Anna Paquin, left, Carrie Preston and Sam Trammell in "True Blood." (John Johnson / HBO )
Random facts we learned on Sunday’s episode of "True Blood":
-- Vampires cannot use tanning beds to commit suicide.
-- Bleach is not a normal ingredient in Merlotte’s gumbo recipe.
The suicidal vampire, of course, is Tara, who's still struggling to come to terms with her new nature, and it's Lafayette, naturally, who inexplicably poisons a pot of stew before glancing up and catching a familiar-looking demon reflected back at him in the mirror. What did Jesus say about that old dark magic again?
Overall, magical moments were few and far between for the residents of Bon Temps this week, though Sookie's microwave fingers did have a brief cameo. Events were almost entirely grim, except perhaps for Andy's and Holly’s budding romance, but even their "let's take it to the next level discussion" was borne out of an embarrassing Facebook photo.
The episode began with Tara nearly killing a stranded motorist and then turning to Sam for help. He sated her thirst with a lot of Tru Blood and stashes her in the bar's walk-in freezer to keep her safe. Desperate to find her friend, Sookie went to Fangtasia to ask Pam to summon Tara, but she was not particularly interested in fulfilling her responsibilities as a new maker. The women squabbled, and the argument ended with Pam getting zapped halfway across the club.
Pam is still pining for Eric, continuing to flash back to the year she met him. Bill and Lorena, it seems, were frequent visitors to her brothel, where they enjoyed feeding on the girls. It was Eric who intimidated them into leaving, and after an evening together, Pam asked him to turn her. He initially balked at her request, but she forced the issue -- cutting herself so severely that she'd die if he didn't allow her to "walk the world" with him. I guess we all know what he decided to do.
Meanwhile, at Authority headquarters, Eric and Bill were fitted with chest harnesses that inflict the true death if they misbehave (or surely if they fail to bring down Russell). They both met separately with Salome, who was tasked by Roman with learning their true motivations and alliances. She seduced both of them, and then reported back to the guardian that neither is a Sanguinista sympathizer. Mr. Compton, she said, is still looking for something to believe in; Mr. Northman, she said, only believes in himself.
The same can’t be said for Nora, though. She broke under torture and admitted that she does believe that vampires are made in God’s image and not intended to coexist as equals with humans, news Roman shared with a dismayed Salome. Her measured response was to suggest that perhaps Roman reconsider his commitment to mainstreaming, that it's dividing vampires against one another, but he was emphatic that that is simply not an option.
All of this religion and politics talk might not feel like so much fun -- Can Bill and Eric just leave and go find Russell already? -- but it’s a picnic compared with Jason's new story line. It turned out his sexually compulsive behavior stems from the fact that he slept with one of his high school teachers, Miss Steeler (Melinda Page Hamilton). He ran into her at the market, and before long, he was back at her place and they had sex. It was only afterward that he realized how negatively he has been affected by their encounters.
When Jessica showed up at his place hours later, he declared in a remarkable moment of clarity and insight that he has spent years using sex to fill an inner void and that he isn’t even capable of maintaining a friendship with a woman. Jessica offered to lend a friendly ear, even though she’d been hoping to bed Jason after smelling the intoxicating blood of a mystery man who wandered into a store where she had been trying on clothes. A mystery man with 16 sisters whose blood is irresistible to vampires ... Hmm, I wonder who that could be?
Before we venture back to fairyland though, there was the very real-world problem of Debbie Pelt's disappearance to sort through. Her parents arrived in Bon Temps searching for clues about what might have happened to their daughter, and soon Sookie was answering questions posed by a hostile-sounding Andy, which caused Lafayette to panic. The Pelts visited Alcide too, who told them that he abjured Debbie, that it was the only way he could permanently end things with her.
Alcide did finally learn the truth about what happened from Sookie, but only after Tara emerged from the freezer and caused a commotion at Merlotte's. With Lafayette lying on the ground injured and Arlene screaming, Tara exited and headed for the tanning salon, where she tries to do herself in (a supremely annoyed Pam sensed her pain and appeared poised to rescue Tara). Outside the bar, Sookie explained to Alcide the events that led up to Tara's transformation, confessing to him that she murdered Debbie.
Will the authorities catch up to Sookie? Will Hoyt manage to pick up a new vampire at Fangtasia with the eyeliner-and-fishnet look he seems to have recently acquired? Will Terry make it back from his secret mission with Patrick? And will Steve Newlin be able to adequately succeed Nan Flanagan in his new role as vampire spokesman?
So many questions…
What did you think of Sunday’s episode? Please leave your comments below.
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