03 November 2010

True Blood S3 E8 "Night on the Sun"

Spoilers Ahead

You can tell "Night on the Sun" was written and directed by women: every other scene has someone upset (usually to the point of tears) and being gently consoled. But we can forgive True Blood for veering a little too far into soap opera territory. The show just skirts the edge of maudlin, plunging straight into disturbingly awesome. The tears on this show are bloody.

The episode starts off with the continuation of Sookie's latest scream. Bill's looking confused while everyone else's reaction ranges from anger to gratitude (and by everyone else, I mean Tara, Jason, Lafayette, and Alcide. Apparently you can scream at the top of your lungs in a Louisiana hospital and none of the staff bother to check in on you. Must be an insurance thing). Once Sookie calms down she asks to speak to Bill alone. What follows is a bit of excessive drama, in my opinion ('I don't know if I can ever forgive you'; 'I don't want to be forgiven') followed by a breakup. Even though they love each other, they know it can never really work between them. Bill pulls out the IV needle that's still connecting them and lets it drop. As Sookie sobs and he walks away crying, blood drips out of the tube and onto the floor. A little much? The devil you say! But the main issue (for me) with this scene is that Sookie and Bill have broken up, which I am definitely not happy with. She can hook up with Eric all she wants in the books, but TV Sookie is meant to be with Bill, damnit.

Anyway, back in Mississippi Sophie Anne is moving into her new husband's mansion, which annoys Talbot (hubby's longtime partner) to no end--especially on top of everything else that's recently transpired (dead and maimed vampires and weres, the escape of Bill and Sookie). Eric stands in the shadows, listening as Talbot goes off on Russell and Russell responds soothingly that the only thing that matters is that Talbot is safe. Russell's in a soothing sort of mood, it seems, as a minute later he has to calm Debbie. She wants to tear Sookie apart but Russell thinks there's a war brewing and Sookie might be his key to winning it. But he does promise to let Debbie "play" with Sookie first.

Eric tries to dissuade Russell from going after Sookie, but that only provokes Russell into questioning Eric's loyalty. Eric's response is impressive: everything he says has a double meaning ("I've been searching for you for 1,000 years...for a true leader") and he succeeds in winning Russell over (kneeling in front of Russell and kissing his hand didn't hurt, either).

Home again after his long ordeal, Bill ignores Jessica's excitement at seeing him and (as her maker) releases her, telling her she's got to leave. It's for her own safety, but Jessica's not buying it. She needs him, not only as her maker but as her only family. She breaks down crying and Bill, touched, relents.

Sookie's back home again too, with Alcide for company. Just as it looks like they're about to have a moment, Andy bursts in with Jason, who insists that Sookie has to press charges against Bill. She frustrates him by refusing (now she realizes it wasn't Bill's fault). Jason threatens to kill Bill if he ever goes near Sookie again, and Andy snaps that Jason isn't going to kill anyone. This sets Jason off worrying that Sookie will hear his thoughts and know (that he killed Eggs), but although she confronts him, he denies having done anything and takes off. Close call with the telepath.

Upstairs Tara is in her room with Lafayette. She's clearly traumatized by her experience with Franklin, but she's not ready to talk about it yet. Lafayette, showing the restraint I wish my own family members were occasionally capable of, doesn't push her. He's content just knowing that she's no longer suicidal. The next day, her lack of sympathy for Sookie's feelings for Bill is purely a reflection of her issues with Franklin. Tara's role on the show is apparently the bearer of emotional baggage.

Speaking of baggage, Sam finally gets free of his toxic birth parents only to realize that dealing with Tommy isn't going to be the smooth sailing he expected. Besides having to (what else?) console Tommy over the break with their parents, Sam has to keep him in line at the bar where he's all-too-willing to pick fights, alienate customers, and act weirdly possessive about Jessica. You can take the shifter out of the pit, but you can't take the pit out of the shifter...

And then there's Lafayette, who returns home to discover his mentally imbalanced mother, Ruby Jean, has escaped from her pricey nursing home and is there to protect him from the vampires and witches that are coming for him. Yikes. Rather than call the police, who might pick up on his illicit activities, Lafayette calls Jesus, who comes despite it being his day off. Ruby Jean is still going on about needing to protect Lafayette from those who want his power and decides to illustrate her point with a rather large kitchen knife. Jesus calms her down by telling her that he'll take care of Lafayette, and gets the knife away from her. Then they settle down to watch TV (the common man's Valium).

