Christopher Meloni in "True Blood." (HBO )
If there’s a formula for the success of “True Blood,” it might lie in the alchemical properties of blood, sex and magic. But for his final turn as show runner, series creator Alan Ball has mentioned that he plans to emphasize religion and politics. Those subjects are hardly new to Bon Temps, but in Sunday’s episode, “Authority Always Wins,” we begin to learn the details concerning the central conceit of the season.
There is, it seems, a vampire bible, an original testament that describes how Lilith, Adam’s “first wife,” was made in the image of God: a vampire. The fundamentalists who believe in a literal interpretation of this sacred text, known as Sanguinistas, see humans as nourishment placed on Earth by the creator to feed his children. The position is antithetical to the tenets of the mainstreaming movement espoused by the Authority, which the elders say is essential to the survival of their species, outnumbered as they are on the planet by humans.
If that sounds less, say, fun, than half-naked romps and exploding bodies, well, it is. But there’s a method here, one that ultimately frees Bill and Eric from imprisonment and sends them after Russell Edgington. Russell, should he be allowed to regain his strength and wreak havoc, could pose a permanent threat to the Authority’s agenda, and it’s Bill’s proposal that he and his former romantic adversary be allowed to hunt down the dangerous loose cannon. (Nora’s fate is less clear – she’s led off for further interrogation.)
Of course, Bill and Eric still must endure some enhanced interrogation techniques at the hands of Authority agents – IV drips of silver solution and UV rays beamed in from the ceilings of holding cells. (Ball did say he’d be making religious and political commentary this year, after all.)
Unless Russell can manage to pull himself together, he might not be too difficult to take down. We see him just momentarily at the end of the episode looking considerably worse for wear after escaping from his concrete prison. We also got just a brief interaction with Christopher Meloni’s new head vamp Roman, and his right hand Salome (Valentina Cervi), both of whom promise to figure prominently in the coming season.
As for new vampires, though, it’s Tara who actually starts the episode by biting Sookie and terrorizing Lafayette before Pam orders her not to hurt the two of them and throws her inside Sookie’s house. Tara spends most of the night breaking things, and she does a considerable amount of damage before Sookie and Lafayette subdue her and put her downstairs in the cubby that Eric built for himself. Her pain and anger seem so profound that Lafayette considers staking her in her sleep, but Sookie convinces him that once Tara comes to her senses, she’ll be able to make a new life for herself. I have to admit, I’m not so sure I agree. She does tell Sookie and Lafayette that she’ll never forgive them before taking off into the night.
Tara’s maker certainly doesn’t seem particularly willing to give her much guidance, at least initially. Pam is too busy missing Eric to worry about Tara, though she does take time to reflect on her first encounter with Mr. Northman. In San Francisco in 1905, Pam was a madam at a brothel plagued by customers victimizing the working girls. Pam herself is terrorized by a man with a knife one evening, until a dapper former Viking in period dress kills him and gives her money to buy a new dress, after the one she's wearing is spattered with blood.
Terry is flashing back to his earlier days, too, but far less fondly. Plagued by visions of Iraq, he becomes moody and violent, scaring Arlene nearly out of her wits. Arlene goes to visit Patrick at the hotel where he’s staying, hoping to gain some insight into Terry’s erratic behavior, but Terry shows up and interrupts the conversation and concedes that he knows the whereabouts of the Marine from their unit who Patrick’s been searching for in connection with the mysterious fires.
Luna and Sam find themselves at odds after Luna brings Sam home to nurse the wounds he suffered at the hands of Marcus’ pack. Martha turns up with an offer to include Emma in the pack, but Luna orders her to leave. Sam tries to reason with Luna, saying that Martha is Emma’s family after all, but Luna becomes furious and insists that only she can have Emma’s best interests at heart. When she hears rustling in Emma’s room in the middle of the night, though, she walks in to find a little cub dressed in her daughter's pajamas.