"True Blood" — "Whatever I Am, You Made Me": The Only Thing I've Ever Been Great At
The biggest disappointment of the "Whatever I Am, You Made Me," the third episode of "True Blood's" fifth season, may be that the harnesses Eric and Bill are forced to wear are not S&M related. That or the fact the show isn't actually a period piece. (You know my love for cravats.) Even with iStakes strapped to their chests and threatening their existence, however, these vampires don't shy away from their one liners and buddy cop appearance -- made all the more fabulous with matching track suits. I said last week that "True Blood" is at its best when it examines the inner workings of the supernatural world, namely the vampires, and I stand by that. But I should clarify: The series is at its best when it sticks to telling supernatural tales and embraces the ridiculousness that comes with them. That's what we're seeing with the plight of Eric and Bill as the two mug it up for the Authority (and actors Alexander Skarsgård and Stephen Moyer clearly relish their jobs of bearing fangs and taking off their shirts, repeat). Their scenes along in the past and present with Pam's, Roman's and Newlin's have been the highlights of the beginning of this season.
Now if only there was something we could do about Tara. She may have opted for true-death-by-tanning-bed, but it's doubtful Pam will let her finish the job. Pam revisiting not only how she met Eric but how she forced his hand in 1905 to turn her has reminded her of her duties toward Tara, whether she wants them or not. "If you had any idea what kind of life awaits me, you wouldn't hesitate to turn me," Pam said to Eric then, fearful of a future of disease and decrepitude. "And if you had any idea the kind of responsibility that comes with being a maker you wouldn't dare ask," he replied. "Would you toss a newborn baby in a gutter? Abandoning a new vampire is no different." Tara certainly needs guidance; there aren't enough bottles of Tru Blood in the world to help ease her transition, and her determination to run from Sookie and Lafayette isn't helping. She's right to be angry with the choice they made, and I can't blame her for wanting her second life to end. But somehow that seems to be yet another decision that isn't up to her. Tara really is the most abused character of the series.
Seeing Pam's origins as a vampire is far more interesting. The level of debt and in a way gratitude she feels toward Eric for turning her separates their bond from the ones most camps share with their makers. It also explains her growing contempt for Sookie for coming between them. Sookie can use her fairy powers all she likes, though -- at the end of the day, she's basically alone. If Pam steps in to help Tara it won't be because Sookie asked. And while Sookie should be worried about what Alcide will do now that he knows she killed Debbie, she has other problems brewing. The fairies are back. Namely, Claude (Giles Matthey), the brother to Sookie's fairy godmother, Claudine, whom Eric killed last season. Their blood is just so irresistible to vampires, and Jessica is quickly enamored with the smell. So what are the fairies up to? Out for revenge over Claudine's death? Back on Earth to take Sookie away to Faery? Let's hope they stay in this realm; Season Four's venture to the magical and twisted Garden of Eden-like fairy hangout was one too many steps past the ridiculousness that works best for the show.
Scattered thoughts/Favorite lines:
- Great to see Tina Majorino (Napoleon Dynamite, "Veronica Mars") join the cast as Molly, the tech-savvy vamp who understandably makes several comments about the beauty of Eric and Bill. She's right -- they are too cute to be goo.
- Jason's revelation regarding the way he uses sex and how it stems from his affair as a student with a teacher,
Anna DraperJill Steeler (Melinda Page Hamilton), is a nice development. (I bet it was the fact that her cat is named Prince Charming that set him on the course to questioning just what in the world he was doing.) Ryan Kwanten is probably the most under appreciated actors of the cast, so the more range Jason is given, the better.
- Andy and Holly are pretty adorable. Enough said.
- Is Lafayette -- or anyone -- concerned about what happened to Jesus? I get that Tara's new vamp state has him distracted, but let's hope the whereabouts of his lover's body doesn't go unresolved. We do know, however, that Lafayette can still access the deceased brujo's dark magic, as evidenced when he poured bleach into the gumbo at Merlotte's. At least the appearance of that mask on his face lets him realize he's up to no good. Helpful.
- It's good to know that John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. were killed by supporters of the Sanguinista movement and that much of the violence of the Arab Spring uprisings can also be attributed to those against mainstreaming. "True Blood" is having quite a bit of fun with history this season.
- Pam: "What are you looking at? Go back to dry-humpin' each other and buyin' my overpriced drinks, or get the f**k out!"
- Molly: "Just imagine it's a training bra." Eric: "It's been a long time since I wore one."
- Sam (thinking): "Look at her boobs. Boobs. Boobs. The way the smells. Think about that! Anything but the walk-in. Shit! Walk-in. Walk-in. Walk-in. Damn it!"
- Sookie: "Can I give you a hug without you thinking about my boobs?" Sam: "Probably not."
- Lafayette: "These beans as cold as titties in a brass bra!"
- Salome: "The human Bible is little better than US Weekly."
- Pam: "Honey. The eyeliner, the desperation. They'll eat you alive in here." Hoyt: "That's what I'm hoping for."
- Pam: "An honorable vampire. Isn't that a contradiction?" Eric: "No more than an intelligent whore, yet here we are."
- Jason: "I ain't some mechanical bull you can come and ride on whenever you feel like it!"
- Bill: "You know what they say about gentlemen? They don't brag about sloppy seconds."
Sarah Carlson is a TV Critic for Pajiba. She lives in San Antonio.