Cleolinda Jones (cleolinda) wrote,
Cleolinda Jones
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True Blood 1x07: "Burning House of Love"

HEY YOU GUYS I WAS IDLY WATCHING THE CREDITS WAITING ON THE PREVIEW FOR NEXT WEEK AND I SAW MY COUSIN'S NAME! TRUFAX. You know, my mother's cousin the set decorator, the one who did Van Helsing ! (And House !) I didn't see her listed on the True Blood IMDB page so I thought maybe she'd ended up not doing the show, but she DID! She was totally on the credits on the actual TV! THIS IS IRRATIONALLY EXCITING FOR ME, SHUT UP.

Note: when applicable, a screencap link will be marked NSFW ("not safe for work"). Because... we've got a lot of that this week.

Previously on "True Blood": GRAAAAN! *sob*; Sam keeps trying to make sympathetic moves on Sookie even though she would rather turn to Bill (who speed-moes to his ladylove's side, now that she's speaking to him again); Bill and the werecollie chill in the Stackhouse front yard; Jason grieves by bitchslapping Sookie, tweaking for V, and inviting family pariah Great-Uncle Bartlett (of whom we will see more this episode) to the funeral; Tara and Lafayette rid the house of Bad Juju Casseroles; Sookie cusses out the entire town of Bon Temps at Gran's funeral; Tara and Sam hook up again, but then Tara runs out on him to be with her crazy, crazy, drunk, crazy mother; and Sookie eats half a sorrow cream pie, puts on a flowy princess nightgown, and flails through the cemetery to Bill's house for hot, romance-novel vampire sexings and it is THE MOST AWESOME THING I HAVE EVER SEEN. Seriously, it's even better than that one time on Passions where Deranged Hick Lesbian Charlie turned out to be a Crane in disguise. And A MAN. This is SAYING SOMETHING.

Also, the previews on HBO would like you to remember that ANYONE COULD DIE and NO ONE IS SAFE. You know, like we need reminding after what happened to Gran.

OH I ALMOST FORGOT TO MENTION: threeparts brought this little gem to my attention, for which I have created a handy little side-by-side comparison (click to enlarge):

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Y'all, between this and the "marking your territory" line in the same scene? Bill is totally on to Sam. I don't know what he's on to werecollie, but he's on to it. Which makes the subsequent scene where he's chilling in the yard with the dog even funnier.

So, okay. The show ended right in the middle of Bill biting Sookie (hot! bloody! nose on neck action!), because Sookie has offered him a taste of her outrageous moon-pie flavor in, like, the last thirty seconds of her being a virgin (nicely timed, there). And y'all know I am Team Bill all the way (like I said before, I like Sam, but not with Sookie). I like Bill and Sookie together, I'm glad the show got them together instead of dragging it out for three years, and I think it's adorable that Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer are dating in real life. But... let's go back to that last part. I've kind of been dreading the inevitable sex scene, because... TMI, y'all. But I thought, you know, okay, the next episode will start up, we'll get some vampsex afterglow, we'll move on with life, it'll be cool.

Oh no. Not on HBO. This episode starts up, and we are STILL ON THE BITING SHOT. We haven't even gotten to the sex yet. Which the show proceeds to give us in a completely naked head-to-knee wide shot (feet: too hot even for HBO). Really, show? We're going to do this? You're going to make us watch a real-life couple pretend to have sex? You can't even do the artsy-montage-of-discreet-angles thing? I just... wow. I can't even tell you if it's hot, I'm too busy being embarrassed for them. So I'll be over here dying a little inside, show; call me when you're done.

After the credits: Now we get the vampsex afterglow. With a candlelit vampire bath! Well, at least Bill knows how to do this romance shit up right. I wonder if he will also serve cereal? I also kind of wonder if Ryan Kwanten demanded that the other male leads show off the goods at least once this season to even things up, because... well, once again, I'm getting ahead of myself werecollie. Anyway, Bill's just going to wander around his steam-fogged bathroom naked for a few minutes while he and Sookie have the Obligatory Our Vampires Are Different Conversation, if that's cool with you. So if you've ever wondered exactly how fine white a vampire's ass is, this is your chance to find out. (NSFW.) Meanwhile--forget Bill's ass, I want Bill's bathtub. Mine is about eight inches deep and two feet wide and closed in all claustro-inducing behind a set of broken shower doors; Bill and Sookie are practically backstroking around in this one. Anyway, we get a nice twist here on the Our Vampires Are Different trope, because Bill explains that most of the myths were started by vampires themselves, so that when people tried to test them with mirrors or cameras or crosses ("Crucifixes?" "Geometry!") or whatever , they could be like, "See! Totally not a vampire! Have a nice day!" Well, except that garlic is a little irritating. And there's that whole death-by-sun thing, that's kind of inconvenient.

