True Blood is a crazy show. There are vampire-fairy-immortals, casual beheadings, and wall-to-wall merkins. The show operates on Crazy Level 11 so when an episode is only at Crazy Level 8, it’s still downright ridiculous compared to every other show on TV but, as a True Blood episode, it’s disappointing. This week is one of those episodes. Not even the world’s worst 17th century vampire/plague flashback can save it. But hey, just cuz the Titanic hit one bad iceberg didn’t mean the whole boat gave up on its journey and went back to England, right? Right.
Let’s begin. In Fangtanomo, Eric, Nora, and Willa are still in disguise and still on the run. It’s not long before someone finds the armless, lifeless guard they left behind and hits the alarm though. Nora is getting worse and worse as the Hepatitis V makes its way through her scary, purple veins so Willa peels off to find Pam while Eric and Nora escape the facility under a True Blood delivery van. It’s all very James Bond if James Bond had used a severed arm instead of a keycard and was trying to save the life of his vampire sister he has sex with from time to time. Very James Bond. CREDITS.
Severed arm in hand, Willa finds Pam who is calmly doing yoga in her solitary cell. At the same time in Hollywood, Alan Ball approaches Jenji Kohan with a one-off script for a project called Orange is the True Blood. Jenji Kohan laughes, politely says no, and heads home to watch Law & Order: SVU. Apparently, Pam’s yoga is relaxing her in more ways than one as she seems pretty blasé with Willa’s news that the Governor (RIP) is poisoning all the True Blood with Hep V. In fact, she only wants to tell their crew (Jessica, Tara) to avoid the diseased Blood and not the rest of the inmates to avoid starting a vampanic. She also bizarrely turns down Willa’s offer to get her out of solitary, insisting she can swing it herself because the shrink likes her. Pam, what has gotten into you?
In therapy, Pam is pulling no punches with her shrink-admirer. Call her Salt-n-Pepa cuz this lady wants to talk about sex, baby. With a few reveals of the cleavage and a few incredibly explicit descriptions of her sex drive, Pam has the slightly pervy shrink on the edge of his seat. I’m not sure why she didn’t just let Willa take her out of solitary and into gen-pop but Pam’s fun little plan of her own gives us lines like “How deep do you wanna go…INSIDE MY HEAD?” so I guess I can let the logic slide for once.
Across Fangtanamo, Jason is warning Jessica about the Hep V and Bill’s true death chamber visions. Still reeling from her triple homicide, Jessica vows she’s OK with dying and doesn’t want to be saved. All she wants is the chance to thank the handsome and brave vampire who didn’t have nonconsensual sex with her (chivalry is not dead, America).
Jason brings James (the nice vampire) to Jessica and the three of them have a quick J party before Jason leaves them to talk (read: remind each other of the humanity inside us all (read: have sex)). The reason James is so pleasant is that he believes vampires choose to forfeit their souls. Awww. Jessica warns James of the impending vampirocide and the two share their bucket lists. James wants to tell his dad he’s proud to be his son which is emotionally touching. Jessica wants to bang James right now which is physically touching. She says she wants to feel something good and decent like James and also she’s never had vampire sex before. I say the writers wanted more sex scenes in this snoozapalooza of an episode. Tomato, tomahto. Either way, they make tender humanity-filled love.
Meanwhile, on the outside, Sarah Newlin is listening to proselytizing lessons (“Repeat after me: God is good.”) as she drives to the Governor’s estate where, surprise surprise, everyone is dead and the Governor’s head has been thoughtfully placed on the base of a statue by Billith. Sarah really has terrible luck with men. Her husband turned out to be a gay vampire. Her last lover is spy attempting to bring down her organization and her current lover’s head was just thoughtfully placed on the base of a statue. At the end of her rope, Sarah begins to monologue at the decapitated head (which couldn’t have looked more fake if it were Westerosi George W Bush). Poor Yorick, she opines, your death was not in vain, it was all part of God’s plan, and GOD IS GOOD (callback)!
Like a Weeble, Sarah Newlin may wobble but she does not fall down. Within minutes, she’s conferencing with a senator and convincing him that the best plan going forward is to pretend like Governor Burell is still alive while Sarah runs the entire state (and anti-vampire movement) behind the scenes. Get this girl a gold star because she just out-Lady-Macbeth-ed Lady Macbeth. All the senator needs to do is keep the Governor’s death hush hush and dispose of the body which Sarah suggests he hire some “fixers” to do. At the same time in Hollywood, Alan Ball approaches Shonda Rhimes with a one-off script for a project called True Scandal. Shonda Rhimes laughes, politely says no, and heads home to watch Law & Order: SVU.
Unrelated: Why does the senator’s assistant call him by his first name? Are they secret lovers? Am I reading too much into this? Are Sarah Newlin’s scenes the best ones in this entire episode? Yes to all.
Sarah then returns to Fangtanamo in her best Sarah Palin outfit and quickly detains Jason. With the Governor dead, he has no leverage over her and she can expose him as a traitor. Because Sarah is amazing and terrifying, she orders the guards to cut Jason and throw him into female gen-pop as she screams, “HAVE FUN WITH YOUR SLUTS!” But before Hungry Hungry Vampire Hippo can begin, Tara steps out in front of Jason and calls shotgun. Across the room, however, barely-established mean-looking eyebrows lady steps forward to challenge the claim. Insert that flute sound that plays right before Wild West duels.
