Wednesday, July 23, 2014

True Blood, Season Seven, Episode Five: Return to Oz

Well it's cleanup time in Fangtasia now that the infected vampires have been vanquished.  Eric is still set on revenge but it seems that Nora has absolutely no interest in playing his game.  Pam makes it clear that Nora must obey because Eric is her maker but Nora argues back that Eric abandoned her and it was Tara who taught her how to control her impulses and how to feed. Pam succinctly reduces the issue to Nora having mommy and daddy issues when Nora points out that Pam abandoned Tara.  Finally, to end the conversation, Eric concedes that Nora has a point and reveals that the big plan is to kill the great embracer of religion, Sarah Newlin. Nora agrees to share the information she has only if Eric agrees to release her and surprisingly, he does just that. For her part, Nora reveals that Sarah has a vampire sister named Amber in Dallas, and Eric immediately starts making plans for a trip.

Ginger immediately gets upset realizing that if Eric leaves, due to his illness, she won't ever see him again.  Ginger demands to travel with Eric and Pam and is most soundly rejected.  In a fit, Ginger argues that she has been Eric's sex slave for fifteen years but since the relationship has never actually been consummated, she has actually been Eric's slave. Ginger demands that Eric either have sex with her, or allow her to travel with them. When Eric points out that he is diseased, Ginger is not deterred and claims to be diseased as well. Finally, we see the coffins being loaded with Ginger clinging desperately to them, only to be dumped unceremoniously to the ground.  I actually felt for Ginger in that moment.

Sookie returns home and gets teary eyed when she spies Alcide's iconic leather jacket hanging over the chair. Not to worry though, Lafayette and James are there to play clean up.  Heaven's knows that if Sookie is upset, everything must stop so that she can be comforted.  Lafayette, in full blown Mammy mode tucks poor Sookie into bed and even promises to be there when she wakes because he couldn't possibly have anything better to do, like mourn for the cousin he just lost.

When Sookie wakes, she find the house lit by candles and a big spread of food on the table. Sookie greats Jackson, who agrees that when Sookie is ready, they will go through Alcide's things. A laughing Jenny, James and Lafayette enter the room with even more food for the already overburdened table. Sookie declares that their efforts have been sweet but points out that she cannot eat all of the food which has been amassed. It seems that the big plan is to throw a party.  Jenny tries to suggest that death doesn't have to be sad but because that is not what Sookie believes, Sookie calls a stop to the party and  starts to take her angsty self upstairs. How dare people think that they can mourn any damn way they want to when Sookie is standing right there to be their example.  Besides, if they have a party, how can they spend their time doting on her? Lafayette stops her and suggests that they are celebrating life and that of course, Alcide wouldn't want her to be alone.

A knock on the door announces the arrival of Bill.  Of course, Sookie is still sulking that people dared to make plans without consulting her.

Eric and Pam show up at Amber's door to find that she is also infected.  After a quick search, Pam says that Sarah is not there, as Amber begins to relate how difficult it was to be the black sheep of the family, while Sarah played the role of little Ms. Perfect. Because Sarah was heavily involved in The Fellowship of the Sun, it seems that she paid Amber to stay away. It's worth noting that True Blood used the phrase, "stay in the coffin," which is yet another instance of them comparing the story they are attempting to tell, to the lives of GLBT people. When Eric reveals that the big plan is to kill Sarah, Amber quickly agrees to participate. It seems that Amber blames herself for the things that Sarah has done. Amber suggests that Sarah is going to rush straight to her parents for protection and since her parents are going to be at a gala for Ted Cruz at the Bush library, that is where they will find Sarah.  Of course, Eric plans to crash the gala.

Lettie Mae argues with her husband to have the right to go to the party which is being organized at Sookie's. Lettie Mae suggests that this will be her only chance to say goodbye Tara and points out that there isn't even enough for her to bury but the Reverend Daniels is adamant that because there are going to be vampires there that Lettie Mae should not attend. Instead the Reverend Daniels suggests that he wants to take care of Lettie Mae tonight.  Under the guise of getting more seasoning for the food, Lettie Mae heads to the cupboard but instead of grabbing cumin, grabs the Benadryl.

