This week’s discovery: If you play the "True Blood" theme at x1.5 speed, it turns into a danceable rock-a-billy tune. Try it on HBO Go today! I have to take my jollies where I can because woof, this episode. I was trying to be nice last week, but this one broke me pretty quickly, thanks to an emphasis on barely-developed side characters and lots and lots of Lettie Mae.
But first we open on HOT JASON-ON-ERIC ACTION. It’s always so polite of "True Blood" to provide its own fan fiction. Basically, Jason still dreams about banging Eric and we get to watch. The sequence is sexy and kind of funny and serves no narrative purpose whatsoever save for titillation, which rather sums up "True Blood" in a nutshell. At least the show is embracing what it’s good at.
After pleading with the town to let her help because of her special knowledge of vampires, Sookie proves her worth to the investigation by pointing out that she tripped over a stranger’s dead body last episode and hey, maybe that means the vampires are out-of-towners. So really, Sookie’s "expertise" is that she is the main character of a television show, and as such will literally trip over vital clues so she can be involved in the plot.
Meanwhile, Lettie Mae is chasing the V dragon, combining my two least favorite things on "True Blood": Lettie Mae and V addiction. Has there ever been a Lettie Mae moment on this show that was worth even a hint of a damn? Also, has ever been a storyline about V addiction that was about V addiction? (If your answer to the second question is "That time Jason and Lizzy Caplan murdered Stephen Root in Season 1," then you are correct and I will give you a cookie the next time I see you. Hope you like snickerdoodles!) It takes considerable skill to get me invested in a fictional addiction storyline, and "True Blood" hasn’t managed it once, despite going to the well, what, three times now?
TARA DEATH WATCH 2014: Still dead, although she shows up in Lettie Mae’s V hallucination, so Rutina Wesley earned her paycheck.
There’s at least an amusing moment when Adilyn is arguing with Andy and exclaims, "But I’m eighteen!" You just have to take her word for it. An hour later she might be like "I’m twenty-one! I can buy my own whiskey!"
Speaking of Adilyn, at some point we also have to address the fact that the boy she’s into is her future stepbrother. It’s unclear if the show’s going to play that as comedy or tragedy, but it’ll probably wind up being funny either way.
Also, while everyone credited in the opening titles is off investigating, Vince’s vigilante squad stirs up the townspeople. The crowd starts the scene cleaning up Bellefleur’s and ends it by trashing the place, breaking everything in sight for staking materials. Vince tells everyone’s that Sam’s a dog and the crowd is just like "Sure, makes sense." These scenes are like the mob scenes in early "Simpsons" seasons: "We’re here! We’re queer! We don’t want any more vampires!"
Deputy Kenya opens the police stations’s armory for the rowdy townsfolk when it’s pointed out that Jason gets to do all the policing in town despite not having seniority. Someone should tell Deputy Kenya that if she wants to do police work, she needs to get her name in the opening credits. The townspeople loot the armory and all start shooting firearms indoors to a song whose only line seems to be, “I’m gonna stick to my guns!” It’s the subtlest music choice this side of Black Sabbath’s "Iron Man" closing out "Iron Man."
I’d talk about Arlene and the others trapped in Fangtasia, but those scenes are mostly just screaming and yelling, so let’s just say that I really don’t understand how these infected vampires work. Hep V kills them in a matter of days, right? So how can the infected form packs and raid towns if they die within that short a period of time? Couldn’t humanity just ride this out and let the infected die off? And how did the vampires get everyone in that dead town out of their houses to murder them?
Sookie reads the dead girl’s diary but it’s missing the entry that reads "Dear diary, it’s night again, but we’re safe from the vampires in our house. But hark! A knock at the door! Whoever it shall be, I will invite them in and welcome them, as a true hostess should. Until next time, keep on truckin’, diary! Signed, Dead Girl." I let a lot slide on this show, but this one’s really bugging me.
Continuing this season’s nostalgia tour, we get a pretty cute flashback to Season 1. Remember when we didn’t know that Anna Paquin (and everyone else in the cast) would get naked on this show? We were so young and innocent. In the flashback, Bill and Sookie flirt a little, then Sookie runs off to put on her best push-up bra. The best part is that it features one of the millions of times that Sookie blew off work to have vampire adventures. Hey Sam, screw you for trying to run a business! No wonder he gave the business to Arlene. I bet his mayoral aides actually work a full shift.
And we close with our worst nightmare: Eric’s got the Hep V! BOOOOO! And those weird bumps on Jessica’s arm might mean she has the virus too! Basically, this is a virus that targets my favorite characters — which hurts just as much as when Pyro got the Legacy Virus in that issue of "Uncanny X-Men." I’m sure you’re all on board with that comparison, because the crossover audience between “True Blood” viewers and readers of 90s "X-Men" comics is extremely high. If that’s not true, don’t tell me. I’ve already suffered enough this week.
Jeff Stone loves cartoons, wrestling and hour-long prestige cable dramas. You can follow him on Twitter @WheelbearGo.