True Blood: Release Me

Andy: "With a bull mask! And these giant claws!"
Bud: "Claws? Uh huh."
Andy: "And the whole town had these big black saucer eyes like zombies!"

[Book note: I'm a big fan of the books and I remember what happened in pretty much all of them. But I am treating the series as separate and different, and I am not assuming anything. That's why I haven't mentioned obvious book stuff below about Maryann, Godric, Barry, and so on.]

This was one of those "plot threads in motion" episodes: all windup and no pitch. I always find it difficult to review this type of episode, even if it's fun to watch. Here goes.

The Fellowship/vampire war is about to ignite, with the Stackhouses right in the middle of it. I like Jason a lot more now than I did in season one; I was especially pleased at the way he jumped to Sookie's defense when Gabe slandered her. Is Jason dead? I doubt it. Sarah is such an emotional basket case that I doubt she could aim a gun with anything approaching accuracy. And her priorities are so all over the place. (I particularly loved her speech about God coming first as she was wriggling back into her panties.)

As Hugo the traitor fell apart, Sookie stayed calm. At least until Gabe attacked her, and Godric showed up. How? Eric couldn't have gotten there that fast, could he? That means someone else let Godric go, or Godric was there... voluntarily. Which would make sense of Eric talking about how Godric was just too powerful to be caught by a bunch of boys with crosses and crossbows. Why would Godric be there voluntarily, though? (Please see "Book note" above.)

Okay, I'm a big Eric fan and a hopeless Sookie/Eric book shipper. What the hell is going on with Eric? We know that Eric is trying to take Sookie away from Bill, and it seemed like they spent some of this episode setting up the possibility that Eric would rescue her from the Fellowship. Instead, Eric is still all about Godric. Eric actually cried for Godric, which wasn't in character at all, no matter how powerful a maker is. I'm frustrated. Can you tell?

So Bill was a vicious killer in 1926, and a good guy in 1935; he practically had to stake himself to get free of Lorena. How did he get over being monstrously evil? It's not like the flu, you know. What changed him? Did he suddenly come home one night and decide that killing was wrong? Did the blood lust of vampire youth wear off, or did he just fall out of love with Lorena? I noticed that the victim Lorena chose for Bill looked almost exactly like the one in the 1926 Chicago flashback. Do vampires prefer blondes?

Bill now knows who summoned Lorena, and why. Oops.

Meanwhile, back in orgy city, we officially know what Maryann is now: a maenad, handmaiden of Dionysus, or possibly Satan. (Yes, I knew that was in the book. See "Book note" above.)

And Andy Bellefleur quite possibly to the rescue. Poor Andy was like the voice in the wilderness, screaming "Pig", and no one would listen to him. And yet, since he's the only one who can see what is really happening, maybe he'll be the one to stop it. Him and Sam, maybe. At least now we know why Maryann is so obsessed with Sam: he got away from her, and she can't control him because he's a supe. Is that why Maryann scratched Sookie? Sookie is a supe? What kind of supe? (Again, see "Book note" above.)

The whole Hoyt/Jessica magical virginal love affair (with rose petals, even) has been like an isolated pocket of comedy and romance throughout all this. I hope it's not about to end tragically.

Bits and pieces:

-- Hoyt is 28. Jessica is only 17. Except that she's not really a girl. I don't think it matters. They feel the same age.

-- Lorena is a really striking and convincing vampire. Maybe it's the gleaming eyes.

-- New bit of True Blood vampire lore: being forced to stay awake during the day causes bleeding from the orifices. Ick.

-- Maryann and that dripping dead rabbit. Wow. She's starting to remind me of Amy in season one: any psycho thing Maryann wants to do is automatically right and natural. Except Maryann is a lot scarier than Amy.

-- Sam must go through a lot of clothes.

-- What happened to Barry? He's a good guy, if he went out of his way to help Sookie. I hope he's okay. (And again, please see "Book note.")

-- I've started to like poor Eggs. He's kind to Tara. It's not his fault he had to kill Daphne (who, let's face it, had a death wish). I wonder why Lafayette thinks Eggs is Satan in a Sunday hat?

-- In the 1935 flashback, Bill was reading Gods & Monsters of Ancient Greece.

-- I'm honestly not one to gush about the gorgeous (not to excess, anyway) but Eric by moonlight in that scene with Isabel? Holy wow.

-- The cliffhangers were pretty much ruined by the preview for the next episode. Why do they do that?

Quotes:

Sookie: (reading board game titles) "Jesus Christ, Vampire Exterminator? Silver 'n Stakes? Send Them Back to Hell?"

