29 April 2010

True Blood S2 E5 "Never Let Me Go"

Spoilers Ahead

There are three major storylines going on in Season 2: Sookie and Bill in Dallas, Maryann in Bon Temps, and Jason at the Light of Day Institute--not to mention several subplots. It's amazing they can fit all this into a mere 12 episodes. Not only that, but they do it all extremely well. If TV were to suddenly disappear tomorrow, True Blood is the only show I'd miss (well, maybe that and Hoarders). Okay, on to the episode...

Bill and Sookie in Dallas

Between Sookie and Jessica, Bill's got his hands full. Although Jessica barely tolerates being told what to do, Sookie won't stand for it at all. The thing is, Bill is terrified she's going to end up hurt or dead. He's less than impressed that she told fellow telepath Barry about her ability (to be fair, she didn't exactly tell him), claiming that the more people know what she can do, the harder it'll be for him to protect her. She doesn't think it's an issue, but she does promise she won't do anything stupid. And, of course, she does. Despite her assurances that she'd take extra care around the Dallas vamps, it doesn't take her long to offer to infiltrate the Fellowship of the Sun for them, to see if she can find out anything about Godric. Bill is completely opposed, arguing that none of them can help her during the day, but Eric insists she go ahead. When Bill presses Eric about why he cares so much about Godric, we get a flashback to when Eric was still human, dying of battle wounds. Suddenly a teenage boy appears. He calls himself Death but offers Eric eternal life. Godric is Eric's maker.

I have to say, I really liked the flashback. Eric actually had a sense of humour at one time, and a personality, and he showed some emotion! Actually, he is pretty emotional throughout "Never Let Me Go," which is probably why I actually kind of like his character for the first time. And I loved Godric. From the way he was introduced to his gorgeous tattoos and awesome hair. What can I say--I'm a sucker for cute Celts.

Bill's quite the hottie himself this episode. Lying pale and shirtless in bed, with red-rimmed eyes, and looking all wounded and sad. I particularly liked the way he holds his mouth, as though the fangs are there even though they're not showing. Where do I get me one of those? Anyway, Sookie promises Bill he will never lose her (which in TV land means it'll happen soon), and then his worries and stress are assuaged as she initiates lots and lots of sex. It would all be pretty sweet if Bill's maker (Lorena) didn't suddenly show up, striding down the hotel hallway before stopping outside Bill and Sookie's room and showing her fangs. Just what they needed.

Maryann in Bon Temps

The morning after Tara's big birthday bash last episode she's surprised to find that Maryann and Karl are still at Sookie's. Tara's even more surprised when Maryann tells her they're planning on staying (apparently the last house they were staying at belonged to one of Maryann's "clients," and he's back so they're homeless). Tara at least has sense enough to tell Maryann she can't stay. Maryann's not happy about it. But after a lecture by Eggs about what family is, and then a really bad night at Merlotte's (secretly instigated by Maryann), Tara's resolve is on shaky ground. And when she gets back to Sookie's and finds Maryann looking distinctly grandmotherly (not at all unlike Sookie's Gran, who was the closest person to a mother that Tara ever had), Tara practically begs Maryann to stay.

We're no further along in the "what the heck is Maryann" mystery, but she's clearly manipulative and vengeful. And don't forget the magics and the Minotaur alter-ego. Whatever she is Maryann is up to no good, and Tara is following blindly.

Jason at the Light of Day Institute

Speaking of following blindly, Jason's well ensconced in his newfound anti-vampire fanaticism. He acquits himself so well during the Soldiers of God "boot camp" (showing up Luke yet again, and then offering a Nazi-like salute as he praises God's light) that he's rewarded by both Steve and Sarah Newlin. Reverend Steve tells Jason he's rising to the next level, before taking him to the Light of Day Institute Research and Development department: a roomful of weapons. Steve tells Jason that the Institute is trying to find all possible ways to kill vampires, and so far they've armed themselves with wooden arrows, both wooden and silver bullets, silver bullets with holy water (if they'd bothered to ask any friendly vampire, they would have known holy water doesn't do anything), silver throwing stars in the shape of crosses (crosses also not an issue for vampires), a flamethrower, and a guillotine (on order). Both Jason and Steve are like kids in a toy store. Sarah's reward *ahem* comes later, while Jason's taking a bath. After rambling on about Mary Magdalene and God wanting Jason to feel joy, she overcomes his minimal resistance and pleasures him manually (I can't believe I just wrote that, but I've got to keep this blog at least somewhat respectable). I guess the preacher's wife really was looking for something on the side.

This episode offers us the first glimpse of cracks in the Newlins' shiny happy facade. Before Sarah's indiscretion with Jason, he walks in on her and Steve arguing about how Steve is shutting his wife out of things she should know about. She warns Steve that she doesn't approve of what he's doing and tells him he's taking it too far. Steve then goes off with Jason, telling Sarah there's no reason for her to join them. After that, Steve cracks a few jokes about how he can see how some people think divorce is acceptable, and how he's stuck with his wife whether he wants her or not. Guess the honeymoon's over, although I doubt anyone is really surprised.

