Poor Alcide. He starts off the episode with Sookie's legs wrapped around his perfect, non-Photoshopped physique, only to end in a spooky, abandoned asylum pulled away from his friends by an unseen force. Will Sookie and the gang save him in time before the 3,000-year-old psychopathic vampire eats everyone with a pulse? Will Bill and Eric kill Russell Edgington before their app-controlled stakes are activated at dawn? Guess we'll have to tune in next week for another episode of Scoob – erm, I mean, True Blood.
I wish I were kidding, but "Let's Boot and Rally" really was an adult version of Scooby-Doo. We had five people, Sookie (Velma), Alcide (Scooby), Eric (Fred), Bill (Daphne – sorry, dude) and Alcide's employee Doug (Shaggy), take a ride in the Mystery Machine (a.k.a. Alcide's van) to a straight-out-of-a-horror-movie location to capture the scary villain (Russell). Except I don't recall a Scooby episode in which humans were straitjacketed and hung like prime cuts in a butcher shop, awaiting to be served up to the charismatic vampire king of Mississippi.
Vampires, Weres and Humans
We knew it was too good to be true. The werewolf sex we were lusting after ever since last week's lip lock was cut short before the opening credits even rolled. Alcide was barely undressed by the time Drunk Sookie vomited Orange Marzipan all over his shoes. If that wasn't a mood-killer, then Bill and Eric appearing in her bedroom doorway sure as hell was.
Now that Sookie has been relieved of all sexual impulses for the evening, the two vamps get down to business: They want her to "unglamour" Doug, the Herveaux Construction employee who unwittingly allowed Russell to escape from his cement prison. Aside from the fact that she doesn't know if she can unearth "deleted" memories (that aren't courtesy of a maenad), Sookie is starting to suffer from her own version of PTSD: Alcide, Bill and Eric arguing looks and sounds like a bunch of dogs barking. But, since Sookie knows that getting supernaturals out of her life is as likely as her completing a full week of shifts at Merlotte's, she faux-giddily leads the crew out the door: "Onwards into the jaws of death!"
They track down Doug, who winds up being easier to "unglamour" than Sookie thought – his memories are of a faceless woman digging Russell out with her bare hands. So not only is she a vampire, but Bill and Eric, who have spent some quality time with members of the Authority, are able to identify the pendant Sookie describes in her vision. Yep, looks like a chancellor is indeed behind Russell's escape. Bill immediately accuses the still-imprisoned Nora, but Eric isn't having any of it. Eric's vamp sister does appear to be the early suspect though as she already confessed to being a Sanguinista, and her Authority necklace matches the one in Doug's memory. But I'm not ready to jump on that bandwagon yet. Remember, Salomé wears the same necklace (yes, so does Rosalyn Harris, but her pendant is attached to a pearl chain).
Doug's memories lead the Scooby squad to a boarded-up mental hospital, which gives the average horror film a run for its money in creep factors. Prior to entering, Sookie schools her pseudo-chivalrous vampire companions in the art of not splitting up "when you're in a big, scary asylum and there's a crazed killer on the loose." And in the empirical truth that her "microwave fingers and the sun" are the only things that make Russell vulnerable: "So the way I see it, it's me protecting you from him, instead of the other way around." Score one for the fairy-human! The tour of Russell's feeding ground includes a rat-infested room full of corpses – and the aforementioned straitjacketed, still-living humans ready for the slaughter. But any rescue mission is going to have to wait, as a showdown awaits Sookie and company in a neighboring chamber.
What a difference a couple of days and a few drained bodies make! Russell's skin no longer looks like a jigsaw puzzle, and he's even got a bit of his old swagger back. Looking like a deranged mental patient (when in Rome) in white cotton pajamas and a healthy amount of blood around his mouth, he expresses his sheer joy at Sookie's arrival. "Fuck you, you psychotic piece of shit!" is her pithy retort. Eric, however, has no time for pleasantries. But right before the Nordic vampire sinks his fangs into the man who killed his family 1,000 years ago, Alcide is knocked to the ground and dragged out of the room. Russell may not be up to his fighting weight yet, but he's got plenty of minions doing his bidding – so Sookie and her pals had better be plenty afraid.