So we're all happy and candlelit and soapy, and yet... Sookie is troubled. And now we find out what the deal with Great-Uncle Bartlett was, and... it's exactly what I was afraid of. I didn't want to say it, but I was afraid it was going to turn out that he had molested Sookie, or tried to molest her, or maybe molested one of Sookie's parents (I guess this is the paternal side of the family?). Yeah. He molested Sookie. So we get a really, really disturbing flashback (I suggest you skip to the next paragraph if you think it'll be triggering for you) where Baby Sookie's trying to do her math homework alone in the house with Uncle Bartlett, and while we don't see anything worse than her climbing onto his lap, we hear what he's thinking. (Things like Her tiny little legs. Flexible and smooth, for starters. And this is why Gran ran him off, which was implied in the funeral episode.) Which is so creeptastically horrible that I didn't even remember until later that we get to hear it because Sookie was also hearing it, which is just doubleplus ungoodtouch. It's a fairly subtle scene, considering--which is probably what makes it even more horrible. Back in the present, Sookie reassures Bill, "It was just... touching. Wasn't nearly as bad as what happens to some girls." And this is actually really effective, because the next thing she says is, "Here I am... just having had one of the most important experiences in a girl's life, and... it was so, so perfect. Great. And I hate that... I can't... not... think about him." I think it's almost more powerful that it was such a low-key experience, "not as bad" as it could have been, and yet it still has this power over her all these years later--that's something that needs to be said more often, that even the simplest experiences of abuse can be damaging. (I also love that Bill says, "It wasn't your fault," you know, as you do, and Sookie snaps, "I KNOW THAT.")

Bill? Bill is Not Happy. He reassures her to "think about whatever you think about," and that she's safe with him (AWWW) and he's totally comforting and supportive, but you can just tell by the look on his face--this is so not the last we are seeing of Uncle Bartlett. (Well, that, and the ominous woepiano.)

Lafayette's Lair of Fabulosity. Lafayette is strip-dancing for his webcam in a gold thong, as you do when you're a senator-fuckin' prostitute entrepreneur : "You mo-fuckas gonna have to be... patient. There's good things comin' your way. This ain't Christmas morning, and you're all jacked up on caffeine, rippin' off that cheap Wal-Mart paper to get yo' blender. Naw... whole lotta creativity went into this packagin' and I want you to enjoy--" UNEXPECTED JASON? Lafayette: "DON'T FUCKIN' CREEP, BITCH." Jason, of course, is jonesing for more V, but Lafayette has had it with his stupid ass: "I told you not to take too much... And you wound up in the hospital. I said keep quiet about where it came from, and you fuckin' ran off at the mouth to Tara. Then you got vamped up and fuckin' threw a cop around. You can't handle the shit, buddy."_Jason will pay him anything he wants ("I'll even show my wiener on your website!"), but "you can take your little stumpy white dick and get the fuck up out my joint. That's what I want." And now, may I present to you Jason Stackhouse Is Too Dumb to Live, Exhibit #437-b: He tries to threaten Lafayette. You were there for the AIDS Burger Incident, Jason! You were cheering him on! YOU SAW THE BITCH-PUNCHING! What about this seems like a good idea to you? Or, as Lafayette tells him so eloquently (once he's got Jason in a headlock), "Don't fuckin' fuck me, muthafucka. Hear me? 'Cause I will fuck yo' ass up. You get me? Get the fuck up outta here."

Compton House. So now it's near dawn and Sookie finds out (as we did last week) where Bill sleeps: in a secret crawlspace under the house. (Y'all, he has books down there! Between the books and the bathtub and the long-sleeve pullovers [...what? Don't look at me like that], I am telling you, if he weren't dead, I would be all over that.) Sookie, wistfully: "So we can never sleep beside each other?" Oh, dramatize, Ladyhawke. You can totally come over to Bill's some night and take a nap between sexings, I'm sure he'll be more than glad to watch you sleep. And he won't even have to stand out in the yard this time!

Tara's mother's house. Tara's moved back in with her mother (sigh) after the whole "I need you!" thing in the previous episode and she's trying to help her mother dodge creditors one more month. But all Tara's mother (we find out her name is Lettie Mae) can do is talk about her demon and try to hide her spiked coffee from Tara (who is not the least bit fooled): "Yeah, next time you and your demon have a little chat, you can tell it to go out and get a damn job." And then they start tussling over the coffee, it gets spilled, and Lettie Mae desperately tries to slurp it off her hands and shirt: "IT'S THE DEMON!" she wails, as if she's able to understand how pitiful this is even as she's doing it. Tara bows her head and covers her face.

Chez Stackhouse. Sookie is the picture of satisfaction as she returns home in one of Bill's shirts (with her fairy princess nightgown folded neatly over her arm, which made me laugh), but then! There is a burgling noise somewhere deep in the house! And if it's THE KILLER, Bill won't be able to help her ("It's still six hours till moon! NNNNNGH!"). Turns out it's Jason, in possession of two silver candlesticks and a very suspicious sack, but when Sookie tries to ask what the hell he's doing, he sees the bite on her neck and his Vampire Issues rear up again: "You went ahead and did it, huh? My own sister. Nothin' but a damn fangbanger. And you saved it all these years for a fuckin' vampire?" Oh, WHATEVER, Tweak. "Bill is a gentleman!" protests Sookie. "HE BIT YOU!" But it was very chivalrous biting, Jason! And to which Sookie retorts, "He doesn't hit me, which is more than I can say for YOU."
~O SNAP.~ She is never gonna let you live that down, hoss, and more power to her. So Sookie goes back on the offensive and asks about the candlesticks, to which Jason insists that he's "just takin' half of what's mine," except that he's already got their parents' house (ah, that's where he lives), and he won't tell her what he needs to hock all this for anyway. "Nuh-uh. Gran might have spoiled you rotten, but I won't. This is my house now. You put those things down and GET OUT," declares Sookie, and she tears at the paper sack just for good measure. Out tumble several pieces of silver and... necklaces. Sookie, shocked and hurt: "You were gonna sell her jewelry?" And y'all know how much I love jewelry. This is BEYOND THE PALE, Jason (who flees with the candlesticks).