After Ruby Jean is settled for the night, Jesus tells Lafayette that his mother is right--that he does have power. He claims that doing drugs is very dangerous for someone like Lafayette because all his energy could go dark. Lafayette scoffs, saying Ruby Jean's crazy is rubbing off on Jesus. But then Lafayette tries to explain why he deals drugs, and Jesus quiets him with a kiss. No time to ponder that, though: what is Lafayette's power, if he really has any? He was affected by Maryann so he's not supernatural, so what could it be? Curiouser and curiouser.

Back to Jason for a second, he's apparently serious about getting back at Bill as he digs through his Fellowship of the Sun paraphernalia (why does he still have that stuff?) and unearths a rifle. Suddenly there's insistent pounding on the door and he opens it to find Crystal, looking bruised and wet. And wanting Jason's truck. Jason actually uses his big head for once and refuses to hand over his truck, insisting she tell him what happened to her. Apparently Crystal's been promised to her fiance, Felton, since she was four, and he didn't take too kindly to her telling him she wasn't going to marry him after all (how old is she supposed to be? If she's been betrothed since the age of four, shouldn't they have been married by now?) Jason can't understand what it is about her that makes him feel like he's home (aww) but he's sure he can--and will--protect her.

Later (after Jason's little head takes over), Jason leaves Crystal in the shower while he supposedly goes out to pick up food. He drives over to Hotshot where he follows a trail of blood into an outbuilding and finds a guy in there gnawing on an animal carcass. Um, okay. The guy notices Jason and hisses at him. Jason runs back outside just in time for Crystal's dad and Felton to show up. Claiming he's a cop, Jason tells them Crystal is never coming back there and they're never going near her again--or else the entire Sheriff's department will come down on them and their freakshow. Crystal's dad doesn't seem too intimidated. In fact, I'm worried for Jason.

In one of the less enjoyable subplots, Arlene is having nightmares that her unborn child will turn out just like his psychotic father, Rene. I'm really a nurture over nature person, so the idea that the baby will be a murderer simply because his father was is ludicrous as far as I'm concerned. I don't know where they're going with this, but I kind of wish they'd drop it. Arlene also takes a moment to hire Holly Cleary as the newest Merlotte's waitress. I'm not loving Lauren Bowles as Holly--this is the hazard of getting to know the character in the book first. TV Holly looks and acts all wrong as far as I'm concerned. She's too old (Holly should be in her twenties, and somewhat gothy looking) and a little too creepy-mystical (it comes out more in later episodes). Book Holly isn't exactly advertising her witch credentials. This isn't the first time a character has been significantly altered for the show, but for some reason this is the one that really bothers me.

Back in Mississippi, Eric stays up during the day so he can get hold of Hadley and order her to deliver a message to Sookie. He orders her to tell Sookie exactly what he says and nothing more. Sookie is looking through the Bill and Sookie scrapbook (please tell me people don't really do that sort of thing), flashing back to what happened in Alcide's truck and flipping through all the blank pages (a comment on their relationship?) when Hadley shows up. Eric's message is this: "Russell is coming for you. Don't trust Bill." Sookie is less than impressed. Hadley wants Sookie to run away with her but Sookie refuses to go, reasoning that Russell can find her anywhere and she doesn't want to live her life running in fear. Hadley then apologizes and rushes out, as Sookie hears her thinking that it's all her fault.

Bill, meanwhile, is training Jessica to fight werewolves. She's loving the training but can't believe that things are really over between Bill and Sookie--especially since they still love each other. Jessica admits she loves Hoyt but that he's too good for her. Vampires really need to start dating one another instead of trying to make it work with mortals.

In Mississippi again, Talbot is pitching a fit because Russell is leaving to go get Sookie. He starts throwing and breaking pieces from Russell's prized collection, but when he's about to throw Eric's father's crown, Eric stops him and offers himself as a "poor substitute" for Russell's company. Talbot is appeased, Russell is grateful, and Eric carefully replaces his father's crown in the display case.

