Friday, August 19, 2011

True Blood 4.08: "Spellbound"

“She has a warrior’s heart, Your Majesty.”

“Spellbound” was an especially intense episode of “True Blood.” The battle between the vampires and the witches finally comes to a true boil, and nobody is safe. Well, they’re mostly safe from death because Alan Ball doesn’t have a great track record with killing off characters who should be killed off, but they aren’t safe from bodily harm, at least. Surprisingly, one of the problems I had with the episode was the handling of Sookie and Eric. They went on a V trip the likes of which we haven’t seen since Jason and Amy shenanigans in Season 1. I’m a Lizzy Caplan fangirl, but that was certainly not her shining moment (check her out in “Party Down” instead…seriously, people!). Similarly, while I’ve always been a big supporter of a Sookie/Eric relationship, their V trip was far from a shining moment as well. The dialogue was especially cringeworthy and not up to the standards I would hope to see from one of my favorite fictional couples. The major battle at the end was well done, however, and I hope it is more of a sign of what’s to come in the last third of the season.

As most “True Blood” episodes do, this one began right where the last left off. Jessica is under Antonia!Marnie’s thrall and about to step out into the sunlight. Luckily for her, soon after she opens the front door, Jason tackles her. Jessica’s about to attack him when suddenly the spell is lifted and she regains her senses. Jessica is extremely grateful to Jason for saving her life, and they start to kiss. Bill thinks the spell might have only been stopped temporarily, so Jason has to chain Jessica back up. Bill asks Jason (who is a Deputy Sheriff, after all) not to report the guard that Jessica killed. Jason says that’s fine as long as Bill doesn’t do anything about the guard Jason injured while trying to rescue Jessica. Bill just tells Jason to move very slowly. Other guards have approached the prison area, and they all have their guns pointed at Jason. Boy, Bill can be an asshole when he wants to be.

Most of this episode is all about the vampire/witch war drama, but there’s some potentially interesting werewolf drama going on, too. Marcus, the Shreiveport Packmaster, tells his pack that he’s instituting a noninterference in the vampire/witch war policy. There’s a bit of a fight amongst two of the younger members of the pack, and Alcide helps Marcus break it up. Marcus is impressed and says that Alcide has what it takes to be an Alpha and move up the ranks in the pack. Alcide doesn’t seem especially interested in all that, though. Which makes sense, considering he didn’t really want to even join the pack in the first place. Debbie makes Alcide promise to stay away from Sookie, because she knows Sookie’s ties to the vampires, and she (rightfully) figures that spending too much time with her will make it difficult for Alcide to remain neutral in the war.

Meanwhile, Sam continues his quest to win back Luna after the mess Tommy caused by paying her a visit. He tells her he kicked Tommy out, and while it doesn’t win Luna over right away, she does eventually forgive Sam. Mostly because Emma, her daughter, likes him so much. Emma, Luna, and Sam are happily eating dinner together when Emma’s dad shows up to ruin the mood. And the identity of Emma’s dad is none other than Shrieveport Packmaster Marcus. He’s completely different in this setting than he is as Packmaster. He’s very belligerent and spoiling for a fight. Luna hustles Emma off to bed, leaving Sam to deal with a still-prickly Marcus. Sam asks if Marcus wants to take it outside, but Marcus just mumbles some threats and leaves. In other shifter news, Tommy skinwalks as Maxine Fortenberry to get the gas rights money from the travelling prospector. When he shifts back to himself, he’s in bad shape again, and this time he passes out in the woods.

Finishing up the non-Vampire related plot threads in this episode, Arlene brings Mikey to Merlotte’s again, and Lafayette again sees the ghost of the woman singing to the baby in French. I love his reaction to this- it was a great performance by Nelsan Ellis. He doesn’t really want anything to do with ghosts and after expressing some exasperation, immediately leaves the room. Later that night, back at home, Lafayette dreams about the ghost. She was of African descent (Afro-Caribbean, quite possibly), and she had a huge argument (to say the least) with her baby’s father, a white married man. He killed their baby, which is probably why she’s taken such an interest in Mikey. When Lafayette wakes up from this dream, the ghost possesses him. Still possessed, Lafayette goes to the house where Arlene and Terry are staying, and he takes both Mikey and Mikey’s creepy doll.