(This is totally random, but you see that white dish by the armchair on the far right? That exact dish is on my dresser, y'all. Stem and scalloped edge and everything. I am a little weirded out.)

(Hey, you know who would theoretically be responsible for finding knick-knacks like that? My second cousin the set decorator. I'm just saying.)

Sad Sam's Sad Trailer. "Hey, dog!" Tara greets the collie as she approaches (I really want to know this dog's name now. DO NOT TELL ME IF YOU KNOW). Meanwhile, Sam's inside trying to fix... something: "GODDAMN SON OF A BITCHIN' SHIT-ASS FUCKIN' TRAILER!" Cocksucker, Sam. You left out "cocksucker." And he's not too happy to see Tara, either, considering that the last time he saw her, she was running out of her own apartment on him: "What are you doin' comin' in here like you own the place?"_"Hi, Sam, it's me, the girl you've been fuckin'?" Tara retorts cheerfully. And then the whole thing devolves into an awkward shouting match regarding what the hell their mutually beneficial deal is, which I think was exactly what they wanted to avoid when they first agreed to sleep together? And also, I'm not sure why Sam's so butthurt about the whole thing because isn't he still hung up on Sookie anyway? As sagitare put it, "Sam, you can't have it every way you want, all the time."_"I'm no good at this," angsts Tara, wondering if she's "unboyfriendable."_"Try harder," says Sam, and I did like that he called her on her shit on that one. Now we just need Tara to call him on his. And then Tara looks at what he's working on and says, "You need a Robertson's screwdriver." Ah, of course Tara would end up being a Wrench Wench. "Place would look good with a little work," she says, and they smile shyly at each other. And then... her cell phone rings: "What?"

First National Bank of Bon Temps. And... here's Lettie Mae trying to get a loan for... her exorcism. Oh no. Ohhhhhh nooooo. There is just... no way this can end well. Here's a taste of Lettie Mae's powers of persuasion: "You won't give me a loan 'cause you a bigot!" ("Well, that is simply not the case--we have recently accepted a client who is a... Vampire-American.") "You are prejudiced against me because I am a Christian!" (But the loan officer teaches Sunday school!) "Maybe Mister Gus just don't like women, is that it?" ("No! I mean, yes! I...") "Then let's you and me work somethin' out," insists Lettie Mae, preparing to climb on top of the poor man: "THERE MAY BE SNOW ON THE MOUNTAINTOP, BUT THERE'S FIRE IN THE VALLEY!" Oh God. And here's Tara, arriving just in time to witness this little tableau ("What the HALE, Mama!"). "This white devil tried to sexual harass me!" shouts Lettie Mae, changing her story on a dime. "I'm gonna sue his narrow ass!" And then she starts having a full-bore sobbing meltdown while everyone else in the bank gawks: "I DO NOT! WANT TO LIVE LIKE THIS! NO MORE! I CAN'T!"

So once Tara's escorted Lettie Mae and her demon home, she dips into her secret cash stash (in a box of Brillo pads, into which she knows her mother will never venture. Heh) and makes up her mind to pay for the exorcism.

Merlotte's. Wait, those rednecks came back? I do not even for one moment believe that. They got their asses kicked by a fabulous gay man in front of the entire restaurant, and they came back? There are other restaurants in Bon Temps! I know this for a fact! Some of them even serve Fresh Fish 7 Days a Week! I'm not sure Sam can believe it, either--he rushes over and tells Lafayette to stand down: "I'm payin' you to cook, not to beat on customers." Skipping ahead a bit, I have no idea what Lafayette puts in the Chief Redneck's soup, but apparently it's spit-take-worthy (he super-heats his spoon?). Revenge, she is best served hot by a fry cook.

Meanwhile, Randi Sue is on the pay phone trying to get hold of Jason--I didn't mention it at the time, but she was grunting "I love youuuu!" while she was riding Jason like a rodeo (and yet Jason was so very, very alone ), and... now he can't even remember her name. I'm not even sure he ever knew it. (Wait, of course he did. HOW COULD I FORGET.) Which would be news to Randi Sue, who is not about to let him avoid her: " 'Cause that's shit's not gonna fly, COWBOY, not after the other night!" But Jason's not coming down to Merlotte's tonight, he says; he's going into Shreveport. You know... to Fangtasia. Wanna come with? But Randi Sue cannot be having with that: "I may not know much, but I do know better than to associate myself with people of low moral character."_Ba-dum-ching.

