03 September 2010

True Blood S3 E7 "Hitting the Ground"

Spoilers Ahead

It seems Sookie is a nummy treat. I never really thought about it before from the blood donor's perspective but it must be strange to have vampires talking about how you taste. Would you feel a sense of pride if they deemed you delicious? Would you be disappointed if they decided you were a lesser vintage? I guess it depends on whether you want to be fed on, because if not it would have to be slightly terrifying to know that you're the vampire equivalent of a coffee-toffee chiller (my personal liquid addiction--feel free to substitute your own). But Sookie isn't quite at the terrified stage yet. Besides being slightly preoccupied this episode, I don't think she's entirely caught on that her blood isn't just any old plasma. But even if she hasn't everyone else is sure getting there.

"Hitting the Ground," in fact, starts off with Lorena taking a break from biting Sookie in order to comment on just how good she tastes (under different circumstances, this would provide fantasy fodder for more than a few imaginative lonely types). Meanwhile, Bill is painfully dragging himself across the floor toward the women. Within a moment Bill has pulled Lorena down on top of himself and Sookie's got a wooden-handled garden tool at the ready. As Bill lifts Lorena high enough so that the stake won't get him too, Sookie does what every current girlfriend has probably wanted to do at one time or another to the ex. Lorena liquefies just before Bill passes out. Then the scene is somewhat ruined for me as Sookie yells stupidly for help. Does she want to attract Russell's wolves? I mean, she is capable of contacting people telepathically, isn't she? I have a pet peeve with powers that are used selectively (like when vampires wait patiently on the sidelines for their turn while one of them at a time fights the much weaker--and yet somehow repeatedly triumphant--human hunter). Ugh.

On the bright side, True Blood's opening sequence is absolutely brilliant. I know I commented on it back in my first review, but the more I watch it the more I appreciate it (and I never get tired of watching). The imagery is perfect--if you saw it and had no idea what the show was about I think you'd have a pretty good idea by the end. I also love the music ("Bad Things" by Jace Everett). It is a great song and completely suited to the show. Whoever put all this together deserves major props. Go watch the opening sequence of just about any other show and you'll know why I'm going on about this one so much.

Anyway, back to the episode. Luckily for Sookie the werewolf that shows up as she's desperately searching through what's left of Lorena for the keys to Bill's manacles is Alcide, who arrives with Tara. They're shocked by what they see and Tara asks whether Sookie's sure that Bill is dead. That's when Tara finds out that a dead vampire amounts to a stringy pool of blood. Her reaction is subtle, but you can see the flicker of dismay as she realizes that Franklin never quite reached puddle stage despite his bashed-in skull. Oops. But no time to worry now--they have to get the hell out of there.

As they're wrapping Bill in a tarp (to protect him from the sun) in walks Debbie with a gun. I'm not sure why Alcide is so attached to this skanky junkie, but he is and he tries reasoning with her, even calling her sweetheart. Of course that gets him absolutely nowhere. So Sookie distracts Debbie with--what else?--an eardrum-piercing shriek while Tara tackles her. Just as Tara is getting control of the situation Coot walks in. Coot gets angry, Coot starts charging Alcide, Coot ends up dead with a bullet between the eyes and a nasty-looking exit wound on the back of his head. (They do not sugarcoat anything on this show--even when you wish they would.) Debbie is livid and, while Sookie and Tara carry Bill to the truck, she informs Alcide that she will hunt him down. Rather than killing her he locks her into the torture room and re-joins the others. Sookie insists on riding in the back of the truck with Bill and then they're off, barely pausing even as they run over a pursuing werewolf on their way out. Alcide must really like Sookie or something (not that you can remotely tell--TV Alcide is one cranky dude; I like book Alcide a lot better).

