Monday, August 2, 2010

'True Blood' recap: 'Hitting the Ground'

At-home critic (and Rental Reviewer) Denise Purvis reviews HBO's vampire soap True Blood each week.

True Blood, S3, ep. 7: 'Hitting the Ground'

Did this episode just fly by or what? It started and ended with a major (but major both majorly overdue) vampire deaths. There was a ton of action and all the major characters toughened up even further. There was also a real sense of the season’s endgame – a major split between Sookie and vampires.

Check out the clip from next week's episode to see if you think I'm wrong (it’s been known to happen. Once.).

First off, I love the way “Hitting The Ground” picks right back up with Sookie/Lorena/Bill in the slave quarters on King Russell’s property. Of course, Lorena is all sucking up on Sookie.

"No wonder Bill was drawn to you. You’re delicious,” Lorena says, then inquires (as all the villains eventually get around to) “What are you?” since no human tastes that good.

Sookie’s retort: “I’m the bitch that’s gonna kill you.” Well, I guess you can say one thing for Sookie this season; she’s a woman … er, whatever she is … of her word. Sookie stakes Lorena with a bit of Bill’s help and says, “You wouldn’t know love if it kicked you in the fangs!” Not exactly the coolest kill line, but bam! She’s dead and reduced to primordial vampire goo.

So long Lorena. We hated you, but we'll miss you.

Anyhow, Alcide and Tara come to Sook’s rescue. After Bill’s behavior in this episode, I can officially say that Sookie should hang it up and start being a were-banger. Of course you have V-head Debbie that comes in trying to thwart their plans. Uh-oh, Debbie’s gotta gun and she intends to use it on someone. Good thing Sookie can read thoughts because it seems like lately Tara’s got her hands full bailing her out of trouble. Sookie screams and Tara tackles Debbie, knocking the gun away from her. You know where Debbie is, Coot’s got to be near, so he comes busting in and subsequently gets shot once in the chest by Alcide and a second time – Jason/Eggs style—right in the head.

Meanwhile back in Bon Temps, Jason is (still) pining away for Crystal. Jason says, "It's just funny. I never really thought that I was smart enough to get depressed. But, here I am."

Hoyt gives the top pick for one-liner of the episode (and I don’t doubt that he’s right), “I bet you 100-to-one her middle name is Meth.” I thought that last week too.

Long story short, Hoyt convinces Jason to get info from the Meth head he tackled at the start of the season since he’s conveniently tucked away in jail. It turns out Crystal is Mr. Meth’s cuz and the other Meth head is Crystal’s fiancĂ©’s brother? Not sure, but that’s what it sounded like to me. In exchange for information, Jason just has to stop by his friendly local drug dealer and pick up some meth. Sounds like a fair exchange. What’s the going rate for meth anyway? A nickel? As Jason said, “Ain’t nobody asking nobody to rat nobody out.” That’s like a quadruple negative.

Eric has Sophie Anne in a cage and in order to get information about Sookie, he grabs the Queen’s precious Hadley. Since Hadley is Sookie’s cousin, he gets her to spill the beans – in a whisper not shared with the audience. And he’s pretty impressed by the info.

He’s still wearing that damn sweater, by the way. Now it’s ruined! Do you know how hard it is to get stains out of cashmere Eric? Just ask Talbot. I digress. So, I’m a little unsure if he actually turned Hadley or not, but either way, he gets the beans.

Ol’ Sam has difficulty getting in to the dog fight to save Tommy, so he has to change into a pit bull. Turns out Sam has big balls (we’re of course referring to testicles here and not chew toys).

Sam saves Tommy and a few fighting dogs, and subsequently the day by swooping his kid brother away from the Mickens (who aren’t gone for long, I can assure you). A close second for my favorite one-liner comes from Sam to Joe Lee. “You’re just a scared man in saggy underpants with no discernible life skills whatsoever!”

Back on the Sook side of things, she gets the grand idea to feed Bill to resuscitate him. That may have been a good plan in theory, but the fanger has been bled nearly dry by Lorena and the scallywag twins, so he’s a little more than parched. He tears into her and she slips into a coma while he passes out from his blood binge.

Luckily Tara gets out of Alcide’s truck (he needed to stop their fast escape from King Russ’ werewolves for a pee break – and you said this was a fantasy show!) to check on Sookie and discovers she’s knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door. Tara, still acting all badass and ’80s action hero, gives the boot to Bill and kicks him out of the truck. In broad daylight.

