Just two weeks after I praised True Blood for keeping the focus on vampires, I'm starting to think that I spoke too soon. This week, two story lines of seasons past — Lafayette's brujo powers and those damned faeries — reared their ugly heads, making me think that Season 5 is going to be just as crowded an affair as the previous three have been. Let's survey the damage:
Secret's out now! Add Sam, Arlene and Alcide to the list of people who know that Tara is a vampire.
As much as Sam bores me to tears, I have to admit that back in the early days of the show, I loved the chemistry he shared with Tara in their friends-with-benefits phase. He softened her; she encouraged him to have a spine. So it was nice to see him attempt to take care of his old friend by, um, stuffing her in a meat locker for the daylight hours.
Once Tara comes out of the cold, though, the permanence of her state really hits her. In response, she breaks into a salon and tries to commit suicide by tanning bed. "You stupid bitch," Pam says, when she senses what she's up to.
Is it any surprise that Jason once slept with his teacher? No, but once he and Miss Steeler (guest star Melinda Page Hamilton, who you might recognize as Anna Draper, Don Draper's fake late wife) decide to get back in the saddle again 15 years later, something infinitely surprising happens: Jason learns something. Sure, Miss Steeler may have taught Jason to do the only thing he's ever been good at, but what happens to a numbskull like Jason when sex stops making him feel good? As sweet as he is, it's not like he can start relying on his winning personality to get by.
As he reflects on his really bad luck with women (Maude Pickens, Sarah Newlin, Amy, Crystal, Jessica), he realizes — and actually vocalizes! — that there's a hole inside him that he's trying to fill with sex. He says this to calm Jessica, who has a fang boner after meeting a man who smells like "cotton candy, fresh-baked bread and sex." I'm guessing this man, who was at a dress shop picking up an order for his 16 sisters, is a faerie, so it appears that Andy's day of reckoning is nigh. (Remember that promise he made?)
I just pray that True Blood's next faerie-related story line is more entertaining than the last one. Sookie's seven minutes (year) in faerie heaven last season was totally lame, wasn't it?
Well, looky here! It's Bill and Lorena who are draining Pam's hookers in 1905 San Francisco. Eric is again present to save the day, which impresses Pam — so much so that not only does she sleep with him (duh), but she also decides that she wants Eric to turn her.
Now obviously this is a big decision, and not one I think many could come to easily. But credit goes to the writers and Kristin Bauer's acting here, as she very handily convinces us that an old madam is a pitiful, diseased wretch of a thing and no charitable man should allow a woman to suffer such a fate.
Her speech worked on me, but not on Eric, who says that becoming a maker is too important to take lightly. Poor Pam, destined to die coughing tubercular blood into a very tasteful hanky. But no, such a passive death won't do for our willful Pam, so she slits her wrists and basically forces Eric to turn her. It's a tricky wrinkle in their history and adds layers of meaning to their subsequent interactions, no?
At first glance, Salome (guest star Valentina Cervi) appears to be just another chancellor, but this character's name is no accident. She is, in fact, that Salome, the reputed beheader of John the Baptist and dancer of the seven veils. Who knew she was also a vampire?
As Roman's right-hand siren, she has taken it upon herself to test the loyalty of Bill and Eric. Since this is True Blood, she does so by sleeping with both of them. (Ladies, does that work?) In a post-coital chitchat with Roman, she reports that she thinks that they are both telling the truth.
But just in case the Salometer is off, Bill and Eric have been fitted with an iStake, which we can add to the list (that already includes TruBlood, colloidal silver misters and that underground bunker thing that Eric built in Sookie's house) of the coolest inventions that this show has added to the vampire mythology.
The iStake is essentially a wooden stake that rests in a chest harness over the wearer's heart. It can be operated remotely, even by iPhone, to instantly induce the true death and reduce the wearer to goo. So I guess they'd better have a really good plan for how to recapture Russell, huh?
-Call me paranoid, but I think that Salome isn't the most loyal chancellor and is perhaps hiding some master plan of her own. Read the Bible, folks; she can make men do things!
-I probably should have mentioned this last week, but... you all know how much I loved Denis O'Hare's performance two seasons ago and his return to the show makes me very happy. But I have to ask: Narratively speaking, does anyone else think it's totally ridiculous that, rather than stake Russell, boneheads Bill and Eric thought it was a good idea to keep him alive under a couple of feet of concrete?
-Sookie used her "faerie blaster" (as I will now forever call it) on Pam this week. What is this power exactly and why can she still not control it? Its use appears to be so arbitrary. Maybe the arrival of her faerie brethren will shed some light. (See what I did there?)
-Don't you wish that we could all just forget that Debbie Pelt ever existed and move on? No need to investigate, Andy! Nothing to see here! Just one fewer skank-wolf in the world!
-Pam is awesome at texting, no?
-Sad Hoyt showing up at Fangtasia wearing guyliner thoroughly depressed me. Aw, Bubba!
-It was fun to see Tina Majorino (who I will remember as sweet Heather from Big Love and Special Agent Shaw on Bones but not as one of the cast members/victims of that overrated farce Napoleon Dynamite) as Bill and Eric's iStake technician.
-As if Lafayette didn't have enough to worry about this week, he also turned into that weird brujo again and poured bleach into the gumbo. Oh, this again?
What did you think of "Whatever I Am, You Made Me"? Looking forward to more faeries? Any thoughts on Salome's master plan? Are you already getting the feeling (like I do every season) that we're going to have far too many characters and stories and supernatural creatures to serve?