawl between the three of them. He kills his father, and also, by accident, his mother who leaps to Joe Lee's defence. That leads him to show up at Sam's in a panic, with both corpses in his van (!)

After Pam's abrupt departure, Marnie explains the spirit returned and saved them again, but Lafayette is not impressed they've pissed off another vampire, and so leaves with Tara and Jesus. They all decide it's best to put as much distance between them and the coven as possible.

Eric is visited by Godric when he comes to look in on a sleeping Sookie. Eric doesn't know who he is, though Godric tells him he's damned and incapable of love. He drinks from her at his urging, but is roused from his dream. He goes upstairs to look in on her and she wakes up this time. 

Eric explains the nightmare and how it upset him. He wants to know if he's evil. She admits Godric would be happy to see him as he is now, as his maker was the most human vampire she'd ever met. She lets him stay with her until sunrise.

Hoyt and Jessica put Jason to bed. Hoyt's grateful she saved the life of his best friend. She's tired from giving blood and acting strange, so leaves him to stay with Jason. But Hoyt seems equally pensive for some reason.

Portia goes to see Bill, though he insists their relationship remain professional. Despite her arguments in favor of incest (!), he opts for the easy out and manages to glamor her to run away at the sight of him. She runs out of the house screaming.

Pam then shows up sporting her best funeral attire and veil to cover her rotting face, and wants permission to destroy the witches. His hands are tied (that no killing humans thing from Nan), though he doesn't plan to ignore it and is well aware how dangerous the witches are.

Lafayette and Jesus head off to Mexico to see Jesus' shaman grandfather for help, while Tara plans on returning to New Orleans. The last time Jesus saw his grandfather was his ninth birthday, when he forced him to kill a goat as a sacrifice. He felt power then, but his mother took him away before his grandfather could take him further. But they need that power now (nothing could possibly go wrong with that plan).

Sam and Tommy drive off in the van to deal with the bodies, but Andy ends up following them for speeding. Sam gets Tommy to get in the back. Andy does some V and wants to get into the back after seeing blood on the door. After a tense moment (including drawing his weapon) Andy gets Sam to open the door and finds Tommy's transformed into an alligator. Sam says he found the gator and was taking him back to the swamp. A shaken Andy leaves. Sam throws the bodies in the swamp and tries to put Tommy's mind at ease by saying it was self-defense. He admits to killing the two people who stole from him (we saw in last season's flashback), so he assures his upset brother he's not going to go to hell for killing his parents.

At work, Sookie asks Holly how her group is going, and inquires about the vampire attack. Holly doesn't really want to talk about that given her association with vampires. Sookie reads her mind, though, and learns about the wiccan store where they meet. So she goes to see Marnie and asks for a reading.

Marnie is quite distracted, but agrees to it, then picks up on Sookie's grandmother. Gran wants to ensure she looks after her brother. She also warns her not to give her heart to her new man. It isn't going to last. Oh, and Marnie poses great danger, so Gran tells Sookie to run. Sookie quickly departs, leaving a confused Marnie.

Jason tells Hoyt what happened with the werepanthers, and thinks everything bad that's happened to him is because of sex. But when he learns there will be a full moon the following night, he gets nervous. Later that night, Jason has a sex dream about Jessica which quickly turns bizarre and involves Hoyt.

Arlene believes RenĂ©'s spirit is haunting the baby, so Terry suggests an exorcism—which brings Reverend Daniels and his new wife, Tara's mom, to perform a whacky cleanse on the house. But Arlene seems to think it's worked. Unfortunately, when they sleep, a pack of matches manages to ignite itself.

Bill's undercover agent, Katie, goes to see Marnie and asks about the latest vampire incident that has her worried. Marnie assures her they're being protected. And that's when Bill's security take her.

Tara phones her girlfriend to tell her she's coming back, but she gets asked who Tara Thornton is, as she's found some of her mail and isn't too happy about the lies.  So she heads over to Sookie's to eat ice cream and commiserate, revealing that she had been lying about who she was after she left Bon Temps. Sookie never knew she was into girls, either. Tara admits her girlfriend will likely break up with her now that she knows the truth. Sookie advises her to fight for her, but as the sun begins to set she gets nervous that Eric will come out. And Tara wants to stay over.

