True Blood: At Last, Review
At last, Sookie Stackhouse is back and kicking the fudge out of vampires! Plus, Eric has a nice roll in the dirt while Warlow's true identity is revealed.
At last. At last, Warlow’s identity is revealed. At last, Sam has gotten Emma back. And at last, has True Blood finally given me a reason to love this show again…because Sookie is awesome once more. Yes Sookie, too often a neon-glowing damsel waiting for a pair of fangs to saunter in and save the day, is finally allowed to be the proactive Southern no-nonsense, fang-banging hellion that we grew to love during True Blood’s earliest seasons. And she does it by solving the biggest non-mystery in True Blood lore since the show teased whether Sookie would bang blondie in Season 4’s “Regarding Eric” saga. Ben. Is. Warlow. Shocker, huh? The wannabe faerie-next-door literally bared his teeth when he decided to save Jason Stackhouse with some true, true vampire blood out of his wrist during the show’s cold open. Why is Jason so gravely ill? Well, apparently surviving a car wreck with your grandfather two days earlier and then getting (lightly) trashed around by Vampire Bill-ith is enough to conveniently cause aggravated pain when the plot calls for it. As it is later revealed in the episode with the faint sound of one Captain Obvious sticking a landing off-screen, Ben is most definitely Warlow. However, he seems to have a soft spot for the Stackhouse clan (more on that in a second). Thus, he took the seemingly calculated risk of using his nosferatu juices to revive Jason. I really have to question if Jason’s injuries were so severe that Warlow felt it imperative to reveal himself like this. After all, even if nobody saw it or figured out the glaringly clear later (and they did), couldn’t Jason have just told Sookie right after about his vampire dreams? Seriously, both Stackhouse siblings have had more than their fair share of V to know of the consequences. And the last thing you want to do is piss Sookie off about being another, no good, big-fibbin,’ dead walkin’ pale person. That is why it is so gratifying when Sookie finds Barlow’s (I’m claiming it, right now) sloppy leftover blood in her living room. Between Jason acting like a million bucks upstairs after being rejuvenated and the blood in her hand, Sookie nails down the coffin from which Ben crawled out of. Hence, she invites the Lilith progeny over for dinner that night for some silver-laced fried chicken. Finger-licking good. But I am getting ahead of myself. Jason and Grandpa Niall also quickly deduce that Ben is a bit long in the tooth, despite his youthful appearance. Again, those no good dirty vampire dreams—this one featuring Jason and “Ben” enjoying a nice shave ending with some blood swapping in the first perfectly True Blood Gratuitous Tease of the episode. Seriously Warlow, was an ambulance so slow you had to blow your cover this spectacularly? Even JASON is putting the pieces together (with Niall’s adult supervision). They also make the mistake of assuming that Sookie does not know because she has left “to go to work early.” Sookie…work? That right there should have immediately told them she is up to something sneaky that involves any place but Merlotte’s. Anyway, Niall does something incredibly Jason-like and chooses to go after Warlow without Sookie’s backup. But we can ignore the plot machinations creaking for what becomes an awesome scene at Barlow’s motel. When Jason and Niall try to get the drop on the vamp, he unsurprisingly knows they’re coming and glamours Jason into forgetting that he was ever there before draining Niall close to the point of death. It is a fantastic moment for Ryan Kwanten to remind audiences of Jason’s humanity, especially in the crushing glare of his umpteenth failure. Besides miserably sucking at killing the one vampire worth slaying this season, Jason appears to be losing another family member, just as he lost his parents and grandmother to this FUBAR town. A tear for all the Stackhouse torment rolls down Jason’s face as he says his farewells to another loved one. This tragic misadventure is then wiped from his mind like a particularly dumb werepanther subplot. Fortunately for Niall (and we many fans of Rutger Hauer), Warlow chooses to spare the Fae King. He even reveals that he was indeed once a faerie from before Niall’s birth when he was first turned to darkness (presumably by Lilith). As the first and possibly only faerie-vampire hybrid, he has a special connection with both species. Even when he murdered his parents, as well as Niall’s, he could not raise his hand against the baby faerie and end his bloodline. So, he let Niall live thousands of years ago and does so again when he takes Faerie Grandpa to the bridge where Sookie and Jason’s parents died and proceeds to chuck Niall into the nether-verse he was trapped in for 20 years. I will bet a pint of O-Negative that we will hear Hauer’s gravelly voice again before the end of this season. With the fearless vampire killers out of the way, Barlow shows up late for his dinner with Sookie. He brought the wine and Sookie brought the arsenic. So-to-speak. For the oldest living vampire now in the show’s continuity, Warlow makes a lot of dumb mistakes. For example, could he really not smell the silver in his fried chicken and potatoes? Ah heck, like every vampire in this show he cannot wait to have some Sookie cookies for dessert. But before he can get far into tasting his delicacy, an extremely ticked off Sookie reveals that: a) She is sick of vampires lying about her to taste her blood. And…b) “Get the fuck off me or die, Warlow.” Sookie Stackhouse, I do not know where you have been the last couple of seasons, but it is great to have you back! As Etta James sang on your record player during this cliffhanger scene…at last. Oh, but there was more in this episode, wasn’t there? In the ultimate fan service storyline, Eric follows up on his dangling thread last week by wrapping himself in it and then wearing it as a sweater. In the immediate aftermath of Eric’s chat time with Governor Burrell, Ginger’s house is raided in one of the most anticlimactic moments on the show. I like Arliss Howard’s George Wallace impersonation as the season’s other big bad, but the moment where he ships Ginger off to some undisclosed location and pounds