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True Blood: Satan in a Sunday Hat

Is it just us, or is the show firing off its plot points so quickly that it’s failing to appreciate itself? How is it, for instance, that the question of whether the Fellowship really had Godric or whether another vampire was overthrowing him didn’t provide more suspense? (And while we’re at it, why do the previews ruin an ostensible surprise each week?) We’re hoping the next episode will explain how Sookie’s telepathic powers didn’t help her more quickly figure out that Hugo was a double agent. For now we’re just glad the Christian cult story line isn’t too heavy-handed.

Dark Rites
Last week’s “cliff-hanger” is quickly resolved: Detective Andy literally stumbles on the bacchanalia and fires his gun. Color us disappointed that he doesn’t accidentally shoot himself in the foot. Sam escapes in all the fuss, turning into an owl as the clawed, bull-headed Maryann pursues him.

Andy and Sam turn out to be the only ones in town who remember the night. Arlene is afraid that she date-raped skittish Terry. Tara guesses that her blackout has something to do with the bloodied ritual site she and Eggs found, but he cuts her off and says it was just Maryann’s super-weed. She worries that she’s turning into her druggie mother, but he reassures her — and reminds her of Sookie, what with the mind reading. Is Eggs sharper than we thought? And did the town forget those other orgies, or is a bloodletting orgy simply more powerful?

As Eggs and Tara watch an old horror movie to forget what they can’t remember, Maryann creeps in on bloodied feet, carrying a dead rabbit. She may be our ideal woman: “I slept outside last night and communed with my animal nature. And then this little fellah walked by and I thought, ‘Ooh, rabbit stew!’ ”

Sam isn’t quite so fond of her. He grabs his gun and heads to the dock to talk to Daphne. She explains that Maryann is an immortal people have called Lilith, Isis, Gaia, or a maenad, wrongly interpreting her as just a handmaiden to Dionysus. Those black circles in people’s eyes? Her power working through them: She’s got wild energy, lust, anger, excess, violence — “all the fun stuff.” Shape-shifters and other supernaturals are especially exciting to her because she can’t control them like she can regular humans; supernaturals need to come to her of their own free will. Sam’s not interested in letting Maryann sacrifice him, but Daphne insists that it would be worth a thousand deaths. Maybe if he surrenders, she’ll leave the town alone? Oh, hell no.

Meanwhile, Lafayette is dealing again and generally back to his old ways. He flirts when Eggs walks into the bar: “First time in my goddamned life I ain’t chasing after trouble, and it just keeps walking in the door. Look at you! Damn. Ain’t nothing good can come out of something so pretty.” Once he realizes Egg belongs to Tara, Lafayette tries to warn her off of him: “Satan in a Sunday hat, girl. I’m trying to tell you: Satan in a goddamned beautiful Sunday hat.”

He’s right — and Daphne was sorely remiss to not see the foreshadowing when Sam pointed the gun at her. When Maryann shows up, Daphne tells her she missed her; it’s sort of touching and also sort of hot. But Maryann simply thanks her for her service and then kisses her as Judas did Jesus. Then Eggs steps from the shadows and stabs Daphne in the chest.
Body Count: One shape-shifter, one rabbit.
Full-Frontal Nudity: Yes.

Lite-Bright
While Hugo succumbs to a claustrophobic fit in the basement, Sookie calmly calls for Godric (prompting Hugo to suggest that Stan is trying to eliminate Godric in order to take over), sends a telepathic message to Barry, and, when the Reverend reappears, tries to reason with him, saying that her vampire will be coming for her. The Reverend has been hoping she’ll bring a vamp: more possible evidence that the Fellowship doesn’t really have Godric and needs to secure a sacrificial bloodsucker. A panicked Hugo confesses to the mission and gives up their names. We’d thought that the Fellowship might be using Jason to lure in Sookie and the vampires, but, no, it’s only now that the Reverend understands the Stackhouse genealogy.

It’s only later, when Hugo’s panic deepens, that his thoughts fully betray him to Sookie: He’s the traitor. His relationship with Isabel made him uncomfortable, and he turned to the Christian vampire-haters. He likens loving a vampire to an addiction — but it sounds like his real problem was that he didn’t feel like a man around her. He’d begged Isabel to turn him so they could be equals, and she refused.

Meanwhile, the Jason-Sarah scenario plays out. They argue about who’s going to hell, but she tells him that she’d never felt closer to God than when Jason showed her what real love was. He’s visibly terrified. When the Reverend confronts them separately, it’s a misunderstanding worthy of Three’s Company — they initially assume he has discovered their relationship, but he’s really talking about Sookie. He catches up with Jason, burdened with bags, as Jason flees Sarah’s love (and the Reverend’s guns). This is where being less stupid might have paid off: When you’re fleeing the fundamentalist whose wife you’ve fucked, drop the bags and run. Anyway, the Reverend orders a thug to kill Jason and drives off. When Jason hears the thug insult his sister, he develops superpowers or learns martial arts or something, kicks the guy’s ass, and escapes. Unfortunately, Sarah decides to prove her love to the Reverend or possibly God, going after Jason and firing a gun.

The thug tries to reclaim his masculinity by raping Sookie, but Godric finally shows up to save her. Unfortunately, he looks more like Levi Johnston joining the cast of NYC Prep than that hot mess we first met, but still: Yay, Godric!
Booty Count: Not this episode.
Body Count: One? Stupid previews.
Full-Frontal Nudity: Sarah pulls her panties back on underneath her skirt, then flashes us anyway.

Children of the Night
Back in Dallas, Hoyt admits that he’s a 28-year-old virgin, and Jessica says she would’ve been a slut if she could have gotten away with it. She strips down, then tells him that for now they’ll just cuddle. (“Just don’t freak out if I look a little dead.”) She wakes at dusk to rose petals and candles from the gift shop, then commands, “Take off your pants.” 

More important, Lorena is holding Bill captive, keeping him up so late that blood runs from various orifices. Also, she talks with ... ellipses. “You smell like her: sweet ... and cheap.” “You’re so sensitive. Some may say it’s a weakness, but I find it oddly ... cute.”

It’s all explained in flashbacks that are, once again, more compelling than Bill’s present. Los Angeles, 1935: Bill refuses a blood threesome with a chorus girl (“She smells like ... apricots”) and tells Lorena he wants out. He broods, saying that he’ll have to live with what they’ve done for an eternity. She insists that he’ll soon understand that feeding on humans is his nature, but, no, he wants to exercise free will and tells her she’s the loneliest creature he’s ever known. She attacks, he falls, breaks a table, and threatens to commit suicide with a shard of wood. She sheds a tear of blood ... and releases him.

Back in the present, Lorena’s a little more stubborn. Bill’s making a fool of himself with Sookie, and Lorena wants to save him from himself. He begs her to at least let him send Eric to help Sookie. She admits that’s the reason she’s here and advises him just to let Eric have the girl.

Meanwhile, Eric’s hanging with the Dallas vampires and denying his interest in Sookie. They’ve checked out the Fellowship of the Sun camp, and he and Isabel are both uncertain over whether Godric was really there and suspected Stan might be up to something — Eric finds it hard to believe mere humans could capture his daddy.  But he discovers the truth soon enough: He overhears Barry delivering the message for Bill and speeds off to Sookie and Godric.
Blood/Booty Count: We cut away to another subplot, but it’s safe to say Hoyt and Jessica provided this.

Photo: Courtesy of HBO/John P. Johnson