Even better than the real thing
Well, now we know. Sookie is a fairy. Perhaps to satisfy the part in all of us that couldn’t help but feel a little let down by the revelation after so many weeks of teasing, Sookie herself responds with skepticism. It takes Bill’s earnest insistence that fairies are no laughing matter, but are in fact powerful, important, and oh so delectable. It does help explain why every vampire Sookie meets drools over her, follows her around, and puts up with her nagging and whining. But honestly, I couldn’t help feeling a little “so what?” about it all. I have hopes that we might learn more fae mythology, and that could be cool, but I think I could have learned this episodes ago and not minded skipping the huge buildup.
That might be said of several of the other revelations: Sam was a grifter and cold-blooded killer in the early 90s. Crystal is a were-panther. Lafayette might be a shaman/witch/something powerful. All of these could be totally fascinating new bits of knowledge, but they came so fast and furiously, with virtually no sense of how they connected, whether they were important, indeed if they mattered and what they meant. This episode, more than most, really drove home how much this show is operating on a soap opera paradigm. If you’ve ever watched a daytime soap, you know that revelations can be drawn out over weeks (nay seasons) and the implications of one revelation may not really be felt for months or even years. Each segment is loaded with cues of emotional significance, even when there is no clear sense of what anything means.
True Blood is borrowing these tropes pretty heavily this season, but they do have the good sense to insert enough action to elevate the show above the stagnation and repetition that makes a daily soap so deadly after a while. Russell tearing out a human spine on live television was exactly one such moment. But then this week, there is no real fallout from his televised murder and instead, he became an even campier, deranged bereaved lover. What happened to his plot to take over the world? Did losing Talbot make him lose his own spine (yep, I did just go there)? I was sort of hoping he would plot some grand scheme of world domination, ratcheting the whole “can vampires live among humans?’ debate up a few notches. Instead, he haunts dark allies looking for nubile dark-skinned boys to stake in twisted grieving rituals. Maybe he just needs to say his proxy goodbyes so he can get on with diabolical plotting. It does appear that the big showdown of the season is going to come between Eric and Russell, with Sookie as a secret weapon. I think a lot about how the series can move forward will be determined by how Sookie is “used”/defies being used.
Of course, another showdown is brewing and that is the heavy-handed suggestion that Bill is not trust-worthy and is hiding the fact that he pursued Sookie in the first place on Sophie-Anne’s orders (Eric says as much point blank, though Bill denies it). Eric continues to insist to Sookie (in dreams and real life) that she knows she can’t trust Bill, and he seems to be hitting a nerve. The biggest indication is when she shows up at Fangtasia demanding answers, but might as well have said as much when she tells Jason that lying to someone is not the same as protecting them. To which he asks how she would know since no one can ever lie to her. Except vampires, she reminds him. Da-dum. Really, Sookie, did you have a particular vampire in mind? It all felt a bit heavy-handed. My prediction: the Russell/Eric showdown will unfold next week, or maybe spill over into the first half of the final episode. But then, the Bill/Sookie showdown will be the cliffhanger that closes the season.
Even so a lot of other balls will be left in the air: witches/wiccans/shamans; were-panthers; the sorry state of Bon Temps legal force; the import of Sam’s past on his present. Any guesses, fair readers, how these plots will end this season or why they will matter going forward?
Two final comments before I close: I loved the scene between Jason and Tara and his pained, honest, somewhat selfish confession. The ability to tap into that kind of confused emotion is also something that elevates TB above your daily soap. I also love that Eric is the kind of character who can sweet-talk Sookie one moment (“if I meet the true death without having kissed you, it will be my only regret?” Really, Eric? After 1000 years that would be your only regret?) and then lock her in a neck chain in his dungeon soon after. Pam is right, he can be a cold-hearted bastard. But that also makes him one of the most interesting characters on the show.
Other thoughts? Predictions as we move toward the big finale?
Posted by Kathryn.