In this week’s episode of True Blood, we learn that relapse makes the heart grow fonder, school bunnies are sensitive about their weight, keeping the peace takes a lot of guts, and saying goodbye is a bitch when you’re giving up the ghost…
Sink your teeth into some spoilery commentary after the jump…
This week’s episode single-handedly put the WHAT?! in WHAT THE FUCK? But before I tell you how I really feel, let’s take a look at what happened, shall we?
Sleepwalking on Sunshine
As is customary, events pick up where they left off, with Alcide hustling a half-dead Sookie to the safety of her house, only to be intercepted by Bill, who vampire speeds his ex the rest of the way back. After some bitching by Alcide and a pointless exchange about prayer, Bill finally succeeds in reviving Sookie with his blood, and another cheap cliffhanger is resolved.
Sookie awakens to find Bill and Alcide hovering over her on the couch, and she immediately notices Eric’s absence, insisting that they waste no time finding him. Alcide wants to know if he’s the only one present who thinks the whole thing is batshit crazy—to which I say NO, ALCIDE, YOU’RE NOT.
But I’ll get around to commenting on that soon enough.
In the meantime, I’m stuck facepalming my way through Sookie thanking Bill for the blood while their love theme surfaces like a bad memory in the background—only to be assaulted with the least sexy ménage à trois ever to grace the small screen.
Mind you, the dream had promising beginnings—Sookie wakes up to a knock on the door in red lingerie and hooker heels while surrounded by the warm glow of sunshine and Vaseline. It’s Eric, and he’s wearing leather and flashing heavage and ravishing her in the foyer before moving to the dining room table. You know, like one would expect from your average late-night Cinemax offering—all of which is about right.
And then Bill shows up. That’s when the talking starts… and my ladyboner is swiftly undermined by the flagrant abuse of all established canon unfolding before my eyes.
After a mindreading three-way and a cockfight over Sookie, she breaks up the boys to explain that she calls the shots in her dreams, and orders them to join her in the living room for more excruciating conversation. She carries on about swimming with dolphins and eating pies without consequences before going on some cutesy spiel about double standards, gender stereotypes, and moral restrictions—and I’d be all about it if she didn’t also feel it necessary to mention LOVE, which I think we can all agree has no place whatsoever in a filthy sex dream.
Especially not this one.
Anyway, Sookie tells Eric and Bill it’s all three of them or nothing, after which they both silently agree to share long enough to go in for a double bite—just in time for everyone to get back from the bathroom breaks that they were hopefully smart enough to take in an effort to spare themselves from this trainwreck of nonsense.
At least Anna Paquin gets extra points for looking totally hot. (Incidentally, red most definitely is Sookie’s color.) And if nothing else, I can now justify my use of the following GIF, which is almost enough to make this fuckery worthwhile.
Hungry Like the Wolf
In one of the few bright spots of this episode, Debbie is back home in Shreveport watching Cheaters with rapt attention and waiting for Alcide to return from his verboten escapade through Bon Temps. She feigns sleep when she hears him coming in the door, and he—obviously thinking he got away with something—strips down and slips into bed to try to snuggle with her.
While his effort is valiant, Debbie knows exactly where he’s been all night, and can smell Sookie’s stank all over her boyfriend. HER PRIVATE EYES ARE WATCHING YOU, ALCIDE.
So of course, the next day finds her diving headfirst off that wagon with a fresh vial of V—at which time she schools the local dealer on how not to be a cunt while explaining what a hardcore bitch she really is. Meanwhile, I’m getting tingly at the mere thought of what fresh scandal might be around the corner.
Unfortunately, True Blood is hellbent on disappointing me this week. Debbie shows up at Sookie’s all FLOWERS… PLUMBER… CANDYGRAM… only to actually cough up a mixed bouquet of daisies instead of eating her on the spot. And with that, any hope I had left for this episode is officially snuffed out.
In spite of all this, Crazy Debbie remains second only to Ginger in my heart. And couched within her conciliatory attitude toward Sookie, there’s obviously still a giant nutjob lurking—one whose sole aim in life is to make Alcide love her. She may be attempting to become besties with the competition—but it’s still an uncharacteristic decision that she quite clearly regrets by the end of the episode.
Next week, Debbie’s relapse better be balls to the wall. THAT IS ALL.
My Brother’s Grim Reaper
While Debbie has devoted herself to making nice with Sookie for Alcide’s sake, Alcide has tracked down Marcus at his place of business in an effort to climb the pack ladder and shore up his crumbling relationship with Debbie. Needless to say, this is also an uncharacteristic decision that he will later regret—because Marcus seizes the opportunity to commission him as muscle at Sam Merlotte’s scheduled beating that evening.
