"True Blood" -- "Authority Always Wins": You Really Got A Hold On Me

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"True Blood" — "Authority Always Wins": You Really Got A Hold On Me

By Sarah Carlson | TV Reviews | June 19, 2012 | Comments ()


Humans aren't the only beings with a penchant toward fundamentalism. Vampires, in the "True Blood" world at least, have plenty of hard-liners in their midst who think the only way forward is to go backward -- to the beginning, when vampires were created by God because, yep, God is a vampire. But no matter if a vampire believes in mainstreaming with humans or is a member of the Sanguinista movement, the fact that he is a vampire doesn't change. His own creation story doesn't change; in whose image he was created in always matters. "True Blood" is at its best when it is delving into the world of the vampires and other supernaturals, examining their traditions and laws and how - or even if - these beings can find a way to coexist with humans. "Authority Always Wins," the second episode of Season Five, continued this theme and took us deeper into vampire politics and mythology than most of what we have seen in previous seasons, and it already feels like the series has taken a step in a better direction.

Pam isn't the least bit interested in sticking around to care for her progeny Tara. Turning her was the only deal Pam made with Sookie; raising her will have to be someone else's problem. Tara, now with a whole head again, is wild, crashing about Sookie's house and rotating between being threatened and threatening. The human Tara is in that body somewhere, Sookie tells Lafayette -- he needs to have faith. What he knows for sure, though, is that having Tara turned was in his own interest, not hers. "I ain't got nobody without her," he says. "But that's my problem, not hers." Sookie stops him from staking his cousin and by the next nightfall, they learn they were both right. Tara does know who she is and who they are, and she isn't happy with the choice they made for her: "I will never forgive either of you," she says before bolting.

What Tara needs is her maker, but Pam is too busy worrying about her own. Eric's absence only further her concerns that he is still angry with her for putting Sookie in danger as they fought Marnie at the coven headquarters. She can't stand the thought of their bond loosening or even breaking, especially if Sookie is partly to blame, and in her distress she recalls how she and Eric first met. Working as a madam in 1905 San Francisco was no easy occupation, what with your whores being murdered by customers and you yourself being ripe for an attack as you headed home in the middle of the night. Pam didn't cower as a dapper Eric swept in and saved her life, licking her attacker's blood from his fingers with relish. But no matter what she had already seen in her hard life, she surely had never seen anyone like him. That meeting would change everything for her, just as Eric's silence now means everything.

Alcide isn't interested in finishing what he started when he killed Marcus. The former packmaster's subjects can chow down on his remains all they want -- Alcide isn't joining, nor is he interested in taking over the top spot. "What you are interested in is irrelevant to our laws," Martha, Marcus' mother, says. Alcide may be able to skirt his wolf duties for now, but Luna won't have as much luck with Emma. Martha correctly sensed that her granddaughter is a wolf, not a shifter, and even as Luna says she doesn't want Martha or the pack anywhere near Emma, she may not have a choice. Emma will need a werewolf in her life to help her with the transition, show her the ropes and teach her about awesome rules such as eating dead pack members. It's who she is; it's how she was made.
Imprisoned by the Authority, Bill and Eric are tortured with liquid silver and suspected of sympathizing with the Sanguinista movement -- those who follow the "original testament" and see humans purely as nourishment for vampires. The show's version of Bible school is a bit dizzying, especially as the historical character Salome (daughter of Herodias, stepdaughter of Herod Antipas, asked for and got John the Baptist's head on a platter) is presented as a vampire, right along with Lilith, Adam's first wife according to Jewish mythology. Vampires believe they are the ultimate beings, but considering humans outnumber them 1,000 to 1, it makes sense many vamps would want to keep the peace with their breathing brethren to avoid annihilation. Their continued existence is no joke, and watching Roman present fellow Authority members with the communion of his own blood as sacred-sounding music played was a nice touch. Also nice was seeing neither Bill nor Eric turn on the other when interrogated. They have had plenty of screw ups lately, to be sure, but why they are suspected of being anti-mainstreaming is unclear. The only thing that saves them from the true death is their admission that Russell is still alive and their promise to track him down.
An interesting slant on the theme comes with Terry, who thanks to Patrick's return is flashing back to his Iraq days and lashing out at Arlene. His PTSD has probably never been so bad, and in a way the terror of war remade him into a different person. He can never really go back to being pre-combat Terry; he can only hope to get a handle on his post-combat self. Now that he has told Patrick their comrade, Eller, isn't dead but off the map, and with the two of them likely to track him down, Terry's health is sure to get worse. Elsewhere, Jason questioned his own nature as he was confronted with sins of the past when his friendship again was rejected by Hoyt as well as when a kid stops by the sheriff's station to blame Jason's sleeping with his mother for his parents' divorce. Andy battled his temptation for V and won, for the moment, and Jessica rebuffed Newlin and his offer to pay her for Jason. She probably didn't do Jason any favors; her admitting that Jason is a "friend" and not actually "hers" (the vampire term for a type of ownership over a human) means Jason is not actually off limits. Still, Newlin and his newfound gay Christian American vampire celebrity is delightful.
We still don't know who made Newlin and why, but the way this season is being laid out, that reveal is bound to happen. It matters who your maker is.

