True Blood: Vampires Are Our New American Heroes

Pardon me while I get serious for a second.

Vampires are my crack, and I'm not alone. Between Twilight, True Blood, and The Vampire Diaries, nationally we're enthralled by stories that revolve around undead heroes. Last night's episode of True Blood was as vivid and haunting as a fever dream, but its dialogues also stirred the deep, unused recesses of my brain and kindled something of a revelation: Sympathizing with vampires is part of an emerging American identity.

Our current vampire franchises all portray the b'fanged beings in contemporary times, struggling to deny themselves their most primal thirsts. This mirrors a modern existential guilt that's entered the national consciousness in the last fifty years. We worry about the erosion of the environment, the oil we use and the imbalance it creates in the economy, the debt we wrack up, the smartphones we can't put down. Yet we also recognize our need to build homes, to drive to work and provide for our families, to answer that call from our boss or spouse or friend. We know we're supposed to feel guilty for our appetites and excesses, but we can't contradict our own survival. We, like the vampires, need to do "bad things" too. And those bad things can fuel strengths and abilities that ultimately make us heroic.

Not that anyone is calling this a bad thing:

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GOOD LORD that was some hot lovin'. You know things have gotten real when someone can smell you having sex in a swamp.

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Do you think Anna Paquin was forcing herself to concentrate on her acting, or do you think her head was ringing with the song "Rumpshaker"? Stephen Moyer is having no problem portraying a jealous Bill...

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...though in this episode he struck me less as an uptight math teacher and more as a pretty competent leader. All of the show's vampires reached a kind of zenith last night; even Pam's unprecedented frailty deepened her character.

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(If you are looking for more reasons to love Pam and/or seeking relief for your eyes after seeing that image, you should check out Kristin Bauer's very amazing paintings.)

But the humans—to give them their due—were also especially endearing last night. Tara sending her girlfriend packing was the smartest thing I've seen a human do on this show. It was like watching a character in a horror movie turn around, look into the camera and state, "Actually, I'm not going to go up those dark stairs in this mysterious house. I'm going to go home and lay down and you can all tell me how this played out tomorrow."

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There's something about the way the Wiccans are a small niche group trying to punish a large population of seemingly invulnerable vampires they detest on principle that made me see parallels to terrorism. True Blood may be a fairy tale for grown-ups , but the conversation between King Bill and Jessica after they were "silvered" felt like a serious discussion in that vein. Jessica's reacted to the prejudice of a witch who's hated her since 400 years before she was born with a survival reflex: If she's going to kill me I have to kill her first. Meanwhile, Bill's sense of desperation at having to restrain Jessica, and his promises to make the most of his life and to work toward ending a cycle of violence, are echoes of a culture where safety is no longer a given.

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I can't assign that intention to Alan Ball, and I have smelled a lot of paint in my time, but to me the situation was another example of vampires being an analog version of our modern selves, by displaying overwhelming strength in a moment of vulnerability. And damn it, True Blood, how dare you make me care all hard about a vampire father-daughter heart-to-heart while little puffs of smoke rise into the frame! It's this kind of ridiculous detail that makes me scream at my TV, "THIS IS A FANTASY SERIES! WHY IS IT THE MOST REAL THING IN MY DAY?!"

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The scenes in which vampires were at their most humane came right before Antonia went off on how humanity will trump vampires every time, walking around shouting like a a robot dressed up in Chicos' "Southwestern flair" line.

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Which was exactly the right acting decision by Fiona Shaw—the more weird and powerful Antonia seems, the better. Also: Louisiana is 937 miles from Mexico. Are you telling me that Lafayette had time to drive down there, channel a spirit, recognize he was a medium, stop for lunch, drive back, take out his braids, and put together this hot look in under twelve hours?

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That must be a fast car. It's cool that Lafayette is a medium, though I do wish there had been a little Season 1/Season 2 foreshadowing beyond the time that he and Jesus dropped acid. (Commenters, can you think of any?)

And I'm so glad the writers had Sam immediately find out about Tommy's skin-walking. I was worried that two Sams would turn the Merlotte trailer into a regular French farce, but hopefully Sam will manage to kick Tommy out for at least one entire episode.

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Eric and Sookie's dialogue was as sweet as a juicy cantaloupe rubbed against my ear. Their conversation gave more intimacy to their new relationship than any montage of hot nasty love ever could. Also: Thematic musings aside, there's no denying that last night's episode was as close as TV can get to cinema. Jessica's slow-motion run up the stairs and into the sunlight was as emotionally wrought as it was devastatingly beautiful.