One can gather Sookie’s got some special blood when Bill doesn’t immediately turn to ash upon being dumped in the sun. Well, the bitch has no blood type! (Why can’t I say it? Everyone else gets to say bitch?)
When Jason shows up in his short bus with Lafayette in tow (who wisely advises everyone to stop cussin’ at coma’d Sookie), we find out she has never been sick and wasn’t even born on in a hospital, but on a kitchen table - I mean it is Louisiana, after all. I kid, I kid.

Based on the hippy-dippy crowd, dancing in white lingerie by a silvery pond, one can gather from her coma-induced hallucination/dream she’s a fairy – or an extra in an “Age of Aquarius” number from Hair. I haven’t read the books, so this is a guess, but it somehow seems to fit. Within he dream reality, she meets up with some chick named Claudine who sounds British. (I’m not sure. I’ve never been that good at picking up on accents; I’m from Georgia for chrissakes.)

At first I thought it was some lesbian fantasy, but I think the point of Claudine was to let us know 1) Sookie’s parents were special (they didn’t drown), 2) Sookie’s special too, 3) she’s sipping on one hell of a live-giving cocktail I wouldn’t mind having and 4) Bill is apparently sucking her special powers away and is generally bad news.

No crap, Claudine; I mean he almost killed her.

Everyone in Sook’s dreamworld quickly exits stage right when a darkness overcomes the trippy magic pond – and that darkness just happens to correspond to when not-burnt Bill arrives in the hospital room back in the waking world. Bill shows up to share his blood to heal her – everyone Tara and Lafayette protest this, Alcide is pretty mum, but Jason allows it. When Sookie wakes up to find Bill giving her a V-transfusion, what’s her reaction? Kisses? A witty one-liner? Nope; a terrified scream.

Meanwhile, the juice is loose back at Fangtasia. Eric and Sophie Anne arrive to confront the Magister, and not a moment too soon. In a cruel, but cool scene between he and Pam, the Magister was about to poke some Tiffany’s sterling silver earrings through her eyes! Eric rats out Sophie for the V-dealing, the Magister threatens Eric for treason to his queen, Eric renounces the queen and swears allegiance to King Russ, who then walks in to chew some scenery (“We must talk franchising later,” he tells Eric after seeing the Fangtasia dungeon).

Basically Russell does the dialogue dance with the Magister, and tells him he has no choice but to marry him and Sophie as King and Queen. There’s a lot of chat about vampire religion and higher law, and the Magister keeps referring to “The Authority,” which sounds like a big bad uber-villain vampire to be seen in future seasons. Russell counters that the Magister and The Authority’s peace with humans and rule-of-law are absurd, outdated. When it comes down to it, Russell wants to rule the world (cue Tears For Fears). After much prodding (Literally; following a cool prisoner switheroo with Pam and the Magister, Russ pokes into the vampire official with own wooden cane) Russ and Sophie are wedded.

The Magister continues to really tick off the King of Mississippi (and Louisiana now), so he decides to lop the dude’s head off. But just before we are treated to the second piled of vampire goo for this episode, I got the sense that Eric was subtly trying to get the King out of there before killing the Magister. Perhaps Eric didn’t want to attract the fury of this mysterious Authority? Or maybe he just wanted to change into some clothes, which he hopefully has at Fangtasia.

Smaller bites:

  • I’m intrigued with the goo vampires are reduced to after staking/beheading. What is that made out of? Sweet and sour sauce and organs? Yum.
  • That chick Summer has it bad for Hoyt. I don’t blame her; I love me some Hoyt. She shows up to be all wifey and spruce up his and Jason’s bachelor pad, and offers some flaky biscuits. “I like you, Hoyt. I want to be your girlfriend. And I really want you to taste my biscuits.” Think biscuits is a euphemism? Nah.
  • Lafayette doesn’t sell meth, but we already knew that.
  • No air time for Jessica, Arlene, Terry, Talbot or Franklin. My guess on that last one is he needs some intensive healing time, but he sure ain’t dead.
  • Between Alcide running over a werewolf with his truck and the pile of dead fighting dogs, it was a rought week for canines on this show. But it was nice to see Sam go all Cesar Millan on that Rottweiler.