Toughen Up, Tara: True Blood, “Whatever I Am, You Made Me”

True Blood, please stop teasing me with promises of Russell Edgington and not delivering. You need to give it up to get my premium cable subscription money, hookers. If he doesn’t show up by July 15th, I’m permanently dedicating my Sunday nights to Breaking Bad alone.

In lieu of Russell, we got to see Tara come out to her coworkers, the vampire mainstream movement getting a new figurehead, and Jason’s not-so-hot for teacher. You know it’s a wheel-spinning kind of episode when Sookie provides the most highlights. There were also some laughs, like Sam literally thinking that Sookie’s boobs provided a safer thought than hiding Tara in the freezer Also: Mac! From Veronica Mars, not Predator. Just to be clear.

As many suspected, Steve Newlin is a really influential vampire with a highly desirable audience for an Authority looking to present a more family-friendly vampire movement. Loved the blocking on the scene with Steve standing before the chancellors. The round overhead lamp looked like a glowing halo. And Steve seems awfully sure that Elvis is dead for a vampire that’s only been on the scene a few months. I haven’t read the Sookie Stakehouse novels, but even I know about Bubba.

It’s a little sad how little I care about Bill and Eric. I just can’t believe for a second that they’re getting iStaked any time soon. And even if there was a chance, I’m not feeling this forced buddy cop turn in their relationship right now. Why are they still hanging around the Authority’s lair with Russell on the loose? I think the idea of Salome is more intriguing than her execution. Bill and Eric are on the rebound after being dumped by Sookie. Any girl will do. I just didn’t get how Salome was some master manipulator by sleeping with them both and somehow knowing they were not Sanguinistas. But Christopher Meloni is captivating as Roman. He seems to be so pro-mainstream, he’s got to be the leader of the Sanguinistas, right? It’d be kind of boring if he wanted what he says he wants. Am I missing something?

Of course, Mac from Veronica Mars as the Authority’s gadget expert would be a bright spot in the Authority storyline. Wish she could go with Eric and Bill.

Back in Bon Temps, we see the world through a newborn vampire’s eyes. It’s pretty damn sparkly and cool. I think Tara’s going to come around to liking it eventually. She’d really better because it’s extremely annoying watching Tara try to commit suicide again. Toughen up, hooker. Why does everything turn her into a heap?

This episode was largely about maker-child relationships. We learned something very pivotal about Pam’s history with Eric. He never wanted to make her. Is that why it’s so easy for him to be distant from her? To keep Nora a secret? Because Pam forced his hand all those years ago? Of course Pam has a tragic story underneath all that ice. When she describes what mortality holds for a woman in her position in 1905, you can’t blame her. In fact, good for her for taking charge of her destiny. Pretty sure Pam is going to high-tail it to the tanning salon to save Tara. I hope Pam will impart some “suck it up”-style wisdom in her own inimitable way. Maybe she can build something with Tara that fills the Eric-shaped hole in her heart.

The flashbacks are more interesting than the present-day show. Enjoyed the surprise appearance by Bill and Lorena. My, how far Bill and Eric have come since their first meeting. And by that, I mean that now they make me yawn.

I like this new Sookie. She doesn’t need Bill or Eric to make everything in her life a mess. She’s doing a bang-up job on her own. Killing Debbie, turning Tara, lying to Alcide. Good on Tara for calling out Sookie on her boy-crazy bullshit that kept her from telling Alcide the truth about his ex. Sookie wants to look cute to everyone. Is it any surprise a lot of people don’t take her seriously. (I think Pam might take Sookie a bit more seriously now, thanks to her encounter in Fangtasia.)

My favorite Joe Manganiello performance this week isn’t True Blood — though he was really great at expressing Alcide’s betrayal and fighting to keep his wolf temper under control — or his stripping in Magic Mike, but this clip from The Soup where he lets pop legend Kylie Minogue eat Doritos off his stomach.  Also on The Soup this week: Fox News anchor Shepard Smith would rather talk True Blood than Lance Armstrong. I seriously love The Soup because it watches Fox News for the good bits so I never, ever have to.

Then there’s Jason still having a crisis of conscience about his promiscuity. Okay, we got that last week. Move on. Take Hoyt with you. Sorry, Hoyt. You have to be an undefeated Dothraki warrior to pull that look off. And Andy is cute with Holly, but I just don’t need this weak comic relief in my True Blood on top of everything else. Grumpy blogger is grumpy.

It’s been two weeks since something fucked up’s happened to Lafayette, so right on cue, it’s time for the reappearance of rubber demon mask. Grumpy blogger is even grumpier.

Terry and Arlene fridge run report: Trader Joe’s Vegetable Pakoras are awesome if you like eating crunchy, spicy things.

And Jessica smelled a delicious and cute guy. Is he a fairy? The music that played during her chase was similar to Andy’s theme. Coincidence? Do fairies even smell awesome or it is just their blood that tastes so great? No one smells fairy on Sookie. So what kind of supernatural being is mystery dude? Maybe he’s a unicorn in disguise. You just never know with True Blood.

True Blood airs Sundays at 9PM E/PT on HBO.


Theresa DeLucci is a regular contributor to Tor.com. She covers True Blood, Game of Thrones, and is also an avid gamer. She has also covered tech and TV for Geektress.com and Action Flick Chick. Follower her on Twitter @tdelucci

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