True Blood: Maker's Marks

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True Blood S05E03: "Whatever I Am, You Made Me"


No one older than three in 2012 has not asked themselves at some point, “Would I be a vampire?” I mean, come on: Born into Buffy, raised by Twilight, there’s no escaping the question unless you live in the sewers with your rat sensei, training with your turtle brothers. And the opening shot of this week’s episode of True Blood would be the first PowerPoint slide in my two-hour presentation of “HELL YES: I would be a vampire.”

It’s aaalll about the heightened senses (invincibility, immortality, and not aging are also pretty dope). Watching Tara take on the world like a drugged-out child, seeing the galaxies like she’s watching the Creator paint on glass from the other side of the pane. Like HELL YES. Of course, the sticking point is, could you deal with MURDERING people? Even if you decided not to, could you handle WANTING to, to be a predator hungry for people? Good, normal folk so innocent they still wear side ponytails? Could you handle living as apparently Tara has decided to (since she pulled away from her own first easy kill of a side-ponytail-er), subsisting on a diet of fake blood that probably tastes like Red Bull and V8?

The kid vampire and his grown-up colleagues did not impress me in our second visit to the Authority’s Super Secret HQ. Christopher Meloni/Roman was giving his pipes a workout, screaming and whispering and whispering and screaming. Steve Newlin is the replacement for Nan Flanagan, kind of the way Ryan Seacrest seamlessly stepped into the shoes of Dick Clark. Steve started waxing on about how he’d sell the humans the party line, like a Barnum figure ruminating on all the suckers born every minute, and the Guardian got very angry (note: He has not yet been un-angry) about Steve’s condescending attitude toward humans. So we are supposed to like the Guardian? He is presumably on our side. Of course, Marnie was also pro-human and still a total dickhead, but the points Guarddog made are ones any thinking person would appreciate. Don’t round up humans like cattle! Everyone just chill!

Roman also gave Salome a mission: Bone Eric and Bill. I mean, I’m not sure if that’s what he said, but it’s definitely what she heard.

Tina Majorino from Andre is part of the Vampire Geek Squad and had a cute, chipper moment installing remotely activiated BDSM harnesses onto Eric and Bill. Remember how I complained last week that everything Bill and Eric do now is only motivated by a threat of death? Well now that will literally be the case for presumably every minute of the season, because at the mere touch of a smartphone Eric and Bill could both be “goo.” I AM SO SURE. Alan Ball knows no one would keep this show on for five minutes if he killed off either of these gravy trains.

Look at Sookie without one of them across from her: Doesn’t she seem tragic? Getting yelled at by Laffayette while she tries to clean up her house? You can already see the butter pecan ice cream and sweatpants hovering in her future, hear her gently laughing to herself all alone at her kitchen table over the latest Cathy cartoon, pouring a shot into her coffee because, well, why not? Seriously, without a vampire boyfriend to worry about, Sookie just steps off the breaks and SOARS down the Tragic Middle-Aged Spinster Who Runs a Year-Round Christmas Store Highway.

Tara, after being terrified by her own monstrous behavior, turned to Sam, who gives her several crates of True Blood. (Remember when they used to bone?) She chugged it without showing much thought to ladylike table manners.

(Do you think he quietly wrote out a tab to present her with later?) Tara talked big sh*t on Sookie and Lafayette and then zonked out like a toddler after Thanksgiving. Awww. Kind of sweet. I would be in HUGE favor of a Sam-Tara romance resurgence.

As morning came to Bon Temps, Andy got teased about an insanely flattering picture of him tastefully draped across a bed naked. Like, this was staged and lit and Photoshopped like crazy.

If I had a boudoir shot of myself that sensuous I’d screen it on a T-shirt and wear it around town. Which is what Andy basically did, flashing the photo when he went around questioning people about Debbie Pelt. He made super sure his Wiccan girlfriend saw it. They are offish a couple (*stifles yawn*).

Also, Debbie Pelt has parents and NOW they’re worried about her. Not when she was experimenting with V, Ke$ha hair, and torturing vampires. She’s shown a past of rambling around with gangs and drug dealers but suddenly, now that they haven’t heard from her in less than 24 hours, her parents have a hunch that something is amiss and they are ON THE CASE.

Jason went to an AMAZING new location, a grocery store that looked like one of those little markets you sometimes find at big campsites, that sells goggles and marshmallows. Turns out Jason was the victim of Sexy Teacher Abuse.

The recent epidemic of Sexy Teacher Abuse seems so counter-intuitive I’ve started to suspect the tween boys are actually at fault, like they’ve been tying up Barbie Dolls with ancient amulets and casting Weird Science-type spells to make these foxy teachers come to life, because this lady is prowling her middle school for dates? In what world!? Ours, apparently. I’m being glib but it truly turns my stomach that these women prey on children, and because of sexist double standards no one takes it as seriously as it should be taken. These boys have their childhoods cut short and I guess that’s what happened to Jason.

Sookie and Laffayette returned to work. Sam is super flustered by Sookie even after all these years and Laffayette was NOT pleased that Tara was in the walk-in freezer, but Laffayette, I’m not pleased you are at work. What the hell?I know yours and Sookie’s combined bank accounts equal $47.98 but take a damn sick day already. Even the most menial jobs I’ve held, when someone lost a loved one we all passed the hat and donated time off and made sure that person got to grieve for two weeks. Yet here was Lafayette, less than two days out from that time a witch possessed his body and made him stab his partner, just making some gumbo and slipping into an overly pronounced Cajun accent. This is exactly why companies need the kind of comprehensive benefits that allow paid leave. You push a grieving man too far, an ancient demon may take over his body and put bleach in your gumbo. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Oh p.s. Terry is leaving. He refuses to say why. Everyone is secretly relieved.