The party is in full swing at Sookie's and even Bill is starting to get his groove on a little bit. Jane declares that she is finally going to get her shit together after everything she has been through and promptly takes a drink. Suddenly Bill gets a far off look and it's time for another flashback.

This time, Bill remembers when he learned that the civil war had been declared and that as a man of privilege that he stood a great chance of becoming a commissioned officers.  Even as there is excitement in the air about the thrill of war and glory, it's clear that Bill does not agree. Bill sits in the saloon and drinks as he Charles delivers a rallying cry about protecting their freedom in the wake of Fort Sumter. Finally, in frustration, Bill stands and declares the war a lost cause because the North is better equipped than the South. Bill declares that the North will scorch their land and destroy their livelihoods but is quickly pegged as a Yankee sympathizer and asked to leave.

Sookie makes her way downstairs finally dressed for the party.  She is greeted by Violet, who tries to console her by saying that she has had about 100 boyfriends die over the years and still remembers how tough the first ones were. Bill pulls his white knight routine and rescues an astonished Sookie.  Jason begins to object to the fact that Violet has had 100 boyfriends die on her but Violet quickly cuts Jason off and drags him off to dance.

The Reverend Daniels is asleep after being drugged by Lettie Mae and so she tosses a blanket over him and makes her way out the door.

In the kitchen, Jackson gives a small memorial to Alcide and throws in that Sookie was worth fighting for. What I would like to know is what Jackson is basing that on? Jackson declares that Alcide died a hero, as Lettie Mae makes her way into the party. Lafayette moves quickly to try to remove Lettie Mae, warning her that she cannot cause a scene but is stopped by Sookie, who invites her to say a few words about Tara. Lettie Mae gives a very moving eulogy about how Tara sacrificed herself, even though Lettie Mae had not been a good mother to her.

Alone, Jessica stands outside of Sookie's house as the party continues on.  Andy approaches and asks Jessica to come in but Jessica says that she cannot.  Andy tells Jessica that her torturing herself over killing his daughters keeps that pain alive for him as well. Andy points out that Jessica has been good to Adalind during the horrible week which just passed and helped bring Holly back to him. Umm how does Jessica get credit for Holly? Andy declares that life is too short and precious to always be looking backward and that he is moving forward. To that end, Andy asks Jessica if she has a ring that he can borrow so that he can propose to Holly. Umm, yeah, what woman wants another woman's ring for her engagement ring, even temporarily? Jessica rushes into the house and it's Sookie to the rescue.  Sookie pulls out the ring which her grandmother left to Jason to give to the woman he planned on marrying. Violet declares that Jason is already hers and that she doesn't need a ring to tell her that and then expresses disappointment at the size of the ring. Everyone heads downstairs and Jason pauses to tell Adalind and Wade that if they are having sex, it is going to have to stop.

A very nervous Andy makes his way over to Holly and asks for the music to be stopped.  Andy gets on down on one knee and admits that he has been wanting to propose to Holly for a long time but just never believed that he deserved a woman like her.  Saw awww everyone; this is True Blood pulling on your heart strings. We get a round of applause and everyone expresses their happiness for the couple.  James notices that Jessica is happy for the first time in a long time and suggests that they should leave with the intent being that they have sex but Jessica blows him off.

Arlene and Sookie sneak upstairs so that Sookie can cry.  Sookie says that though she is happy for Andy and Holly, but the party is more celebratory than she is ready for. Sookie asks how she can miss someone that she cannot accept is dead and that it never occurred to her that Alcide could die, as Jackson listens into the conversation from the bathroom. If that right there isn't the perfect example of Sookie's arrogance, I don't know what is.  Arlene comforts Sookie by talking about how she has dealt with the loss of Terry.