As night has fallen in Bon Temps, Sookie is standing by the window, holding a shotgun. Suddenly wolves start howling and two of them run up to the house, followed by Debbie in human form. Debbie kicks in the door and the wolves run inside--where they're immediately confronted by Bill and Jessica. Debbie heads upstairs where Sookie is waiting. The fight between the two women starts off pretty lame, with insults being traded and Debbie wrestling away the shotgun before Sookie slaps her. But things pick up.

Meanwhile, after killing his were, Bill is about to run upstairs to help Sookie when Jessica makes the mistake of following the other wolf outside. We hear her scream and Bill hesitates before running after Jessica. Now, did he just choose Jessica--a fellow vampire--over Sookie, or did he simply decide that Jessica needed his help more? Is this a clue that Bill really can't be trusted? I don't know but it turns out Russell's grabbed Jessica since he can't get in the house (no invite). After a bit of back and forth, Russell bites Jessica and starts draining her. Desperate, Bill asks if Russell is a coward or just lazy? Russell lets go of Jessica, shoving her toward the eager wolf who starts chasing her as she runs off weakly.

Before we can worry too much about Jessica, Russell's got Bill on the ground and is burning him with the silver spur on his boot, after which he proceeds to soundly kick Bill's ass. Inside the house, Debbie and Sookie are really going at it now, destroying the room in the process (you've got to feel sorry for Sookie's house, seriously). Debbie starts choking Sookie, but she manages to grab a pair of scissors and slash Debbie across the face. Debbie lets go and Sookie retrieves the shotgun.

This is where things start getting controversial. Talbot and Eric have sex! Gasp! There's kissing and nudity (not that you really see all that much). And yet people complained. Their virgin eyes were scarred by the image of two dudes intertwined, apparently. They proclaimed in tones of outrage that such things shouldn't be shown on TV (didn't hear anyone complain about the far more graphic scene involving Sookie and Bill later on). To the people who were offended, I wholeheartedly suggest you don't watch True Blood (or HBO for that matter). You know what you're getting into when you see the credits--don't complain if the show crosses some imaginary line. Now that I got that off my chest, just as Talbot is at his most distracted and vulnerable, Eric stakes him (through the heart, you pervs).

Russell instantly knows what's happened and takes off flying. Sookie shoots the wall next to Debbie and convinces the were it's time to go. I'm sure that's not the last we've seen of Debbie, though. Bill then runs upstairs where he and Sookie embrace. He keeps repeating that he's sorry and she keeps repeating that she loves him. As the song "Head" by Otep plays in the background (good choice, by the way) Hoyt drives by a wooded area where Jessica is lost in blood lust feeding on the were, while Bill and Sookie are just lost in lust.

I'm not even sure what to think of this episode. Some good parts, some not so good. Lots of motives to question, lots of consequences to imagine. But that's one of the cool things about True Blood: every episode is one big tangled mess of questions, secrets, lies, and revelations. So even when it's not great it's still pretty good.

Fang Files

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

Strengths: Super speed and strength. Ability to glamour humans. Some can fly.

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

Mythology: Vampire blood heals humans and gives them strength (it also makes them high and horny, which is why so many humans are addicted to it). Vampires need an invitation into a private residence. Vampires can feed on other vampires. There is a bond between maker and child.

Sound Bites

Bill: You're afraid of me.
Sookie: Can you blame me?
Bill: I never meant to hurt you. I couldn't stop.

Russell: We just acquired the state of Louisiana--I thought you would have been excited.
Talbot: Excited? Franklin's brains won't wash off the guest linens; I had to bury werewolves under the gazebo; and that Sookie bitch staked Lorena. I've had enough excitement, thank you.

Eric: [to Russell] Give me a chance and I will show you just how deep my loyalty runs.

Debbie: [to Sookie] Wow. Talking to me about love. How noble and shit. Bitch, please.

Russell: I'll tell you what, I'll trade you the red one for the blonde one.
Bill: How about you and I settle this among men.
Russell: Oh, how very sexist of you, Bill. When it comes to killing I have always been an equal opportunist.

True Blood, Season 3 Episode 8 "Night on the Sun." Written by Raelle Tucker. Directed by Lesli Linka Glatter. From HBO.

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