'True Blood' Recap: Marnie's Power Increase Means Mortal Trouble for the Vampires

Humanity comes to the forefront as Bill, Eric, Jessica and Pam fear for their immortal lives

true blood marnie stonebrook fiona shaw
John P. Johnson, Courtesy of HBO
Fiona Shaw as Marnie Stonebrook.
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"Cold Grey Light of Dawn" finds everyone reacting to close calls, largely at the hand of Marnie/Antonia's (Arnie? Mantonia?) increasing power. Both the witches and the vampires independently claim their humanity as the one thing that can save them, whether it's motivated by love or revenge — but if everyone has humanity on their side, who wins? The answer isn't immediately clear in this episode, but here's what we did find out:

Vampires and Witches:
Marnie/Antonia manipulates Sheriff Louis into doing her bidding: killing Bill's undercover witch, Katy, after using her to secure an exit from Bill's compound for Marnie, and then telling King Bill, "It is Antonia Gavilán and I am returned." Louis' mission doesn't end well for him, as Bill kills the still-possessed vampire after getting the one-word answer as to how Antonia has returned: "Resurrection."

Cue King Bill's emergency plan to preserve the vampires from Marnie/Antonia's necromancy: the remaining sheriffs are to order their vampires to leave Louisiana. Any who remain will do as he will and chain themselves with silver before daylight. What would Nan Flannigan say? We don't find out, because Bill doesn't consult her, but we have to imagine it'd be something biting. Bill summons Jessica and gives her the run-down of what they're facing, and the Jessica who was so brave and convincing while talking to Jason last episode needs a moment for the news to sink in.

Meanwhile, in a welcome flashback to the simpler times of season one, Sookie and Eric are having sex what seems like everywhere and in every way in her house. In the episode's sweetest moment, they make time for pillow talk afterwards — but the moment is quickly tainted as they once again ponder what will happen when Eric regains his memory. They both hope for their feelings towards each other to remain, but, in what seems like a rewind-and-repeat moment, we are reminded again that normal Eric has done many things that Sookie doesn't approve of and the more human Amnesia Eric can't quite deal with it.

Speaking of things he can't deal with, Bill stops by to share his necromancy protection plan and leaves Sookie to chain Eric when Eric won't go back to Bill's house. The emotions are running high under the surface, but everyone is (mostly) matter-of-fact during the conversation. "If you care anything for him, you will do this, or it will be his last day on earth," Bill reminds Sookie before he leaves to go back to his mansion and have himself and Jessica silvered.

Pam's desire to kill Tara and Naomi is depleted when she realizes she's being filmed by onlookers interested in posting the footage online. Oh, the humanity: Pam turns to the supernatural doctor for a body peel that leaves her looking something like Voldemort during Harry Potter's dream talk with Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. Or at least we think that's how it goes, as Pam wins the prize for most gruesome scenes so far this season. She enlists Fangtasia's human employee to give her the doc's prescribed shots and tuck her in under a silver blanket in her pink satin-lined (of course) coffin. "Fuck me!" she screams in pain, a sentiment shared by every vampire we see getting silvered by ones they love (Eric) or employees paid to do the deed (Jessica, Bill).

Jessica and Bill have a serious maker-to-progeny heart-to-heart while lying in silver. She questions her love for Hoyt ("He loves me so much it hurts to even think about it, but I don't love him the same. If I was human I would.") and Bill tries to remind her she is human at her core. It's almost funny how Bill continues to give these morality lessons given the position he finds himself in as king. By the end of their conversation, Jess' moping has turned to resolve, demonstrating a humanity of a different kind: "When we survive the day, I am going to eat the fucking witch."

Not so fast, as Marnie/Antonia's power has other plans in store. After her latest near-death experience with a vampire, Tara regretfully convinces Naomi to leave her in Bon Temps and drive back to New Orleans. "Everyone who's ever been with me has ended up dead. It ain't a long list, but it's a bad one to be on," she says by way of explanation. While wallowing in her own self-pity on a drunken walk home, Tara comes across Marnie/Antonia, who promises she can enact revenge for every human that's felt the stab of the vampire's fangs. But she can't do it alone, obviously, and recruits Tara to help re-form the coven.