On the porch, James seeks solace from Lafayette about being blown off by Jessica. James complains that Jessica gives him just enough love and affection to keep him hooked. They begin to get their flirt on after Lafayette questions if the vampire who turned James was his former lover. The two share a kiss on the porch.

In Dallas, Eric and Pam have taken turns picking appropriate clothing to attend the Republican affair.  When Eric takes off his shirt to change, Pam realises that Eric is in stage two of the disease. Eric grabs a compact and asks Pam to cover the veins that will be visible to the public. He then adds that he is going to die.  Wow, True Blood isn't even being subtle in its comparison to people living with HIV/AIDS. Is there any group of people they are unwilling to appropriate from? Tears run down Pam's face as she applies the makeup.

Arlene and Sookie are doing tequila shots when Pete approaches them.  Sookie of course jumps right in the middle to declare that Arlene has been through a lot and that Pete needs to dial down "his sexy."  It turns out that Pete is a vampire and he tells Arlene that she is the most beautiful woman that he has seen in over 300 years.  Arlene quickly excuses herself to go to the bathroom, with Sookie hot on her heels.

Jessica is walking around the party looking for James and Arlene informs her that James went outside with Lafayette.  Um yeah major uh oh.  When Jessica finds James, he is having sex with Lafayette in the back of a 4x4.  When James looks up, he makes eye contact with Jessica and quickly rushes over to her side. Jessica instantly becomes fixated not on the fact that James was cheating but that he was cheating with a man. Jessica then runs into the house screaming for Jason, quickly followed by James. Jessica wastes no time in informing Jason about James cheating with Lafayette and asks Jason to rescind James's invitation.  Jason is only too happy to do so.  An upset Jessica rushes upstairs and Jason follows to comfort her.

Outside, Lafayette checks in on James, who only wants to be alone. Lafayette offers James a place to crash for the night and James walks off into the night. Back in the house Jason questions how Jessica could believe that James is straight given is penchant for being a sensitive musician. Jessica says that she doesn't believe that James is gay and is only confused.  Oh True Blood, how you love your fails. The conversation is interrupted by a knock on the door from Lafayette and Jessica is in no mood to talk to him. Lafayette then asks Jessica a series of questions about James and of course being so wrapped up in her guilt for the last few months, Jessica doesn't know any of the answers. Lafayette then tells Jessica that if she is honest with herself, she will have to admit that James is not the man for her. Jessica is affronted by the suggestion, particularly the implication that James is the man for Lafayette. Lafayette points out that everyone else in Bon Temps is falling in love and getting engaged and though he spends his time making the White heterosexual people laugh and feel good that he is entitled to happiness to. As Lafayette heads to the door, he adds that James is a good man and advises Jessica to let him go if she doesn't truly love him and promises to pick up the pieces from there.

A drunk Sookie is walking through the party eavesdropping on people's conversations as you do. This time the people are saying that they are wrong about Sookie and that she isn't to blame for what happened with the vampires. Of course all of the redemption is based in the fact that Alcide loved her enough to sacrifice his life for her. They are even giving Sookie full credit for the party she didn't want to throw. Sookie runs into Willa and realises that she hasn't seen Bill and cue bad segue into a flashback.

Bill is sneaking out of the south using the underground railroad with a Black guide.  They stop when a wagon goes by them but unfortunately Bill's infant child starts to cry.  When they believe the scouts have passed, the Black guide stands, only to be shot in the chest by the very man who told Bill he had a chance to get a commissioned position in the southern army. Charles orders Bill to hand over the man he and his family were following and instead of complying, Bill lights it on fire.  Charles raises his weapon to shoot Bill and Caroline jumps in front of Bill asking Charles to think of the children. Charles fires his weapon into the air and tells Bill that his dead guide is an example of what happens to deserters regardless of the their colour.

