True Blood episode review: “9 Crimes”

After a two week hiatus (damn you, Independence Day!) True Blood is back with another tease of an episode that seemed like it was guest directed by Eli Roth. Spoilers ahead.

For real. What happened to all of the women on True Blood this week? Was someone trying to tell us that women are weak and can’t help themselves? I’m hoping that this is only the set-up for all of these girls to get themselves back to their former, stronger glory and beat the tar out of the men making them victims.

Let’s start with Sookie. Poor, poor Sookie. That was probably television’s harshest human-vampire breakup since season two of Buffy. Damn you, Bill. I used to like you! I defended your fuddy-duddy, recycling ways! But you betrayed Sookie and sang to Russell like a canary about Queen Sophie-Ann’s V business. Even though I hate Lorena and want her dead, it was disturbing as hell to see Bill punch a woman in the face. And her to like it.

Sookie has a pass to act like a crybaby this week. She’s understandably crushed and I get her desire to make Bill break it off in person. Whether it’s to find out if he’s lying or to kick him in the nuts. I’m leaning towards Bill playing at evil for the greater, unseen good. And if so, I haven’t seen an evil-vampire-fakeout as convincing as this since season three of Buffy.

But if anyone makes an ideal rebound, it’s Alcide. There he is, all newly-dumped and shirtless (that didn’t take long!) and pitiful. Since Sookie is kind of dumb and impulsive, I was expecting them to hook up immediately. Like when she kicked Bill out that time and kissed Sam. That kind of made me hate Sookie and her fickle ways, just a bit. But I’m glad Sookie and Alcide didn’t do the deed. Not yet. Besides, I don’t know that Alcide has a lasting chance in the face of Eric. Who was completely lovelorn and distracted in a sweet way.

So let’s add Alcide’s ex, the trashtastic Debbie Pelt to the list of damsels in distress. We’re supposed to like Alcide because he still loves Debbie, even though she got herself addicted to V and needs rescuing from her new pack of evil werewolves. And don’t get me wrong, I like Alcide. A lot. He gave Sookie some seriously sage advice on handling her breakup, even though he’s a bit of a hypocrite. But looking at the episode this way, he’s another guy saying women can’t help themselves. They’re weak. But Debbie’s a mess and I can’t wait to see her and Sookie get into many catfights.

Tara is the weakest woman of them all and I’m really hoping she finds a way to free herself from Franklin. Seeing her bitten, bound and gagged, pants-less, on the toilet, and trying to reach for her phone was way too much for me. Seriously twisted. How many times do we have to see Tara mind-raped and abused? I don’t know who Franklin is working for, but his weird obsession with Tara is making me hope she puts a stake in him quick.

Even Pam was tied up and tortured this week. Pam! She just became a cast regular! She can’t get staked! Who will make awesome, chilly one-liners? Eric’s concern for her is so parental.

Rounding out the women, we have Arlene’s pregnancy hormones making her act all overly-emotional and Jessica’s been taken in “like a stray” by Sam, Merlotte’s newest waitress. I actually liked Jessica’s scenes this week, though. I would’ve figured she’d bare her fangs at her old Bible study acquaintance. What’s she got to lose? What’s to be ashamed of? She’s a vampire now. I thought she was embracing her badass nature. It seems like a step backwards for her. Or she’s still guilty over her dead trucker.

Lastly, we have the stripper Bill procured for Russell and Lorena. This scene was a bit too reminiscent of Louis and Lestat’s power struggle in Interview with a Vampire. Bill telling Sookie he made love to Lorena in ways only two vampires can was crueler and more dramatic than watching him take a drink from a human.

I would’ve preferred the episode ending with Sookie in danger at Lou Pine’s bar, where everyone was shifting into werewolves. Even good-guy Alcide! (Was that a little homage to Thriller, when he looked at Sookie with yellow eyes and told her to run?) It felt like not a lot actually happened this week. We knew Russell was supplying V to the bad wolves. We knew Bill renounced his fealty to Sophie-Anne. We still don’t know who exactly Franklin’s working for. Sam’s family are all still jerks. The only progress is Jason is going to somehow be a cop in a storyline that’s pretty predictable thus far and Lafayette, with a little help from Eric, pushed last episode’s meth heads to sell V. I almost listed Lafayette as a another damsel in distress, but meth addicts are scarier than werewolves and that could’ve happened to anyone in that situation.

I thought people were being too hasty saying this season is moving slow, but now I’m going to say it now. Something. New. Happen.

Some things I liked:

Every scene with Lafayette. “Ring-ring, hooker.”

Alcide’s friendly sister and her horoscopes.

The look on Sam’s face when he was told that the Mickens family was grilling in the parking lot.

Sookie in full biker disguise doing shots at the bar.

What did you like about the episode? Am I being overly-sensitive in my criticism this week? Sound off in the comments.

Theresa DeLucci is a graduate of the 2008 Clarion West Writers’ Worshop. her short fiction has appeared in Chizine, Morbid Outlook, and Tear magazine. She’s also pretty excited about Johnny Lee Miller being cast in the fifth season of Dexter.


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