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The gunshot before she walked into the light was this season's second stunning cliffhanger. (Except… Jason's going to save her. Obviously. There would be rioting in the streets if the show killed off Deborah Ann Woll. ) True Blood's fourth season is, yes, a story about witches versus vampires, but it's a story that cuts to the bone emotionally and psychologically for its viewers. And oh yeah, there's also this lady:

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Questions:

… Gunshot: Jason maiming the guard, right?

… Is Alcide and Debbie's relationship "working"?

… Spanish-speakers! How about Fiona Shaw's spanish? Was it antique- or English-accented?

… Would you set Sookie and Eric love-making to "Rumpshaker," or a different song?

… Will Sam regret letting Tommy live another day?

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American-accented Spanish with some better moments than others. Not antique.

If I remember correctly she still did the so-called 'Castilian lisp' so at least she got that part right.



As much as I like Fiona Shaw, her Spaniard-speaking-English accent went from really believable (I'm married to a Spaniard - FIRST HAND KNOWLEDGE WOOP WOOP) to sounding more like Russian as it progressed, and then it seemed like she kinda gave up entirely. Baah. :(
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Am I the only person offended by how bored Debbie looked in bed with Alcide? Give me a break, whatever problems you are having or thoughts you are thinking can wait....HAVE YOU SEEN THAT MAN????
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WORD
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I'm pretty sure Sam will end up killing Tommy eventually(whether it be accidental or on purpose). I mean, why would they introduce this shape shifter plotline if not for Sam to use it. Let's face it, in the hands of Tommy, this new power will only cause the viewers more pain and discomfort over his terrible storylines, but in the hands of Sam, could actually be a fun toy for cool twists.
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This episode was AMAZING!! I was screaming at the TV, hurry up Jason, hurry up. Come on, get out of his way!!! NOOOOO!!!! When the guard tackled him. Jason had to have gotten the guard with the gunshot. Debbie needs to Die and I mean now. Her whinnying about Sookie when she had Alcide, with that body of his, right there on top of her was ridiculous. It was plain that Sookie had other things on her mine when she and Alcide came across her and Eric in the woods. Sookie could care less about Alcide. We know Alcide has an unhealthy care for Debbie, so he won't be going anywhere anytime soon. I don't really know what song I would set to Sookie and Eric;s love sessions, I just want them to keep it coming and to add a nice steaming shower scene to it. To keep the talking and intimacy like they had in this episode going as well. All of it was wonderful to see. Almost like the book. Tommy is another one who needs to DIE!!!!! I kind of wanted Sam to kill him and I kind of didn't want him to do it. I don't want him to have any bad feelings or guilt in the future for having done it. But that boy has to die by someone other than Sam or something, anything.
More+
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Yay team screaming lady! i've loved her squemish character from the start.

As for sookie and eric; every time their together i just hear marvin gaye in my head going; Lets get it ooohoooohooonnn...!!
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seeing what's happening between between Jessica and Jason, I wouldn't be that surprised if Hoyt didn't make it to season 5. remember, "I can't lose her. it'll kill me if I lose her". I like the guy but being nice is all he does. so, in the end, I wouldn't miss him that much... unless he asks Jessica to turn him.

actually, the character I'd really love to see turned would be Lafayette, but that'll never happen. that'd be pretty hilarious though, I'd love to see him as the mediumnic vampire queen of Mississipi (he's obviously about to save everybody's ass, might as well crown him), land of debauchery. which human would you like to join the fangs ?
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Haven't been able to see pics for this article...shucks
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The Spanish is horrible, specially if its intended to be old Spanish.



They are not going to kill Jess I think Jason shot the guard.



Tommy needs to die in an accident or something I don't want Sam to kill him I think that will bring more remorse to Sams life



