Aug 12 2010 1:31pm

True Blood episode review: “Night on the Sun”

So apparently there was a new episode on Sunday. Don’t trust TV Guide listings. So this felt like bonus True Blood to me! There were reunions and breakups and breakups mid-union. And there was lots of sexual tension, not all of it welcome. Debbie and Eric made different opening moves on their quests for vengeance. And Arlene hired Jack Nicholson in drag over at Merlotte’s.

Spoilers after the cut.

Sookie and Bill had the shortest-lived breakup in TV history.

Of course the whole on-again/off-again routine is part of what makes the show’s drama quotient so high, but I really thought they were done after that teary goodbye. Bill and Sookie both made very compelling arguments for why they love each other but could never work as a couple. On a good day, even if your vampire intended wasn’t wanted by the King of Mississippi (and Louisiana!) for treason, there’s still all those other ethical and logical problems to think about. Sookie handled the whole thing maturely, realistically, reverting back to her pre-Bill self as a comfort. I had forgotten how much Sookie liked to sunbathe. I don’t know how much input Alan Ball has on individual scripts, but Sookie and Tara sharing a moment on the lawn seemed like a touching reaction to loss that Ball handled so beautifully in Six Feet Under. I was completely convinced this breakup would stick. For a few episodes at least.

Let’s focus on good, sexy vibes: the hug Alcide gave Sookie was hotter than a hug had any right to be. All of the could’ve-been was contained in that embrace. I feel like Sookie from the first season would’ve slept with Alcide by now as a rebound. Maybe she’s grown. But clearly not enough to realize that werewolves have lifestyles much more conducive to relationships with sun-tanning humans. Dog-men are superior to vampires in almost every way. Alcide better not stray far.

With were-bitch Debbie still not dead yet, I’m sure he won’t. That was most definitely the girlfight I was hoping for. Down and dirty, hair-pulling, face-cutting, scratching. Sookie is way too nice—I would’ve shot Debbie as soon as she kicked in my door. I wonder if Debbie can ever be redeemed. I think she’s too far gone and hurt Alcide too much for him to let her live. Maybe. Alcide is such a sad sack, I bet he’s still holding out for the girl he fell in love with to reappear.

Reappearing as predicted, Franklin is now starring in Tara’s unbidden sex dreams. She can’t catch a break. But, damn, I’m still liking her now that she doesn’t want to die. When she kills Franklin (you know justice is coming) and the hold he has over her is gone, I hope Tara will be rewarded with a happy relationship. Kind of like the one Lafayette is building with Jesus. I’m glad they’ve kissed and made up. But I’m wondering when the vampires and witches will come for Merlotte’s favorite cook?

I’m guessing sooner than Lafayette’s mama foretold because I believe Arlene just hired a witch. Stupid Arlene. Holly has waitressed on Seinfeld and been a stripper on Arrested Development, so she’s got experience with serving food and nudity. That seems to be the job skills for Merlotte’s. Holly’s also got a seriously terrifying set of eyebrows. Combined with the high forehead, she reminds me of a demon out of an Aphex Twin video. No good can come of this. 

Lastly, there was Eric. Eric is a terrible faker. I can buy that Russell is so self-important he would just eat up Eric’s praise, to a point. But Eric is so obviously not trustworthy. I love homoerotic male vampires as much as the next girl, but I thought Eric could fake a little more passion for Talbot. Talbot is the true Vampire Queen of Mississippi; no wonder Sophie-Ann was put in Russell’s closet.

Rest in piece Talbot.

So what will happen when Russell finds out that Eric killed his spouse? Is it easier to take Russell down now that most of his werewolves are dead?

Things I liked:

  • Bill starts acting like a maker at last and gives Jessica fighting pointers. Basically every scene with Jessica was a win this week.
  • Talbot: “I’m bored. Take off your clothes.”
  • Alcide snarling after Sookie’s scream woke him up.
  • The hint of badness to come when we see Sam learn that Tommy may not play so well with others. Finally, this storyline may pick up!