That's when Eric comes up and Tara freaks out. Sookie admits Eric is living there, but he's different now. Tara goes through the litany of things Eric's done to her, and leaves. Eric asks Sookie why she's letting him stay with her if he's done all those horrible things. She knew in her heart he can change and likes the new Eric. They kiss.

Alcide gets a visit from Marcus Bozeman, pack master. Alcide hasn't registered with the local pack yet since moving there. He sends him on his way, but it's very clear Marcus isn't going to take no for an answer.

In her cell, Marnie gets another vision of her spirit protector. This time, back when she was in prison awaiting her execution. She and her fellow witches are visited in their cell by priests, who turn out to be vampires that begin to feed on them. 

Bill assures Marnie no harm will come to her if she cooperates. She explains Eric left and she has no idea where he's gone. They were using a protection incantation. He wants her to reverse the rotting spell on Pam, but Marnie says she has no idea how to do that, either. To be sure she's telling the truth he pays a visit to her cell and glamors her. He asks her what her intentions are and Marnie confesses they just want to practice their religion. She doesn't know how to reverse any of the spells.

Bill next summons the four other Louisiana sheriffs to advise them of the situation. One of them mocks the idea that this coven is dangerous, so an angry Bill explains that in 1610 a witch named Antonia was being burned at the stake. Before her death she used necromancy to summon all vampires within 20 miles into the daylight. All of them were burned, and it amounted to a revelation to anyone who was witness that vampires were hiding among them as nuns and priests of the church. At the time they had found it advantageous to infiltrate the Catholic Church. Sheriff Luis survived only because he was out of range, and then glamored or killed the rest of the witnesses to keep their existence secret. That's how dangerous witches are, Bill says.

Pam is frustrated that they can't do anything and inadvertently blurts out that the witches erased Eric's memories. Furious, Bill demands to know how she knows that and where he is. She's forced to reveal he's at Sookie's. He takes off.

The Verdict:
True Blood's winning vampire/witch combo continues this week, made more interesting by the history lesson from Bill and Luis. It's great to see the vampires have such a worthy adversary in the witches, Pam's frustration, and their utter vulnerability to magic. Though I found it a bit of a stretch to think Luis single-handedly covered up the entire revelation four hundred years before.

I'm happy to see Sookie begin to suffer the fallout from all her lies to protect Eric, especially from Tara, given her character has been resurrected from its season three doldrums. The appearance of Gran was also nice bit, and too bad we actually didn't get to see a vision of her.

Eric's new attitude has also managed to grow on me, too. While not a fan of the Sookie/Eric combo, I actually don't mind how it's unfolding now, but there definitely has to be a sacrifice and consequences to how she's treated everyone.

Holly has been drifting in the background so far this season, so her little scene was welcome. I hope she has more to do now to justify her as an ongoing character, now that Marnie's completely taken over the story.

Tommy's on his way to becoming a skinwalker with the death of his mother. So much for my Sam theories. And so much for Maxine's natural gas rights when he finds out he can take the form of other people. The shifters seem to have convenient limits and abilities when necessary—why couldn't Tommy shift out of the chains?

Now that we have another witch in the form of Jesus' grandfather, my expectations are high. Will Jesus be turned to the dark side when he gets a taste of power again, or will his plan actually work? Maybe the course of the season is moving towards a full on vampire/witch war.

We got the usual short scenes updating the other characters—Alcide's happy home life looks about to be turned on its head. I'm not exactly sure what Hoyt's problem was this week either, or if he assumes that Jessica and Jason are going to be drawn together now. What is Portia's role going to be, or was she just a minor diversion for Bill? Surely the family tree angle has to come back at some point to have some relevance.

We got the usual annoying bits—while supplying some humor, at least, the baby exorcism was just another bit of filler compared to the more intriguing storylines going on around them. Unless—and I will recant if they should go there—it somehow ties into the greater witch arc. But right now the doll/baby just seems tacked on to the show for comic relief. And what to say about Jason? At least he's not tied to a bed. But that matured, focused and rejuvenated character we saw in the first episode is threatening to revert back to his old self. 

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