the wall in what I assume is frustration, makes for an extremely awkward moment of expository television. In contrast, Tara attempting to stand up to Eric is amazingly awkward in another way. Watching Tara try to be Eric’s equal is comparable to seeing a boy king try to lord over Peter Dinklage. The results are hilarious. One Eric glamour later, the Viking prince is at a carousel with a strangely docile Willa Burrell. Her willingness to become vampire chow does not bode well for the character’s longevity on this series. Sure, Eric would’ve caught her if she tried to run, but you shouldn’t so willingly become food for the immortals, even if this one has the most devilish smile on television when he recognizes a complicity in this virginal white Hammer Horror stand-in. Eric takes Willa to a graveyard where he gives the yearning of the admitted virgin (and his legion of fangirls) what they have been waiting for in True Blood Gratuitous Tease #2. He turns her lily-white gown Lilith-red and lays her down to rest in his crimson flesh. “Does it hurt,” she quivers before the deed. “Not the way I do it,” purrs Eric to the sound of a million sighs. On a side note, given how Jessica reacted to being a virgin forever, Eric could have at least solved that problem before creating the series’ second baby vampire (there is nothing baby-ish about Tara). Once awakened and fed, it finally dawns on Willa what viewers already knew: He turned her to get back at daddy. Eric makes a big speech about how in a thousand years, she is only the second vampire he has created (I can’t wait for Pam’s reaction) and that she is special, blah, blah, blah. But without an even polite roll in the cemetery, he sends her packing to her father in hopes of proving that vampires are just like humans. Oh Eric, do you really think “infecting” a racist’s daughter is going to change minds? Did you skip the 1960s? It cannot help that when Willa meets her father, who is apparently romancing Sarah Newlin, she gives into her baby thirsts and reaches for the bandage on the governor’s hand. All it takes is one little love bite and you’re “the voice of the devil.” Sheesh. Still, it is one of the series’ better vampire moments when the governor’s little girl comes in from the cold with dirt and blood smeared all over her backlit nightgown. She is both his daughter and a strangely unspeakable Other. Nice job, Eric. Willa is not the only one who gets sent off to camp this week. Both Nora and Pam get rounded up with absurd ease by the governor’s Gestapo division and are presumably about to be bunk buddies with Steve Newlin. Hopefully, the “camp” is as horrifying as the undertones imply. And lastly there are two more vampires who may be headed for those likely hot boxes under the sun. In the only storyline about actually preventing a vampire genocide, Bill and Jessica make an admirable effort in saving their species. They easily round up Andy’s daughters who grow from 10-years-old to 18 in about 30-seconds of off-screen darkness. Hell, they even pick them up in a great True Blood callback to the Series Premiere cold open at the GrabItKwik convenience store with the same brain dead Goth attendant. Unfortunately, while Billith is able to control his faerie lust and successfully take blood from the faerie bimbos without much trouble, Jessica fares worse. When they try to leave the house, she loses control of her baby vampire instincts and samples their “honey blood” like a Pooh Bear in a Busy Bee Factory. Bill, still forcing a reluctant scientist to synthesize their blood into UV-proof Tru Blood, comes upstairs horrified at Jessica’s moment of weakness. But that’s nothing compared to what Andy Bellefleur might do when he finds out. Andy showed impressive maturity and nurturing to his tween daughters early in the episode and spent the rest of it killing himself to find the missing children. When Jason, freshly glamoured, shows up to explain to Andy the ins-and-outs of faerie-vampire relations, it doesn’t take long to figure out that his great-great-great-grand pappy may have them. I doubt he will be very happy with ol’ “Vampire Bill” at all if he discovers his daughters made a nice progeny snack for Bill’s other bloodline. I do not know if the faerie girls are dead and, frankly, I do not care. What I worry is what this will mean for Jessica! She didn’t mean to. It was a lapse in judgment. No biggie. But those Internet rumors about her possibly biting the silver bullet this season are starting to get unnerving. What better way to turn the screws toward her true death than to have her kill, or simply maim, the sheriff’s offspring? The best-case scenario is they hook him up on a date with another faerie and glamour the poor sod. Overall, there is a lot hanging in the air as all the stories are starting to trip over each other. And that is a compliment for a series notorious for its miscellaneous narrative threads. Though, I still find myself glossing over things like werewolves and Sam honoring Luna’s memory by jumping into bed with Nicole less than a week later (making for True Blood Gratuitous Tease #3). Looking forward, I imagine the silver is not going to have the desired affect on Warlow. If sunlight is ineffective against him, something even Billith cannot overcome, what are the odds that silver will do the trick? However, Sookie’s “Vampire Killing Deus Ex Machina” faerie power seems much more promising. Yet, I imagine Warlow will use his silver tongue to get out of the situation because it is too early for him to die. Besides, it seems increasingly necessary for his vampire-faerie hybrid blood to be used in stopping a vampire genocide. Like immediately. Between episodes, even! If Jessica dies, I am going to be SO Russell Edgington levels of pissed. They seriously may as well resurrect Denis O’Hare again to smite the whole cast for all I care if that day comes. In the meantime, I predict that Jason will do something that betrays Andy, but helps Bill and Jessica escape too dangerous a judgment (for the moment), Eric to attempt a rescue on his three lady vamps in custody, Willa to meet her dad in the sun sooner or later and Tara to inevitably do something stupid. Like living to the end of the season. Den of Geek Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars (.5 added because Sookie is awesome again)