Subplots

Sam and Daphne: The episode starts off just after the end of the previous one. After Daphne tells Sam she knows what he is, they go for a walk into the woods. Sam tries to pretend he doesn't know what she's talking about, but she's not buying it. She's also stripping as they walk, and the next thing he knows she's turned into a doe. Sam is absolutely shocked. I'm not sure why his reaction is so extreme--he had to know there were other shapeshifters out there (although he apparently had never met one). It doesn't take long for him to realize the advantages of the situation, not to mention how good it is not to be alone. They end up being interrupted by Terry and Arlene (themselves under the effect of Maryann's influence at Tara's birthday party) and Daphne takes off. The next night, after Merlotte's has closed and only Sam and Daphne are left, they finally get a chance to bond. On the pool table, no less. And bonus points for turning an innocent conversation into foreplay! It looks like Sam is finally catching a break in love.

Sookie and Barry the Bellhop: Sookie spends the episode following Barry around and trying to convince him that they need to talk about their mutual gift. He wants nothing to do with her or his so-called gift (he considers it a curse). He does admit that he can't be glamoured (he fakes it), he can't hear the thoughts of vampires, and that he's never met another telepath. But mostly he doesn't even want to acknowledge what he is, much less talk about it. He doesn't even want her help in teaching him how to shut out others' thoughts to keep from being overwhelmed. He begs her not to tell anyone about him and takes off. By the end of the episode, he's quit and left the hotel. But it seems unlikely that that's the last of Barry.

Jessica and Hoyt: After being banished to her room, Jessica decides to look up Hoyt's number and call him. She's worried he's forgotten who she is, but not only has he not forgotten, he's thrilled to hear from her. Aside from being briefly interrupted by his mother--who wants to know what kind of indecent girl would be calling so late--they spend the night on the phone, talking about Hoyt's comic books and watching TV together. I think these two are beyond cute together. I hope it works out for those crazy kids!

Tara and Eggs: Their relationship is rapidly progressing; if they're not in love yet, they soon will be. She tells him this was the only good birthday she ever had, and it was because of him. He promises it's the first of many. Tara still doesn't completely trust him, but she's getting there. I'm still wondering if Eggs might be a little too good to be true.

Lafayette: Lafayette shows up at Merlotte's, much to the delight of Arlene and Terry. Sam's not quite as pleased to see him, and tells him as much in the privacy of the office. But Sam quickly relents when Lafayette asks for his job back, admitting the place isn't the same without him. It's pretty obvious that Lafayette's not the same as he once was, either. He looks like his old self, right down to the eyeliner, but he's quiet and withdrawn, almost shrinking away from human contact. He doesn't say anything when Sam asks him what happened. I think this storyline is fantastic. I've lost track of how many times I've seen characters on other shows go through horrific and traumatic experiences, and then are fine within a couple of episodes (if not by the end of the original episode). That's just unrealistic, not to mention lazy. True Blood writers and producers clearly know what they're doing. And you just know it's going to get worse before it gets better for Lafayette.

Possible future storyline: Bill mentions in passing the vampires' "international political agenda." Could be interesting...

The show actually ends with Lorena's appearance and a cut to the credits and the titular song by Katie Webster. The appearance of Bill's maker is especially troubling, and I can't help worrying about how she's going to affect things between Sookie and Bill (she's the ultimate 'other woman'--one that never goes away). The choice of song only emphasizes the trouble that's imminent. Looking back, "Never Let Me Go" is all about relationships, true love, and family. Built on a foundation of sand (not that we get to see that quite yet, but we know it's on its way). The next few episodes are bound to be illuminating.

In Season 3 news, click here to go to HBO's 12 collectible promo posters (new one each week, leading up to the season premiere). Or, if HBO doesn't cooperate with your computer, as it doesn't with mine, click here to see the posters as they're released. Enjoy...

Fang Files

Appearance: Pale humans with red-rimmed eyes and snakelike fangs that descend at will.

Strengths: Super speed, super strength. Ability to glamour humans.

Weaknesses: Sunlight, silver, stakes. Compelled to do as their maker tells them.

Mythology: Vampire society is hierarchical, with territories ruled by Sheriffs, as well as Kings and Queens. What humans refer to as vampires "coming out of the coffin" (when they revealed their existence to human society), vampires call the "Great Revelation."

Sound Bites

Barry: Dallas vamps are serious and scary as shit.
Sookie: Mine are too, thank you very much. I had to learn pretty quick how to handle myself around them.
Barry: If they knew what we could do, they'd suck us dry.
Sookie: They'd do worse than that--you think I don't know?

Jessica: [After being told by Bill she's only to have Tru Blood] You are going to be so sorry when I get an eating disorder!

Jason: [Woken by the sound of an air-horn blast] God--
Gabe: God--that's right. Rise and shine for God!

Bill: Well, here I am, responsible for you and Jessica, and yet no decisions are mine. And it makes me feel...
Sookie: Like a human?
Bill: Like a waitress.

Bill: What we need is a plan.
Vampire Stan: I have a plan.
Vampire Isabel: It's not a plan; it's a movie.
Vampire Stan: It's not a movie. It's a war.
Eric: Idiots.

Sam: [on pool table with Daphne] Well, are you going to say it or should I?
Daphne: Say what?
Sam: Nice rack.
Daphne: Nice balls.

True Blood, Season 2 Episode 5 "Never Let Me Go." Written by Nancy Oliver. Directed by John Dahl. From HBO.

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