Well now, that was much better! (Thanks to writer Nancy Oliver.) But I really want to thank the delightful Denis O’Hare and James Frain who had me gleefully chortling through half the episode. That’s the half without Sam and family, Arlene, Jason, Sookie and Alcide. After a real dark turn last hour, Frain set Franklin’s emotions free and he was riotously all over the place. Meanwhile, O’Hare was everything that an evil overlord should be: wry, sarcastic, bloodthirsty, decisive, smarter than and ten steps ahead of his subjects.
Talbot talks to Tara as if she’s a pet and he taunts Franklin who is fussing with Tara’s hair. The boys bare fangs and are about go at each other when in walk Russell, Bill and Lorena, their faces caked with blood. There’s a quick bandy of questions and retorts as to who is where and why and who knows whom. Talbot is upset that Russell is bringing home work and Russell, pointing to himself, matter of factly responds, “Darling, King.” Tara asks Bill to help her and he merely retorts, “No”.
Franklin wants to be paid in cash for his information on Bill and Russell is upset that Franklin is dragging around Tara (she’s not the first) with him. Russell believes Bill is lying to him and wonders if he should send Franklin back to Bon Temps to fetch Sookie, but Franklin lets him know Sookie is right there in Jackson.
Lorena still wants Bill but he thinks she’s a stupid, tiresome cow. I know Bill’s her weak spot but Lorena seems off her game. I hope she’s still got a little nasty in waiting.
Sookie and Alcide race away from Lou Pine’s with Sookie screaming and sputtering like Sylvester the Cat, trying to get Alcide to stop the vehicle. When he finally does, Sookie questions him about Russell but Alcide angrily warns her not to go near Edgington.
Protesting that he comes in peace, Eric is brought into the Pleasure Palace by a few of Russell’s goons. Talbot greets Eric and is as immediately smitten as we all have been. Eric earnestly asks Russell’s permission to search for the V-selling Bill in Russell’s area. Russell, in turn, calls in Bill - deemed as not missing and way too square to sell V by Talbot - and Bill promptly blows Eric’s b.s. story. Russell informs Eric that Bill works for him and Bill concedes Sookie is no longer his. Eric admits to Russell that he’s been selling V under Queen Sophie-Anne’s direction and tells the King that the Magister is giving him problems. Russell is clearly offended by the Magister, says he may be able to help Eric and invites him to stay the night. As Russell leaves the room, Eric exchanges purposeful glances with both Talbot and Bill.
Sookie awakens to the sound of Debbie and Alcide yelling, I’m getting tired of Sookie and all her shouting cohorts. Sookie interrupts the screamversation and drums up more rage in Debbie. Sookie reads Debbie’s thoughts - girlfriend doesn’t know who Bill is.
Franklin has Tara in a new dress and tied to a bed. When Franklin sees a text from Lafayette he flies into a jealous rage until Tara squeaks through her choked throat that Lafayette is her cousin. Franklin laughs off his misinterpretation and tries to impress Tara with his super-quick texting skills.
Jason arrives at the sheriff’s office all spiffed up and announces to Deputies Kenya and Ellis (John Rezig) that he’s reporting for duty. When the two officers question Andy, the acting sheriff gruffly defends himself by aggressively sending out his underlings and assigning Jason a desk. Jason is bored and mad hanging out at the station by himself, so he plays games and we have to listen to bad country music. Jason complains to Andy who says he’ll give Jason just what he needs, which turns out to be washing a car. Crystal (Lindsay Pulsipher) drives by; Jason remembers her from the night of his big bust and he grabs an official car, turns on the siren and lights and gives chase. In a scene straight out of bad porn (just guessing) Crystal is pulled over by a shirtless and sunglasses-wearing Jason. Crystal questions Jason’s authenticity as a cop and Jason admits he’s only in training. After a lot of flirting all he gets is her name and he tells Crystal he’ll be waiting for her at Merlotte’s.
Sam helps his family move in to their new home, one of several Sam owns. Terry stops by and announces that he’s moving in with Arlene. He practically breaks down crying that he’s going to be normal. Sam tells Arlene he’s happy for her and announces that his mean father Joe Lee can be the properties’ handyman. Who gives a shit about any of this?
As Franklin sleeps, Tara uses her teeth to undo her binds. She makes it out of the mansion but as she’s crossing the lawn she hears baying behind her. Tara runs to no avail; she’s chased and knocked down by Cooter-wolf who turns back into his disgusting human form mid-howl.
Alcide is off to visit his packmaster, though he tells Sookie he’s going to run errands. Sookie reads his thoughts and demands to go with Alcide. I’ve noticed that every time Alcide says “No” to something, Sookie babbles and then he gives in. Dude needs to wolf-up and stick to his guns.
Outside Merlotte’s, Lafayette smokes cigars with Tommy until he receives a visit from pretty Jesus. Lafayette thinks Jesus is there to tell him his mother is dead, but Jesus just wants a date. Lafayette has to work but he lets Jesus know he would go if he could. Jesus decides to hang out until Lafayette is off duty, only nine hours. Pretty Jesus is just alright with me. When Lafayette finishes working, he and Jesus play billiards and flirt. Their chemistry is adorable.
