.

'True Blood' Recap: Prison Blues

Warlow's backstory reveals a tortured existence

Rutina Wesley and Deborah Ann Woll as Tara and Jessica on 'True Blood'
John P. Johnson/Hbo
July 14, 2013 10:05 PM ET

Jessica's faerie-blood high served as the perfect metaphor for this episode of True Blood. There was so much thrown at us from every angle (Sookie looking scrumptious in her pink bra and panties; a naked, prehistoric Warlow; the revelation that Corbett and Michelle Stackhouse tried to kill their own daughter; the fate of three principal characters hanging in the balance until next week) that, yeah, I'd start jumping on couches and trying to French-kiss my maker if it calmed me down too. The added layers this episode provided to the overall storyline shifts True Blood's complex nature into overdrive, but I'd rather be high on faerie blood than bored on the bayou, to quote my colleague Rob Sheffield.

The Best of 'True Blood': The Darkest, Sexiest Moments From Bon Temps and Beyond

Now that we've hit the midway point in the season, the two major plot threads are inches closer to intersecting. (Sorry, Sam, Emma, Nicole, Alcide – and even Terry, who is still suffering remorse over killing Patrick – but the real action is in a vampire prison, not, much as I adored the wolf-bar name, at the Unfriendly Possum.) Bill has the distinct honor of being the only fanged Bon Temps resident who has not been imprisoned in Gov. Burrell's Vamp Camp. Eventually, he's going to realize that his progeny has gone missing – along with all of the other bloodsuckers he knows – and that there are greater forces at hand than his massive ego. And since True Blood loves to pull out the plot twists, it wasn't so much that Ben is Warlow that had our jaws dropping, it was the reveal that he may not be the big, bad villain he's been painted as since last season. Although I still have my doubts about him – Sookie did catch the faerie-vampire telling her parents of his intentions to make her a vampire too (courtesy of Lafayette's medium techniques). Yes, Warlow does look good with (and without) a loincloth, and Sookie gives Austin Powers a run for his money with that whole "Danger is my middle name" claim, but she ain't down with any arranged marriages, let alone ones that were made almost 300 years before she was born. But before she can decide if she's capable of loving someone who's got a few millennia on her, not to mention killed her parents, she's got to survive her latest pickle: The final shot of "Fuck the Pain Away" (It's good to have you back, old-school True Blood) is of a possessed-by-Corbett Lafayette trying to drown Sookie. 

Faeries, Vampires and a Medium

A half-clothed Sookie is still faux-making-out with Ben/Warlow, her Ball of Supreme Vampire-Exterminating Sunlight Power at the ready. But today will not be the day she is "fae no longer," as Ben doesn't spring into a fighting stance once he realizes Sookie knows his true identity. Before the opening credits even roll, we are privy to the following information. One: Warlow may be a murderer, but he's also a lonely, lovesick guy who's "wandered this Earth in misery and solitude waiting for [Sookie]." Two: He killed the Stackhouses because – dun, dun, dun! – they were trying to do away with their own daughter. Three: Bill, because he's technically Lilith, a.k.a. Warlow's maker, can command Ben at will. This last development comes to pass when Sookie grazes Warlow with her light orb and Bill, comforting Jessica after her recent faerie-blood binge, shrieks in agony. Just as Sookie is finishing up a brilliant speech about how fed up she is with lying vampires who only want her for her body (both for pleasure and nourishment) and that she is not anybody's to own, Bill bursts in, offering up one of the best tags to any of the monologues on this show: "Oh, great, now you want to save me too?" Sookie groans. Bill scoffs at his ex, says the magic words "As your maker I command you," and without hesitation, Warlow is following Bill out the door, leaving a confused Sookie to wonder, once again, what the hell just happened in her house.

