Shiny Unhappy People: True Blood, “In The Beginning”

We saw a lot of familiar faces on True Blood tonight, old friends and not-so-loved ones, ancient vampire goddesses and brujo spirits. Sookie learned something about herself and we, the audience, were treated to some vintage Sam investigative techniques and the final nail in Hoyt’s character.

The episode would’ve been tighter than Alcide’s bandana, if not for all of the vampires.

This was a good night for character moments big and small, something that True Blood can do well when it wants too. I wouldn’t be sticking with this show through the ornery parts if I wasn’t invested in the people of Bon Temps. Well, most of the people of Bon Temps.

SOOKIE
Our favorite occasional tavern wench got some interesting news: her magical abilities are finite and will diminish if she doesn’t control them soon. So naturally she stands outside her house and tries to use it all up. Were the fairies telling the truth or is there some way to mystically charge Sookie like an iPhone? Most superheroes seem to go through this choice and as a mere mortal, I have to wonder for a minute if they’re freaking nuts. Who doesn’t want superpowers? Sure, the downsides are being a pawn in dangerous supernatural wars and your love life basically sucks. But it’s not monotonous. Being normal is overrated. But it’s the one thing Sookie thinks she wants. I hope she comes to accept who she really is on her own, not with the help of some insanely hot man.

Bonus points to this week’s episode for more Jason and Sookie interaction. Jason is such a great guy. Most of the time. When he’s not shooting his kinda-girlfriend in the head, I guess? That fight… escalated quickly.

SAM and HOYT
Good boy, Sam! He’s certainly doing a good job sniffing out the shooters, who are just the assholes we expected. What I had a hard time believing, however, was that this repugnant, ignorant hate group would see Hoyt getting his neck sucked in an alley by a male vampire and not kick his ass for a) being a fangbanger or b) maybe being gay. Vampire bites are mostly inherently sexual on some level and I was a bit surprised to see a straight frat boy like Hoyt getting bit by a man. So why would these super-phobic guys let him into the fold without any issue?

If I was hating Hoyt in his Hot Topic-designed angst phase, I’m really not enjoying him as so vehemently anti-vampire as to consider murdering them, including the woman he still probably loves. Unless he really doesn’t love Jessica anymore and the show is turning him into a villain. If it’s the latter, I hope they kill him off because I have no more sympathy left for this jerk.

But who (or what) is the Dragon?

ALCIDE
What. The. Hell. Karate Kid bandana. Even those abs couldn’t distract much from the bad accessorizing. Much. Glad that Martha finally sees JD for who he is and can focus on being a good grandmother. She’s a tough old broad. She should be training Alcide to fight.

LAFAYETTE
Oh man, poor Lala can’t catch a break. How’s he supposed to make snappy retorts when his lips are sewn shut? Why is he getting tortured again? Out of all of the special cameos tonight, Jesus’ grandfather was the scariest. Can Lafayette save himself just once? He seems like such a strong guy. Let him be strong again.

ARLENE
I actually was surprised to find myself enjoying Arlene’s wedding video. It reminded me of something you’d see on Six Feet Under. In fact, it was exactly something that happened on Ball’s first HBO show. Just a nice little snapshot of people during better times, or people pretending to be having a happy time. Little moments of tenderness, full of meaning in hindsight.

BILL and ERIC
Oh, this Authority story feels so all over the map in tone. But now things are becoming clear. Bill and Eric are very pretty, not very smart. But they finally put it together that Salome was the mastermind behind freeing Russell and staging the coup. I’m sorry, but Nora never seemed clever enough to pull something like that off.

But you know who’s clever? Alan Ball. He teased interviews that Russell would fall in love with someone who saved him, but I wasn’t expecting him to mean it so literally. Is anyone buying this transformation? Can’t wait to see the great plan behind this act. Loved the slo-mo walk down Bourbon Street (Bill riding on Eric’s shoulders! Russell in a Heisenberg disguise!) but hated that all Lilith’s blood seemed to do was turn the vampires into a bunch of surly drunks. Oh, scary. But the Emmy’s have certainly given Denis O’Hare accolades for the wrong show. That karaoke scene was gold.

The ending was just so over the top and self-aware and exemplified everything right and wrong about this show. Goofy special effects, boobs, gore, and way-dramatic cliffhanger music for an ending that didn’t exactly scream “Tune in next week to see more vampires on bath salts!” But we got to see Jedi-ghost-Godric! Seem’s Eric’s old master broke Lilith’s spell and now it’s up to him to get his bro Bill back and stop this vampire crusade.

RANDOM MOMENTS OF AWESOME:

  • Love an episode that opens with chaos. Love that Russell stapled Eric to that pillar while still wearing his pajamas.
  • That was a ton of cameos! Retired Sheriff Dearborn was my favorite, with his mistress and his beer. Then, as mentioned, Godric. But we also got to see Jesus on the wedding video, Tara’s mother, and Maryann in a flashback.
  • “I never fucked a cow!” Classic Jason line.
  • “Never, you Bible-banging cunts.” Whoa, Eric. That was some Deadwood-worthy cussing.
  • If Tara is a better pole dancer than a bartender, I can only imagine how awful her drinks must have tasted. They have classes at the gym for that now, hooker.
  • Awkward Pam-hug.
  • “Suicide is for Muslims.” Die in a fire, Felicity guy. We’re supposed to want to see him die screaming, right?

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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