Alcide explains what happened with Russell and the weres at Lou Pine’s to his packmaster, Colonel Flood (Grainger Hines) and Flood says he was already aware of and can do nothing about Russell Edgington. Sookie hears the packmaster’s thoughts that he’s afraid and going to run and she tells Alcide.
After finding out why Arlene won’t look her in the eye, Jessica glams a couple patrons so they won’t tip Arlene and Hoyt arrives with his date, Summer (Melissa Rauch). Tommy tries to convince Jessica she’s too good to pine over Hoyt while Hoyt clearly just wants to be near her.
Franklin screams with anger and then sobs like a child at the betrayal of Tara’s escape attempt. (This scene was so funny and well played by Frain, I had to watch it several times.) Tara pretends she isn’t afraid of Franklin, but rather, all the other vampires at Russell’s place. Franklin vows he’ll never let anyone touch her and seems entirely, dementedly in love.
Russell confronts Bill with the family tree Franklin found. Russell theorizes that Bill is trying to find out where Sookie’s telepathic lineage leads (to some beneficial end) and Bill denies any such thing. Cooter interrupts, wanting to speak with Russell alone. Russell calls a guard to watch Bill; the charade is over.
Andy slides into Jason’s booth at Merlotte’s and announces that Jason can be a deputy after he passes the test. Jason protests and I’m sure the next episode, Jason will blackmail Andy to give him the answers. After a while, Jason gives up on waiting for Crystal and heads out to his truck, surprised to see Crystal walking away. He goes after her but Crystal has issues she can’t or won’t explain to Jason. He convinces her to go for a walk with him and works his magic along the way. Stopped in the woods Crystal speaks mysteriously, telling Jason there is no future for them, only now - after a bunch of corny dialogue, they make out. (My guess is that Crystal is a were-panther.)
Tommy asks to spend the night at Sam’s place. Sam knows there are problems between Joe Lee and Tommy, but Tommy won’t spill. Eventually Daddy shows up at Sam’s claiming to to own Tommy and demanding Tommy leave with him. After a couple of moments of raging threats and Sam raging right back at him, (nice turn by Sam Trammel) Joe Lee snaps out of his furor, calms down and leaves. Joe Lee keeps acting like he’s on the verge of a shift though he’s not supposed to be a shifter. Sam wants to know what’s going on but Tommy stays quiet.
Cooter visit’s Bill’s room and taunts him with the news that Sookie is in Jackson, messing around with Alcide. Bill beats the crap out of Cooter and then surprises the guard with a face-melting by silver door.
Eric wants Russell’s help as soon as possible, but Russell puts him off with an “All in good time” and tells Eric to take Talbot’s full-house tour while Russell attends to an unnamed matter. Lorena and Eric exchange snide what-are-you-doing-here acknowledgements and then Eric asks Talbot to show him everything.
Tara cries because Talbot gave her a lily instead of food. She flirts with Franklin and tells him she wants to be with him but she has needs. Franklin lets her know he’ll take her out to a special dinner to celebrate the last night she’s alive and calmly announces he wants Tara to be his vampire bride. Oh how I hope this happens! Tara would be much more fun as a vamp.
Eric flirts with Talbot on the Pleasure Palace tour. Talbot opens a case and reveals something that catches Eric’s eye. Though Talbot thinks it’s some tribal thing Eric recognizes the crown of his Viking father and flashes back to a time he was still with his family. Eric’s father, Ulfrick (Hans Tester) and mother, Astrid (Annica Bejhed) discuss that Eric should find a woman and settle down, but Eric is young and sassy (and Swedish!) and the boy just wants to have fun. After Eric leaves to go have his way with a milkmaid, he is interrupted by a scream and runs back to discover his mother and baby sister have been killed by weres (bearing the Operation Werewolf symbol). Eric and his father try to fight back but the wolf mortally wounds the King whose dying word is “Vengeance”. A voice that almost certainly belongs to Russell demands the crown of Eric’s father and after the wolf brings it to him, the shadowy, hooded figure walks away.
Bill shows up at Alcide’s place and Sookie throws herself at him. Bill tells her to leave and asks Alcide to get her away before she is found. But it’s too late, Russell, Cooter and his friend barge in and try to nab Sookie, so she defends herself with the white light she last used against Maryann. Upon seeing Cooter thrown across the room by Sookie’s power, Russell cackles and exclaims, “Fantastic!” Indeed.
While it wasn’t perfection, Trouble was a fun watch this week and I’m hoping for even better things as next week’s episode was written by Alan Ball himself. There was plenty of wisecracking and pretty to offset the Jason stupidity and white trash Mickens mayhem. I did miss our dear Pam and I’m hopeful that King Russell will save her from that nasty Magister - almost as hopeful as I am for the turning of Tara and some kind of whacked out vampire wedding. Closing credits: Jackie DeShannon “Trouble”.
Cindy is no vampire (not that there’s anything wrong with them). You can reach Cindy here