Let’s take the Sam/Alcide storyline like one would Grape Robitussin: quickly and without pleasure. Sam finds out about Terry’s death from Lafayette and decides to head back to Bon Temps even though Alcide said he’d kill him if he did. He doesn’t want to endanger Nicole so he suggests she go home for a while instead of coming with him. But first, she starts up some shower sex because they’ve known each other for hours, he’s double her age, and she watched her boyfriend die this morning. True Love. The next morning, Nicole’s mom shows up to take her home from her playdate. Also at the end of an unconventional playdate, Alcide drops his dad off at his trailer in the middle of nowhere. His dad wants him to stay out here and kick it Grey Gardens style but Alcide has too many responsibilities with the pack. Or rather, had too many responsibilities. When he gets home, he swears Nicole and Sam are dead much to the chagrin of his pack who actually captured Nicole + Mom. Ruh roh, Alcide, you’re in deep werewolf doodoo.
With Nora in tow, Eric shows up at Bill’s hoping that some Lillith blood will cure her Hep. But Nora is too afraid after what happened last time she dropped Lill and Bill would rather honor her dying wish than listen to Eric. Hoping to sway Bill, Eric confesses that he believes in Billith and his/her divinity. The two finally agree to a deal in which Eric will help Bill get Warlow if Bill gives Nora his blood (and two opening night tickets to Billith’s musical debut alongside Xena and Drew Carey).
Back in Fairy Dream Land, Sookie and Warlow are naked and sparkly and basking in the afterglow of their long-fated lovemaking. When Warlow mistakes Sookie tying him down, feasting on his blood, and having nuclear fission sex with him for agreeing to marry him, Sookie goes from zero to Elizabeth Cady Stanton in sixty seconds, shouting at Warlow about female sexuality and the right to vote.
Luckily, this correct but unappealing tirade is interrupted by the sobbing of Arlene. Apparently, Fairy Dream World’s walls are thin. Sookie rushes to reality to console Arlene who is rolling around crying next to a freshly dug grave which, if Terry’s, defies all time and logic. Seriously, True Blood writers, do you guys have watches? At her house, Arlene does some classic misplacement of emotion in the wake of tragedy and calls Lafayette a “voodoo queer” for having shady phone conversations with Terry. It turns out Laf is not a big fan of Deal or No Deal and hasn’t opened Terry’s safety deposit box yet so he and Sookie head to the bank to do so. Surprise, surprise, the box has Gwyneth Paltrow’s head in it. It also has life insurance issued three days before Terry’s death.
When Sookie and Lafayette return to Arlene’s, the twice-widowed waitress is guzzling PBR and drunkenly waxing poetic: the pain is “scalping my brain away one slice at a time and plucking out my heart with one of those little crab forks.” Watch out, Walt Whitman. At this point, plotlines just start converging willy-nilly. Sookie and Adeline (Fairy Quad #4) meet psychically and Sookie realize she’s mind-talking with Andy’s daughter and that this show barrels through so much crazy even the characters don’t understand what’s going on. Then Bill walks in like a cowboy and Arlene screams HOLY FUCK, it’s daytime and Bill and Andy have a confusingly passive-aggressive chat about fatherhood and protecting one’s daughters (not a strong suit for either) and then they shake hands but still feel uneasy about each other. Finally, Bill gets Sookie’s attention and explains his visions to her. He needs her to bring him to Warlow. Warlow’s blood is the only hope of beating Hep V and Sarah Newlin and widespread vampirocide. This isn’t just an us versus them fight anymore, he says. Sookie loves Tara and Jessica and they will die too. Sookie either protects Warlow and loses her friends or saves her friends and gives up Warlow. Classic bros before hoes scenario.
Speaking of bros and hoes, Eric is hunkered down with his beloved sister Nora and Billith’s blood is not working. He prays to Godric their maker to save her, his very own tie to humanity in this mad, mad, mad, mad world. UNNECESSARY FLASHBACK TO 1665 ENGLAND!
Eric has stringy, long graft-vs-host hair and he’s at the royal court of King Charles II (thanks, Wikipedia). The plague is ravaging London and the king wants Eric to go save his reluctant part-time lover from her selfless work as a nurse. Lady Gainsborough (Nora, not Charlotte) is devoting all her time to helping the sick when Charles would rather she be helping his (insert sexual rhyme here). By the time Eric finds her, the pustules have formed and she has stubbornly (and courageously) accepted death on her own terms. Instead, Eric takes her to Godric and the rest is history.
In the present, Nora is reassuring Eric that he still has Pam and Tara but he knows he can never replace her. She starts saying a lot of well-meaning yet trite platitudes and I start humming Les Miserables and then Nora sort of melts into a blood sack in Eric’s arms and his shrieks are so high and visceral and I hope he doesn’t have any open wounds because Hep V is super contagious and Bill enters and the two make meaningful post-tramautic eye contact and Jenji Kohan and Shonda Rhimes start a new episode of Law & Order: SVU.