True Blood Recap: Episode 3 – ‘It Hurts Me Too’
S3: E3 I’ve often described True Blood as the most ridiculous show on TV, but I feel as though before tonight that label was applied unfairly. It’s been silly and melodramatic and absurd up until now, but not until last night’s episode did True Blood begin to embrace the sheer craziness potential in its premise. Unfortunately, this didn’t make last night’s episode great, but it did make it very entertaining, and signaled the writers’ interest in continuing the True Blood trend of upping the weirdness every season.
So, let’s talk about some of the crazy. Stephen Moyer has been talking up his episode three sex scene for some time, so I had my expectations raised pretty high for how weird it was going to be and was not disappointed. When vampires do hate-sex, they do not go easy on the hate part. I’ve never liked Lorena’s character, I mean, she’s an antagonist so you’re not really supposed to like her, but I’ve never even enjoyed her smug, ineffective brand of villainy. So seeing the multitudes of abuse that have been heaped upon her this season has been fun, but also serves the purpose of making her more sympathetic. She’s had the misfortune of falling in love with someone who really, really, (REALLY) dislikes her, and she’s such a glutton for punishment she can’t just leave him alone and move up to Boston or something. But I guess sympathy for Lorena will be a slow thing coming, since that shot of Bill on the bed thrusting at her Exorcist-headed body was simultaneously the funniest and most disturbing moment of a very funny and disturbing night.
The other character that seems to be upping the horror quotient for the show is Tara’s new vampire buddy Franklin. We’ve had scary vampires before, or at least vampires the show was trying to make scary, but I don’t think we’ve had a creeper vampire before. Franklin is less the type of vampire that will seduce and murder you, and more the creepy stalker who will cut off his ear and leave it in a vase on your doorstep as a gift. Vampires’ ability to glamor people to get what they want is has a lot of disturbing potential that the show hasn’t explored yet, though I get the feeling Franklin will. His severed head puppet theater was probably the other highlight of the night, especially Jessica’s appropriate reaction of “It’s a head! How do you expect me to react?!”
Unfortunately, the rest of the episode wasn’t quite as interesting and bizarre as those two moments. While watching Jason read through a Yellow Pages could probably be hilarious, the show’s going to have to give him a plot, and soon. The idea of sticking him on the police force is an interesting one, but seems to have been kiboshed by the end of the episode. And by his lingering, very specific post-traumatic stress that makes people grow bullet holes at inopportune moments.
Sam’s family bonding plot is also turning out to be disappointingly predictable. Sam comes back to Bon Temps, but his hillbilly family follows him, gets drunk, makes a scene, and breaks into his office. We’ve seen Sam’s brother (who is annoying, but in a very realistic “teenager embarrassed by their parents” sort of way) turn into a hawk before, but my money is on the mom as the late-night intruder. Also happening at Merlotte’s: Arlene goes to the doctor and finds out that she’s 3 months pregnant. Because I have absolutely no idea what the True Blood timeline is, I’m not really sure what that means. Either the baby is Renee the serial killer’s, or it’s Terry’s from the early black-eyed orgy period. I’m judging by Arlene’s reaction that she thinks it’s Renee’s, but if it’s only been 3 months since the start of the series that is frankly a bit ridiculous. No wonder Sheriff Dearborne quit.
Sookie’s plot line finally got moving this week with the addition of another potential love interest, the Brawny Man-esque werewolf Alcide. Alcide claims that Eric sent him to help Sookie find Bill, but I find it hard to believe that Eric would send her a protector that sexy. You’d think he would find an old, one-eyed, biker werewolf like the ones at the bar. Or at least a gay one. Who could then date Lafayette. Not to get on a tangent, but Eric’s visit to Lafayette’s house was pretty adorable. Lafayette’s spent most of the season keeping Tara away from pointy objects, as he puts it, so seeing him get a real plot, working for Eric, no less, would make me happy as a clam that doesn’t live in the gulf. But let’s get back to Sookie, who for once remembered that she can read minds, and even used her power pretty effectively. Her cunning plan of acting ditsy for the werewolves (a real stretch, that) worked pretty well, even if it did rely on Brawny saving her after 20 seconds. Eric really went out of his way to tell us how dangerous Werewolves are in this episode, but the show has been doing a pretty awful job of establishing them as a threat. Normal, non-silver bullets can apparently stop them, Sookie’s potential rapist is foiled by a baseball bat, and even Bill was able to kill three on his own. They might prove a threat to Sookie if she’s ever caught on her own, but she has so many hot bodyguards right now that that would seem really unlikely.
It seems almost obvious that a vampire show should have horror elements, but it’s a component of the vampire myth that seems to have fallen to the wayside, at least in more “romantic” and youth-oriented vampire lit and TV. Twilight was so conspicuously lacking in gore that the one horror-like moment in the fourth book (it involves an unorthodox c-section, if you’re curious) stuck out like a sore thumb. True Blood may be ridiculously over the top, but in some ways it’s bringing back some horror fundamentals to the vampire soap. The highlight of the Maryann plot last season was the scene where Sookie sneaks back into her house past the crazy townspeople, and the show regularly uses enough fake blood to start a bloodstained clothing line. True Blood still has a problem balancing its silliness with a sense of genuine menace, but hey, at least it’s trying. Adding creepy Franklin and taking Bill’s increasingly dark behavior seriously is a good start, and I hope the show is able to follow through with it.
“The celtic tapestry was a gift from the lord of Glyndyfrdwy in 1837!” Special thanks to closed captioning for that one.
“We could all use a moment to let, um, cooler heads prevail”
“Did you call the hypothetical hardware store and buy a theoretical chainsaw?”
“Good thing this town doesn’t have any other bar options”
Also- the werewolf bar named Lou Pine’s. I understand that vampires are very old and pun’s used to be the highest form of humor and all, but what’s the werewolves’ excuse?