14 April 2010

True Blood S2 E2 "Keep this Party Going"

Pam, Eric, and Chow put their left foot in before shaking it all about.

Spoilers Ahead

"Keep this Party Going" starts off as any television show should--with a disembodied human limb flying through the air and landing in front of a terrified captive. In fact, I think I saw this very scene on a recent episode of Two and a Half Men.

So, if you recall where we left off last time, this episode picks up right away, at the tail end of Eric's hissy fit over a bit of silver (RIP redneck Royce). My Eric-loving friend assured me that this scene would convert me into an Eric disciple. Yeah, not so much. I still don't get the appeal of Mr. Northman, but those of you who do--carry on. Once he's done with the dismemberment, he frets over his hair, shows no emotion as he kicks Royce's torso out of the way, and pouts when Pam chastises him for ruining his fresh highlights with blood. He does seem concerned, however, over a missing ancient Sheriff named Godric.

We get some good insight this episode into who Lafayette really is. I always thought he was all about making money and having a good time. It seems more than anything that he's a survivor, aka an opportunist. It seems he'll do anything, give up anyone to save his own skin. He bargains with Eric, Pam and Chow, offering to give them the names of anyone he ever sold V to. With only a slight amount of reluctance, he names Jason as the likely kidnapper of Eddie. He readily hands over the email of a Dallas V dealer he trades with. When he's locked up in the basement again, Lafayette retrieves Royce's leg, pries out the metal hip (at one point with his teeth), and uses it to break the chain keeping him in place. I didn't know whether to be disgusted or impressed with Lafayette. As he tries escaping from the club, human waitress Ginger shows up with a gun. His first instinct is to charm her (convincingly coming on to her despite his lack of interest in women), then--when she doesn't fall for it--he gets angry. Twitchy to begin with, Ginger accidentally shoots Lafayette in the leg. When Eric gives him the option to die slowly (via his leg) or quickly (via the vampires), Lafayette chooses option C: to be turned. He says he'll work at the bar and would not only be a bad-ass vampire, but he'd be Eric's bad-ass vampire. At this point I decided I was impressed with Lafayette. Eric even seems intrigued, telling him he'll take it under advisement. Then the three vampires jump on their prisoner and start helping themselves to what little of his blood remains.

I'm impressed with the True Blood writers for taking what is apparently a non-character in the books, and making him into an interesting, complex character on the show. Lafayette is definitely one of my favourites, and I sure as hell hope Eric et al spare some of his blood.

Meanwhile Jason is trying to find his purpose at the Light of Day Leadership Conference, and is having to contend with a whole other type of drama. He seems to be Steve and Sarah Newlin's golden boy (especially Sarah's), and shines both in a game of Capture the Flag and in some anti-vampire roleplaying. The only person who doesn't seem to like him is Luke McDonald (played by Wes Brown). Friendly at first, it doesn't take Luke long to succumb to blinding jealousy and no small amount of disgust at Jason's obvious ignorance. Jason's worried that Luke is right when he says everyone will soon see Jason for the joke he is, and he keeps flashing back to his time with Eddie. It's pretty obvious that there's just no way this is going to end well. Jason's in the lion's den and I keep wanting to tell him to get the hell out.

And speaking of the Light of Day Conference--what is up with the cute girl singing all sexy about Jesus asking her out? When I first heard this song on the soundtrack, I was *sure* it was meant to be ironic. But after seeing the context onscreen, I'm just really confused. I'm not exactly an expert on modern Christian song stylings, but I can't imagine this would be considered appropriate. Anyone out there care to clear it up for me? Seriously, "Jesus Asked Me Out Today": ironic, or sincere? Less confusing (and better utilized) was the titular song of the episode, used in a scene at Merlotte's, although I'm not sure the B52's and True Blood are a great fit. At least it made sense.

Quite a bit is happening at Merlotte's, actually. Sookie stops by to ask Tara to move in to Gran's old room. Sookie thinks it's the perfect solution--helping her move on after her grandmother's death, and giving Tara a permanent place to stay, but Tara isn't sure. Despite thinking it's got to be too good to be true, Tara is comfortably ensconced at Maryann's. She does promise to consider it, though.

After dropping Tara off at work, Maryann decides to hang out at Merlotte's where she whiles away the hours tormenting Sam and eating everything in sight. She's thrilled to finally meet Sookie (not so thrilled when she hears that Sookie wants Tara to move in with her, although she hides it). But when Sookie tries to hear Maryann's thoughts, she picks up some creepy chanting in a foreign language. When Sookie tells Maryann she can't place her accent, Maryann says she's from Cape Cod. If she says so...

We're still no closer to finding out what Maryann is or what she's doing in Bon Temps. She obviously has some power, though. After she starts dancing at the bar, suddenly everyone else is dancing too... and grinding... and virtually having sex on the pool table. At one point, barfly Jane Bodehouse looks up and her eyes have turned entirely black. It's not every day you find someone with the power to instigate a near-orgy, let alone an evil one. (When do black eyes ever mean anything but evil?) When Sam confronts Maryann about what she's doing, she plays innocent before getting all buzzy and flickery. The next thing we know, Sam's in dog form and Maryann is telling him she can do that to him whenever and wherever she wants--so he'd better not threaten her again. Okay, so evil and magical. Wonder if she's related to Dark Willow.

