11 December 2009

True Blood, S1 E10 "I Don't Wanna Know"

Spoilers Ahead

Every time I watch an episode of True Blood, it's like returning to the embrace of a group of kindred--but twisted--spirits. I mean that in the best possible way, of course. Even if some of the kindred spirits are dumbasses.

"I Don't Wanna Know" starts where "Plaisir D'Amour" left off--with Sookie coming to the realization that Sam is in bed with her, minus his clothing. A moment later she proves herself to be dumbass number one. Despite having fallen asleep with the dog at her feet--the dog that seems strangely protective of her and which also seems to understand everything she says--and waking up with Sam in the exact same spot as the dog was, Sookie doesn't even remotely clue in that they're the same being. Instead she believes he's the killer (never mind that on top of everything else, she spent the night with him and yet wakes up in one piece). She runs into the bathroom, prepared to defend herself with a loofah, and only understands what's really going on when the dog comes in and turns into Sam as she watches.

Sookie doesn't redeem herself when, after Sam tells her about being a shapeshifter (flashing back to being abandoned by his adoptive family after they found out), she gets angry at Sam for never having told her any of this before. Ostensibly she's upset that he's hiding who he really is, but she seems more disgusted by the fact that they made out and that Sam would have taken it further without telling her his secret (and has taken it further with Tara). You'd think a telepath with a vampire boyfriend would be more understanding, but apparently Sookie isn't above being judgmental and narrow minded.

Speaking of Tara, she's our next dumbass. She starts off undergoing the exorcism with Miss Jeanette, although that's not what qualifies her for dumbass status. The exorcism, like the one her mom underwent, is actually completely convincing and fairly frightening. It culminates with Tara stabbing and killing the "demon," which has taken the form of herself as a child (only with all-black eyes and a tendency to flicker and buzz). Although the vision disappears when she stabs it, the knife she uses comes away dripping with blood. Freaky.

The exorcism leads the next morning to a joyous celebration between mother and daughter, followed by Lettie Mae overindulging in a celebratory breakfast of "mudbugs" (crawfish). When Tara stops in at a drugstore to pick up some Pepto, she discovers the clerk is actually Miss Jeanette--the same Miss Jeanette who claims to live in seclusion in the middle of nowhere, and who seems to have lost her prominent limp, although she's gained glasses and hair. It turns out the exorcist is a huge fraud just trying to support her family. Tara's experiences the night before were induced by ipecac and a touch of peyote. Tara is disgusted and infuriated, despite Miss Jeanette's assertions that just because the exorcisms aren't real doesn't mean they don't work. So how does the daughter of an alcoholic deal with her anger and disappointment? By getting drunk, alienating Sookie, ruining her relationship with Sam, and driving in tears at high speed before crashing into a field (the last part wasn't strictly her fault--she was distracted by the naked woman and accompanying pig in the middle of the road).

Next dumbass: Jason. The so-called love of his life, Amy, consistently proves herself to be self-righteous, cruel, and condescending. Although she does a decent job of hiding that side of herself from him, he chooses to repeatedly ignore kidnapped vampire Eddie's warnings that Amy is not who she seems. He also chooses not to believe Eddie when he says Amy will eventually kill him. Jason even buys Amy's plan (hatched after she finds out Jason has been feeding Eddie) to make Eddie love them (with a little help from Stockholm Syndrome) and keep him as a pet. You just want to smack him until he smartens up. And Lafayette pretty much does. Realizing that Jason had something to do with Eddie's disappearance, Lafayette confronts Jason, telling him he's not going to be the next dead body piled up around him. This seems to get through to Jason and he rushes home to free Eddie. Amy argues with him and begs him not to do it but when Jason doesn't listen to her, she stakes Eddie. Jason is the only one surprised.

Bill is absent for most of the episode, although we do get to see him at the vampire tribunal. We get a sense of vampire justice when we watch one having his fangs ripped out by the root for feeding on another vampire's human. Three months of starvation until they grow back is his punishment (I guess being stuck drinking only Tru Blood is tantamount to starvation). Once again we are reminded of how different Bill is from other vampires. The ones at the tribunal are cold, animalistic, and not exactly sympathetic to humans. In other words, true monsters. And Bill is going to be judged by them. The sentence for killing a vampire involves being locked in a coffin bound by silver for five years (the vampire emerges leathery, starved, and usually insane), but because Long Shadow was stealing from Eric (Sheriff of Area 5) and because Bill didn't bore the Magister, he gets a more creative sentence: he has to turn an unwilling teenage girl (played by Deborah Ann Woll) into a vampire. Bill is a dumbass for having got himself into this position in the first place (I mean, was killing Long Shadow really his only option?) Not even allowed to glamour the panicking girl, Bill is given no other choice. He bites her, and from his reaction doesn't seem to hate it all that much (the girl, meanwhile, calls out for her mommy).

Sookie and Sam do end up putting aside their differences when Sookie is trapped and attacked by the killer in the empty bar (everyone is outside at Arlene and Rene's engagement party). As she tries to get away she keeps getting flashes of his thoughts, mostly of an unknown girl he strangles and kills). When Sam comes in the killer takes off; Sookie won't let Sam go after him because she doesn't want to be alone (another dumbass move, but understandable this time). As the season winds down, there's still a hell of a lot going on. You'll never get bored with True Blood.

Other notes of interest:

When Sam is telling Sookie about being a shapeshifter, he mentions that he needs to see an animal first in order to shift into that form (so there is a real dog, which is why we've seen Sam and the dog at the same time). He also claims he can't control the shift during the full moon, but when Sookie suggests he's like a werewolf, he snaps that werewolves are dangerous, nasty creatures. He also claims there are all sorts of other creatures out in the world--some that Sookie's never even imagined. Can't wait to see where that goes!

Way back in Episode 5 "Sparks Fly Out" Bill reacted to hearing that Andy's last name was Bellefleur. Nothing else was ever made of that, although I now have a theory about it. In "I Don't Wanna Know" Terry Bellefleur mentions that the Bellefleur women have been debutantes since before the Civil War. My theory is that Bill's wife was a Bellefleur. We'll see, but I'm hoping to find out for sure.

Fang Files

Appearance: Pale humans with snake-like fangs that descend at will. Staked vampires briefly have prominent dark veins before collapsing into a pool of viscous blood.

Strengths: Glamouring (hypnotizing), healing.

Weaknesses: Silver, stakes. A starving vampire wastes away and often goes insane.

Mythology: Vampires have a well-ordered, hierarchical society with a (scary) justice system of their own. Most vampires think humans only exist to serve them and have no innate value; they view Bill the way Texas cattle ranchers view members of PeTA.

Sound Bites

Sam: I'm not the killer. I'm a shapeshifter.
Sookie: Shut the fuck up.

Amy: (furiously responding to Eddie implying that she's not a good person) I am an organic vegan and my carbon footprint is minuscule!

Eddie: If I die here Jason will never forgive you, even if he wanted to. He's not as evolved as you are.
Amy: I know.

Magister: (to Bill) You murdered a higher life form for the sake of your pet.

True Blood, Season1 Episode 10 "I Don't Wanna Know." Written by Chris Offult and Charlaine Harris. Directed by Scott Winant. From HBO.

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