Sookie, on the other hand, is making her rounds walking on air ("Well, goddamn!" says Lafayette. "Look at you, all pornalicious. What kinda crazy mix you done got yourself into?") with the bite on her neck cleverly covered by a kicky neckerchief. "Honey, that scarf is double cute!" Arlene enthuses. "There's something different about you--is it a man? Please tell me it was Sam, not that vampire." "Yes!" cries Sookie (Arlene's face lights up), "it was Bill!" (Arlene's face falls.) "And I think I might be in love with him! Don't tell anybody, okay?"

Over at the bar: "SOOKIE HAS BEEN WITH THAT VAMPIRE!" Arlene hisses to Cajun Rene--in full view of Sam and not even trying to keep him from hearing, I might add. GOOD LORD, woman, you didn't even wait fifteen seconds! "Das jus bar talk," Rene says, but Arlene insists that it came from Sookie's own mouth--"Oh my Lord, suppose she gets pregnant! How in the world can she nurse a baby with fangs?" OH GOD OH GOD FLASHBACKS AUGH. So Sam marches straight over to the table Sookie's working and rips off the scarf, but he's got another thing coming if he thinks that's going to fly: "You keep your hands to yourself, Sam Merlotte, YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO TOUCH ME!" she shouts. "You're a damn fool, you know that?" yells Sam in turn. Off goes Sookie, addressing the cheap seats, the peanut gallery, and the restaurant at large: "WHAT I DO ON MY OWN TIME IS NO CONCERN OF YOURS--OR ANY OF Y'ALL'S! YES! I HAD SEX WITH BILL! AND SINCE EVERY ONE OF Y'ALL'S TOO CHICKEN TO ASK, IT WAS GREAT. I ENJOYED EVERY SECOND OF IT! AND IF YOU DON'T LIKE THAT, YOU CAN JUST FIRE ME!" *SLAM*

So... yeah. It wants to be an Epic Moment of Awesome, but it just... doesn't quite get there.

(I will say, my problem with this episode is that it seems a little slapdash after the excellence of "Cold Ground." Characters do and say things in this one that--well, it's like someone said, "It would be really funny if they said that," or "It would be really awesome if they did that," rather than stopping to think whether that character would actually do it. Would Sookie really start yelling about sexing vampires in her place of employment? I mean, she did cuss out the whole town, but that was portrayed as more of a nervous-breakdown extreme-circumstance kind of thing, not "YEAH, I DID IT! I'LL DO IT AGAIN! YOU DON'T *neck roll* KNO~OW ME!" And would Lafayette really mutter "Skank" (a bit later, sorry) so dismissively after he was so sweet about Gran's Pie in the last episode? AND ALSO, DID WE TOTALLY FORGET ABOUT GRAN BEING SERIAL-KILLED? I'm just saying, the tone of the episode and everyone's interactions in it are maybe a little off? I don't know. Maybe we're not really far enough into the show to have a solid baseline yet.)

Fangtasia. Jason nervously approaches Pam the Vampire at the entrance. "Your mama know you're out in the big city?" she purrs. "Well, my mama's dead," Jason says stupidly. "So am I," says Pam. She looks over his ID: "Jason Stackhouse from Bon Temps? You related to Sookie by any chance?" Jason admits that he's her brother, but how does Pam know her? (Remember, Jason doesn't know that Sookie and Bill scoped out Fangtasia on his behalf.) "She stands out. Do you?"_"Uh, no... maybe. In other ways?" he dorks. "Tell me why you came here," Pam glamours, cutting to the chase. "I want some vampire blood," Jason confesses: "What time do you get off work?" Jason Stackhouse, I do not have a ~BITCH PLEASE~ big enough for you. Nor does Pam: "You came for my blood? Yeah, you're right... you're nothin' like your sister. Go on in," she says anyway. "And good luck gettin' out."

Out behind some sad, ramshackle house, Uncle Bartlett is taking out the garbage. In his wheelchair. Down a handicapped ramp. I have a hard time feeling sorry for him, and yet, it is a pitiful picture. Anyway, when he turns the chair around to go back up the ramp, there's UNEXPECTED BILL, who is still very NOT HAPPY. "I don't keep cash in the house," stammers Uncle Bartlett. "I'm not here for money," Bill intenses. "I'M HERE FOR SOOKIE." *FANGS!*

Some godforsaken dirt road. Tara's bitching about wandering through the wilds of Louisiana in search of this $445 exorcism, and I don't blame her. "You want to meet the devil, you wait at the crossroad," Lettie Mae insists. Tara: "YEAH, THAT WAS A MILE BACK."_"For Miss Jeanette, you gotta go past where the devil's at," says Lettie Mae. Tara: "That is the biggest load of bullshit I ever heard. You're gettin' as bad off as Lafayette and his juju." Now, the interesting thing is that, in the Previously On montage/clip that the show actually ran, they showed the Bad Juju Cooking bit, where Tara ate the nasty-neighbor cornbread and Lafayette said, "Bitch, you gonna wish you ain't did that." I can't tell if they showed that just to establish the concept of juju in the Sookieverse or whatever, or if they're actually implying that Tara will, in fact, Wish She Ain't Did That.