Favorite lines:

  • Lafayette: "Do something!" Pam: "I am. I'm laughing."

  • Ginger: "Why you all dirty?" Pam: "I was in the ground. What's your excuse?"

  • Sam: "Easy now. She just lost her son." Luna: "She just ate her son!"

  • Jason: "That's getting to eat the pie without having to pay for the cow. Win-win."

  • Steve: "Jesus loves vampires. I mean, anybody who's been dead for three days knows where we're coming from."

  • Eric (in 1905): "The streets can be dangerous at this hour. A lady should really be more careful." Pam: "If I meet a lady, I'll let her know."

  • Maxine to Jason: "Thank you for breaking up Hoyt and that red-haired slut. I'm gonna bake you a pie!"

Sarah Carlson is a TV Critic for Pajiba. She lives in Texas.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Quanion

    That was the best take they got out of the kid vamp? No wonder he only had the one line.

  • Wow. I love this show, but I thought this episode was riddled with continuity errors and logic failure.

    If the Authority is all-powerful, why do they know absolutely nothing about how the King of Louisiana has been living his life - i.e., making sure everyone is on board with mainstreaming, even Eric? Further, since the Authority captured both Eric and Bill, ostensibly on account of murdering Nan - whom the Authority dude admitted was becoming a problem on her own - how could either Bill or Eric have planned their escape in advance? And if they didn't, why exactly are they being ineffectually tortured? If the Authority is the bogey man for vampires, why is torture even necessary? Neither Bill nor Eric looked particularly scared by the fact that they were brought in under arrest.

    If the reason the Authority nabbed Bill and Eric was because they blew up the magic shop, that sort of ignores the whole bit where the town was abandoned because Marnie put an aversion spell on it, which Jesus laid out in very simple words last season. There were no witnesses who were not in that shop and therefore associating with a necromancer who could force vampires into daylight. In a logical world, Bill et al would be heroes for protecting their species. Also, weren't Jessica and Pam in on the raid on the shop? They are hanging out at home
    and in their place of business, respectively. Why not bring them in and
    torture them for no reason, too?

    As for the origin story, since all vampires start out as humans, how are they "created" as a superior race? Further, if they were worried about numbers, they could start turning folks - one every three nights, in fact. Sure, that might cause a political headache, but by the time humans figured it out, the vampires would already have increased their numbers exponentially. If you did it in low-tech countries that the west routinely ignores, you could have a massive army in no time.

    On the other hand, Emma as an adorable husky puppy was a great distraction. I'm going to ignore the fact that they have established that shifting doesn't occur until puberty and just admire a puppy in pajamas.

  • In the books, the Authority is basically the oldest vampire who is revered kinda like the Pope or something. The Authority is so old, she hangs out in a cave and only comes out when the shit really hits the fan. Then, a governing body like the one in who runs everything like King/Queen disputes etc.

    I think the shift in arguments is because they all believe different things, but the Authority brings everyone under control (like most religions). There will always be inconsistencies, esp when Vamps can't be trusted anyhow. The Authority is just the biggest baddest ones around in power and they hate being disobeyed, nothing more to contemplate really imo.