While Sookie's occupied elsewhere, Bill is busy trying to navigate the misses section at the mall in an attempt to buy Jessica some new clothes. The saleswoman is only too happy to help hottie Mr. Compton, especially when she finds out he's undead. She offers to try on some of the sluttier apparel for him in the dressing room, and doesn't quite believe it when he declines. Out of nowhere, Eric shows up sporting his new short haircut (a result of the ruined highlights) and a cheesy track suit. He and Bill exchange pleasantries and Bill says how much he likes the new do. Suddenly the saleswoman realizes why Bill wasn't interested in her, and walks away laughing. Of course, Eric isn't there just to talk fashion (although given what he's wearing, he really should be). He wants to ask Bill's permission to take Sookie with him to Dallas so she can help him find Godric. Bill is adamantly opposed, so Eric reminds him that he's only asking his permission out of respect. Bill still says no, but it's clear Eric won't take no for an answer.

The parts with Bill and Sookie on their own this episode are okay, but their storyline when they're together is odd and somewhat annoying. It starts off well enough, with the two of them sharing post-coital bonding time. Despite the cliched fantastic make-up sex, they agree that they don't want to be one of those couples who are always fighting. As even Sookie points out, this is ironic because they're fighting again a minute later (not to mention that they seem to be upset with each other nearly every episode; or at least Sookie's always upset with Bill). This time they're disagreeing about Jessica. As a new vampire, Bill argues that Jessica has lost her humanity and won't be able to control all the overwhelming impulses she's experiencing. Sookie maintains that Jessica sounds like any other teenage girl.

Later as Sookie tries to get to know her, homesick Jessica manages to convince Sookie to take her to her parents's house (she also does a great impression of Bill). She swears she only wants to catch a glimpse of them from across the street. Sookie is stupid enough to agree, although it's not as stupid as telling Jessica in the car that she blames herself for Jessica being turned and taken away from her family. I thought Jessica would tear Sookie's throat out, given her emotional state, but instead she spots her sister at the window and is knocking on the door a second later. Of course it doesn't take long for things to get out of control. Luckily--or maybe not--Bill turns up a moment later and glamours the younger sister into inviting him in (a fairly creepy process now that we get to see it). Bill not only shouts at Sookie to shut up, but he also pushes her out so he can clean up "her" mess and shouts that this is all her fault. Okay, putting aside for a moment that he left Jessica on her own (why couldn't he have taken her shopping, exactly?) and didn't tell Sookie he'd be out so that she wouldn't go to his place, if my guy talked to me like that for any reason, I'd be done. I mean, I really like Bill (especially when he lets the monster out a little), but if I were Sookie I'd kick him to the curb after that. But Sookie's feeling upset and guilty, so the only response she manages is to beg Bill not to kill the family (personally, I only care about the little sister, who is super cute).

"Keep this Party Going" ends with Bill approaching Jessica's terrified dad. Bill looks at the man, looks back at Jessica and the rest of the family, then turns back to the dad (and the camera) and growls. Is he going to listen to Sookie and spare them despite his rage? Tune in next week to find out!

Overall I liked this episode, aside from my issues with Bill and Sookie. It had lots of good vampire action, some paranormal mojo, attractive people in various stages of undress... Some of the lesser characters are really starting to be developed (and developed well). And there's mystery too! As long as Sookie and Bill don't keep being one of "those" couples, I think we'll be okay.

Fang Files

Appearance: Pale humans with long, snake-like fangs that retract or extend at will. Instead of tears they cry blood.

Strengths: Super strength, speed. Power to glamour (hypnotize) humans.

Weaknesses: Silver, stakes. Vampires are often preyed upon by humans for their blood (V), a powerful drug.

Mythology: Vampire society is hierarchical, divided into regions ruled over by Sheriffs. A vampire needs an invitation (by someone who lives there) to enter a private residence. New vampires have no real humanity and are undergoing an overwhelming number of transformations; they're dangerous and not to be trusted. A vampire's maker has command over them.

Sound Bites

Eric: Is there blood in my hair?
Lafayette: What?
Eric: Is there blood in my hair?
Lafayette: I... I don't know. I... I can't see in this light.
Eric: (appears in front of Lafayette) How about now?
Lafayette: Yeah... there's a little bit of blood in there, yeah.
Eric: This is bad. Pam's going to kill me.

Pam: You know, all this time I thought prostitutes were good at keeping secrets.
Lafayette: Oh, don't get it twisted, honeycomb--I'm a survivor first, a capitalist second, and a whole bunch of other shit after that. But a hooker dead last.

Lafayette: (trying to charm Ginger) Well, look at you. Not only is you sexy, yeah but you can read minds too. That get me all riled up in my nether regions.

Luke: You think you walk on water, don't you?
Jason: I'm pretty sure that was Moses.
Luke: No, it was Jesus. Moses parted the red sea. And what the hell was the deal with you snapping the American flag in half like you're some Muslim Buffy with a dick? That's all kinds of messed up.

True Blood, Season 2 Episode 2 "Keep this Party Going." Written by Brian Buckner. Directed by Michael Lehmann. From HBO.

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