A drunken Sookie calls to Bill outside to see if the coast is clear before joining him and ending his trip down memory lane.  Sookie notes that Bill doesn't look right and Bill says that he was just thinking.  Sookie tells him to stop because that is not what this night is about. Suddenly Sookie is embracing the party she didn't want.  Sookie points out that Bill hasn't socialized at all tonight, even though everyone is pleased to see him here.  Bill counters and says that people are actually pleased to see Sookie, though for life of me I cannot figure out why. Bill gives credit to Sookie for the positive interaction between humans and vampires. Bill then escorts Sookie to the door saying that he had a wonderful time and that he is now getting used to them being friends. Sookie thanks Bill for seeing her in a way as she is unable to see herself.  They hug and Sookie heads inside.

The moment Sookie heads through the door she hears Lettie Mae talking about getting some of Willa's blood no matter what she has to do to get it. Having found Arlene, Willa is asking about the possibility of a job as Lettie Mae raises her knife. Lettie Mae stabs Willa in the shoulder and then desperately tries to lick the knife as Sam jumps in front of Lettie Mae and all of the vampires in the room drop fang and hiss. When Lafayette enters the room, Lettie Mae rushes to him and says that Tara is trying to contact her from the other side and that the only way she can talk to Tara is with Willa's blood.  Lafayette moves to get his aunt out the door and Lettie Mae screams that people are all looking at her like is crazy and that it is only because she used to have a drinking problem that people don't believe her.  Lafayette reminds Lettie Mae that she stabbed someone and marches her out of the house. A very heavily pregnant Nicole tells the room that they are all crazy since it has been less than a week since a bunch infected vampires held them hostage and tried to kill them.  Sam tries to cut Nicole short but she will not be stopped believing that people need to hear this because people died.   Nicole points out that they are all acting as though everything which has happened is normal and that this sort of thing does not happen in other towns. Yeah umm about time someone said it. Nicole demands to go home so Sam hands over the blood knife and follows and Violet follows to see that they get home safe.

Upstairs, Jessica tells Jason that maybe Lafayette is right and that she doesn't belong with James. Jason points out that they met in a prison camp, and Jessica tells Jason that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Jessica says that Violet is sexy but weird and really off. Jason wonders if that is why earlier tonight when they were trying to find the ring for Andy, Violet declared that she didn't need a ring to prove that Jason is hers.  Jason admits that he didn't really want Violet to wear the ring and that he would have loved to have given it someone someday.  Jessica calls Jason the sweetest man in the world and the two begin to kiss. Now, who didn't see that coming?

Pam and Eric are making their way into the gala and Pam declares it one of the most disturbing things she has seen in the last 100 years. Eric snarks that it is fun because they are together.  They spy Sarah's father Paul and agree to split up, so that Eric can get the father alone and Pam can find Sarah's mother Nancy, who is in the bathroom when Sarah makes her appearance.  Sarah uses a baby voice telling her mother how much she missed her, as Nancy demands to know what she is doing there because the whole world is looking for her. Sarah continues laying it on thick as Nancy asks what she wants. Sarah says that she is real trouble and needs help from someone really high up right now, then asks if Laura Bush is out there. Sarah asks Nancy to call Laura and Nancy reveals that Laura stopped taking her calls the moment there was a book published revealing that Sarah was responsible for the virus which is causing vampires to terrorize humans. Sarah admits what she did and then declares that she is not a monster and is instead a Buddhist.  Nancy advises that Sarah leave right away lest she be trapped by the liberal media. Sarah tells her mother that the problem is bigger than the media; it's the Yakuza.

Jason and Jessica are having sex and Violet hears them as she is heading up the stairs. Violet stand outside of the door and does not enter. Mmmmm Jason is in trouble with a capitol T.