Miss Jeannette, by the way, comes from a long line of exorcists who used to be paid in tobacco and livestock. She, however, will take cash. In advance. She works out of a candlelit, hollowed-out bus filled with bones and shed snakeskins and jars of weirdness and vines creeping in the windows and up across the ceiling. You know... I actually kind of dig it, in a strange way.

Merlotte's. Lafayette and Sookie are having a bit of girl talk at the kitchen window: "It felt like every single care, or worry, or sadness I ever had was just flowin' out of me into him," says Sookie, regarding the experience of being bitten (and considering that her grandmother had just been brutally murdered and she was still anxious about sex because she had been molested, that's a pretty profound statement). "And, yeah, that hurt at first, but then when I relaxed, it didn't hurt at all." Because you just can't have vampires without the sex metaphors. "I was always too skeered to let 'em bite me," admits Lafayette (which, again, is saying something). "I don't know, Sook--I just think that when there's blood involved, a line been crossed."_"Oh, I definitely crossed a line," she says with a big smile, "but I'm glad I did."_"Well, you go ahead on cookin' with your bad ass," says Lafayette, laughing. "Good for you. It ain't possible to live unless you crossin' somebody's line." Which I kind of want to embroider on a pillow. I mean, as soon as I learn how to embroider shit. And then: "Skank." I'm still not sure if he meant it fondly or not.

Fangtasia. Is Eric--is he texting someone? I'd love to know who he would deign to honor with his texting attentions. Maybe it's Her, the mysterious powerful vampire Red alluded to (I'm still not entirely convinced it's the vampire widow who turned Bill). And of course, even though he's so blasé, he's got to jump when She calls. So I guess She would text him all like sup bb and he would be all :-[ , and then this girl comes up and asks if she can take his picture, and he's all like, Proceed, pathetic human, and then after she does Longshadow the bartender grabs her camera and smashes it because "I did not say you could keep it." Really, Eric? You're so bored that you're picking on tourists? People keep telling me how awesome you are in the books and you know, you got a real purty mouth but other than that I'm not sold yet.

Anyway, there's Jason at the bar, in what we'll call Jason Stackhouse Is Too Dumb to Live, Exhibit #452-j: He's trying to hint to Longshadow, of all people, creepy-ass Longshadow, that he wants "somethin' stronger."_"Just tell me what the fuck you want, little boy," growls Longshadow. You know, something really strong, a different color, "somethin' closer to the color of the walls,"_Q R S T U V!_V! HE WANTS V! And suddenly this girl with a hippie scarf wrapped around her head pops up and drags Jason (fighting her off like a dumbass, I might add, which is like saying "while breathing" for Jason, I guess) off to a corner table somewhere all like, Yeah! V8! Great stuff! SHUT THE FUCK UP BEFORE YOU GET US BOTH KILLED. And I kept looking at this girl trying to figure out where I knew her from--brunette, big eyes, great smile, so familiar. Not Zooey Deschanel, not Kat Dennings... holy shit, you guys, it's Lizzy Caplan! HEY MARLENA! HOW YOU DOIN', MARLENA? (Wow, they did a really good job putting you back together, Marlena.) Anyway, the only thing that gets Jason to shut his mouth is the promise of actual V in the giant purse that she's clutching right there. Well, what are we hanging around here for, then?

Merlotte's. Aaaaaand in stroll the Vampires Three. Foxy immediately starts browsing for something juicy: "Well, hey there, sugar," she purrs to some terrified young guy in a booth. Red orders three Tru Bloods (they're all still standing out in the middle of the room), but Sam saunters out and says, "Y'all need to go somewhere else. This is a family place. Locals only." Well, unfortunately, "we just closed on a place up the road, so that makes us official citizens of Renard Parish. We're the new locals," drawls Red (as Red is wont to do). "My place. My rules," Sam insists. Red: "Discrimination against vampires is punishable by law in the great State of Louisiana. Personally, I don't give a fuck, but I. am. thirsty."_"You. Are. Not. Welcome here," says Sam. I kind of love him right now. Foxy laughs: "That shit only works in a private home." At first I thought she was talkin' law like Red (I am fascinated by the idea of vampire legalese, vampire legislation, vampire lobbyists, all of it), but then I realized that she was referring to the fact that a vampire can't enter unless you invite him in. Which is still fascinating, that there are natural limits to it, and--sorry, I'll stop now.

And then Red spots Sookie: "Ah! How nice to see you again, Sookie. You are looking delectable as always." Now Sam is really Not Happy. "Well, well! It looks like little Miss Holdout has given up the goods. Brrrrava," drawls Red (I'm just going to give up on trying to think of any other way to describe the way Malcolm talks). "Did he leave enough for the rest of us?" "I am HIS," Sookie announces indignantly, and you know, this whole MINE/HIS thing is verging on sounding like an I BELONG TO A MAN thing the more it crops up, even while I understand that it's more like "I am under his protection as a vampire and therefore off limits, so step off my forbidden tastyblood." I don't know. I worry about these things. Maybe Sookie can tell Bill off a few more times and restore balance to the Force or something. "Well, he is not here, is he?" drawls Red. "And while Bill's away, Malcolm will always play." *FANGS!*

And out in one of the 16,000 bayous local to Bon Temps, Bill's dumping Uncle Bartlett's body in the water (and we see that he was none too gentle with the biting) and suddenly he looks up and SENSES THAT SOOKIE IS IN TROUBLE OH NOES.

