Compared to the plot-heavy, WTF?-moment-packed episode last week, it's not surprising that "Somebody That I Used to Know" was a bit of a letdown. And it's not even director Stephen Moyer's fault, although the sex scene between Alcide and his new werewolf girlfriend, Rikki, was unnecessarily long (despite Joe Manganiello being one half of the couple). The story lines were pretty much left to stagnate until next week, and the only developments that much of a pulse were a couple of playful Pam and Tara scenes and some MVP acting from Sam Trammell, who spent most of the episode interacting with himself and showing off his credible feminine side.
After chowing down on a New Orleans wedding party and witnessing the materialization of Lilith, the Authority vampire crew, still, in the words of Eric, "high as fucking kites," returns to Authority headquarters decked out in Mardi Gras beads with a hearty smearing of blood on their lips. While the vamps grin like bloodthirsty Cheshire Cats and talk of procuring more humans to munch on, Eric is thoroughly spooked – his visit from Godric's spirit heightens his doubts about the Authority's new direction. Bill's stance remains ambiguous, until he is summoned to Salomé's bedroom for a "late-night snack": a trembling young woman in her white bra and underwear, pleading for mercy: She has a four-month-old daughter. Bill politely declines the morsel, explaining to Salomé that he knows what it's like to be a human parent, so he can't bear to take a mother's life. But Salomé toys with Bill's fleeting humanity, berating him for not making his children vampires.
Cut to Baton Rouge, 1910. Another curtain lifts on the everlastingly tormented soul of Bill Compton as he visits his bedridden, now-middle-aged daughter, Sarah. Weakened by whatever early-20th-century illness is ravaging her body, she begs her youthful-looking father to make her like him, but he refuses, calling what he is "a curse." Back in the present, plagued with guilt over not saving Sarah and egged on by Salomé, Bill acquiesces, thus relieving a four-month-old of her mother.
Eric, on the other hand, attempts to talk some sense into Nora. She's unmoved by his vision of Godric, calling her maker "a blasphemer" and "a weak and disgusting apologist whom Lilith herself would have been overjoyed to stake." Horrified at his sister's disrespect, Eric grabs her neck and squeezes, only to let go in defeat. The tears in his eyes send a loud and clear message that he is quite alone in his position, which is only amplified during the Authority's brainstorming meeting later on. The topic is the destruction of mainstreamers, and while Nora's connections in the British Parliament are a start, it is Bill's suggestion that sends the biggest shock wave through Eric's being: Bomb the Tru Blood factories, thereby forcing all mainstreamers to feed on humans. Eric, looking genuinely scared for the first time since he lost his memory, asks Bill what he's doing. His answer? "Evolving."
Humans and Fairies
Sookie, in her quest to become entirely human, is still trying to rid herself of her fairy powers when Jason, curious about the odd lightning storm situated squarely above his sister's house, runs over. For the millionth time this season, Sookie whines about wanting to be normal, only to be persuaded by her brother to hold off going full-on human, mainly because without her powers, they'll never get answers about what really happened to their parents. That Jason sure is getting smarter with age. They next day, the Stackhouse siblings head out to the site of their parents' death with their fairy relatives in tow (Claude and his sisters all dressed like extras from a regional production of Hair). The fairies explain that they can access energy from family members in order to see into the past. They also let it slip that Albert Einstein was half-fairy. Even though she went a little zap-happy the night before, Sookie has no trouble channeling her mother's energy: smelling her perfume, feeling her presence and ultimately taking her place in the car on that rainy night. But when the vampire enters the Stackhouse vehicle, Sookie's spirit jumps from Michelle to the faceless vamp, which allows her to see her godmother Claudine, who ordered the vampire to leave the Stackhouses alone before shooting a bolt of light at him.
That night, back at Casa Stackhouse, Sookie reconvenes with Jason and Claude, who is incredulous over the energy-channel malfunction: "Fairies cannot make contact with vampires!" Well, they did today, dude, so now what? Jason, uncharacteristically bringing the focus back to the task at hand, just wants to know who the vampire was. Sookie extracts one last memory from the experience, saying that Claudine ostensibly knew him, as she called him "Warlo." The name means nothing to Claude, but now that Sookie has hooked up with Warlo's energy, it doesn't look like he's going anywhere. While brushing her hair in the bathroom, the outline of Warlo's face appears in the air, ominously growling that he's coming for her. "You're mine!" he intones. You may want to hoard that light power there, Sook.
Shifters, Humans and Vampires
We've already seen Sam Trammell's superb ability to impersonate co-star Marshall Allman-as-Tommy Mickens during last season's skinwalking mishaps. Now he takes his talents one step further by tapping into his inner female. Frustrated over being hunted by a hate faction and confined to a hospital bed, Luna cracks under the pressure and unwittingly shifts into Sam. The real Sam Merlotte is at the Bon Temps police station, assisting Andy with his interrogation of anti-supernatural group leader Joe Bob. This consists of Sam shifting into a cobra and (off-screen, implied) biting Joe Bob's testicles. It worked: by the time Andy and a frightened Luna-as-Sam enter the room, Joe Bob has confessed to the kidnapping of Jessica and the location of his hideout.
