Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Review: True Blood "Whatever I Am, You Made Me"

Non Spoiler Review:
Bill and Eric get their marching orders from the Authority while Roman makes it clear he will not tolerate any challenge to his mainstreaming agenda. Tara seeks out help, Pam has more flashbacks, Jason meets an old friend, and Jessica has an odd encounter while shopping. A lot more happened, as well, which is one of the problems this week—way too many plotlines to service.

Like the premiere, True Blood delivers plenty of short scenes and jumps around without settling on a single plot for any good length of time. Coming off of last week's interesting Authority and vampire mythology bits, I found my mind wandering waiting for this one to be over.

It's wasn't entirely bad—in fact Tara's story was one of the compelling elements. But Sookie is already starting to get annoying with her treatment of her friends (and didn't we have enough of that the last couple of years)? Lots and lots of set up, so that implies good episodes will be on their way. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Spoilers Now!
In the woods, Tara's wounds heal and she begins to perceive things with her vampire eyes. She comes upon a woman changing a tire by the road and attacks her, but quickly comes to her senses when she sees herself in the window and runs off.

The Authority is outraged that Russell is alive and debate what to do. Roman and Salome remain to talk with Bill and Eric. Edgington is the figurehead for the sanguinistas, he says, so Bill and Eric volunteer to bring him in. Roman decides to allow it. When they're gone Roman summons the new Nan  Flannigan—Reverend Newlin.

He was recruited because of his Fellowship of the Sun connection, but he annoys the guardian when he disses humans. Roman respects humans as their ancestors and sees the need for vampires to evolve. If they can't bring Russell in quietly he will need Newlin's trustworthy face to work the public in order to ensure mainstreaming succeeds, because the humans are still strong enough to destroy them if they put their minds to it.

Sookie comes to Fangtasia to plead for Pam's help, who is still searching for Eric. Pam wants nothing to do with her problems, so pushes her away which prompts Sookie to throw her across the room with a fairy blast and walk out.

A hungry Tara shows up at Sam's begging him to help. He gets her all the TruBlood she can drink, and  then she collapses. Sam puts her in the cooler at Merlotte's.

Debbie's parents show up at the sheriff station to talk to Andy about their missing daughter, then go to see Alcide. He explains he caught her back on the blood and ended it for good. They're certain something bad has happened to her.

Jason runs into a former teacher who apparently seduced him when he was in school, so he has coffee at her house. He ultimately pushes to have sex with her again, but afterwards feels wrong about it and leaves.

While shopping and trying on clothes, Jessica overhears a man at the counter and confronts him about how awesome he smells. She takes off in pursuit when he flees and he disappears in the woods. Jessica heads over to Jason's telling him about her experience and how it's made her super horny. Jason realizes sex isn't working for him anymore and doesn't know how to be friends with a girl. She snaps out of her fugue and says she is his friend and will just listen to him tell her his problems.

Sookie finds Sam at Merlotte's and asks about Tara, but he says no. She reads his mind and finds out he has her in the freezer. He understands she tried to give Tara another chance, but it's up to her now what she wants to do with it.

Pam reminisces about her first meeting with Eric. He came to see her at her brothel after saving her from her attacker. When Pam checks in on her other girl, she's with Bill and Lorena and Pam sees them feeding on her. Eric then bursts in and throws Lorena off the prostitute. Bill tries to kill him, and Eric introduces himself to the petulant young vampire. Lorena pleads that Bill is new and doesn't understand. Eric decides he has potential but berates Lorena for being so reckless. She wasn't aware it was Eric's territory. Pam is watching from the doorway and she wants $500 for every girl they drained. When they leave, Pam tells Eric they have a debt to settle, so he kisses her.

Andy grills Sookie if she's seen Debbie. In one of the more mundane plotlines, Holly's sons have posted a butt shot of Andy on Facebook, making him the laughing stock of town. But he still wants to continue seeing her.

Bill and Eric are outfitted with devices to kill them if they try to escape or try anything outside their mission. Salome then chats with Bill. She's the genuine Salome from the Bible. She likes him and is impressed with his career, which leads to sex. Next she summons Eric and discusses Nora, who she brought into the authority. He asks her to help save Nora and Salome proceeds to seduce him too. Afterwards, as they head down in the elevator Bill and Eric realize Salome visited them both and wonder what she wants from them. The doors open to a room full of guards.

Nora, meanwhile, is being tortured and confesses to being a sanguinista.

Hoyt comes to Fangtasia looking for trouble. Pam tells him they'll eat him alive, but that's what he's looking for. She flashes back to sleeping with Eric and asking him to make her a vampire. But it's too great a responsibility being a maker, he muses. So she gets up and cuts her wrists, telling him to make her a vampire or watch her die. Eric concedes.

Roman comes to see Salome and she's certain neither Bill and Eric are sanguinista and can be trusted. But Roman isn't sure, given Nora confessed. Salome suggests he might want to consider changing his course given how the mainstreaming has split the vampires and she fears for his safety. 

Terry tells Arlene he's going away for awhile with no explanation whatsoever, making her a bitch for the rest of the episode. Lafayette wakes Tara up, but she wants nothing to do with him. Alcide warns Sookie that Debbie's missing and might be gunning for her. He wants to know what she's not telling him. They run into the kitchen and find Lafayette on the floor and Tara steps out, shocking everyone, including Arlene. She tells them all she doesn't need any of their help and to stay away. Arlene thinks Lafayatte is a monster for turning his own flesh and blood. Alone, Lafayette pours bleach into the soup and sees his reflection in the mirror—it's the demon he and Jesus summoned to fight the witches. Horrified, he dumps out the stew.

Sookie admits to Alcide she killed Debbie, which does not go over well with him at all. Then she has the nerve to ask him if he's going to press charges.

Tara breaks into a tanning salon and lies down in a bed, intent on suicide as she turns it on and screams. Pam senses Tara from Fangtasia and mutteres, "Stupid bitch."

The Verdict:
Coming off of the mythology heavy episode last week, I found this one somewhat dull with my mind wandering throughout a lot of it. The Tara moments were much stronger, though, and, of course, Pam. And anytime Alcide tears a strip off Sookie  can't be all bad either. But the Authority bits with Salome, though intriguing in many ways, just lacked the action—lots of scenes of people being pissy with one another.

True Blood suffers, as always, from too many characters to be serviced—namely Hoyt, Arlene, Terry, Andy and Holly, now with the addition of the Pelts, along with Luna and Emma...sigh. With so much big stuff going on, whenever their mundane stories get attention it slows things down quite a bit.

But enough with the bad. We got the first Bill/Eric meeting and Pam's interesting way to get Eric to make her a vampire, which leaves me wondering if he's never gotten over this with her. Then Hoyt's arrival at Fangtasia makes me hope those two are going to have more time together.

So Nora was a sanguinista and it's pretty evident that Salome appears to hold the same feelings, which isn't very surprising at all, given Roman looks like he's being set up for a betrayal. Didn't Jason already go through his my life is meaningless and I'm using sex to fill the void thing already? One of the most tedious plots this week, though it was nice to see Annie pop up from Mad Men, though. Did Jessica encounter a fairy, or is this some new weird and wonderful creature to add to the True Blood menagerie? This show is best when it gives its characters some meaty scenes to chew on and not these short and quick plot driven moments.

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