    That puppy is beyond adorable as well.

  • I think Season 5 of True Blood is turning out to be pretty damn entertaining. The show is still 100% B- campy, but it seems to have found it's footing again. IMO the reason for this is because it isn't focused on Sookie's romantic relationships. Paquin has a new energy she's bringing to the character. Maybe it's because working with Ellis forces her to lower her annoying factor. I hope it continues and enjoy the Pam/Eric backstory. Pam's a favorite.

    This week was a solid episode and handled the introduction of new characters while managing to move the story lines of old characters forward nicely. It's been a while since I didn't roll my eyes at any number of them popping on screen, but I was genuinely interested in each story line (even Tara's y'all!) this week.

    Welcome back True Blood (and Russell).

  • ed newman

    “True Blood” is at its best when it is delving into the world of the vampires and other supernaturals, examining their traditions and laws and how - or even if - these beings can find a way to coexist with humans.

    True Blood is at its best when it doesn't take itself too seriously and sticks to soft-core shenanigans and Russell Edington.

  • Frank

    What if Emma is a shifter who just happened to turn into a wolf? Are wolves off the table for shifters?

  • Jezzer

    I don't know what the series plans for the mythos, but in the books, werewolves consider themselves superior to other shapeshifters, taking a very dim view of any other breed calling themselves a "were"-whatever, and absolutely despising shifters (who aren't limited to one "pure" form), considering them a subspecies.

  • DarthCorleone

    I was a little confused by the whole interrogation and the nature of the fundamentalism expressed at that gathering. The whole ritual and shout-out to Lilith - after we had just heard a description of the most fundamentalist vampire beliefs, i.e., humans as food, Lilith as supreme, etc. - made me think that the mainstreaming might be a case of posturing for the members of that Authority board. That is, it seemed like they might be testing Eric and Bill with those questions. If anything, Bill has been nothing but Mr. Mainstream in his actions of the last few decades, and I would have assumed that's what the anti-Authority insurgency would be as well. Maybe I missed something, or maybe it's supposed to be ambiguous at this point.

  • Thijs

    confused me as well. Plus, like Reba says below, why not bring in Jessica and
    Pam as well? At the very least, they could be a form of leverage to get Eric and Bill to fess up,
    no? (Sookie could be too, for that matter.)

    questions aside, I’m liking the season so far. It seems to have some new focus
    to it and the characters haven't really annoyed me once... Or maybe I just drastically
    lowered my expectations after the last two disappointing seasons. In any case, I'm looking forward to the next ep!

  • Jezzer

    Bill and Eric killed Nan Flanagan to keep the Authority from learning about Sookie, so I don't think she's on their radar to use as a bargaining chip.

  • Thijs

    Sorry for the weird lay-out... I hate that there's no preview box unless, I assume, I register with Disqus.

  • phase10

    Vampires believe they are the ultimate beings, but considering humans outnumber them 1,000 to 1, it makes sense many vamps would want to keep the peace with their breathing brethren to avoid inhalation.

    I didn't know vamps could be killed that way.. ;)

  • Sarah Carlson

    Ha! Damn autocorrect. Thanks.

  • RilesSD

    Anyone else think that the interrogator girl was Carla Gugino for a moment? I did, or maybe that was me wanting it to be her.

  • hapl0

    And I thought Col. Hans Landa was creepy.

  • John G.

    Alan Ball said this season was inspired by him watching Rick Santorum in the debates, which made him want to explore the idea of a theocracy.

  • Irina

    Oh, the Bill and Eric saga. It's a beautiful thing. Bill asking they spare Eric's life, Eric confessing to killing Nan so they wouldn't blame Bill... It just warms my heart.
    I was watching the previous episode with my sister, and when we got to the part where the car blew up, Bill was hurt and Eric came to help him up and said he wasn't leaving without him, when they looked at each other while holding hands for a moment, and I was chanting "Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!", my sister shook her head all disgusted-like and said "Why do you have to make everything gay? Men just bond over strange things. Getting co-dumped by a fairy doesn't even break top five".
    Just saying. They totally should have kissed.

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