Tara continues to grapple with her new innate desires while remaining an upstanding mainstreaming citizen. She's put to work tending bar at Fangtasia, after getting her the hot-vampire makeover I had hoped for in last week's recap (spangly purple corset!), but Pam neglected to remind her progeny that while it's OK to feed from humans behind closed doors, doing so in public is strictly verboten. Frustrated and confused, she has a therapeutic girl-talk session with Jessica, who just happened to witness Tara get the humiliation treatment from Pam following her indiscretion. Jessica gives her the whole "it gets better" speech, and the two bond over their need for young-vamp companionship. It's actually a really beautiful moment, which of course could never last.
Later in the episode, as Roman preaches his gospel of not giving in to blood lust to the Authority, Jessica and Tara are doing just the opposite: In side-by-side bathroom stalls, Jessica feeds off of the pretty blonde girl Tara tried biting earlier from behind the bar, while Tara drinks from Hoyt (who's dressed like a rejected member of Culture Club). And that's the second rule Tara breaks in the space of one evening – vamp or human, you don't kiss, sleep with or suck the blood from your gal pal's ex-boyfriend. Jess recognizes Hoyt's voice when he calls out Tara's name, and that's when the ultimate vampire girl fight breaks out.
Humans and Shifters
Terry and Patrick's road trip meets a deadly end at the South Dakota underground bunker of their former squadmate Brian Eller. Flashbacks confirmed that all three men were responsible for the mass killing of Iraqi civilians, but the mysterious fires that have plagued the members of their squadron weren't explained until now. According to another flashback, one woman survived the massacre, but upon orders from Patrick, Terry shot her dead to silence her. Right before Terry pulled the trigger, the woman put a curse on the squadron, warning that the Ifrit, or "fire monster," would "burn you all. And everything you ever loved." To this day, Patrick dismisses the Ifrit as a hallucination from a drug-fueled bender, but Brian and a thoroughly freaked-out Terry – who has been trying to block the Ifrit from his mind since he saw it rise from the bodies he was forced to set on fire – know that it's real. Patrick won't be swayed, however, and shortly after he and Terry tie up Brian and leave the bunker, the Ifrit arrives to claim its next victim in the form of engulfing smoke.
Jason and Andy's unceremonious, lightning-bolt expulsion from the fairy club in last week's episode only culminated in an instantaneous return to their homes, sans clothing. Although, Jason's resulting dream in which Ryan Kwanten wears He-Man footie pajamas and pretends to be eight years old was one of the highlights of "Let's Boot and Rally" – despite the nightmarish overtones, what with blood gushing out of Mama and Papa Stackhouse's fang bites and all. The two police officers are called to investigate the murder of Sam and Luna's shape-shifter friends, and a telling piece of evidence is that the bullets used were wooden, bringing forward the theory an anti-supernatural group is behind the killings. But for now, shifters remain the only targets. Their fate unknown, Sam and Luna are shot and left for dead by a truckload of fatigues-clad, Obama-masked gunmen. Emma, thankfully, manages to shift into her adorable new wolf cub form and gets away. She may not have much choice but to join a pack now.
Favorite Couple: Jason and Andy. All due respect to Hoyt, but that Jason's friendship with "Bubba" can't hold a candle to the bromance he's got going on with Sheriff Bellefleur. Not to mention they're a crackerjack detective duo now.
Winning Species: Ifrit. We haven't seen the last of these supernatural fire creatures, and until Terry can uncover their weaknesses, his life will always be in danger. I also don't trust Patrick. Rene's ghost might have been on to something at the end of last season.
Losing Species: Mediums. Lafayette is still haunted by the brujo demon, so he tries to communicate with Jesus to get some answers. And the answers are pretty disturbing: Both Lafayette and his mother, Ruby, are visited by Jesus' severed head, his mouth sewn up in silence.
Previously: Loyalty Reigns