Things I liked less:

  • The people behind True Blood thinking anyone could entertain the thought of Jason actually killing Bill this week. Or ever. There’s no suspense there and no amount of Rambo-esque locking and loading montages will create it.
  • Jason is still boring. Discuss.

Theresa DeLucci is a graduate of the 2008 Clarion West Writers’ Worshop. her short fiction has appeared in Chizine, Morbid Outlook, and Tear magazine.

1. esotaria
Agreed on pretty much all counts, although I will say Bill and Sookie may not REALLY be back together. Exes sometimes do dumb things -- like have sex. Especially after a fight for your lives. I'm really, really hoping next week we'll see them wake up and go: "Fuck. We can't do that again. That was a bad idea."

But my biggest fear right now is that Jesus will somehow turn out to be evil. I need Lafayette to be happy, damn it!
2. sofrina
this show is like "doctor who." it works best when everyone plays their character to the hilt. on the bill-sookie-eric-tara side of things, that's exactly what we got and it was fabulous. king russell the campy, debbie the bitter, bill the wounded gentleman, jessica the naive, sookie the stubborn... i'd extend that to lafayette's storyline as well.

let's not forget jason running afoul of the local wolfpack. now they've met him they can sniff right up to his doorstep and get crazy. whatever that guy was eating in the barn... what surprises me is that erik intimated they were inbred but he gave no indication they were wolves - and they weren't initially afraid of erik.

russell still has plenty of wolves. remember how full that bar was. only a handful have died in this adventure. and he might call in some from out of town. or worse, recruit the local drug dealing pack.

QUESTION: why was eric bleeding from the nose and ear when he cornered hadley in the hallway?
Lindsey Turnbow
3. Obi
Eric was bleeding because it was daytime, and that seems to be what vampires do when they stay up past their bedtimes.
4. MarianMoore
I am watching TRUE BLOOD, but now I am comparing it to BEING HUMAN on BBCAmerica.  More and more, True Blood is feeling like soft porn to me.  There is no one that I like other than Lafayette and Jesus.  I'd take Mitchell over Erik or Bill anyday.
Stacy Hague-Hill
5. shh
I liked Sookie and Tara in the sun, actually talking to each other. But the whole time I was also sitting there thinking about how Book Sookie would never have let Gran’s house stay in that gross state while she tanned, so it felt a little weird to me (even as a character’s self-indulgence, even as a house-not-in-order metaphor). Book Sookie would be out there hosing the siding down, at least. I know there’s a gap between the characters at this point, but it was still jarring.

That was also the saddest scrapbook in the world.

Oh, Jason & his washed brain. If only it had come out cleaner, but it’s just all clogged up with more fuzz (aaaand that’s enough of that metaphor). He’s actually claiming to be a cop (er, Hot Fuzz?) outright, now? I mean, as a story I like how he’s searching for identity and glomming on to familiar roles as a means to try and re-figure out who he is and how to be in the world (and the occasional oddball parallels between his storyline and Tara’s jump out and fascinate me once in a while), but he’s just making more and more of a mess. And it’s been slow to watch.

I hope Eric has a plan. I have no idea what that plan could possibly be. Russell is three times his age, and I have a feeling the absence of werewolves won’t make a difference if he really goes after Eric. (Who is totally a horrendous faker. I see that Skarsgard is playing a character playing a role, but I also wonder how Eric could have lived for 1000 years if he’s that bad at creating and maintaining a facade?)

I tend to like the show a lot more than the books, but I don’t like Show Calvin Norris. Book Calvin was not the kind of dude who would have anything to do with meth, let his family have anything to do with meth, or even walk into Merlotte’s and spit on the floor. But depending upon where they are taking it, the Hotshot arc maybe needs more of an edge than it had in the books?

So glad to see Jessica back. I was in giggle fits over: “NO. WAY!” “Way.”