In the back of the truck Sookie cuts herself in the most unpleasant way imaginable (with a serrated saw) and anxiously tries to get Bill to drink. Her relief and joy as he responds is quickly eclipsed by panic as Bill, not realizing what he's doing, bites down hard and starts drinking greedily. The next thing she knows Bill has flipped her over and is tearing into her neck, keeping his hand over her mouth to silence her screams (finally!) As Bill growls and basically goes feral, Sookie is clearly dying.

Some time later Alcide pulls over for a pee break and Tara decides to go check on Sookie. When there's no response to her repeated knocks Tara opens the door, heedless of the sun, and finds Bill looking dazed and Sookie looking dead. Bill finally realizes what he's done and is appropriately horrified but too late--Tara kicks him out of the truck before Alcide speeds off to the nearest hospital. Interestingly, Bill doesn't burn in the sunlight--at least not right away. But as he's about to follow the truck his skin starts smoking, so he reluctantly takes off to find shelter.

At the hospital attempts to give Sookie blood just cause her convulsions. When the doctor comes out to talk to Tara and Alcide she lets them know that not only does Sookie have no blood type but her body rejected the blood they tried to give her. She tells them they'd better call Sookie's family.

Once Jason arrives, along with Lafayette, he's completely overwhelmed and in disbelief. He says that Sookie's never even been in a hospital before, that she was even born on the dining room table. It's both sweet and sad. While they're grieving for Sookie, she's suddenly surrounded by light and waking up in some alternate reality. She's wearing a pretty white gown and there's a crystal goblet by the bed, which she picks up. Following a path of rose petals outside she's confronted by a gorgeous nature scene populated by gorgeous people frolicking about. Looks like Sookie is one of the fae! Lucky her. She meets Claudine, although they've apparently met before. She also drinks some amazing-tasting glowing water and dances about as Claudine makes ambiguous statements. That's another peeve of mine--why take two seconds to clearly state what you mean when you can speak in riddles? But I guess that wouldn't necessarily be conducive to storytelling or to the character of the fae. But really, warning Sookie not to let Bill steal her light and then disappearing? Could you vague it up a little? Oh, and Claudine also makes a cryptic remark about how the water didn't kill Sookie's parents (if it ends up being Bill that killed them I might just have to stop watching the show. Just saying).

In the hospital room Bill suddenly arrives, pissing off everyone there (and really annoying Tara, who thought he was dead) but offering the only hope Sookie's got (his blood). Jason reluctantly agrees and Bill hooks himself up to her IV. When Sookie eventually stirs and opens her eyes, obviously healed, Bill smiles at her lovingly. And she sits up and screams. Sigh.

Meanwhile, back in Bon Temps (well, technically somewhere near Bon Temps) Sam arrives at the location of the dog fights where he's met by a rifle-wielding guard disguised as a rifle-wielding guy sitting on a chair. Sam has got to be the worst liar ever (who would actually say that they've got money to burn?) so big surprise that he gets turned back at the business end of the shotgun. Sam then goes to plan B, which basically involves parking his truck in an out-of-the-way spot and shifting into a pit bull.

When Sam the pit arrives at the kennels, he's taken inside immediately (hey--it's a fightin' dog, free for the taking!) But as he's about to be placed in a cage, he shifts back to human form and knocks the guy out. Personally, I think the guy deserved a little more than such gentle treatment (he's involved in dog fights--he's scum), but whatever. Just as Tommy's fight is about to get going Sam triggers an alarm. After freeing all the dogs (who seem to understand him as he tells them to run away) Sam confronts Melinda and Joe Lee, telling them off good and proper before leaving with Tommy. As Joe Lee tries to console her, Melinda snaps through her sobs that she hates his fucking guts. I guess she's not the evil mastermind I thought she was. My bad.

In Bon Temps proper Jason has been pining after Crystal, another attraction I just don't get. He barely knows her and she doesn't seem all that interesting. Must be pure animal magnetism. He feels a lot better after Hoyt suggests he go talk to the dealer from the drug bust, now rotting in a jail cell and just full of knowledge about Crystal he could share with Jason. It turns out the dealer is Crystal's cousin (and why do I suddenly get the feeling that so is her fiance?) He's willing to talk to Jason--if Jason brings him some meth. Off Jason goes to pay a visit to Lafayette, who apparently will sell just about anything (including his own body) except meth--but even if he did he wouldn't sell it to Jason. Before Jason can really argue he gets the call from Tara that Sookie is in the hospital in a coma.