OLD TIME SAN FRANCISCKY, INTERIOR WHORE HOUSE:

This softly filmed Lifetime vignette explained a lot about Pam and Bill and Eric. For starters, Pam has always been the icy-hearted, sassy bitch we love, demanding Lorena and Bill pay for the girls they drained (Eric trying not to laugh when she demanded $500 a head was super charming).

Bill and Eric hated each other on sight (like most couples. What a meet cute!), and Eric was really into extolling the virtues of good vampire parenting. Seriously he could not stop going off about the bond between maker and progeny. Even after he and Pam had ravaged each other while keeping their hair looking nice, he still had a lot to say about the profound responsibility of being a maker. Thoughts that I hope got through to Pam.

I like that Pam backed Eric into turning her, slitting her wrists and telling him to turn her or watch her die. She fought to become a vampire, and it explains a lot of her gratitude and devotion to Eric. Sure, in some corner of my heart I wish it had been Eric’s idea, but it’s a good story move to make Pamr and Tara so diametrically opposed to the question I threw out at the beginning of this review, the “Would you be a vampire?” thesis. You will have every possible practical advantage, but you’ll lose your humanity: your kindness, your empathy. Deal or no deal? Pam, as a salty and kind of racist San Francisco madam, is not going to lose any sleep over that touchy-feely B.S.

Meanwhile, Salome dressed up in her Moulin Rouge costume to seduce Bill. In this scene someone got to really lay their Bible fan fiction on us (BTW the Bible is no better than US Weekly, as Salome hilariously remarked) and re-work Salome as a misunderstood, sexually abused teen. The only portrayal of Salome that matters is Ken Russell's Salome's Last Dance but we’ll put that aside for now. Suffice to say she seduced Bill and Eric to make sure they weren’t Sanguinista, but she herself seems like Prime Suspect #1 for Sanguinista Covert Ops. RIGHT? Don’t you think she’s Sanguinista? Whatever that is? I’m still not sure what about Bill about Eric’s sexual styles told her they weren’t Sanguinista, but I have some questions ‘bout sex, baby.

1. I get that all vampires are pure appetite, and sex is tied to that...yet as casually as they hook up (see the storage container at the docks), you’d think after a few hundred years another vampire untying her top and revealing—TA DA!!!—the bags of fat above her ribs would get a little “meh”? Maybe it’s the heterosexual woman in me but surely tits are kind of “whatever” after a couple millennia?

2. Isn’t sex on this show starting to feel a little boring? Sex feels weirdly stake-less, now that they’ve all effed each other/strangers/enemies/friends/sisters. True Blood channeled a teen drama vibe in its first seasons because everything felt huge and new and significant. Bill and Sookie having sex was practically the climax of the first season’s arc. That’s all kind of drained away, and now sex is almost better as a punchline on the show. I don’t know, just all these random sex scenes with characters we just met. It's boring and confusing.

Our best hope for meaningful/intense romance on this show rests with Jessica. She smelled a fairy (OBVIOUSLY), chased him into the woods, and then hopped by Jason’s all revved up and down to bone.

And then when he revealed that he is super conflicted about having sex all of a sudden she, instead of snapping, “Well what the hell good are you then? Don’t start eating carbs now, you weirdo,” offered, like the good dorky middle school girl she is, put on her sweats and offered to bro down with him. Yes, she’s not all Kool-Aid hair streaks and Rock Band (or whatever dorky middle school girls think is cool). She’s also a fundamentally good person. Her romance with Jason continues her arc as one of the most nuanced and enjoyable on the show.

As for this one! This was a hard laugh for me, folks. Looking angry in Adam Lambert eye liner and a mesh tank is something no actor can really pull off.

So obviously, the big and kind of revolutionary thing that happened was Tara calling Sookie out in front of Alcide. She kind of called it that Sookie was covering up killing Debbie not out of fear but out of fear that she’d lose one of her supernatural suitors. Like damn!

When you have it out with your best friend, it all comes out, doesn’t it? Sookie did have to 'fess up to Alcide and he took off into the night. Has her cuteness lost its power over Alcide? Will he narc on her for shooting a gun-wielding intruder in her own home who had just killed her best friend? (Like, that’s so legal it’s practically required.) I’m sorry but much like Tara I am just not worried about Ol' Taserhands. She’ll be fine.

Tara, having disowned her human loved ones, decided to end her life, HILARIOUSLY in a tanning bed. Haven’t we all, girl! Some of us do it over the course of decades. Seriously this was a brilliant modern investigation of vampire logic (it's not daylight but is it?) that was both kind of touching (she doesn’t want to be a vampire! Her humanity is too strong!) and comedic (two of my favorite things for shows to be). And even better was Pam’s chilly reaction. “That stupid bitch.”

OBVIOUSLY Pam’s going to go save her, yes?! This was Tara’s call for help to her second negligent mom. Like, if she wanted to be dead she’d hang out 'til the sun came up. This whole tanning booth thing is an obvious cry for help to her maker. Surely Pam will set things right?!


Let’s discuss:

1. Will Pam save Tara?

2. Will Alcide turn Sookie into the cops/Debbie Pelt’s parents/stop liking her now?

3. Guardian of the Authority: hero or villain?

4. Vampire sexuality: Would titties eventually get boring if you lived forever, guys?

5. Is lying down in a tanning bed the equivalent of cutting for a vampire girl?

6. Would you be a vampire?

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