7. Release Me
Having picked up the pace considerably last week, True Blood hit warp speed this week with Release Me. With revelations left, right and centre, and a rather shocking reversal of fortune for a certain man-whore, episode seven is easily the best show of the season so far.
Picking up right where we left off – with Sam in a prone position at the end of a dagger – the local bar steward is saved only by Detective Andy’s dogged pursuit of that damn pig, or Daphne as we’ve come to know her. His arrival breaks up the orgy, allowing Sam to wrench himself free of Eggs’ grip and dash off into the forest, but not before the usually sedate Terry Bellefleur breaks the drunken detective’s arm.
Reluctant to let him go, Maryann pursues Sam – bull’s head, claws and all – but he handily shifts into an owl and disappears into the night. Thanks to the verbal diarrhea of that damn pig the next morning, Sam and the rest of us learn some very interesting things about Maryann. For instance, she does indeed control most of the residents of Bon Temps – the black eyes are a dead giveaway, apparently, and that Maryann wants Sam because he’s the one that got away. She’s also the creature that attacked Daphne. Oh yes, and she’s the DEVIL. Well, almost. As a maenad, one of the handmaidens of the Greek horned god Dionysus, she thrives on the more highly charged human emotions – lust, anger, violence, all those things humans do so well, and is having the time of her eternity in Bon Temps. Daphne also reveals that the mind control also means that none of Maryann’s demon-eyed minions remembers diddly-squat about the previous night.
Which would be all well and good, except that both Tara and Arlene believe they blacked out during the night – something they haven’t noticed before. Tara’s not sure what she got up to, but Arlene is convinced she date-raped poor Terry. As if that wasn’t enough to convince Tara that something is up, Andy walks into the bar and accuses all the patrons of devil worship, before vowing to put a stop to it all. What a shame then, that he misses the assassination of his nemesis, the pig. By Eggs. Yup, he’s Maryann’s own (unwitting) death squad. First a guy who turns into a dog, and now a guy who changes into a mindless killer – Tara sure can pick ‘em. Perhaps Daphne’s tell all confession wasn’t quite part of the plan. Oh well.
Meanwhile, in the basement of the Fellowship’s HQ, Hugo inadvertently signs poor Jason Stackhouse’s death warrant, as well as his own. After telling the good reverend Sookie’s real name, Steve assumes that Jason is in league with the fangs, and is not happy.
Jason, having just slept with the first lady, attempts to do the only sensible thing open to a man in his situation – run away. Sadly, his timing is off, and Gabe the enforcer bundles him into the back of the reverend’s car before he can make good his escape. Under the impression this is his punishment for adultery, the poor boy is totally confused by reverend Steve’s talk of fangs and going to hell. On the long walk to his church sanctioned death, Gabe stupidly impugns Sookie’s honor, and Jason finally sees red. After beating the living hell out of the world’s creepiest drill instructor, the good soldier of the Lord is finally able to execute his run away ‘plan.’ That is, until Lady Sarah and one of Steve’s guns catches up with him. The first lady thinks she’s slept with the devil, and there’s nothing more dangerous than a fellowship woman scorned for vamps. Let’s hope she’s a terrible shot.
In addition to dropping Jason in it, Hugo also reveals that he is the spy in the Dallas nest. Bitter at the way be believes Isabel uses him, he decided to get some pay back and went straight to the Fellowship to sell out Sookie and the fangs. Everyone had been expecting the vamps to attempt a rescue by now, and the countdown to the sacrifice has already begun.
As Bill is still trapped by Lorena, and as Eric really couldn’t care less, it’s up to another vampire altogether to rescue the damsel in distress. When Gabe the enforcer takes out his ‘frustrations’ on Sookie, a wholly unexpected fang intervenes – step forward one Sheriff Godric. She did not see that coming. Bill is going to have a lot of explaining to do if he survives the wrath of his maker, as will Eric, Godric and, of course, Hugo. It’s clear Hugo is in a world of trouble. Big, incredibly painful, dungeon-centric trouble, which he fully deserves. What’s less clear is what Godric is playing at.
Without a doubt, the most gasp-filled episode so far, Release Me more than delivers on the promise of the preceding few episodes. Giving us most of the answers we craved, and asking some even harder questions, season two is well on its way to surpassing the already legendary first season.
Once again, two of the principle characters are in mortal danger, with no obvious means of rescue for either, and again, the mystery deepens. The quality of storytelling on display here is superb – the different layers and strands are coming together in a delicious way, and it’s a pleasure to watch it all unfold.
The characterization and dialogue are pitch perfect, and the humor that is embedded in the fabric of the True Blood universe just adds to the perfection. Things like the face of David from The Lost Boys (the best vampire movie ever – fact) on the box for the Send ‘Em Back to Hell game prove this is a show at the top of its game.
Drink it in people; we’ve only got five episodes left.
Check out our review of episode 6 here.