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True Blood Recap: Everyone’s Got Problems

Tonight’s episode of True Blood was similar to eating a Bloomin' Onion all by yourself: excitement, then tedium, and finally exhaustion and maybe a tummy ache, tempered by a rueful pride. Much like Jason’s endless journey out of Hotshot, this episode dragged its feet in places and zipped over bits that could’ve used a little more oomph. Let’s take a look.

I Don’t Wanna Grow Up
Bad Eric! He killed Claudine and Sookie’s running out of patience. Mab and her needle-toothed crew could be anywhere. Sookie wants him in the house. Unfortunately he passes out at her feet. When prodded gently with a sneaker, he awakes — and he’s wasted? He wants more fairy blood and he wants it now! Eric is saucy and joyous, and it is truly great to watch. After a quick game of grab-ass and some wind-sprints around the yard, he evades his captor and heads away to the woods.

Eric can only be outside for so long before his blood starts to boil, so Sookie employs Alcide to help her find him. Tromping through the woods, Werewolf Alcide pauses at the lake. Eric emerges, buck naked and joyous. Gator-infested waters, be damned! Eric’s gonna kill them all! Once Alcide shifts back into human form, a standoff ensues. Just as they’re about to throw down, the Viking’s flesh starts to sizzle. The fairy blood is wearing off, so it’s bedtime for Bonzo.

Once Eric’s in the cubby, Sookie and Alcide have a conversation on the porch. He’s not really comfortable with Eric being around Sookie, but she’s not pleased that Alcide’s living with Crazy Debbie either. They hug, agreeing to be friends, but little pitchers have big ears. Indoor voices, Sooks. Eric can hear you.

Eric’s romp in the sun has made him a little emo. Sookie reminds him that he was a happy vampire once, but the fact that he’ll never be able to be outside is very depressing. How to fix this sad Viking? A kiss from Sookie is just what the doctor ordered, but Eric’s Spidey-sense tingles.

King Bill’s at the door and he wants Eric. Sookie covers for Northman with a pretty thin excuse — he was here and then he left. Bill’s not exactly buying this. His men have searched everywhere that Eric owns a home, from the Barbados to Paris, with no trace. Bill wants in. Thank God Sook grew a spine this season. Bill’s going to have to get through her if he wants to go inside. “What reason do you have not to trust me?” she demands. “When have I ever lied to you?” It worked! The king takes his leave.

Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Back at Hotshot, the Jason-train is still, uh, up and running. “Breed, Ghost Daddy, breed!” proclaims Uncle Luther, and by golly, he will. Next stop: Becky, Jason’s would-be savior. She’s a virgin and a bit wary about her first time. After Jason’s speech about how the first time should be special, Peggy’s sold. Brandishing a knife, she cuts Jason free. He’s off the cot! A rock to the face for Uncle Luther, and Jason’s off on his epic quest to get out of Hotshot.

While Jason gets a head-start, Uncle-Daddy Felton grills Becky about her sexytime with Jason. It’s clear that she’s lying through her teeth and he is none too pleased. He shifts into panther form and is off to the races.

Jason’s not holding up so well. With Felton the Methpanther on his heels, he puts his burgeoning animal instincts to use, carving a spear out of a stick and lying in wait in a tree. When Felton comes by, Jason falls from the sky, stabbing Felton and killing him. Crazy Crystal, hot on Felton’s heels, shifts back into human form. She’s Big Mama Kitty now, and Jason can finally fulfill his destiny! He wants nothing to do with it, and heaves forward into an epic, never-ending quest to get out of Dodge, which ends when Jessica and Hoyt find him passed out on the side of the road. He drinks from Jessica and it seems all is well, but I’d bet dollars to donuts that the full moon will reveal otherwise.

Who’s the Boss?
That crown’s getting heavier by the day, isn’t it, Bill? First you lost your sheriff, and now NanFlan is up in your grill, and she’s pissed about the witches. Apparently Bill sending Eric after a group of Wiccans wasn’t the best idea. Bill thinks the necromancers are the real deal, but Nan’s not fussed. Witches haven’t been an issue since the Spanish Massacre, when a witch with a serious agenda wrecked havoc. Nan doesn’t think the coven’s a threat, so Bill needs to clean up the mess he’s made, without bloodshed.

