Someone needs to get Sookie Stackhouse back into the Bon Temps vampire fold stat before I fall into a permanent nap with True Blood. There were only two entertaining scenes in "You're No Good," and Sookie is lucky she made the cut for one of them. It's never a good sign when your supporting characters, one of whom hasn't been seen since Season Two, steal the show from its star. Now, this isn't Anna Paquin's fault – it's this preposterous faerie/Warlow/King Niall story line she's been roped into. I miss the hot vampire sex, the tussling with anyone with fangs. Until Warlow himself shows up, Sookie's plot line is just plain boring – I'm not even feeling the chemistry with this new half-faerie Ben whom the writers are trying to paint as her soul mate.
The aforementioned powerhouse scenes were provided courtesy of Steve Newlin and the return of his abandoned, still-human wife, Sarah. There remains no explanation as to where Steve zipped off to in the wake of Russell Edgington's demise last season, but he somehow ended up a prisoner at Gov. Burrell's vampire "camp," where Sarah, wearing fuck-me-black-spiked stilettos, a dress the perfect shade of Republican red and her blond hair teased bigger than the state of Texas, has reappeared to assist with tort – erm, "studying" her now-vampire husband. Sarah is now a bestselling author about the demise of her marriage and Fellowship of the Sun empire, and has a few bones to pick with good ol' Steve-o, having picked up the political torch he left behind once the AVL went down in flames with the rest of the Authority: "The truth is, if you want to do God's work, you have to be in politics!" she says with the kind of cheer reserved for those with a lot of rage to channel. Anna Camp's Aubrey Posen bitchiness was in full force; it was just a shame she couldn't do her scene with a pitch pipe in hand.
The other scene of note was Sookie's latest showdown with Bill, who arrived at the Stackhouse home showing off new ability number 10: He no longer needs to be invited into a human residence. Bill's request for his ex's help gets off to a pretty bad start by announcing he plays "by a different set of rules now" and Carrie White'ing Jason against the wall and holding him there immobilized. His plea that he won't hurt Sookie is met with the sound of thousands of guffaws from viewers as he explains that he wants to synthesize her blood. Sookie is all "Hell, no" at the idea of the man she once loved turning her body into a science experiment, and it's such a relief to welcome back the feisty, headstrong Sookie we've missed for so long, especially when she says, "You're not God, Bill, you're just an asshole!" Over a gag-worthy acoustic-guitar riff reminiscent of their early courtship days, Bill softens for the last time, asking her to reconsider, but Sookie remains firm, pissing off Lilith's prophet big-time. "You're dead to me, Sookie Stackhouse," Bill declares. But Sookie's been over those bloviating proclamations for a while now: "I'm good with that," she says. At least Bill is decent enough to release Jason from his involuntary hovering before he vacates the premises.
Eric's glamour-seduction of Burrell's virginal daughter Willa is just about to turn into a bad re-enactment of Fright Night when Willa offers up information about vampire "experiments" in exchange for the chance to live another day – just in time for her father's SWAT team to burst into her now-empty bedroom. Eric brings her back to Fangtasia, where Pam and Tara bicker over whether or not to kill their human hostage. (Pam's pithy argument? "Glamouring's boring.") Tara, on the other hand, having spent more time human than vampire, rationalizes why Burrell's new edicts have gone to such extremes: "It's savage-ass shit like that that makes humans hate us." Girl's got a point, which, like in so many serial dramas, causes the lines between hero and villain to get so blurred in True Blood. Yeah, Burrell is an intolerant neo-fascist, but given the fact that vampires are natural-born killers, can you blame humans for being scared and wanting to fight back? As the episode progresses though, and it becomes clear how Burrell's edicts are mirroring a certain European genocide from the 1940s, that's when we see how far this show has veered into the wrong direction. Vampires = Jews? Not really the same thing, is it?
But let's backtrack: Willa, who claims to be a vampire supporter, tells Eric he doesn't need to glamour her in order to get her to talk, and she immediately delves into the depths of her father's corruption. First and foremost, she reveals that money that was supposed to go into the Louisiana highway system was used by her father to build a [concentration] camp: "Part prison, part research facility. . . . It's sick, sick, sick shit!" After Willa is finished spilling her guts, Eric has Pam and Tara pack up whatever Burrell's minions haven't taken and informs them that they're leaving Fangtasia for good, but not before he takes one last longing look at his "throne," the place he sat the first time he gazed into the eyes of Sookie Stackhouse. Willa is coming along because she's their only bargaining chip with Burrell. But can't they at least get her out of that 1930s peignoir and into a sequined corset and skinny jeans?
The vampire refugees are forced to hide out at a pink-rollered Ginger's house because she has a spare coffin and she thinks Eric is there for a fangbanging romp. (No such luck, Ginge.) Eric makes Willa spend the day in the coffin with her to make sure Pam doesn't try to kill her, which leads to one of the most tedious "sex" scenes this show has ever produced. Willa attempts to seduce Eric by casually mentioning the real reason her daddy hates vampires – turns out Mommy had an affair with one. Seeing that her captor has the bleeds, she gently touches his ear and is about to put her blood-stained fingers to her mouth when Eric grabs her hand and sucks her digits instead. Stupid move, Eric. If she had had your blood, you could track her when she inevitably escapes. (Spoiler alert!)