Tommy calling himself Tommy Merlotte was surprising, though not that he started something with Hoyt and everyone else who came into the bar. Having Tommy around is not going to end well for Sam, is it?

@sofrina: Eric’s ear and nose blood was because of the bleeds, which was I think introduced in season 2. It’s a thing that happens to vampires when they push it and try to stay awake past dawn, even if they’re in shelter.
Theresa DeLucci
6. theresa_delucci
God, if my nose and ears bled every time I stayed up past my bedtime, I'd be so screwed.

I've been hearing a lot of good things about Being Human and want to catch up on it. I caught an episode over the weekend and it seemed interesting. But I don't mind the sex in True Blood. Years of HBO viewership have made me expect it. Spartacus on Starz is even more graphic.

I cut out some of my complaining about Jason this week. I actually miss the Fellowship of the Sun. Jason just had a stronger conflict when that was going on. He's stepping into caricature territory now.

Yeah, I don't know what Eric has planned for Russell. How much can he take away? Russell already started a war with the Authority, so it's not like they're a threat. Eric killed his husband and that's going to make him mad, but he doesn't seem like the kind of guy who doesn't have contingency plans for protecting 3000 years of wealth and power. I don't think the death of Talbot will make him more emotionally unhinged or anything. I think maybe Sophie-Anne will have to get her hands dirty. She's the next-oldest vampire around, right?

Good point about exes. And I'm also hoping Jesus isn't evil. Lafayette needs some happy after his time in Fangtasia's basement.
Ashe Armstrong
7. AsheSaoirse
I was pretty much just in full Jessica fanboy mode once I got to see her again. I pretty much agree with the review except my first reaction was "MOOOOOOOOOOOORE JESSICAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" That last scene was freaking HOT. Yes, I have issues, I know.
Stacy Hague-Hill
8. shh

I think she is? In the books she has two Anglo Saxon guards she turned herself, which means she's probably at least a few centuries older than Eric, but that she could also be roughly his contemporary. This Sophie Anne is already so different from book Sophie Anne, though, that who knows?

It's only to her benefit to help Eric, right? If they get rid of Russell, she gets her own revenge and becomes Queen of Mississippi, too.
Andrew Belmont
9. rosetintdworld
Nice analysis, Theresa.

I thought the episode was a little stop-and-go (the first 45 minutes were quite contemplative and character driven, the last 15 were insane,) but I still liked it.

Apparantly I really need to re-watch the Arlene scenes, because every review I've read online comments on the fact that she just hired a witch, but I don't remember anything remotely supernatural about that scene. Is this a book thing?

Jason: totally boring this season. Crystal is annoying; I have something against weepy, waifish tragic heroines.

Sam: Ditto. And so removed/irrelevant to everything else that's happening.

The climax: Jessica is made of awesome. I loved her Matrix-esque training scene and watching her prove herself on the werewolves. less awesome, at least in this scene. She really couldn't have just pulled the trigger? A telepath-telekinetic is really going to let painfully skinny addict just snatch a massive rifle out of her hands? Pu-lease.

Eric: SQUEE. Hehehehe. But poor, poor Talbot.

Re: Sophie-Anne. Eric demonstrates quite conclusively that he is much older than her in the previous episode. In season two, she pins him, but only because he lets her. Apparently vampire rank is not based (at least solely) on age and strength. She is still probably much older than Bill, though.
Stacy Hague-Hill
10. shh

Holly the witch is partly a book thing, but the show tipped us that something weird was going on by having her mysteriously know about Arlene's pregnancy.
Theresa DeLucci
11. theresa_delucci
Yeah, I haven't read the books. I was just guessing by the way Holly knew Arlene was pregnant. And that Lafayette's mom told him to watch out for vampires and witches the scene or two before. That was pretty clunky foreshadowing.

Also: sinister eyebrows!
12. sofrina
i dunno what the new waitress is but she has the distinction of being the worst looking female on the show next to lettie mae. what a mug.

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