So while Bill is presumably en speed-mo route, Sookie rises to the occasion and gives Red a shove: "DON'T YOU THINK FOR ONE SECOND I'D EVER HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH YOU. I'M SURE YOU WERE TRASH WHILE YOU WERE ALIVE, AND NOW YOU'RE JUST DEAD TRASH." Ohhhhh Lord, girl. "I'm gonna drain you so slowly, you're gonna beg me to kill you," drawls Red, smiling. And then poor Terry the War Vet takes a flying leap at the Vampires Three ("JIHAD THIS, MOTHERFUCKER!") and they pretty much... just... step out of the way, and stuff (actually, I think Foxy throws out an arm and clotheslines him), and Terry goes skidding face-first across the floor into a pool table. And then? Sam breaks a pool cue over his knee. THAT'S RIGHT, BITCHES: SAM HARDCORE FUCKING MERLOTTE, VAMPIRE SLAYER. "You," drawls Red, pointing at him, "are a dead man." "Maybe," says Sam, "BUT I'M GONNA TAKE ONE OF Y'ALL WITH ME."

Unfortunately, Sam is then immediately intercepted by Sexxor the Bald, and Sookie's screaming for them not to hurt him when BILL DRAMATICALLY SPEED-MOES IN, like... ouch. That's got to be emasculating for the werecollie. "STOP THIS!" Bill intenses. "NOW!_YOU'RE HERE FOR ME, NOT THEM."_"Well, we had to get your attention, and I do believe it worked," drawls Red. That's what this was all about? Oh, lamesauce, Red. So what the hell was so important that they couldn't, like, drop by the house again? "You never call me back," Red play-pouts. "Now, if I remembered what feelings were, mine might be hurt."_"Join our nest, Bill," purrs Foxy, caressing his face (Sookie gulps anxiously). "Yeah, mainstreamin's fer pussies," Sexxor chimes in. Foxy: "Let's party like we used to, huh? We used to have so much fun."_Okay, here's what I don't understand: if Bill's such a famous buzzkill, why do they want him back? Maybe I just can't imagine a time when Bill was fun? I mean... not "fun" like these people. Not to get all Growing Up Cullen on you, but you know they'd be, like, trying to have a lightswitch rave with their fangbanger pets in the Compton parlor or something and he'd be all like "I am trying to read, if you don't mind, and besides, you are running up my electricity bill, not that any of you ever pay for anything around here, and--Liam, I swear to Jefferson Davis that if you don't GET DOWN OFF MY GOOD SOFA I will go get HER and YOU'LL BE SORRY."

So Bill's all like, "A'right. Let's go." Wait, what?_"I should be with my own." "But you're not like them," Sookie pleads, "you're better than they'll ever be." Sadly Bill bids her a sexyvoice woepiano goodbye: "I am not human, Sookeh. I am vampire," hear him suck, etc.

And of course, Sookie is all crushed. For a split second I was like, "Well, he sure manufactured drama gave in quick," until I realized what he was doing: of course he's not giving up Sookie for real; he's getting the Vampires Three away from Merlotte's posthaste and he'll say anything he has to say to do it. And then I got scared that Sookie wasn't going to realize this as well. DON'T DO ANYTHING BELLA STUPID, SOOKIE!

Some gas station ("Powell's Groceries"). Jason wants to just stop at a roadhouse and do the V and get it over with, but "not so fast, dude," says Marlena. "The setting is crucial. You know, just breathe deep. Think about something that you like... something beautiful, then... you know, whatever you think is relaxing... and nice." "How about you?" I told y'all Jason wrote the book on picking up chicks. So Marlena introduces herself as Marlena Amy Burley whatever, she's still Marlena and talks about how she's from Connecticut and how she just knew Jason would drive a truck. "I love this truck. I do--it's authentic. You know, it's how a truck should be. None of that stupid extended-cab, four-wheel-drive-just-to-go-to-the-mall crap." And what I love is that the moment she said, "This truck is authentic," you knew everything you could possibly need to know about this girl: upper-middle-class, maybe a trust fund, private school, someone who wants to "reconnect to what's real"--she's a tourist among people who actually have to work for a living, because getting your hands dirty is so quaint and refreshing. And the thing is, I wanted to hate this character on principle, but Lizzy Caplan just brings so much charm to the role that I found myself really liking her, even as I was rolling my eyes.

Hoodoo Lady's Exorcist Bus. Lettie Mae is stretched out in her underthings while Miss Jeannette carefully lays out rocks in various patterns on her body, explaining to Tara that her family's been doing this for "a thousand years." Tara is not impressed: "Don't you need a ouija board or some chicken bones or somethin'?" Lettie Mae: "Tara, shut up."_"It's my money!"_"Well, it's my demon!" Miss Jeannette tells them both to STFU: demons can kill, and everyone needs to CALM DOWN. Miss Jeannette: not a possessor of the most soothing bedside manner. Anyway, she brings out THE SACRED CRONE STONE: "It's been in my family since Africa. My generation was twelve kids... but the stone chose me." And you know, the thing is, with a show like this, you can't tell if her schtick is a total crock or for real. It could really go either way.

