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True Blood - Episode 4.03 - If You Love Me, Why Am I Dyin'? - Review


True Blood is not a series of self-contained episodes, instead it relies on telling a story arc through its twelve episode seasons. The downside of this is that earlier episodes can often feel pointless, until you realize that they’re setting things up for down the road. Tonight’s episode kind of felt this way. Now I’m not talking about the Eric/Sookie storyline, that was the best part of the episode and we’ll get into that more later. I’m referring to pretty much everything else in the episode. First example, that nice long conversation between Tara and Sam. I wonder how many people even remember that they were an item way back in season one? They’ve both moved on to other people.  This whole scene felt pointless to me, and seemingly served as a strange callback to the past that didn’t need to be there. I’d like to think that this is setting up something that will happen in a later episode, but right now it just annoys me. The other pointless scene of the night was the one with Alcide, well at least it seemed pointless unless you’ve read the books. Reading the books does not spoil True Blood, at this point they are completely separate entities with very different plots, but it does help you see where TB might be going. Or at least where you hope it’s going. Debbie Pelt plays a very important role in the fourth book, and her introduction in this scene is hopefully a foreshadowing of what is to come. Or maybe not. Regardless, I have to remember when I’m watching this show, and others that have the same format, that you really have to judge it as a whole season. This is one of the reasons why I don’t really give grades. We’re only into episode three, the building blocks really of the whole season, so I try not to take the things that bugged me about this episode too seriously. So let’s get into the things that worked.
I’m going to say it now, and I’m sure I’ll be saying it again many other times on here: Alexander Skarsgard needs an Emmy. The amnesia storyline has been done on many different shows, and it can sometimes border on the cheesy and lame side of things, but what Alex has done with the character is purely amazing to watch. The subtlety, the hint of danger, and yet the occasional helpless puppy is all amazing to watch and fabulously acted. Not to mention seeing Eric wearing Jason’s old clothes is hilarious. I’m assuming that everyone can guess that at some point Eric will get his memory back, but I am sincerely hoping that this happens at the end of the season. I want to get as much amnesia Eric in as possible. On the flip side of that, Sookie’s reactions to Eric have also been pitch perfect. Varying from annoyed, to scared, to pity, Anna Paquin has also been rising to the occasion.
Also forced to rise to the occasion is Pam. She was clearly born to be Eric’s evil lapdog, but now we’ll get to see her more as a leader figure this season. I’m guessing this is going to relate to her identity crises this season; can she rise to the occasion? Honestly, any Pam is good Pam, regardless of what she’s doing. Thanks to the writers she consistently has the greatest lines of the episode, and I’ve already seen “eat fuck and kill” on t-shirts for sale on the internet. Despite that incredibly awesome threat she delivered, the power dynamic was completely flipped in the Lafayette/Tara/Jesus confrontation. It was very strange to see her so powerless and unnerved. I’m guessing she’ll start to unravel later in the season, Eric seems to be the glue that was holding her together, much like Godric was to Eric.
Speaking of Lafayette, he has crowned himself the new King of bad decisions for this season. Strange, usually Tara holds that spot. First he joins a coven of necromancers, then he decides to apologize to Pam for erasing Erics memory. She had no idea who was involved in that coven until he walked in the door and told her. Despite this, I like the dynamic of the trio. Lafayette can stand on his own as a character, but Tara and Jesus can’t. Lumping the three of them together was a good decision, they’re much stronger as a group. Tara’s the brawn, Jesus is the brains, and Lafayette is the guy-with-super-secret-hidden-magical-witch-powers. It’s Bon Temps own little Justice League.
Someone who’s not doing so well is poor Jason. If you haven’t read the books, how well have you been following this storyline? My boyfriend was utterly confused, we had to pause the episode and I had to explain it to him. Essentially there are two ways to become a were-whatever, born or bitten. In the books bitten weres aren’t full blooded, as powerful, or can even fully transform. Not sure how this is going to translate in the show. So Hot Shot is a community of inbred were-panthers, and they’re dying out because incest doesn’t produce the healthiest kids. They’re bringing new blood in, which is Jason, but to make sure that he makes panther babies, they need to make him a panther first. This is why they bit the shit out of him in the last episode. I can understand crazy Crystal wanting to rape poor Jason, but lining up all the women of Hot Shot was pretty sick. If the plan does go through, Jason is going to end up with ten kids, all at once! What will Sookie think? I usually don’t feel bad for Jason, in the past he’s been the cause of 99% of his own problems, but for once he was on the right path and then this happens to him. Crystal was crazy in the books, but not anywhere near this level of insanity.
Bill only showed up a fee times this episode, but two scenes were fairly interesting. I’ve mentioned in the past that I always enjoy it when they tie the storylines into the real world, so the Youtube/Vampire Entrapment bit was fun. It reminds me of those so called ‘journalists’ who secretly recorded Planned Parenthood etc. and then edited the videos to make the conversations seem worse. Well in the TB world we have the vamps-kill.com people, who set up vampires with seemingly willing dinners, then videotape them. Bill later punishes the vampire who was caught, and quite frankly I think I would prefer the Magister. Apparently the true death is Bills go to punishment, for even things that you would think are minor. It wasn’t that vampires fault that he was tricked. No mercy is no mercy, so this does not bode well for our other vampire friends. Pam is definitely on the mark when she thinks that Bill will try to kill Eric now that he’s weaker, especially since Bill seems to be able to find a reason to kill anyone. The other interesting scene was with Portia Bellefluer, an apparent business partner who now wants to take things with Bill to another level. Even though Sookie is now back, Bill apparently is pretty much over her and says yes. Or he wants to make her jealous, which is a plot line in later books. Which speaking of the books, according to them Portia Bellefluer would be Bills great-great-grandaughter, or something close to that, there might be another great in there I’m missing. I had presumed he knew, in the first season when he met Andy Bellefluer he repeated the last name with a quizzical look. Apparently he doesn’t care or in the TV show just doesn’t know yet. Either way, ew. But this scene gave us our gratuitous and probably unnecessary sex scene of the night, and it wouldn’t be an episode of TB without that.
Now on to the problem that is Jessica. Let’s face it, as sweet as they are together her and Hoyt are never going to work out. And she knows it too, which makes the moment when she glamours him into forgetting about her unfaithfulness that more sad. This is probably only the beginning of her glamouring her way into the perfect relationship, and when Hoyt finds out that’ll be the end of them. And don’t blame it on the voodoo baby doll plot device that was thrown in there randomly in this episode. I’m not buying that, yet, although giving it to Arlene’s evil baby seems very promising. Still, not sure why we’re only now hearing about the baby doll that keeps walking back to the house. There have been two other episodes when they could have hinted that it won’t go away, to me this feels like a last minute addition to give the Jessica/Hoyt plot a supernatural element. Also, the Jessica/Bill scene felt more like a way for Bill to reveal how he’s changed his view in relationships, like to not lie his ass off, instead of helping Jessica grow as a character.
A quick word about Tommy, his scenes with Maxine are adorable, or should I say adora-belle, but it’s good to see that he isn’t completely reformed. Out of the Tommy identity crises, I’d say the Mickens side is winning over the Fortenberry side. The attempted swindling of Maxine puts Tommy back at odds with Sam, which I never a good start. I expect this to snowball out of control again, the same as last season.
I’m winding up the review here, but before I get to this episodes cliffhanger we can’t forget about Marnie, our little super villain wannabe. Thanks to another beautifully performed scene by Fiona Shaw we see Marnie portrayed as a weak person who always wanted to be something more. When she was momentarily possessed she had a taste of that something more, and now is willing to be fully possessed. Somehow she thinks that offering her blood in a cup is going to achieve this, but it ends up frustrating her when it appears to not work. Of course we in the audience see the figure of the woman sitting and watching her. I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out. Going through the IMDB cast list this new character appears to be someone names Antonia played by Paola Turbay, and appears to be listed for pretty much every other episode this season. So no Hallow Stonebrook, at least not yet.
The cliffhanger WTF moment for this week was quite a doozy, and will no doubt make a lot of impact for down the road. Clauding comes to entice Sookie back to Faery, and Eric drains her. So there goes Claudine, who was supposed to make it through book nine, and was pretty crucial to almost every other storyline remaining from the books. Unless that was a fake Caludine and we still haven’t met the real one yet I’m not sure how they’re going to reconcile this. Also despite being a shitty fairy god mother, she did help occasionally. Are her fairy twin brother and sister going to want revenge? This for me was the most promising event in the episode, it opens a lot of new doors for the show to go in, but also closed quite a few too.
Hope you liked my review! As always please leave me comments, I love reading them and getting ideas for the next review!