Alcide agrees to participate in the packmaster’s plan, despite his own misgivings and the fact that it’s a seriously bitch move on Marcus’ part. And to complicate matters further, Tommy—who had stopped by Merlotte’s to say goodbye to his brother—is already prepared to show up skinwalking as Sam, presumably in an effort to make up for all the trouble he caused.
And thus, he causes a whole lot more trouble. Because Tommy just can’t help himself, sweet, not-so-illiterate-anymore lamb that he is.
Meanwhile, Sam has convinced Luna to leave the drama behind to go camping with him, leading to an informative Goofus & Gallant-style exposition on the difference between nature bunnies and school bunnies. All of this rabbit talk, however, was clearly only a prelude to Luna—accompanied by her now trademark Pocahontas music—sneaking into Sam’s tent in the middle of the night to bang his brains out while his brother is beaten into a bloody pulp for shooting his mouth off at Marcus.
Alcide waits WAY too long to put a stop to this beating, only really backing the rest of the werewolves down after they discover that it’s not Sam Merlotte they’ve been kicking the shit out of after all. Marcus wants the evidence destroyed, and Alcide scoops Tommy up to safety—which seems to be the only useful thing he’s capable of doing this season.
And here’s where I’ll say that I won’t be surprised if Tommy dies next week. His ticket was pretty much punched the moment he became a skinwalker—there’s no question that keeping a character with powers like that around would be tough to swing, given his obvious penchant for petty criminal activity. But count me on the team that would be sad to see him kick the bucket… especially since he’d be going out to the bang of his own brand of misguided heroism.
I am, however, looking forward to seeing Sam lose his shit when he finds out. And if we don’t get to see him shift into something other than a dog, pony, or rabbit this season as a consequence, I will be inconsolable.
Pants Off Stand Off
Speaking of people losing their shit, the hysteria is hitting fever pitch at the Bellefleur house, where Terry and Arlene have discovered that Mikey is missing. Jason and Andy are uniformed and ready to crack the case, when Jason gets a call and informs the family that the baby’s at Hoyt’s house, which elicits some rather strange grumbling about “big and wrong” platoon members from Terry.
Andy excuses himself to throw back the V he spotted in the couch cushions under the premise of fetching a pair of pants, which he then predictably forgets to do—leaving Hoyt in his underwear with a broken-down, gunshot-sprayed door and Terry pinned to the ground and wondering why his cousin is so strong, all within minutes of their arrival on the scene.
Luckily, Arlene was smart enough to call Jesus while Andy was busy tweaking out, and he shows up from his nursing shift to defuse the situation. He confidently strides into Hoyt’s house to confront the unstable ghost lady who has snatched both Mikey and Lafayette’s body—because, in case you forgot, HE’S A BRRRUJO.
It’s just another day on the job, folks.
After some friendly conversation and pyrotechnics, the two finally discover that poor Mavis was indeed murdered by the father of her dead baby… and the subsequent gasps heard round the world are deafening, because this earth-shattering revelation was JUST THAT SHOCKING.
So it is that Mavis returns Mikey to his parents with a sincere MY BAD—to which Terry responds that Lafayette shouldn’t worry about it because, you know, these things happen. But the day’s not over, because they still have to perform the de rigueur digging up of remains that accompanies all formulaic ghost stories.
Eventually, they find the decades-old grave shared by both Mavis and her murdered newborn, whose remains they pass into her arms so that she can finally hold her son—and so she can pull a Patrick Swayze while singing her baby to heaven in a scene that played like the last five minutes of a Lifetime Movie Network Halloween special.
This shit could not even be saved by Lafayette’s sassy YOU GOT IT, BITCH. Because it was really that fucking awful.
And before anyone goes accusing me of being a soulless bitch, I should mention that I’m currently five months pregnant with my own first-born son. A fucking Olive Garden commercial could make me cry if they somehow managed to work a dead baby in with the unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks. So it goes without saying that this storyline was an abject, clichéd failure on all accounts—and the responsible parties deserve to be mercilessly whipped with a pee-soaked swaddling blanket.
Monster Truck Dally
Perhaps the worst part of the show’s foray into Ghost Whisperer territory was that it rudely interrupted a storyline I can actually get behind—namely, Hoyt’s imminent descent into a rage-filled, alcoholic depression.
Before things went south, Hoyt was awakened by the crowing of his cell phone’s alarm—which almost got a “cock ring” joke out of me before I decided that it was just too easy. Upon finding Jessica’s Taylor Swift CD lying around, he makes it his morning’s mission to pack up all trace of her—including her Twilight books, trash magazines, and hair care products—into a surprisingly small box which he lovingly labels FOR YOU, MONSTER.
Way to be a big boy, Hoyt.
