Oh, Russell, how we've missed you.
It says something about the dark, twisted nature of True Blood when the most dangerous, psychopathic character is also the one who makes the most sense. The drawling former vampire king has no qualms about dismissing Roman's bloviations about "coexistence" as religious fanaticism, and his criticism of the Authority's stringent and hypocritical views on the treatment of humans is the most rational line of thought so far this season. I don't know about you, but I've had a hell of a time keeping up with the Authority's moral code versus that of the Sanguinistas, so to hear someone call bullshit on both groups – even if it's an unhinged, bloodthirsty vamp whose goal is to eat the human children of the world (after the weather with Tiffany) – is a relief.
Still, it's not just Sookie and her "microwave fingers" that have proven a worthy adversary to Russell. Power-tripping Roman, who is not above patting the 3,000-year-old vampire on the head as if he were a puppy, unleashed his best fire-and-brimstone speech yet on the necessity of "order," "mercy" and "peace" between humans and vampires. But no fear of Lilith preachings could save Roman this time – Russell staked him, driving home the message that the era of balance between the species has come to an end (and possibly Christopher Meloni's True Blood gig as well. Although, since Roman didn't explode into a pile of goo, I'm not convinced he's gone for good).
Vampires, Humans and Weres
"Hopeless" opens back at the gruesome Scooby-Doo asylum where Alcide is being dragged off by what turns out to be a werewolf. A brief tussle between Alcide, Bill and Eric and the mini-were pack under Russell's command (some things never change) ensues, while Sookie fights off the still-weakened vampire king with a touch of light power. Once the werewolves are taken out, Eric is about to avenge his Viking parents' 1,000-year-old death, only to be stopped by spoilsport Bill, who reminds him that killing Russell will ensure the activation of the stakes strapped to their chests come dawn. Eric petulantly relents, just in time for Chancellor Kibwe Akinjide and a team of Authority police to descend upon the asylum.
Russell is taken into custody, spouting out a (hilarious, yet not-so-off-the-mark) tirade of "blasphemous" insults against the Authority's belief in Lilith, suggesting that they might as well be praying to "leprechauns, unicorns or the motherfucking Kardashians!" But Kibwe is none too thrilled that a werewolf and a human have been privy to official vampire business, so he orders Bill and Eric to glamour Sookie and Alcide (a little vampire blood on his wounds and he's back in perfect, chiseled, pole-dancing form). Except Sookie can't be glamoured (the lack of rattlesnake sound effects serve as a quickie reminder), so she and Bill do a little playacting for the Authority soldiers. Alcide, on the other hand, is not immune to vampire brainwashing – so Eric, his old self making a stellar comeback after being MIA for so long, not only wipes the werewolf's memory of the evening's events, but he also removes any romantic inclination Alcide ever had for Sookie. Evil genius.
Oh, and if you're wondering what happened to Alcide's employee Doug and the imprisoned humans awaiting to be served up as Russell's meals? Well, Kibwe had them for dinner instead. Guess Nora isn't the second traitorous chancellor after all.
Eric's glamouring prank doesn't last very long, though. The next morning, Alcide wakes up in Sookie's bed (in which they did not sleep together. Boo), struggling to remember the night before. But when he recoils from Sookie's touch, that's when she realizes Eric took his mind-erasing too far. She summons up her "unglamouring" abilities from last week's episode to get Alcide's memory back on track, and soon enough he's identified the werewolves who attacked him and is off to confront J.D. Bozeman (Marcus' father) and the Shreveport pack. Whether Sookie will be able to bring back Alcide's love for her is anybody's guess.
Back at Authority headquarters, Bill and Eric's stakes are deactivated and they are hailed as conquering heroes, especially by Roman, who is decked out in a blue polo and golf cleats instead of his usual power suit ("I want to hit the links before sunrise") and drunk off of 18th-century Austrian hemophiliac blood. Feeling cocky, Roman dispenses with Russell's interrogation and instead orders his execution that night. In the prison area, Russell, already fitted with the same app-controlled stake Eric and Bill were recently relieved of, is led upstairs while Eric confronts Nora – who is keeping up her near-constant prayers to Lilith – in her cell about her involvement. She insists she did not release Russell, but when she learns that he is to meet the True Death that evening, she's ecstatic. A horrified Eric – who spent most of the episode making his apathy toward vampire religion well known ("Lilith can fucking blow me") – watches as his sister giddily squeals that this was all part of Lilith's plan: "She's been right all along!"