At the hate-group's clubhouse, Jessica is being held prisoner in silver chains. She was lured by Reggie, posing as a fangbanger at Fangtasia, as a "present" for Hoyt. Reggie and his cohorts in Obama masks give a nauseated-looking Hoyt a gun loaded with wooden-and-silver bullets, locking him in the room and refusing to let him out until Jess is a pile of flesh. In a weird way, this forced intimacy is what these exes have needed all season. Hoyt unleashes his anger at Jess, and through bloody tears, she admits that she prayed the love she once had for him would return, but it didn't, and she's genuinely sorry. The painful truth Hoyt had been avoiding for so long registers, but it doesn't stop him from pointing the gun at Jess' head. Reggie, hearing a gunshot, runs into the room, only to have his neck broken by Jess. Turns out Hoyt didn't have enough hate in him to end her existence – but enough to answer her thanks with a "Fuck you" – and he leaves to get her some help (it's still daylight).
Jessica is eventually rescued by Andy, Sam and Luna-as-Sam, and the case appears closed – except that Hoyt wasn't the one who called the police, and Luna smells the presence of an unknown female ("a big one, lousy diet, Cheetos, Mello Yello, a smoker too, menthols"). Maxine Fortenberry seems to fit that description, no? The investigation is put on hold though when Luna doubles over in pain, the result of skinwalking. Sam takes her back to his place, and in an unintentionally comical yet sweet scene, he cradles Luna-as-Sam in his lap, the two versions of Sam Trammell poking fun at this decidedly odd situation. "You mean more to me than anything – and you're incredibly handsome," Sam tells Luna-as-Sam. We're denied a Trammell-on-Trammell makeout session, though, because Luna manages to shift back into herself just in the nick of time.
Things aren't boding well for Hoyt, however. When his buddies' truck pulls up on the side of a road, presumably to pick him up, he's instead greeted by a gloved hand holding a gun to his head.
Mediums, Humans and Vampires
Now that Lafayette has returned from his harrowing jaunt to see Jesus' grandfather, all he wants to do is lose himself in a haze of marijuana, and I can't say I blame him. Except Arlene and Holly (who just think Terry is off of his meds) want him to perform a fake séance so Terry will believe that the Iraqi woman who brought on the Ifrit has agreed to lift the curse. Lafayette grudgingly agrees, to the tune of $300. Under the ruse of another house fire, Terry and Patrick burst into the Bellefleur mansion, where Lafayette, Holly and Arlene bid them to sit down. The séance begins, with Lafayette doing his best Oda Mae Brown, but like Oda Mae, his actual medium abilities begin to horn in on the act. The Iraqi woman, Zaafira, sends a message that she will only lift the curse if Terry kills Patrick or vice versa. Patrick bolts out of the house. Yeah, I'm rooting for Terry on this one.
At Fangtasia, Tara is behind the bar when she's approached by Tracy, the proprietor of the local fashion boutique – and a former high school adversary. The blonde, hot-pink-tube-dress-clad Tracy picks up right where she left off, hurling racial epithets ("Now you're a member of two minorities!" she squeals upon learning of Tara's vamp status). While Pam chastises her progeny for talking back to a customer, it turns out she's got something up her silk sleeve. The two vampires head down to the dungeon later in the evening, wearing matching leather-corseted Chinese dresses that are too precious for words. Once downstairs, Pam presents a gagged-and-bound Tracy. To Tara's delight, Pam wasn't mad at her at all: "My mad face and my happy face are the same," she deadpans. Pam then glamours Tracy to believe that she is nothing more than Tara's slave and a source of nourishment: "You will consider it a privilege to let your racist, peckerwood blood shoot into her gorgeous cocoa mouth." Right before Tara drinks, her facial expression is definitely "OMG, I have the coolest maker, ever."
Favorite Couple: Russell and Steve Newlin. Jason who? There's something bubbling under the surface between these two, and I can't wait to see where it goes, especially because they were way more interested in chatting about shiatsu massages in Hong Kong than strategizing how best to stamp out mainstreamers.
Winning Species: Vampires. Specifically, Eric, Pam and Tara. Eric, because he refuses to be indoctrinated into the Sanguinista movement. Pam, because her growing love for her progeny week after week makes her more humane than most residents of Bon Temps. And Tara, because after all her heartache, it's plenty fun to see her antagonists get their comeuppance.
Losing Species: Weres. Other than Emma and Alcide, it's hard to care about the werewolves this season because they have nothing to do with the other True Blood characters. In a nutshell, Alcide forfeited his shot at becoming Shreveport packmaster because he refused to hunt humans. Martha put the jacked-up J.D. in his place, but Alcide has been thrown out of the pack regardless.
Previously: Human Nature