'True Blood' Recap: Livin' on a Prayer - Rolling Stone
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‘True Blood’ Recap: Livin’ on a Prayer

Sookie and Jason meet their faerie grandfather while Bill is stuck in a Lilith-fueled head trip

Ryan Kwanten and Anna Paquin as Jason and Sookie Stackhouse on 'True Blood'

Ryan Kwanten and Anna Paquin as Jason and Sookie Stackhouse on 'True Blood'

John P. Johnson

It sounds like an oxymoron, but I believe that vampire angels exist in the True Blood universe. The more Jessica surrounds herself with Bill, who spends this episode in a catatonic state, save for the telekinetic murder of a fangbanger-for-hire, the fuller her heart grows for the creatures in her life. She’s surrounded by megalomaniacal, vengeful people, but by the end of the episode, she’s on her knees, praying to God (whom she thinks might be Bill) for the safekeeping of everyone from Eric to Hoyt. It was a beautiful, heartfelt scene in the midst of pure chaos, and it’s storylines like hers that are going to keep this show from descending into anarchy.

The werewolves are making an enemy of Sam, solely due to their exclusionary nature – and poor Shorty-pop Emma is going to be the real casualty of Alcide‘s newfound power trip. And Sookie? Now that she’s rescinded Eric’s invitation to her house and made a vow to lead a “normal” life, she still can’t get away from those vampires – because Warlow has broken through whatever that fuzzy dimension he was in, and now it’s time for him to collect. But the Sookie scenes just aren’t any fun if she’s not sparring with a dude (or dudette) with fangs, so the sooner she reconnects with her vampire pals, the better for all of us.

Pretty much any vampire not named Warlow was up a creek in “The Sun.” Eric and Nora return to Fangtasia as Pam is trying to comfort Tara – and figure out what the hell kind of bullet she was shot with. Eric performs minor surgery with a piece of glass
to extract the bullet (ah, to be a vampire and be able to handle unsanitary medical procedures), and Nora realizes Gen. Cavanaugh wasn’t kidding last season when he announced the humans would be fighting back. It wasn’t just a silver bullet, it was one that radiated UV light as well.

Back in Bon Temps, Jess awakens with a start, because her maker is screaming his head off downstairs, his face stained with blood tears. Bill starts rambling about visions of vampires being whipped, burned and dragged by a truck while chained in silver. Jess is all “Focus!” but that’s when Bill slips into a vampiric coma for the duration of the episode. In his mind, he’s in the sunlight, escorted by the three blood-soaked women who entered his body in the final scene of “Who Are You, Really?” Standing before him is a clean, clothed Lilith (almost didn’t recognize her without the layer of blood), who sends Bill further into the land of confusion with her cryptic, Dumbledore-esque aphorisms like, “A tyrant is rising. It is the beginning of the end. You must complete my work.” Still not following, but at least ol’ Lil makes one thing perfectly clear. She is not God, and neither is Bill. “God made me as vampire, and Adam and Eve as human,” she explains. “But there is no God but God.” Phew, glad we got that straightened out. Jess sure is going to be pissed when she finds out that end-of-episode prayer was slightly misdirected.

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

Bill’s progeny, meanwhile, has hired him some nourishment – in the form of the short, tight, red-dress-clad Veronica from Human Edibles (“We’re tasty!”). I’m sure Veronica had been briefed on the occupational hazards of her profession of choice, but even the most open-minded business owner could not have expected Bill’s new ability number eight: the power to make Veronica contort her body to the point that her spine cracks, then making her shoot blood out of her mouth directly into his, without his lifting a finger or moving an eyelash. It’s no wonder Jessica crumples to the floor in horror. She’s probably scared shitless to try to leave now.

While Jess is trapped in the Compton Manor of Terror, Nora, after poring over the Vampire Bible for the 5,000th time, has an epiphany. She now believes the book was mistranslated, repeating, “The people led Lilith to the sun.” And that’s all we get on that front before she zips out of Fangtasia, remaining MIA for the rest of the episode. But not before she imparts a little wisdom onto her “niece,” Pam, who’s still in a foul mood over Eric’s betrayal. Nora explains that Eric withheld her existence from Pam because it could’ve gotten her killed if she knew her maker had a sister in the Authority. But Aunt Nora sure knows how to lay on the charm when necessary: Of everything Eric has done in the past 1,000 years, Pam is the one thing he is most proud of. Awww.

Over at the governor’s mansion, Eric gets a one-on-one with Burrell by posing as an employee of the “department of wildlife and fisheries.” Sure, the drama of Eric learning that Burrell now has specially made contact lenses that desensitize him to glamouring was a pretty important plot twist, but the most entertaining part of that scene was seeing this specimen of Nordic beauty with flattened hair and geek glasses spouting Middle America white-boy lines like “no problemo.”