I don't care about the song I just love the scenes

I'm waiting on any vampire to kill Tara please I hope its Pam



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I thought its supposed to be Latin ;)
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i love Tara but she's getting on my nerves siding with the stupid witches. they need to die.
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And I feel like I'm the only who appreciates all of the characters....not just Sookie and Eric.
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I hate how everyone nit-picks everything all the time! It's a fun summer show, stop finding things to complain about. This episode in particular was amazing! One of the best of the entire series honestly!
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Staff
No, absolutely, this was my favorite episode not only of this season but maybe the whole series so far. Absolutely stunning. True Blood is one of those shows that makes it pay off for you to care about their characters.
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Staff
TOTALLY the best episode this season.
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anyone else not getting the pics with this article?
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though i gotta admit she has her excellent spanish moments like the "manteneos limpio" as truly antique-spain spanish ... but how she says "perro" and "sangre" just ruins it
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The dialogue was at times perfect Spain Spanish, although every time she says "vampires" I cringe a little.
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as a spanish speaker im kinda dissapointed in the spanish they are using in the show, for times is good and others its not, for example jesus speaking in spanish in the last episode was horrible ... btw if antonia is from 1610 spain, how come she is so fluent in english but has a couple of problems with spanish? ... for the gunshot actually i think jason bolted for the door and the guard shot him, so he falls all over jess and his blood wakes her up so she saves him, saving herself on the way ... i dont quite see the point in the alcide relationship ... tommy should have died a couple of episodes ago along with andy
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If vampires are modern people, and raping and killing is what we do to survive, then they're/we're nothing to be admired. In my opinion, the Witches and the Vamps both have equal claim to being morally grey. There's no heroes here.
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Why didn't Bill alert the Vampire Authority?!?!?! Did I miss that part??? How is silvering themselves all day a realistic option???? I know they had no choice cuz the witch is powerful, but it seems to me they need to hire a human Boba Fett or a gang of wolves or whatever the fuc,k Lafayette is these days, to defeat this crazy witch biatch....C'mon Bill brother!!
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Staff
Silvering themselves all day long seems, yes, bizarrely painful and intense...at the rate it burned through their wrists and ankles, its also puzzling that it doesn't just go right through them. You're onto something about Lafayette, feel like he and gris-gris woman are going to be what ultimately shuts the witches down.
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BTW, From Jimmy Kimmell Live, C. Harrison "I've kinda become what I detest!" ...and the Bobblehead Award goes to.....
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Amazing episode (S04E07) ... one of the best throughout the series!
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"You know things have gotten real when someone can smell you having sex in a swamp. "

LMAO!!! put down the remote and back AWWWWAY from the smellevision, Sparky!!

Would you set Sookie and Eric love-making to "Rumpshaker," or a different song?

"Je suis bt pour t'aimer", Joe Barry 1960
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Fiona Shaw is Irish, not English.
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OMG! Really?! I've seen her in one too many bonnet movies and just assumed...thanks for the heads up. I need to catch up on my imdb.
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soooo tired od tarah, just get rid of her
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Hallelujah!
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"There would be rioting in the streets if the show killed off Deborah Ann Woll."

That was my exact thought!

True Blood may actually have its best season so far and these reviews are getting better and better each episode. May even reach tvd quality by the end of the season
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Loved your review as always. You are the best True Blood recapper/reviewer out there! Who does those filmstills + titles, you as well?
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Thank you so much!! I do my own screencaps & titles, but their increased clarity is all due to TV.com's Price Peterson and Tim Surette, who've given me some great leads and tips on making them look more polished. I am a rank rookie but luckily these guys have my back.
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I have my problems with this episode, ok, I guess only one problem(Tara) . . . .( also, does anybody else hope she gets killed off in some spectacular fashion, like a beheading or an extremely painful evisceration, anyway, I digress) but I still thought this was the best episode of the season. Everybody who has been vainly hoping for that Alexander Skarsgrd and Anna Paquin softcore porn production(Intercourse with a vampire), received quite a delectable taste. We dealt with vampire philosophical existentialism, and your apt analog analogy of vampires being a representation of antediluvian humanism. Also, the closing scene, when Jessica wrenches open the doors, and your television screen slowly became bathed in that blinding bloodless white, was indeed a hauntingly beautiful moment. The random pieces of this season seem to be finally taking shape and coming together, with the pace of plot development steadily gaining momentum. My interest in this show was beginning to wane, but this episode reaffirmed my faith in the potential True Blood has. Great review Lily, I daresay it is your best yet.
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I was thinking that the Vampire vs. Witches theme was just another Religious Radicals vs. Gays argument. I know they have done that with Season 2 and Fellowship with the Sun Church but to me this seems like a more extreme, almost terrorist (like you said) group. I was thinking that the witches almost represent Westboro Church who use words to inflict pain or 9/11 terrorist who use violence to inflict pain and fear.
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seriously...would you prefer if i said coitus
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I think Sam should have killed Tommy, and one night of passion Luna turns into Sam, Sam turns into Luna, and they have sex...I'm just saying
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Fiona's Spanish was English accented.
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Now why don't the vampires make silver coffins or little cages that they wouldn't have to touch all the time but would stop them from getting out? And when Eric asked Sookie to release him from the chains the first time she should have done it, and then when he walked into the sun she should just have given him her blood and they could already make a habit of it.
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The witches were a little short notice, and not common knowledge. Why would they have silver coffins lying around? And why would Sookie let Eric drink her if he's already demonstrated so little control with her fairy godmother?
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Well, by now (two episodes later) they would have had enough time to pay those human soldiers to build them some silver coffins.
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Witches have managed to erase memories, decompose Pam, turn a Sheriff Vampire against King Bill, begin the resurrection sending some vampires to the true death in the sun light while the Vampires have so far not been able to do much to the the witch returned from the past for her revenge.
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The only thing I can think of with Lafayette is in season 2. He gives Tara a tarot card reading and it's pretty much 100% accurate. Well, as accurate as tarot cards get.
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Not sure about the gunshot, Alcide and Debbie's relationship is starting to wear under pressure, and the Spanish was ok, not great or anything. Eric and Sookie's Love Making should have been set to some thing a little more classic rock, like maybe the doors don't you lover her madly, or something similar. Sam will probably regret the decision as he does most of the ones he makes. Great Episode, wish there was more to it though.
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1. Gunshot? Absolutely I'm sure Jason went all commando cop on his @ss and will slam into jessice throwing her out of the light seconds into episode 8... Not that knowing what happens made it any less exciting or dramatic to watch. (I was totally cheering Jason on during his slightly girlie run through the cemetery)



