‘True Blood’ Recap: Episode 5-“Trouble”

ALTS3:E5 Dammit, True Blood! I told you that keeping Bill and Sookie apart was the best idea you’ve had yet, and what do you do, but bring them back together five episodes into the season. Fortunately, Bill and Sookie only briefly reunited, before Russell showed up on behalf of the audience to make sure that the show stays good. Bill had made such promising changes in the past few episodes (his very casual putdown of Lorena tonight was another highlight) but the second Sookie is back on the scene he’s yelling “Suckehhhh” and getting beat up just like season one. Brawny might not be the most interesting character on the show, but he and Sookie have been complementing each other very well this season, and have far more chemistry together than Sookie and Bill. Though there are potted plants with more chemistry together than Sookie and Bill. Let’s hope that the King keeps the lovebirds apart long enough for Sookie to remember that Bill broke up with her on the phone and slept with Lorena, or for her to remember that Eric is really, really, ridiculously good looking.

ALTEric must have compartmentalizing as one of his vampire superpowers. We saw it before when Godric was missing, when he spent half his time glaring and yelling intensely, and the other half making fun of Bill and hitting on Sookie. It shows up again in this episode, where he alternates between intense glaring about Pam and flirting with Talbot. I guess when you’re 1000 years old you learn to prioritize, but it smacks of inconsistent writing or short term memory loss. Or it could be that Talbot is just that cute. I enjoyed the viking flashback because, you know, vikings, but I think the idea that Russell killed Eric’s human family is a bit too convenient and unlikely, even for a show that revels in unlikely convenience. Russell and Talbot have been welcome additions to the cast, so far, and rarely more so than tonight, where Russell ranged from sweet, in his conversations with Talbot, to menacing, in his political machinations and viking-killing past (though the cape twirling was a bit much). Talbot also gains my undying loyalty for spending the episode following Eric around and looking him over like he was a serving of blood gelato. Giving Eric a personal stake in bringing the King down is good drama, and forcing him to work with the King to save Pam is great drama, but the idea that Eric spent the last 1000 years hunting this guy who ends up living next door is kind of dumb. Eric’s attempts to kill Russell are going to be fun, I doubt that that will work out well for Talbot. At the very least, there’s going to be even more vampire hatesex, but I hope Talbot at least gets out of the season alive.

ALTI do not, however, hope that Tara gets out alive. The show would never actually have Franklin turn her into a vampire, but I wouldn’t be opposed to the proposition. Franklin has been so fascinatingly crazy for the past few episodes that I’m running out of synonyms for “creepy”, and Tara’s never been more interesting than when she’s trying to manipulate him into not killing her (and doing a damn good job at that.) Franklin is a perfect fit for the show, straddling the line between frightening and hilarious, like going from strangling Tara to texting motherfucker with a deep sense of pride in the space of seconds. And few things are funnier than Tara’s panicked “what the hell?” face.

On the cuter side of True Blood romance, there’s a whole lot of flirting going around Bon Temps, with Jason, Lafayette and Jessica each getting new potential love interests. Unfortunately for Jason and Lafayette, Crystal and Jesus are almost certainly evil. Crystal, because she keeps saying that they can’t be together and works for drug dealers, and Jesus because even though he’s adorable and looks like a Backstreet Boy no one is allowed to have a normal relationship on True Blood (sorry, Terry). Lafayette’s utter confusion at being flirted with was fun to watch, and I’m glad that he’s getting an actual plot, even one that’s sure to end badly. Jason’s story also starts moving this week (finally!), as he starts to work for the police department in the capacity of chief deputy of shirtlessness. I don’t usually talk about Jason very much in these recaps, because he really hasn’t done much, but Ryan Kwanten has some of the best abs comedic timing on the show, and really deserves recognition. And we deserve more scenes where he is shirtless in aviators, because hot damn. Even Tommy does well this episode; he learns to smoke cigarillos from Lafayette and is super cute with Jessica, which makes it very difficult for me not to make a joke about puppy love. There’s also something seriously strange going on with the Mickens clan, but they’ll get around to telling us eventually and I can’t say I’m waiting in suspense.

ALTIf you swap out “nazi werewolves” for “vikings” on my master list of things I want from a True Blood episode, “Trouble” ranks rather high. Bill’s back to saying “Suckehhh”, Lafayette was funny, and Eric’s tight blue sweater was making it hard to pay attention to the dialogue in most of his scenes in Mississippi. The plot’s moving at a quick enough pace that it’s hard to get bored, and is interesting enough that I’m no longer tempted to fast-forward through Tara or Sam’s scenes. All in all, this season is feeling much more balanced than previous ones. Let’s hope that they’ll keep it up.

Best Quotes:

“You know Russell was right, you’re not very smart. You’ve played yourself into a corner, you tiresome cow.” Lorena should stock up on aloe for all the burns she’s been getting lately.

“She’s such a fucking disaster, we could be twins!” Twins who have sex!

“If you don’t slow down you’re gonna kill us, and I’m not gonna die because of your shitty girlfriend and a Mississippi pothole!”

“He’s not missing and he’s way too square to deal V.”

“Don’t say that! Women say that, then everything goes black and I wake up surrounded by body parts.”