Sarah: (laughing and crying) "I thought I loved Steve. But I never even knew what love was until you just showed me."
Jason: (freaked) "Wow. That's ah, intense, huh?"

Jason: "Let's think about this for a second. A, Steve has guns. Then there's the lock-down tomorrow night. And secondly, we're gonna be locked. In this church. With Steve and his guns. All night."

Hoyt: "I ain't never done it. With a girl, I mean."
Jessica: "What have you done it with?"

Jessica: "I totally would have been a slut if I could have gotten away with it."

Daphne: "Wild energy. Like lust, anger, excess, violence, basically all the fun stuff. Maryann brings it out in people."

Arlene: "Thank you, Jesus, Santa Claus and Hare Krishna."

Tara: "Are you telling me you date raped Terry Bellefleur?" Interesting that Tara now knows that she and Arlene both blacked out the night before. Maybe she'll talk to Sam, who'll talk to Andy, and they could do something together?

True Blood has become the television highlight of my summer. Another rip roaring fun to watch episode,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

6 comments:

HellBlazerRaiser said...

"The cliffhangers were pretty much ruined by the preview for the next episode. Why do they do that?"

I'm glad they showed us the Rest of Season Two trailer. Everyone knows that Jason isn't going to be killed off so soon or so nonchalantly, so instead of artificially trying to generate suspense for Jason's fate, they just showed us he lives.

This was one of the best episodes so far. I have already watched it three times.

Anonymous said...

"The whole Hoyt/Jessica magical virginal love affair (with rose petals, even) has been like an isolated pocket of comedy and romance throughout all this. I hope it's not about to end tragically."

I am worried about Jessica. The character has really grown on me, but I see potential for tragedy. She is not integral to either ongoing plot thread, so she would be easy cannon fodder should the writers decide they need to kill off a regular for effect or ratings (a weasel move that I especially despise, but one that even good shows are guilty of). I had hoped she would intervene with the Bill and Lorena stand-off, but it's like they're staying in different hotels, rather than just different rooms in the same suite--how thick could those walls be that she can't hear what's going on in the main room? They keep playing with the maker/makee dynamic, so can't they shoehorn Jessica into the drama somehow and make her more than mere window-dressing?

KAM

Harry said...

Hmmm, I'd never thought that far about Jessica before the above comment, just immensely enjoyed the awesomely adorableness that was them in Release Me.

I am going to be gutted if the storyline ends in tragedy, yet knowing that she's not in any subsequent books leads me to guess that she'll stay alive. I'm sure that the producers of True Blood are sensitive to the the opinions of fans, and with so many Jessicoyts(?!) around, she'll likely be kept alive (undead!) unless killing her becomes necessary for a major plotline.

Or is that not how things work in Hollywood? :/

Either way, I do look forward to the episode that Hoyt and Jess unleash their love on the rest of the cast, especially Daddy Bill

Cecilia said...

I only read the first book, so everything that is going on this season is news to me (probably better this way).

Eric storming out of the hotel when Barry gave Bill Sookie's message... Was he rushing to save Sookie or Godric. By the way, wow Godric - vampires are really good looking in AB's world! They just need to stop layering them with the white makeup. All guys look pretty chalky, while the vampire girls (except Lorena in the flashbacks) look pink and fresh.

The Bill/Lorena flashbacks felt like hitting the breaks in a speed race, and not necessarily in a good way. How did Bill change so quick from murderer to victim? He seemed to imply that he never wanted to be 'evil' and did it only to please Lorena (he also said he never loved her -- never have, never will). I think the flashbacks could have been shorter and give us more information about what happened to Bill. There's a big contradiction in this story: Vampires are often portrayed as creatures without feelings, but they all seem to be quite emotional (Eric cried!).

I really hope they keep Jessica and Hoyt around for comic relief. Her one-liners are classic. And I agree with the previews giving too much away. However, in a couple of previous shows the previews were cut in such a way that they gave the wrong hint. Hopefully we've been set for some surprises.

Anonymous said...

Just a little note: Lafayette wasn't calling Eggs "Satan in a Sunday hat," instead he was bringing up a much older conversation that he had with Tara in season 1 in which she told him that whenever something was too good to be true, her mother would say "Satan in a Sunday hat." Although there was clearly some suspicion.

Anonymous said...

I really liked this episode, especially the flashbacks. The actress playing Loretta is pretty good and I even felt sorry for her. And poor Andy, everyone is disregarding him now.