And then Miss Jeannette whips off a drop cloth: she's got a possum in a cage. "AW, HALE_NO, YOU AIN'T PUTTIN' THAT ON MY MAMA!" shouts Tara. Ah, but see, it's not to put on Lettie Mae; it's for the demon to take over once it (he?) leaves Lettie Mae's body. So then Miss Jeannette starts beating on a drum and singing "a crone stone song" (while Lettie Mae writhes and thrashes), which goes a little like this: "Sing what land made me... dream tinker is my drum. I hold the power of the stone... the water... the leaf... the dirt. Stone! Water! Leaf! Dirt! Sing a demon song. Sing the night made you. Dark and wet! Hungry and cold! Trapped in darkness forever, lonely for the light! You are safe here. Safe and welcome. Safe and welcome. By the power of the stone, I bid you depart and JOIN THE WORLD OF LIIIIIGHT!" And then I don't even know what Miss Jeannette's saying, it's like speaking in tongues or something. And then the possum starts shrieking in its cage (AHHHHH), and Miss Jeannette plunges it into a tub of water and, with a good deal of struggle, manages to drown it. I did not have nightmares about this at all, by the way.

Merlotte's. Aw, Terry's all broken up in the storeroom: "I let everybody down. I didn't do nothin'." Well, technically, Terry, you did do something. Arlene tries to comfort him: "This ain't Baghdad, Terry. It's Merlotte's, okay? Ain't nothin' anybody coulda done." "I'm supposed to," he says, with a haunted sob.

Here's what a dumbass I am: not only did I finally realize that Terry works at Merlotte's, I realized that he's been working at Merlotte's, and, in fact, I think I remember him wandering around the kitchen in the first couple of episodes. I'm not used to shows where they just have people hanging around doing their thing without stopping to dump a bunch of exposition on you, I guess--it took me a few episodes to realize that Arlene and Rene are together, even though you can clearly hear her talking to him on the phone while he's home with her kids in the pilot. And it took me way too long to realize that Tara only has one gay cousin, and that one gay cousin is, furthermore, Lafayette. So here I thought that Terry the War Vet was just a punchline in the DGD meeting episode, and then I thought, okay, it's really cool that they're actually using the character for something, and now I realize that he was here the whole time. I are smrt.

Meanwhile, Redneck in Chief is telling his buddies about how he knows which house the Vampires Three bought: "It'd be easy to sneak up on 'em."_"If you think you can sneak up on a vampire," Sookie informs them, "then y'all are dumber in the head than a hog is in the butt." (At first I laughed at this, and then it was like... wait, what now?) "Fuckin' a vampire don't make you no expert," retorts Redneck in Chief. No, but it means she knows a damn sight more about 'em than you do, Sparky, whether she knows it Biblically or not. Anyway, he's all like, "Normal people don't fuck dead things," and Sookie's all, "You mess with Bill Compton, I promise, you will be a dead thing." And then she tries to go off and get Sam and Arlene to help her: "We gotta do somethin', these rednecks are gettin' riled up!" Sam's all like, GOOD, I HOPE THEY GET BILL TOO. But Bill's not like them, Sookie protests! He only went with the Three "to get them away from here!" (Oh, thank God, she does get it.) "Whatever goes on between you and him's your business," Sam says stoically (which is more than I had expected of him, quite honestly), "but I do not. want him. in my bar."

Jason's house. Marlena's nattering on: "I went to Wellesley." (Of course she did.) "I was supposed to do pre-law but I said screw it, I studied philosophy instead and that pissed the parental units off big time, as if the meaning of life's just irrelevant, right? I couldn't take anymore of that artificial lockjaw lifestyle, so I hit the road." Then she explains the lockjaw part to a puzzled Jason--speaking through clenched teeth to avoid wrinkles--and gives her impression of it: "Amy, please tell me you're not having sex with that disgusting man." (What?) (Jason: "People around here who talk that way don't want anyone to know they got their teeth knocked out.") "God, I love your place, man," Marlena continues. "It's very unselfconscious... so off the grid... I mean, this place goes back to like a more legitimate time, you know, before everything got totally out of whack." Did I not tell you? "Your truck is so authentic," that was all you needed to hear. She's also the kind of neo-hippie chick who--after she's mixed her vintage vampire blood with aspirin tablets to create a snortable powder--insists that they offer prayers to Gaia, the spirit of living organism of the connectedness of the earth and stuff. Jason is all about that: "I don't like how they keep taking stuff away. Like Pluto's not a planet anymore and a brontosaurus stopped bein' a dinosaur. You just can't say somethin' stopped bein' what it's always been." ...Yeah. "By taking the blood of the night into our bodies, we water the flowers of our souls. Nothing is real. Everything is permitted," Marlena intones. "Uh, yeah... me too. And Pluto can start being a planet again, connected to stuff," Jason adds helpfully.