Hoyt is dealing with his own problems as well, trying to pull away from Summer--a girl clingier than cat hair. She's already acting like his girlfriend (earning Jason's approval with her fresh-baked biscuits--with hand-churned butter and homemade preserves). And although there's a strong possibility she'll turn into another Maxine (Hoyt's overbearing mama) she really does seem to be the perfect girl for Hoyt--nice and normal. So why isn't he interested? Weirdly enough, I think Summer is kind of awesome even though I can't stand her. She speaks to the uber-domestic-goddess lurking inside me. Scary.

Lest we forget about the King of Mississippi and cohorts, Sophie-Anne is being kept at her mansion in a human-sized birdcage (it must be silver--it doesn't look strong enough to hold a vampire). She's showing signs of her sleep deprivation when in walks Eric with Hadley. Eric threatens to drain Hadley if Sophie-Anne doesn't tell him why she's so interested in Sookie. Sophie-Anne acts as though she doesn't care (or, more likely, she really doesn't) so Eric digs in. Nearly dead, Hadley finally tells Eric to stop--she'll tell him what he wants to know. Of course we don't get to hear it but judging from Eric's reaction it's got to be good.

By the way, did anyone else notice the, um, familiar way that Eric is holding on to Hadley in this scene? Those actors must all really get along with one another. I think they'd have to.

Anyway, as the Magister continues to torture Pam (he's about to pierce her eyelids with silver earrings), Eric and the others arrive. The only people Russell has less respect for than the Magister are apparently the members of "The Authority." Russell seems hell-bent on putting both humans and vampires in their proper places (guess who comes out on top) and he's pretty sure The Authority are to blame for vampires' current lesser status. Frighteningly, Russell really does make a good argument for why humans shouldn't be in charge of the world. But the Devil is supposed to be a gentleman and I don't recommend buying what he's selling. Russell shows off his impressive skills as an ancient vamp by freeing Pam and binding the Magister in her place in the matter of an instant. After torturing the Magister for awhile it looks like Russell is about to leave. But I doubt anyone is surprised when he turns back at the last moment and lops the Magister's head off. Hey--two unlikeable vampires killed in one episode--not bad.

I have to say, I'm pretty excited about Sookie being fae, even if they are prone to entirely too much frolicking. Although it would have been cool if she had some sort of angelic aspect as well (my original theory on what she was). I'm excited to see what this is going to mean for the character, and how the rest of the fae will be brought into the show. Now if only we could get Sookie to shut the hell up for a minute...

Fang Files

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

Strengths: Super speed, strength--particularly for older vampires. Russell can tell from smelling the Magister's blood how old he is and where he comes from. Vampire blood is healing.

Weaknesses: Sunlight, stakes, silver, starvation, being kept awake during the day.

Mythology: The bond between maker and child is incredibly strong. Vampires are ruled by the mysterious "Authority" and the Magister answers directly to them.

Sound Bites

Lorena: What are you?
Sookie: I'm the bitch that's gonna kill you.

Hoyt: You all right?
Jason: Nah, it's funny. I never really thought I was smart enough to get depressed. But here I am.

Eric: Tell me.
Hadley weakly whispers in his ear.
Eric: [looking stunned] Well, I certainly wasn't expecting that.

Jason: Goddammit, Lafayette--I'm in love.
Lafayette: With the dude in jail?

Russell: There is only one law--the law of Nature. The survival of the fittest. And we need to take this world back from the humans, not placate them with billboards or PR campaigns while they destroy it!

True Blood, Season 3 Episode 7 "Hitting the Ground." Written by Brian Buckner. Directed by John Dahl. From HBO.

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