2. Does it matter? I mean really Debbie's character in general puts me to sleep. Unless of course when Eric gets his memory back Alcide decides to make a move on Sookie... therefore getting Alcide killed by a very jealous and once again fierce Eric Northman :)



3.I don't speak spanish so I can't help there.



4. ............no comment.



5. Of course. Any time some does something decent on this show they live to regeret it... or something evil... as a matter of fact they're all pretty much drowning in regret.
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Alcide's character grates on my last nerve,
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How can I possibly be the only seeing Antonia's point here?



VAMPIRE ARE EVIL - all of them (even my lovely Jessica - WHO WILL NOT DIE) have killed people, most of them innocent, for their own enjoyment.



Let's put it this way: if Antonia's not around, Pam will kill Tara, and even for a good reason, just 'cuz some witch screw her up majorly... and Tara just happened to be here! And can't help her 'cuz she ain't a witch! The hell?!!



(Unsurprisingly, most fans of Pam happen to be women, proving once again that only irrational chicks could possibly root for the bat-shit crazy acts of another irrational woman.)



Anyway, I
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To each his own. For me I am all about the vampires. Heck I was always on Dracula's side. These are all myths and very popular now because it gives us a healthy outlet for the dark side of our personalies that we all possess.
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I see with you. The witches aren't wrong, but who wants Eric to die?? And he did a world of bad! Can't they all just get along? XD
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la mayoria de las veces tengo que leer los subtitulos porque no entiendo lo que dicen cuando hablan en espaol, si me gustan como pronuncian las R...



most of the time I have to read the subtitles because I do not understand what they say when they speak Spanish, but I do like how they pronounce the R. ..
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" Spanish-speakers! How about Fiona Shaw's spanish? Was it antique- or English-accented? "



Terrible as always, had to read subs to get what she was saying. The bald vampires accent was better.
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As much as I love this show everyone in it can't speak spanish!!!!!!!!!
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....Well, once again Tara is the psycho villain's apprentice (maenad, vampires, and now a witch, she's so lame---LOL--Archangel, are you seeing this and laughing too ???)

1. I didn't hear the gunshot, but that sounds logical. 2. No, it's weird. He like's Sookie and she knows it. 3. If Fiona Shaw is the witch, then it's fine if she's not perfect. She's possessed, not on rosetta stone. 4. How about that generic porn theme? 5. Yes. Tommy's also very annoying, and needs to be killed off immediately.
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The second Tara sent her girlfriend away with the cliche self-sacrificial "your not safe here" line, I just knew she would somehow end up as, how did you put it, "the psycho villain's apprentice"(amazingly even more annoying than the sorcerer's apprentice). Though, I still didn't want to believe it. I thought to myself, no, they wouldn't put Tara in almost the exact same scenario for the THIRD time, after all the progress she has made as a kick-boxing lesbian, surely her character has evolved and matured over these 3 1/2 seasons. Well, of course my prediction came to fruition, and True Blood did something that I thought was no longer humanly possible, it made me hate Tara even more. Headclub, at the end of this episode I actually thought of you, and wondered what you would think about this hilariously predictable turn of events. In closing, I am seeing this, and I'm laughing my fuc.king a.ss off.
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oh man, I didn't even catch Tara being the villain's apprentice! Good one!

"She's possessed, not on rosetta stone" classic! I laughed for awhile on that one!
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"Gunshot: Jason maiming the guard, right?"

Definitely. They can't kill Jessica :|!.



"Is Alcide and Debbie's relationship "working"?"

IDC.



"Spanish-speakers! How about Fiona Shaw's spanish? Was it antique- or English-accented?"

Terrible accent and I'm a Spanish speaking person.



Would you set Sookie and Eric love-making to "Rumpshaker," or a different song?

IDC. Go Team Bill!



Will Sam regret letting Tommy live another day?

You can count on it. Tommy should be put to sleep LOL.
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