And then they snort their V. Hey, kids? I'm not here to get all up in your business about what you put into your body, but between you and me? If you have to 1) snort it or 2) inject it, it ain't good for you. Ask the kid I went to school with who sucked an entire Pixy Stick up his nose. Burned like hellfire and he sneezed cherry for three weeks. I'm just saying. Anyway, in case you've ever wondered what tripping on V is like, it looks a little like this. And then Jason's in his bedroom and there's, like, invisible birds chirping and a sunlit forest in the mirror. And then he and Marlena sit there naked on Jason's bed touching hands and tripping out over the window of sparkles (NSFW) that forms between their arms. You know, as if Will and Lyra didn't have enough work to do.

Back at Merlotte's, Sookie's desperately trying to get Bill on the phone (she heard the rednecks thinking they could "round 'em all up at daybreak and shoot the sunlight into 'em"), but all she can get is his vampire voicemail. "Bill, this is the third time I've called! A lynch mob is going after those vampires, you gotta get outta there! Call me back--now!" When you finish recording, you may hang up or press pound...

Hoodoo Lady's Exorcist Bus. Exorcism accomplished! "You belong to yourself now." And as Tara and Lettie Mae are staggering out into the night, Miss Jeannette drops this bomb in Tara's direction: "Your demon idn't the same kind as your mother's... but it's definitely livin' in you." Tara: "Now you think I_got a motherfuckin' demon? Bitch, you as fucked up as your bus." Miss Jeannette: "Do you have many friends? Do you have trouble keepin' a job? You have your own place? You have a boyfriend? How long have you ever been with the same man?" Uh. Tara doesn't have an answer for that. "Mm-hm. Find me when you're ready," says Miss Jeannette.

Now what I find interesting about this is--remember the first time we saw Tara, and she went off on that woman at the Sav-a-Lot or whatever and walked out of her job? And how random that seemed? And remember the first time we saw Tara's mother, and she was yelling at Tara and then she collapsed and was sobbing and Tara was holding her, and then all of a sudden her mother snatched up a liquor bottle, hit her upside the head, and cackled with glee?_I'm willing to believe that there might be actual demons involved. Except that... I kind of love Tara's demon, if that's what makes her awesome. Although it would be nice if she could be awesome and get a better grip on life.

Meanwhile, here's the Rednecks Three sneaking up on the vampires' house (this is vastly less difficult in broad daylight), and I think some of my confusion over who/what/where Terry the War Vet is comes from the fact that I keep confusing him with one of the rednecks who looks kind of similar (the one who sets his own arm on fire, actually). So the Rednecks Three lob jars of homemade napalm into the house and it pretty immediately goes up in flames and you can hear all the vampires inside screaming as they burn to death--and they can't escape, because daylight isn't any better (well, maybe it is--more on that in the next episode). I'm a little sorry about Red (who was funny) and Foxy (who was fierce); not so much about Sexxor the Bald (who was... humpy).

So then Detective Andy and his cousin War Vet Terry are out on the bayou fishing on their boat and Andy's reminiscing about how this is just like the good old days when they were kids (and I gotta tell you here, I was struck with a sudden stab of fear that he was about to reel in Uncle Bartlett's body), but suddenly Terry raises his fist and then points from his eyes to the shore, you know, like he's on a covert op or something, and Andy looks over and... there goes Sam running past. Completely naked (NSFW). "That was Sam Merlotte!" yelps Andy. "Yup," says Terry. "I done that before." I have so many questions, y'all. And most of them don't even have anything to do with Sam's bare-assedness, because I am knowledgeable in the ways of fursplosion. No, what I can't figure out is what Sam was even doing out there by the lake or what he's running from. And he's definitely running from something, because he keeps looking back over his shoulder. Whatever it is, we're not going to find out in this episode, either.

And then Detective Andy gets a call on his cell (his ringtone: the theme from Hawaii Five-O ): "Aw, shit."

Sookie's gone back to Bill's house, but he's not in his hidey-hole. Woe. So she curls up on his nice velvet sofa to wait for him to come back (...eventually?) but she's awakened by... the sound of sirens. Uh oh.

The Three's house is a gutted, smoking heap by the time Sookie drives up. ("Now we know one way to get rid of 'em," the Sheriff is muttering to one of the firemen.) "Special of the day, country-fried vampire," says one of the paramedics, and the other says, "This'll take the heat off of them having to find out who's killing those women." Um, so you're just going to blame the dead vampires until someone else gets killed, and then you're fucked? So Sookie comes running up in a panic, shoving everyone out of the way, and of course they've hauled four coffins out of the smoldering ruins. You know, because anyone could die and no one is safe. OH WHATEVER, SHOW, LIKE I'M SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE BILL IS DEAD. At this point, the only real questions are 1) how soon he'll come back, 2) how he'll come back, and 3) whether Sookie will do anything stupid like hook up with Sam or try to throw herself off cliffs while she thinks he's dead. And that's assuming you didn't watch the preview for the next week and get totally spoiled.


(To be continued.)

(All True Blood recaps.)


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