In the Authority conference room, Roman leads the chancellors in a prayer while a kneeling, still-pajama-clad Russell plays the role of a bored adolescent stuck in church ("In the name of my ass!"). With that opening line, Denis O'Hare nimbly steals this scene out from under Christopher Meloni with an impassioned, fiery speech of raw truth that, while disturbing, is a ingenious commentary on the religious fanaticism that has not only permeated our culture, but the True Blood universe as well. It also proves that Russell is not a Sanguinista – he just likes human blood: "I want to gorge on human blood not because some fucking Bible tells me to, but because I like it! It's fun! It makes my dick hard!"
But there's no room for enjoyment in Roman's world of tolerance and order, so he activates Russell's stake through the app on his smartphone. Except the app isn't working. As Eric zips into the room, ostensibly to warn the Authority that perhaps he shouldn't have been so disrespectful toward Lilith, Russell plunges a stake through the Guardian's chest – not before trashing Roman's tolerance credo: "Peace is for pussies!" Roman's face contorts into a zombified state. Cut to Nora in her cell, her arms reaching to the sky as she chants, "Praise her."
Humans and Fairies
And there's never a moment's rest for the Bon Temps waitress. A few hours after rebooting Alcide's memory, Sookie's starting a shift at Merlotte's when Jason shows up to announce that there's a new fairy hotspot in town – where cousin Hadley is living as a refugee and oh, by the way, their parents were killed by vampires. Well, after last season's near-death experience in the fairy world courtesy of Queen Mab, Sookie's not having any of that. But she's gotta save Hadley and her son, Hunter, so off she and Jason go to the nightclub in the alternate dimension. In addition to Hadley, Sookie is reunited with her fairy godmother Claudine's brother, Claude (cute), who helped her escape from Mab. Claude's looking pretty good these days, having exchanged his "meth teeth and bat ears" for a regulation pretty-boy club-kid appearance: "[Fairies] adjust their standard of beauty to whatever frequency they channel." Needless to say, Jason is literally scratching his head throughout this entire exchange.
So the deal is, these particular fairies made their way to the human world because they didn't believe in Mab's edict of harvesting humans, but Sookie is still plenty wary of her supernatural kin, especially when they confirm for her that a vampire was responsible for Corbett and Michelle Stackhouse's death, not a flood. According to Claude – and thanks to a flashback – Corbett and Michelle were ambushed by a shadowy, faceless vampire in their car one dark and rainy night. He was drawn to a luscious scent emanating from a stray, bloodied Band-Aid that must've fallen off of little Sookie. Refusing to believe that a vampire murdered her parents, Sookie tries to use her light power on Claude, but only a weak charge emanates from her fingers. Claude's other fairy sisters don't take kindly to anyone beating on their little brother, though, and they each toss a healthy dose of electricity onto their half-human, half-fairy relation, resulting in a loud scream from Sookie.
Favorite Couple: Sam and Luna. Both survived last week's shooting, and now that they've spent an entire episode in matching hospital gowns, these two can make it through anything – even Emma's instinctive decision to run to wolf grandma Martha for safety.
Winning Species: "Atheist" vamps. The vampires who refuse to subscribe to any sort of religious dogma, like Russell and Eric, may not have scruples, but they're damn fun to watch, and they're the least dubious. Bill's constant attempts at conformity ("just covering my ass") make him too bland for words.
Losing Species: Baby vamps. The girl fight between Jessica and Tara was quickly broken up by Pam, but neither felt like a winner. Pam continued her master-slave treatment of her progeny as punishment (Tara: "Yes, Missy Pam"), while a frustrated Jess dealt with her unresolved feelings for an apathetic, rock-bottom Hoyt.
Previously: The Lunatic Takes Over the Asylum