Back at the party, Eric begins to glamour Paul to get information on Sarah when he should come storming in but the Yakuza and start firing of all things.  They make quick work of Paul when he admits that he does not know where his daughter is.  Hearing the shots, Nancy and Sarah take off running but it's clear that Nancy is having trouble keeping up, so Sarah let's go of her mother's hand and increases the space between them. Nancy goes down with a few shots to the back and now there is nothing between Sarah and the dreaded Yakuza. Sarah runs right into Eric's clutches and he promptly lifts her off the ground by her throat.  Before Eric can finish her the Yakuza show up brandishing their weapons.  Eric is forced to drop Sarah to deal with them in a rather gruesome manner.

Back at Sookie's, the party is over and the house is empty.  Sookie picks up Alcide's jacket and puts it on, just as Arlene suggested to feel close to him again.

Switch to Bill who is now in the tub. Yep, you guessed it, flashback time.  Bill is dressed in his military outfit and head to see his wife Caroline at the Compton cemetery. A morose Caroline tells Bill that someday soon, he will be buried there as well. Bill says that he doesn't want to fight but cannot see a way out. They profess their love for one and other and Bill promises to come back to Caroline after the war is over.  Back in the present Bill opens his eyes and gets out of the tub.  When he looks at himself in the mirror he notices the telltale sign of a red vein on his chest.  It seems our Mr. Compton has officially joined the ranks of the infected.

I don't even know where to start with this episode.  We had an epic scene with Lafayette and Jessica but it is so long over due.  Everything that Lafayette said was absolutely right but the problem is that they waited until the seventh season to do this.  Where was this Lafayette in all of the rest of the seasons?  Nowhere to be found because the wanted a Black and gay caricature. I want to see Lafayette and James to be a couple for him to finally get some happiness after playing nursemaid to the White people of Bon Temps for seven years but it is small comfort based on what he has already been put through.

I was really glad that Lettie Mae spoke up for Tara.  It is however telling that no one has thought about her since she died and that everyone keeps making excuses as to why Tara meeting the final death is not a big deal. But of course True Blood couldn't let that be had to have Lettie Mae stab Willa. I can only be thankful that it was clear that Lettie Mae's actions were not influenced by alcohol. I know this because she meant a point of asking for something non alcoholic. I do however think that Lettie Mae is right to assert that the reason people don't believe her is because of her past but when you think of all of the weird things which have happened in Bon Temps in the last seven years, is it really so far out of the realm of possibility? They have vampires, shifters, fae, werewolves and have had to fight off witches and maenads but somehow something supernatural involving Tara couldn't possibly happen?

I found the scene between Andy and Jessica interesting.  Nothing Jessica will ever do will bring those girls back and at the end of the day, I think Andy offered forgiveness for his sake not hers but I don't think it should have led to help me with my proposal. Forgiving someone doesn't mean you have to be buddy buddy with someone and at the end of the day, Jessica did do something heinous.

We have seen a lot of morose Bill this episode.  I don't understand why True Blood is spending so much time doing time travel scenes.  We do know these characters after all; we've had seven years to get to know them.  I was disgusted watching Bill use the underground railroad to avoid prescription and of course, it was the Black man who paid the price. Do they even realise how problematic this was? Yes, White people who facilitated the underground railroad risked much and that is a totally different thing than what True Blood portrayed. If Bill had escaped North, he still would have been called up to fight, so why was he running? Please try and make some sense True Blood.

Speaking of not making sense, the Yakuza opening fire at the George Bush presidential library which is filled with prominent Republicans is absolutely ridiculous.  I don't care how will connected the Yakuza are, they are not going to be able to burst into an event like that and just start shooting.  I know that we have to suspend belief when watching fantasy but there are indeed limits and True Blood went way over them this time.

Finally, we get to Sookie.  It seems that all of Eric, Alcide and Bill are destined to die or are already dead leaving poor little Sookie all alone. How ever will she live in a world where she doesn't have someone to obsess over her and her supposed goodness. At least now that Bill is sick we have a legitimate reason to all of the man pain we were subjected to with the flashbacks. Maybe Sookie won't get her happy ending after all but I have discovered that at this point I just don't care.