Even if Warlow just wants to make Sookie his bride and not actually kill her, it remains to be seen if he's one of the good guys. And Sookie doesn't get that chance this episode because Warlow spends the rest of it locked up in Bill's makeshift TruBlood lab-factory. But we get flashbacks! Lots of 'em! Upon returning to Compton Manor, Bill arrogantly explains how he was able to puppet-master Warlow: "I am a prophet in [Lilith's] name." Not only can he control him, but with Andy's faerie daughters ostensibly dead, Bill's got himself a brand-new donor for Hido Takahashi's experiments. Ordering Warlow to resist the urge to kill him, Bill plunges a syringe into his neck as we cut to 3500 B.C. A redheaded pregnant woman, draped in animal skins, uses her light power to ignite a torch as a longhaired, scraggly looking Warlow approaches her and asks in a primitive language, "How long?" Awww, is Warlow about to be a daddy? That night, Warlow is gathering water when he notices a naked Lilith standing in the shadows. Before he can even offer to buy her a drink at the nearest faerie cave tavern, Lilith is raping him in the moonlight, saying that he is destined to save "vampire-kind." This is why Lilith's version of a happy ending came in the form of turning an unwilling Warlow into a fanger – made even more shudder-inducing when her head morphed into Bill's. When we cut back to the present, Warlow's 5,000+ years of self-loathing come bubbling to the surface: "You made me into something I despise!" he spits at Bill." Oh, yeah, these two are just asking for a showdown, as Nora predicted. (Speaking of which, despite being picked up by the LAVTF – Louisiana Anti-Vampire Task Force – last week, Nora is suspiciously MIA this episode.)

Sookie decides to get the truth about her parents straight from the source: She has Lafayette do a séance, during which she is able to see her parents' memories. Right before Corbett and Michelle met their fate on that rainy night, they were visited by Warlow, who presented the ancient contract he made with Corbett's ancestor back in the 18th century. An understandably freaked out Corbett and Michelle are in no way prepared to hand over their little girl to some fanged faerie with plans to make Sookie "immortal." The memory jumps to Corbett carrying a sleeping Sookie to the car, determined not to let her be turned into a "monster." Adult Sookie is understandably spooked that Warlow wasn't lying, but spooked quickly turns into downright fear when Corbett possesses Lafayette and proceeds to finish what he started all those years ago, stuffing Sookie into the trunk of LaLa's car.

Meanwhile, Warlow and Bill are having a maker-progeny spat, with Warlow whining the age-old line, "You ruined my life!" If Lilith hadn't made him a vampire, he wouldn't have murdered everyone in his entire village. Flashing back again, like many a newborn vampire, Warlow thought he could live among his people in harmony, but one whiff of his parents' delectable blood and thus began the Faerie Village Massacre of 3496 B.C. The sole survivor is a blond moppet named Niall, whose mother – the formerly pregnant woman from four years earlier – warns him to remain inside his hut. Which brings me to my latest theory: Warlow is Niall's father. And if that's true, then either Niall is lying about being Jason and Sookie's grandfather (times a thousand), or this tribe believes in incest. Adding to my further confusion, Warlow sneers to present-day Bill that he "despises the vampire race. I wish the vampire race extinction!" If he really feels that way, then why did he tell the Stackhouses his desire to make Sookie a vampire? Anyway, flashing back one more time to 3496 B.C., Warlow creeps into a cave housing a sleeping Lilith, and uses his light power to bust a hole in the stone wall, causing the sun to shine through and engulfing Lilith in flames. Yep, that sounds like Nora's new Vampire Bible translation, all right.

Pulling his car up to the bayou, Corbett-as-Lafayette (CAL) carries a struggling and screaming Sookie down to the water, admitting he had knocked her out with NyQuil and juice just before he planned to toss her in the river that night. "You was out cold," he says, his voice choking up. "You was never going to know." Insisting that he loves her and that he'll see her on "the other side," CAL pushes Sookie's head under the water. Where's the ghost of Adele Stackhouse when you need her?