Random Notes:
  • Loved the return of Ginger: new trashy outfit, same old shriek.
  • How cute was the scene of the Hot Shot kids eating raw meat around the campfire while talking about their, I’m going to hazard a guess here, religion?
  • Watch that baby doll turn into a magic wand of evil for that already fairly evil baby.
  • In the books Sookie doesn’t want to be paid for babysitting, in the show she demanded it.
  • The shot of Eric peeking up at Sookie as she was climbing the stairs to leave was adorable.
  • Andy Bellefleur’s scene with Sam also felt pretty unnecessary. We get it, he’s a V addict.
  • The Hot Shot crew have been packing Jason’s wounds with dirt, guess they really don’t believe in Band-Aids.
  • Portia is ever the lawyer, I’ve never heard a more legalese way of asking someone out.
  • This episode was written by creator and show runner Alan Ball.
  • While Sookie was waiting at the kitchen table, she was reading a Charlaine Harris book, the author of the Sookie Stackhouse series that True Blood is based on, so nice tie in.

Random Quotes:
  • “Wake up America! Before we’re all dead.”
  • “I am really sick of being asked that question, is what I am.”
  • “Check please.”
  • “I give you 24 hours to deliver that witch to me. And if you don’t I will personally eat, fuck, and kill and three of you.”
  • “You just killed my fairy god mother!”
  • “Sorry?”

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