True Blood: Lend a Hand

By
Photo: Courtesy of HBO

This week, director John Dahl’s music-video roots and neo-noir career prove the perfect foil for Lars and the Real Girl writer Nancy Oliver’s knack for sexual discomfiture. Tara and Sam’s plotlines crawl along in the expected direction, Jason gets a sponge bath, and Sookie “glamours” Bill in pursuit of her fellow telepath before taking on her biggest vampire assignment yet.

Weird Woodland Things
Just when it looks like Daphne might’ve been bluffing about knowing Sam’s shape-shifting secret, she turns into a deer. A proud deer, bent on helping Sam accept his unique role as a dog. Why she’d ask him what transforming feels like when we already saw her do it? It’s part of a clumsy double entendre that gives our new lovers the opportunity to teasingly describe their orgasms, itself a way for Sam and Daphne to get their hands down each other’s pants. Yes, this is True Blood’s hand-job episode. On the pool table: “Nice rack.” ... “Nice balls.”

Good thing Sam and Daphne have each other, because no one else is getting along. The conflicts, of course, are all Maryann’s doing.

Tara looks so happy when she wakes up beside Eggs, even if she puts her head to his chest in a way that’s less “cute” and more “checking to see if he’s dead or undead.” And then picks up that photo of her and Sookie and Gran to remind us that she’ll be torn between Maryann and Sookie. Still, for a minute we forget that Eggs is bad news, or at least the faithful minion of bad news.

Tara goes downstairs, Maryann’s in the kitchen cooking and gyrating. Maryann crashed at Sookie’s because — oh, did she forget to mention? — that sprawling pad where she’d been staying was her client’s house, and he’s back. Surely Tara will understand that it’s her turn to provide shelter, except she doesn’t. To Eggs, yet another Arab slur: “What are you? Nomads? Fucking Bedouins?”

Cue a nasty night at Merlotte’s. Rather than celebrating Lafayette’s mysterious return, the staff is at each other’s throats. Maryann to her driver: “We’re done here.” She beats Tara home, asks about her day, and promises that — even though she’s made dinner, stocked the fridge with Tara’s favorites, conjured her a hot new boyfriend, and doesn’t have anywhere to go — she’ll be gone by morning. Maryann, worst mom ever.
Booty Count: Do hand jobs count?

Private Benjamin
Jason’s subplot unfolds like every boring boot-camp or football-training story ever, leavened only by hurled insults like “Pansy fang-banger!” Jason shows leadership potential or personal growth or some such by helping arch-frenemy Luke when he falters, but let’s skip to the important part: Sarah and the reverend quarrel, so the rev. takes Jason off for some man time, which means showing off weapons — wooden arrows, various bullets, and silver throwing stars. Jason thinks the throwing stars are, but needs the rev. to define, “guillotine.”

More important, this prompts Sarah to arrange some man-weapon time of her own, by surprising Jason with a sponge bath. He tries to resist it, but she convinces him God wants him to have a reward. Did we mention this is the hand-job episode? Jesus wanted Jason to get a hand job from the reverend’s wife.
Booty Count: One act of manual stimulation bestowed from on high.

The Dallas Cowboys
Bill’s pissed about Jessica ordering fresh boy blood from room service, and he doesn’t want her to watch porn on demand either. For now she threatens to develop an eating disorder as revenge, then calls Hoyt. As usual with those two crazy kids, it’s strangely cute: She worries that he doesn’t remember her, and then he reads to her from his favorite comic, Space Tomb.

Sookie, meanwhile, has a fellow telepath to stalk, possibly even mentor: Barry. She’s not telling Bill about Barry. She and Bill stay in a vampire hotel, where Bill won’t have to slink out of her bed and back to his coffin before sunrise. Sookie seduces him extra good. You’d think vampires would be more orally inclined, but, per this week’s theme, her hand leads the way.

And finally we get to the point of this multi-episode trip to one of the most rotten cities on earth: Eric, Bill, Sookie, and Godric’s ranchero-poseur deputies have a little sit-down. Sookie’s been watching No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and HBO needed a tie-in, so she’s going to go undercover, infiltrating the Fellowship of the Sun to find out what happened with Godric. Which is fine by Eric, because it turns out that Godric is his daddy. In the flashback that explains this, Eric downgrades those gay rumors to “bi,” announcing on his medieval deathbed that, “Wherever I am, there will be women.” But it’s the tattooed and charismatic Godric who made him and will always have a hold on him.

Sookie seduces Bill one more time, only to find that she’s already scared Barry off — he quit his job. While she contemplates tracking him down, a mysterious woman strolls through the hotel — Bill's maker. Is it the Queen of the Vampires? Is it Godric in drag? Let’s hope for more Godric. He’s awesome like silver throwing stars.
Bite Count: Two — in the Godric-Eric flashback, and that guy wandering the halls with fog and disco in his head.
Body Count: In that flashback, Eric’s men all die with satisfying spurts of blood.
Booty Count: Same old — Sookie and Bill.