Unfortunately, however, we don’t get a chance to revisit aforementioned box until the whole hostage ordeal is over, and Jason has taken some time to fix the door that Andy Bellefleur unapologetically destroyed. When Jason finds the CD, Hoyt informs him that it, too, goes in the monster box—prompting Jason to call him out for being a whiny bitch over the whole breakup.
For all of Hoyt’s venom, however, it’s easy to see that he’s devastated over losing Jessica—which is why it’s hard not to cringe when he begs Jason to take her belongings back to her for him, despite Jason’s awkward protests.
So it is that Jason shows up on Bill’s doorstep looking especially foxy in a leather jacket and having been thoughtful enough to scratch out Hoyt’s personalized FUCK YOU in an effort to spare Jessica’s feelings. She knows better though, and after asking what else Hoyt might have said about her, she abandons the interrogation and decides to invite Jason inside.
He says it’s not a good idea… which of course means that they’ll just have to get their freak on outside in his truck bed instead.
The only thing that would have made this scene more satisfying would be for the two of them to discover mid-coitus that Hoyt was hiding under a blanket in Jason’s cab the whole time. But there’s always next week…
Gore and Peace
Jessica’s other standout moment of the episode came courtesy of Nan, who was subjected to an hour of her crying about her shattered love life—and who reacted about exactly the way one would expect her to. And the only thing that would have made this scene more satisfying would have been if Pam were there to add her own colorful commentary… although I suspect that’s one more bitch than a single room could handle.
Not that it matters, seeing as how Pam is noticeably absent the entire episode, despite the fact that her maker’s already half-gone mind was hijacked by a coven of terrorist witches. GO FIGURE.
Anyway, Nan’s been waiting for Bill so that she can find out exactly what’s been going on before making herself at home until the next night’s event—which, of course, means she ends up chained onto a bed back in Bill’s fancy chandeliered basement jail. And as they settle in for the day, Bill explains that Eric is MIA and presumably under Antonia’s control, leaving Nan to sarcastically commend his decisive leadership and reminisce about the days when her biggest worry was Sophie-Anne’s little scratch-off ticket problem.
Things being what they are, Bill insists that the next night’s Festival of Tolerance be cancelled. But Nan refuses, and when he wants to know why, she begins to reply that “there are factions”—presumably to pique our interest over more vampire political vagaries.
But guess what? I DON’T GIVE A FUCK. The writers have made such a mockery of the state of undead politics on this show that I end up with a Pavlovian migraine every time the Authority or the AVL are even mentioned. As far as I’m concerned, the less said about it, the better—because whenever the writers attempt to fill in those blanks for me, I only end up confused and pissed off.
Luckily, Nan follows up with a reason that does make sense, which is that every major news crew and blogger is already camped out waiting for the event to start. So Bill can beef up security if he has to… but the show must go on. The whole dilemma is very Jaws, and I’m just waiting for Jessica to chime in with a timely WE’RE GONNA NEED A BIGGER BOAT.
This is Eric Northman we’re talking about after all.
Speaking of which, Eric is being held hostage along with the amateur witches at Moon Goddess Emporium—only he’s considerably less whiny than the rest of the bunch, having been spelled into playing Zoolander to Antonia’s Mugatu.
When Debbie distracts Antonia long enough for Sookie to climb through the storeroom window, Sookie learns that Eric’s magic mission is to kill the King, only to be discovered by both Tara and Antonia.
Having been given orders not to shoot on account of Sookie’s “usefulness,” Tara telepathically tells Sookie to charge her and head to the Dorchester Hotel if she wants to find Bill.
With Sookie having escaped, Antonia heads over to the hotel herself, bringing both Eric and loudmouth Roy with her—but not before spelling all the shop’s doors shut like Carrie and securing them with red hot knobs so that no one can leave.
Meanwhile, Nan and Bill are two of only a handful of vampires in attendance at the Festival of Tolerance—which happens to look vaguely like a high school prom. Bill asks what kind of vampire rights rally doesn’t have any vampires, and while he has a point, I am once again in awe of the stupidity—since, you know, he was the one who was worried about Antonia crashing the party in the first place. And in case you thought he might have learned his lesson the night before, it seems he once again brings a handful of sheriffs to act as security… whom Antonia swiftly gains control of with minimal effort.
Yet somehow, Bill is still surprised when Sookie calls out for him during his groanworthy speech from the public pulpit—and when his sheriffs disembowel the human swat team and toss them from the rafters into the understandably hysterical audience.
In this week’s “Inside the Episode,” writer Brian Buckner explains of the Festival of Tolerance disaster: “We’re only in episode 9, so things still have to go worse.” And for me, this about sums up the phoning-it-in approach that’s being taken with the second half of what began as such an incredibly promising season.
There’s no nice way to say it: “Let’s Get Out Of Here” was a hot mess. In fact, I almost titled this recap “Let’s Change the Channel”—before considering the more blunt confession of “I’d Rather Be Watching Cheaters.”