Vampires and Humans

For those vampires without faerie or Lilith powers, their luck goes from bad to worse in "Fuck the Pain Away." Eric and Tara's brazen decision to voluntarily surrender to the LAVTF in order to get closer to Pam turns out to be an even worse idea than Eric turning Willa into a vampire. By the end of the episode all four are in lockdown, their vamp abilities no longer giving them leverage over their armed human captors. Jessica joins her compadres soon afterward – thanks to a back-stabbing phone call made by Sarah Newlin – but ironically, she may be safer at Dr. Overlark's Holiday Camp than on the outside now that Andy's out for her blood. Thanks to a tip-off from Jason last episode ("faeries are like catnip to vampires!"), Sheriff Bellefleur speeds over to Compton Manor to discover the bodies of his four daughters on the floor, with Jessica hiding from his wooden-bullet-loaded shotgun. Upon further inspection, Jess didn't kill 'em all – just three. After rescuing his sole surviving daughter and reviving her with confiscated vampire blood, which is when she informs Daddy that it was Jess, not Vampire Bill, who attacked her, Andy is last seen following Jason into the nearest LAVTF recruiting center. But Jason's reasons for joining up are most likely a bit different from his partner's: After Jess arrives at Jason's house in a panic over what she did to the four faerie girls, the two reconcile, with Jason admitting his head was messed up when he told her he didn't love her back a few days earlier. Thinking she's doing the devil's work, Jess implores Jason to tell her what it was about her that he loved. He reassures her that she's not a bad person, and he loved her heart the most. But True Blood romances never work out this smoothly, because who should saunter out of Jason's bedroom door but a post-coital, still-black-lingerie-clad Sarah, who showed up at Jason's house earlier with the kind of line only Anna Camp can pull off, "I truly believe God wants me to fuck you." A classic catfight between Sarah and Jess ensues, one that totally trumps last season's Jess-Tara Fangtasia brawl. Christian beauty queen Sarah throws Book of Mark quotes at the former Bible-thumping vampire, but Jess' seething retort of "I always hated the fucking Book of Mark!" is no match for Sarah's rescinding of her invitation and the squad of LAVTF soldiers waiting for her outside Jason's door. Before she stomps off back to Burrell, Sarah leaves a horrified Jason (and all of us) with yet another pitch-perfect zinger: "My body is a fucking temple and you have defiled it with your vampire-loving pecker."

Following an overly drawn out ("Hold the fuck up, am I in therapy?") session with a roly-poly shrink, in which Pam, trying to outsmart the human holding her captive, opens up that she cares about no one, not even her maker, it appears the humans have won yet another battle in the war against the vampires. Several scenes later, Eric, outfitted in prison blues, enters a stark-white room, where Burrell, Sarah, Steve Newlin ("I provided the intel!" he says with glee) and Dr. Overlark watch him through a viewing window. Burrell swiftly wipes Eric's smirk off of his face by revealing that he locked up Willa: "What did you think? That if you turn my angel into the very thing I most despise I would abandon my principles? I don't change my mind," he snarls. As if Eric couldn't be disgusted enough with the way the governor cast aside his own daughter as if she were garbage, Sarah's got one more surprise up her sleeveless dress. Eric is provided with a stake, and a door opens to reveal his opponent: Pam. The psychiatrist from Pam's therapy session magically appears and orders her to "show me how little he means to you." Maker and progeny remain stock-still (pissing Sarah off to no end: "Haven't you seen Gladiator? Fucking fight!" she bitches), Eric looking genuinely horrified and Pam about to cry a maelstrom of blood tears. For the first time in their 1,000 and 100 respective years, they have a reason to fear humans. And for once I hope Bill's premonition from the second episode is correct – because at least that's assurance that Pam and Eric will make it out of this jam alive.

Favorite Couple of the Week: Sarah and Jason. Oh, gratuitous sex scenes, how I've missed you! Sure, Sarah Newlin is a bigger villain than Bill, Warlow and Burrell combined, but it was so much fun to see these two going at it like rabbits like it was Season Two. How's this for a conspiracy theory? Earlier in the episode, Burrell rebuffs Sarah's suggestion that they "replace" Willa with a baby of their own. Now she's at Jason's looking for a quick and easy lay? Why do I have the terrible feeling that, like I said last week, Sarah is already pregnant with Burrell's baby and is going to now pass it off as Jason's? Either that or she had Jason knock her up so she can blackmail Burrell.

Winning Species of the Week: Humans. Any species that found a way to extract fangs from vampires' mouths, make them run on a hamster wheel and engage in sped-up sex by calling it a "copulation study" without getting their throats ripped out in return deserves a medal for bravery. But humanity also wins this week because it includes Jason Stackhouse, who admitted he was wrong to be "hating on vampires" and plans to infiltrate the LAVTF to save Jessica.

Losing Species of the Week: Vampires. It's not like vampire prison is any different than your average human prison. Any friends you make are part of a power struggle. Already Jessica and Tara are indebted to the resident tough cookie who saved them from getting their asses whupped by a bloodthirsty mob. Don't drop the soap, ladies!

Previously: Weird Science

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