Back to vampires now, since the spell appears to be over, Sookie offers Eric some of her blood to help heal the silver burns. He gives Sookie some of his blood in return. Now any “True Blood” fan has probably heard of the infamous “shower scene” from the fourth book, “Dead to the World,” even if they’ve never read it. We Eric/Sookie fans have been clamoring for this scene for ages. Well, we finally got a shower scene of sorts in this episode, but it was mighty disappointing. Eric and Sookie are both tripping, Sookie because of Eric’s blood, and Eric either because he just had faerie blood or because his blood bond with Sookie lets him feel her emotions. They get into the shower, but the whole thing just turns into one of those strange V trip sequences. They imagine it’s snowing, and they think they’re in the middle of the woods. It was lame, and it really cheapened what should have been a great moment.

Meanwhile, Jessica has decided she needs to break up with Hoyt because she thinks she doesn’t love him as much as she loves her. We see her initiate the break up, and Hoyt flips out, pathetically groveling. Jessica decides she’s had it, and she kills him. Then she goes outside to a car where Jason is waiting. And because this was actually edgy, with Jessica killing Hoyt and all, it turns out to be a dream. The real break up is almost the complete opposite of what Jessica imagined. She tells Hoyt she thinks they moved to fast, but Hoyt’s not buying it. He sticks up for himself, says all kinds of horrible things to Jessica, and then rescinds her invitation. Jessica shows up at Jason’s house, hoping for some comfort, I guess, but he rescinds her invitation, too. He’s not willing (yet, at least) to betray his best friend by getting anywhere near Jessica, as much as he’d definitely like to.

Jason and Andy are charged with investigating the one vampire who died from the witches’ spell (the one Maxine saw burst into flames). Andy can barely restrain himself from ingesting the goo that is all that is left of her. Which was seriously gross and over the top. Maxine is being interviewed by a TV reporter about the incident when Bill rolls up and glamours the reporter into letting him give a big statement about how vampires want to be peaceful. Elsewhere in Bon Temps, Antonia!Marnie is super pissed that only one vampire died as a result of the spell. She says that all the vampires need to die for human to be safe, and Tara, not surprisingly, although she expresses some surprise, is okay with that. Bill calls Marnie’s shop, and he is surprised to hear Tara answer the phone. Bill and Antonia!Marnie then agree to meet at the cemetery at midnight to talk out their differences. That can’t possibly end well.

Still in the afterglow of their v-fueled romp, Eric and Sookie lie in bed and discuss whether they should run away or stay and fight with Bill. Eric is on the side of running away. That way, he never has to worry about becoming his old self again. Sookie wants to stay and fight out of some misplaced sense of loyalty to Bill. I’m really not liking how pathetic Eric has been sounding lately. At first, bewildered little boy Eric was fun to watch. But now I miss kickass Eric. Anyway, Sookie and Eric show up at Bill’s house to say that they want to join the fight. Bill is hesitant because he doesn’t want to put Sookie in danger, but thanks to a little coaxing by Eric and Sookie reminding him that she does have powers, he eventually gives in.

The big confrontation in the graveyard is by far the best part of the episode. Bill says he has secured promises from his vampires that none of them will harm Antonia!Marnie, but she doesn’t believe a word of it. She refuses to take the spells off Eric and Pam. Sookie hears Antonia!Marnie beginning to chant a spell in her head, and she warns Bill. In an instant, Eric rushes forward and rips out the heart of one of the witches. I thought that was gross, and I hate how every opportunity seems to be taken to make Eric evil. Anyway, Antonia!Marnie calls up some serious fog, and the all-out battle begins. Tara kills a vampire with a gun loaded with a wooden bullet, and as she’s trying to come to terms with what she did, Pam finds her. Bill catches Pam in time to forbid her from harming Tara, which does not make Pam a happy vampire at all. While the battle is raging, Alcide goes to Sookie’s house and hears the commotion coming from the graveyard. Of course he goes running towards it. Sookie’s fighting pretty valiantly with her powers until she’s shot. Bill is distracted by Sookie getting hurt, and the witches overtake him and silver him. At the same time, Marnie uses the distraction to take control of Eric. Alcide ends up saving Sookie, picking her up of the ground and carrying her away. Debbie sees him do this, and she’s no doubt going to be pissed.

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