Aside from Debbie’s meltdown (which frustratingly failed to materialize), Jason and Jessica’s romp in his truck bed (which only really interests me because Hoyt’s head will explode when he finds out), and a thrilling cameo by Joey Greco (whom I fully expect has taken up residence in Sookie’s closet), this episode was about as short on interest as it was on sense.
Two things it had in spades, however, were plot devices and manufactured drama. This week’s episode clumsily kicked the story forward with a whole host of baffling developments mired down by an equally unnecessary amount of pointless filler—giving the entire hour a tediously perfunctory feel.
And for the ninth installment—a traditional benchmark of the season when the story should be kicking into high gear—this is not a good sign.
Just to be clear, my problem with “Let’s Get Out Of Here” is not that it wasn’t an entertaining standalone episode—because by many accounts, it was. My problem is that, when viewed within the framework provided by the eight episodes that preceded it and in anticipation of the three episodes to follow, the horrendous ham-fisted writing jumps out at you like a school of dolphins in one of those stupid Magic Eye pictures.
Case in point: Sookie’s abominable sex dream. It’s bad enough that the sole narrative purpose for her near-fatal gunshot wound was, ostensibly, to re-establish an attraction to Bill through his timely blood donation. On top of that, the writers had to go and use the resulting fantasy as a vehicle for Sookie to proclaim her undying love for both Bill and Eric—which, frankly, doesn’t ring true in either direction.
So when she insists that she should be able to have both, I can’t even clap up her equal opportunity polyamorous tendencies… because I’m too busy scratching my head to bother. This may only be a dream, but the bottom line is still ridiculous.
Even in the books, Sookie knows better than to prematurely label what she acknowledges to feel like love as the real thing after a single hot week at the Sex Olympics with Eric Northman—because, you know, she has good sense. Furthermore, that a transgression as serious as Bill’s tacit participation in the Rattray attack could be overlooked with such nonchalance—when it was only the tediously drawn out CLIMAX of last season’s finale—speaks to the incredible ADD from which this writing team suffers.
At least, with respect to plot points that actually matter.
While major established history is all but ignored to conveniently move the plot ahead, Mavis’ throwaway storyline is seen to its complete (and completely schlocky) conclusion—this, in spite of the fact that the audience already learned the extent of Lafayette’s mediumistic powers from his visit to Mexico TWO EPISODES AGO.
So as it stands, the only additional purpose this little sideplot seems to have served was to buy the writers some time until they’re ready to throw Lafayette and Jesus into the supernatural war in which EVERYONE IN THE COVEN BUT THEM is embroiled. And also to make my eyes roll out of my head. But that’s neither here nor there.
Which brings me to the evening’s most egregious violations of organic storytelling: First, we have Tara spearheading a rebellion under the premise that “this isn’t what she signed up for”—when just last episode, she was all aboard the vampire genocide train and shooting off wooden bullets like her last name was Van Helsing. This week, however, she demands to know why Antonia didn’t accept Bill’s olive branch.
REALLY, TARA? Because I demand to know when you got an attitude transplant. Surely, there wasn’t much time for it between your romp in the graveyard and now.
But what’s worse is Eric’s spellbound revelation that Antonia’s diabolical master plan is to kill the vampire King of Louisiana at the upcoming Festival of Tolerance. You know, instead of spelling BILL to kill every man, woman, and child in sight except the jackass with the video camera. Or better yet, spelling Eric, Bill, or any vampire to kill a human politician that the American people actually give two shits about.
I’m sorry, but how is televised vampire-on-vampire violence supposed to send a shockwave of paralyzing fear through the American public? You’re talking about a country where Danny Bonaduce had his own reality show, and where a video of Snookie being decked by a grown man in a Jersey Shore bar went viral.
You’re also talking about people who love the show Cheaters enough to guarantee its syndication on late night programming until the universe collapses upon itself in anticipation of another big bang. (Not that I’m one of those people or anything. I’M JUST SAYING.)
Anyway, my point is that something tells me that some preachy vampire king’s public execution at the hands of that hot tax-paying vampire business owner on TV would be more titillating for the American public than the news that Tommy Hilfiger punched Axl Rose in the face at Rosario Dawson’s birthday party.
Ultimately, it doesn’t take an evil genius to assess that Antonia’s current plan does not constitute the straightest path to a “race war.” It does, however, serve as a transparently convenient plot device to keep Bill front and center, and to put Sookie in the nonsensical position of having to “choose” between two vampires whom the show is trying to convince me, unsuccessfully, that she COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY LOVES.
Honestly, HBO? I’d like my Sunday night back.
So now that I’ve gotten all that off my chest… what did you think of this episode? Sound off below!