Bill’s work troubles are carrying over into his personal life. He’s at Portia’s house and its time to meet her grandma Caroline, played by a well-preserved Katherine Helmond. Bill charms the socks off of Grandma in no time, but a brief stroll through the Bellefleur family tree cuts the visit short. Turns out Portia is Bill’s great-great-great-granddaughter. Accidental incest is no way for anyone to behave, so Bill heads home, with a heavy heart.

The Ties that Bind
Bill’s not the only one having family troubles. Maxine the lioness is on the hunt for Tommy, who seems to have skipped town. Where did our favorite schemer go? Why, back to the homestead of course, where Melinda is quite happy to see him. Tommy couldn’t handle captivity, so he’s back in with the only family he really knows. Even better, it appears that Joe Lee is out of the picture, and Melinda’s trying to get her life back in order. These things never work out quite the way we plan. Over a campfire that night, Melinda lets on that she’s been back in the ring, and she’s got the scars to prove it. Tommy’s freedom is short-lived: Joe Lee comes back, with a chain around Tommy’s neck. He’s about to get a lesson in loyalty, obedience, and family, Mickens-style. Come on, Tommy. You should’ve seen this one coming.

Meanwhile, Sam’s eternal quest to tame the damaged women of the world brings him to Luna’s doorstep. Sam — ever heard of a phone? Call a girl before you show up unannounced! Luna’s got a kid, but Sam levels with the tyke, and like that, he’s in. When her daughter gets ready for bed, Luna gets down to the real talk. Her ex is a jealous werewolf who may or may not be watching from the woods. Naturally, Luna is cautious, but Sam forges ahead. Love cures all, right?

At the Fowler-Bellefleur residence, Arlene and her children are passed out on the couch. Terry gives Bad Baby a pep talk about family, then puts him down for a minute next to the most horrible doll-baby that ever was. When Terry gets back from taking the clothes out of the drawer, the writing’s on the wall. BABY NOT YOURS. Mikey grins innocently and gums a marker. Arlene screams. Subtlety is not Alan Ball’s strong suit, but no matter. Time to find a priest!

“Stop Sayin’ Fuck! I Can’t Concentrate”
Marnie’s had a rough couple of days. She’s all tuckered out, and in the back room at the Moon Goddess Emporium, catching some shut-eye and having a pretty weird dream. We’re in Spain! People are wearing funny hats with feathers, and there’s a familiar lady on a pyre, cursing in Spanish. This must be the dreaded Spanish Massacre. Marnie wants to save the woman, but it’s too late! The pyre is lit, and the witch about to die stares deep into Marnie’s eyes, incanting in Spanish? Latin? Romance languages were never my thing. She snaps out of her nightmare, CG flames flickering in her eyes. A little heavy-handed, A-Ball, but we get it. She’s a force to be reckoned with.

If only Lala and the gang knew of Marnie’s vision! They’d realize that coming to her for help to reverse the spell probably wasn’t the best idea, but alas, Bon Temps is a town plagued with miscommunication. Working with the fire that Pam lit under their collective asses, they’ve come to her, begging for help. Problem is, she’s not interested. Eric threatened her, plus she has no idea how to reverse the spell because she wasn’t the one who cast it. Once Marnie realizes that she needs to figure something out quick, she snaps to work. Bangles clanking, she implores the spirits to make it right.

Let’s hit the books. After hours of searching, Marnie breaks down crying. A book falls off the shelf, conveniently open to the spell she needs. Thanks, spirits! Time to make a circle of salt under the moon of Artemis in an attempt to reverse the spell. Pam, dressed as ghetto-goth Barbarella, is skeptical and angry. Once Mrs. Dursley finds her glasses, she begins the incantation, voice quaking. “This is bullshit,” says Pam. “Fix my maker.”

Marnie does a little “Stop! In the Name of Love” vamping and then more incantations. Hey, Pam? Your face is turning into silly-putty. Everyone’s freaked, including Pam, who splits, lest her entire face disappear. Marnie cackles, eyes dancing with flames, and then she’s down for the count. Oh boy!

Photo: John P. Johnson/HBO