That night, Burrell succeeds in tracking down Willa via simple phone call to Eric (the vampire claims his phone is "untraceable" but within minutes Burrell and his team are speeding toward Ginger's place), who threatens to kill the governor's daughter despite Burrell's faux-pleas for her safety. After Burrell promises to reverse all of his anti-vampire policies, which Eric knows is bullshit thanks to his supersonic hearing abilities, Eric orders his "family" to get moving. Except for one problem: Tara, who had been guarding a gagged Willa and spent the entire episode disagreeing with her elders' stance toward humans, has disappeared along with her hostage. I really hope this development means more screentime for Rutina Wesley, who has been woefully underused so far this season.
Over at Compton Manor for Confounded Lilith Prophets, Bill theorizes that since he was able to stand in the sunlight during his Lilith dream, he can do so in real life. I've had those dreams too, Bill. But mine usually include Alexander Skarsgard wanting to go all Willa Burrell on me – and in the morning, when I go to the airport, flowers in hand, awaiting the latest flight from Stockholm, you know what happens? Skarsgard doesn't come through the arrivals terminal – at least not toward me! So when Bill inevitably bursts into flames when the sun peeks over the horizon, he's crying like a whiny, spoiled child who didn't get a lollipop for tying his shoelaces: "I don't understand!" he wails as Jessica smothers the fire with a blanket. Following this little setback, Bill regroups that evening and allows Jess to, ahem, "recruit" a professor at the University of North Louisiana whom he believes is responsible for the creation of TruBlood. Like a superhero sidekick on her first mission, Jess is overcome with glee at her assignment, especially when Bill mentions that the professor, Hido Takahashi, has a thing for young women. And Professor Takahashi is no match for skanky coed Jess (letterman's sweater, red bra, miniskirt, stockings, garters), who has him within her grasp in seconds. I just wonder whose side she'll be on when she finds out Bill's plan isn't to synthesize human blood – but faerie blood (i.e. Sookie's).
As Bill walks home, dejected from his failed plan to raid Sookie's innards, he's stopped by Andy, who reluctantly enforces the vampire curfew. They make small talk as Andy casually mentions he's a dad now (his rapidly growing halfling daughters are tweens at this point), with Bill offering his congratulations and antebellum parenting advice. But what Sheriff Andy doesn't notice is Bill picking up the scent of his newborns (thanks to a stuffed animal sitting in the patrol car). As Bill bids Andy goodnight, his face widens into a maniacal grin, as he's just found his new source of TruBlood.
Shifters and Werewolves
Sam, having patrolled the werewolf pack in the guise of an owl, rescues Emma thanks to a diversion inadvertently caused by the Vampire Unity Society and their charismatic leader, Nicole (who schooled Sam last episode about how deeply she knows how dangerous any civil rights actions in the South can be, be they for African-Americans, vampires, werewolves or shifters – her black grandfather and white grandmother were Freedom Riders 50 years ago). But it's not enough for good-hearted Sam just to get Shorty Pop away from Alcide and his rabid cohorts. Just when the coast is clear, Sam decides to go after an injured Nicole, who almost had her leg chewed off by an angry were. They need to step up this plot line quickly, because having Emma wolf-napped twice in the space of one week is already tiresome.
Faeries and Humans
The only thing that really happened of note with this story line, other than an unhealthy dose of ennui, is Niall's discovery that the hidden faerie club in that Bon Temps field has been destroyed, ostensibly by Warlow. (The sole surviving faerie – no more "Claudes," sadly – described him as "an extremely powerful vampire" before asking Niall to euthanize him.) This plot device allows for Ben to return to Casa Stackhouse (but not before realizing who Niall is and kneeling at his feet – yawn) to become the first member of Niall's "fae army" and to make googly eyes at Sookie while she's still reeling from Bill's unwelcome visit. But other than her "fuck off" scene with Bill, Sookie's best moments were with Jason this episode, as she opened up about how Michelle Stackhouse wasn't the perfect mom her brother makes her out to be: Thanks to her telepathic ability, Sookie knew "[Michelle] was afraid of me up until the day she died." But neither of these scenes can save Sookie and Jason from being dragged further down this convoluted abyss of a subplot. By the end of the episode, Niall is unleashing a blinding bolt of light power onto someone he thinks is Warlow, but just turns out to be Nora, appearing for the first time since she zipped out into the unknown last week. What makes absolutely no sense is why Nora disappears as quickly as she appears – or why Jason falls lifeless to the floor.
Favorite Couple of the Week: Steve and Sarah Newlin. What could be more entertaining than a white supremacist-type beauty queen spouting dogma about "God's master plan to save the human race by eradicating the vampire race" to her gay vampire former (did they even divorce?) husband? In this episode, absolutely nothing.
Winning Species of the Week: Humans. Thanks to Burrell, they're the safest species in Louisiana. Even Tara is betraying her own kind to help Willa escape, which just goes to show how, like Jessica, she's a long way from losing her humanity.
Losing Species of the Week: Faeries. This one is a no-brainer. Their secret hideaway has been annihilated, along with virtually every faerie and halfling Sookie and Jason know. Plus, the four newest members of the faerie persuasion are now of particular interest to a very hungry and vainglorious vampire.
Previously: Livin' on a Prayer