Anyway, back to Burrell’s latest anti-vampire weapon. Crafty, I’ve got to say. But then again, if Eric had succeeding in glamouring Burrell into stopping his persecution of vampires and making him believe he now loves all vampires, then we wouldn’t have much of a season, would we? So, after Arliss Howard puts in yet another scene-stealing performance maniacally referring to himself as a “genius” and ordering Eric to be hauled off to “camp” (whatever that means), the Viking vampire escapes by utilizing the one power Burrell’s guards hadn’t counted on. “They can fly?” says one befuddled soldier as Eric skyrockets upward. He’s not giving up that easily, so he descends upon another area of the mansion, approaching the window of Burrell’s recent-college-graduate daughter, Willa, diaphanous in a white negligee (apparently she thought she lived on Wisteria Lane, not in Baton Rouge) just as she was putting her own contact lenses into their case. She’s glamoured, he’s invited in, and her fate hangs in the balance until next week.

Jessica re-enters Compton Manor, a spade in her hand (someone had to bury Veronica), and begins an absolutely stunning monologue that makes Deborah Ann Woll the MVP for this episode. She is the one who is keeping this show from falling completely off of a cliff with its haphazard story lines and overabundance of characters. She is now True Blood‘s moral compass, as Sam has been in the past, and even though she’s not sure if Bill is God, she kneels at his feet anyway, because she needs something positive to believe in.

Speaking to “Heavenly Father,” she offers a gorgeous prayer, confessing her sins of greed, lust, wrath, lies, murder and taking His name in vain, and then asks God to “watch over my friends, because that’s what they are.” She offers blessings for Jason, Sookie, Eric, Pam, Tara, Sam, Lafayette, Arlene and Bill himself. Through blood tears she begs for forgiveness and to bring Bill back to her: “I need him. We all need him.”

As she finishes, we go back into Bill’s head, where Lilith is ordering him to “save us all. You will know what to do. Trust what you see.” And that’s when he awakens from his coma and that whole “Trust what you see” line starts to make a whole lot of sense. The TV turns on to a news channel, and as Jess runs into the study to hug her maker in relief that he’s OK, Bill is stunned to see that the report is of a chained vampire being dragged by a truck, a.k.a. one of his visions. And now we have new ability number nine: Bill can see the future. And it don’t look too pretty for those of his kind. In a scenario right out of V for Vendetta, Bill envisions a group of vampires (including Jess, Eric, Tara and Pam) in blue prisonlike uniforms being exposed to UV light (could that be the “camp” Burrell mentioned?) – and bursting into flames.

Faeries and Humans
As much as I’m enjoying Rutger Hauer camping it up looking like he’s dressed for a senior citizens’ home production of Sweeney Todd, this plot line is just plain tiresome – and it’s only the second episode! After apparating out of the car last episode, he instantly reappears to stop the vehicle in its tracks with a healthy dose of light power, thus revealing his true nature to Jason. He’s Grandpa Niall, Jason and Sookie’s “fucking faerie grandfather.”

More like great-great-great-great-great grandfather: Dude’s evidently been around for a few centuries. His son was John Stackhouse – the one who made that fateful arrangement with Warlow and stuck Sookie with the rawest deal ever – and that was back in the 18th century. Anyway, he’s the king of their “tribe,” which makes Sookie a true “faerie princess.” Jason’s crushed reaction when Niall deadpans that the gene skipped him, thus not making him a “faerie prince,” was just too precious for words. So Niall teaches Sookie how to harness her light power into a ball and channel it in such a way that when it’s released, it will go “supernova” and kill any vampire it touches (“It’s more powerful than the sun,” Niall instructs his granddaughter). And she’s going to need this if she’s going to fight off Lilith’s progeny. Why do I have a bad feeling she might end up using it to destroy Bill instead? The only catch to having this cool little skill? Once she uses it, Sookie will be “fae no longer.” Up until now that sounded like a dream come true for Sook. Until she met a handsome half-faerie stranger named Ben this episode whose attraction (literally – their hands touching emitted a light shock) cannot be denied.

But we all know Sookie needs to hook up again with her Scooby crew – because save for Jason’s lovable-doofus tendencies, the vampires (and not ones named Warlow) are the only characters worth caring about on this show.

Favorite Couple: Lafayette and Emma. Now that Alcide has wolf-napped Shorty-pop, I hope that wasn’t the last time we see Emma dressed head-to-toe in LaLa’s bangles, baubles and beads. Because that would be the real tragedy.

Winning Species of the Week: Faeries. There’s something untrustworthy about Grandpa Niall, but it is kinda cool to think that Sookie technically is a “faerie princess” and has the power to vanquish any vampire at will.

Losing Species of the Week: Werewolves. Alcide, what the hell happened to you? Sam took the fall for you after you killed Marcus Bozeman and this is how you pay him back? Emma’s happy with Sam (and playing RuPaul’s Drag Race with Lafayette), but you’re going to abduct her because she belongs with a “pack”? Your sex appeal just dropped by, like, 50 points.

Last week: Shaky Ground


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