About a dozen witches, including Holly, gather at Marnie's shop and it's clear that Marnie/Antonia is ready for action: "Understand this: vampires are not immortal. They are only harder to kill, and that is where our humanity is our advantage — for our human spirits are immortal," she says as a rallying cry. 'Let us show these vampires the power and fury of the human spirit.' The coven is re-formed! Marnie/Antonia leads them in a chant as she levitates within their circle and the spell channels a wind that blows through Bon Temps. The power of Marnie/Antonia's necromancy hasn't weakened any in the last 400 years: Maxine Fortenberry's neighbor walks outside and bursts into flames as Maxine looks on with her hose in hand ("I knew it!," she exclaimed). Jason bursts in on Sookie, who has been downstairs with Eric, as the spell's power hits Sookie's house. "He's not gonna make it unless he has someone there for him," she tells Jason before running back to Eric, which catapults Jason into action to save Jess.

As Jason gets into an altercation with one of Bill's security agents, Jess conjures enough power to remove herself from her silver binds, overpower a guard to get the keys to her cell and crawl towards the front door, ignoring Bill's pleas to do the same for him. As she opens the door to blinding light, we hear a shot ring out and her exclamation: "The sun!"

In what almost seems like an afterthought, we are treated to some exposition of the Lafayette and Jesus storyline: in a post-mortem of their snake biting-and-saving experience in Mexico, we learn the following from Jesus' all-powerful grandfather: Lafayette, like Marnie, is a medium and Jesus is the last remaining whatever-his-grandfather-is and his grandfather won't let him die. En route home, they stop at a diner and Lafayette recaps the situation in typical Lafayette fashion: "I felt like a giant ass puppet for your ghost uncle." Jesus lays down the gravity of what Lafayette is: "Being a medium is a serious calling." At least this explains Lafayette's powerful behavior at the coven meetings earlier in the season. What their newfound identities mean now that Marnie is inhabited by Antonia remains to be seen.

Shifters:
Sam takes Tommy to the hospital, where he is diagnosed with a bad case of food poisoning because skinwalking isn't something ER doctors are well-versed in. It isn't until Sam visits Luna at work to plead his case (after a brief phone convo ends with her saying, "Fuck you" and hanging up) that he and Luna piece together the last 24 hours. On one hand, it's a relief that this revelation didn't drag out over several episodes. Cheesy pick-up lines aside, there's something in the Sam/Luna relationship that makes their union more interesting than either is alone (at the moment). But, on the other hand, this leaves us with another tear in the Sam/Tommy relationship arc, and we're right back where we always seem to land: suspicious that Tommy was intentionally skinwalking to kill him, Sam refuses to believe that Tommy was innocent and tells Tommy to get out of his life forever. It's the one moment of the season so far we feel genuine sympathy for Tommy.

Werewolves:
Alcide and Debbie are inducted into the Shreveport pack, only Alcide can't let himself be fully happy because — surprise! — he's worried about Sookie. Say all you want about how the romance between the two of them is constructed by outside sources, but why else would Alcide be constantly preoccupied by her. We even begin to feel some sympathy for Debbie, who is just trying so hard to be a good girlfriend that she allows 10 minutes to search for Sookie. What they see cannot be unseen: Sookie and Eric having passionate sex in the middle of the woods. The image haunts Debbie so that when she and Alcide are having sex the next day, she can't shake the feeling that Alcide still has feelings for Sookie. "I worry for her," he explains. "But there's only one girl I love, one girl I dream about. I'm yours." Pacified, Debbie asks, "Forever?" He agrees: "Forever." We're not convinced. Something tells us he'll come to regret that promise.

Humans:
In a scene that should be shocking to no one at this point, Andy's awkwardly set up date with Holly is even more awkward when he can't make conversation because he's suffering from V withdrawal. He abruptly ends the date, grabbing the store-bought flowers he gave to Holly ("They were on sale") on the way out.

Elsewhere in Merlotte's, Arlene is bubbly and chatty as usual, with demon baby Mikey strapped to her back. After giving Holly advice on navigating the Bellefleur waters, she's back to business as usual — until Mikey's guardian/doll spirit appears, and it turns out Lafayette can see her too. As the lady starts singing in French, Lafayette scares her away. We feel a little like we're watching Gossip Girl at this point: who is she? That's one secret it seems like she'll never tell.

Favorite Couple: Even though it's not a couple in the traditional sense, the Marnie/Antonia dual persona that became more fully-formed this week was the most intriguing to watch unfold.

Losing Species of the Week: The time has come for the vampires to be in last place. Though their grappling with what it means to be a human (we suppose the looming threat of death would do that to anyone, even a vamp) led to some of the most emotionally honest moments of the season, the fact is that their once invincible power is being seriously threatened.

Winning Species of the Week: Quite obviously, it's the witches. But, we're willing to bet this high won't last too long.

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