Monday, July 26, 2010

True Blood: I Got a Right to Sing the Blues

Last night the audience was treated to a scene that I have waited for from the moment it was revealed that Lafayette was to have a love interest this year.


Can I get a WOOT, WOOT?  I know that this did not end well, but I have to say that I was so excited to see it, that this where I had to start this week's discussion.  The flirting between  Jesus and Lafayette has been very sweet, and I am glad that the writers didn't make it awkward like Bill's "I hear the water is hard in Arkansas" routine. Unfortunately, it all came crashing to an end when some of the men that Lafayette was trying to encourage to sell V showed up and started bashing his car.  Lafayette was forced to admit that he sold V and this sent Jesus running the other direction.  I gotta say that I don't blame him, because getting involved with a drug dealer is the last thing that I would want.  I do think that the line of the night once again went to Lafayette when he said, "Get your ass out of here and tell you mama two faggots whipped your ass."

Back to the beginning.  Russel walks into his mansion with Sookie and Bill in tow.  Suddenly Bill finds his courage and attempts to kill Russel to no avail.  He orders Lorena to kill Bill and for Eric to take Sookie to his study while he goes off to soothe Talbot's hurt feelings. Talbot's histrionics are getting irritating.  I am really starting to see his high maintenance behaviour as verging on homophobic.  Ball seems determined to divide Talbot and Russel into stereotypical male and female roles, with Talbot being feminized to the point of a ridiculous caricature. The age difference between Talbot and Russell is no longer working as a cover, for the dominant submissive binary that plays out  each week. It makes me wonder if he really sees gay relationships this way?

Throughout the scene, Russell and Eric refer to Sookie as it.  "I have not had the pleasure of tasting it, but all of my instincts say that it would be quite extraordinary," said Eric.   "Oh it thinks we're equals".  I think for the first time in the series, Sookie is learning that it is not all about her. Alone in the office with Eric, she honestly expected him to be actively hatching a plan to save her and Bill.  Instead, she was greeted with, "you mean nothing to me, nothing do you hear?  I am very close to getting something I wanted since I was still human.  Do not get in my way."  I should also point out that Sookie did a great Eric impression, that would have had me giggling if the situation were not so dire. For the record, can Skaarsgard where a pair of jeans or what? You have no idea how hard it was not to include a gratuitous ass shot.

 Arlene's paranoia around Jessica continues.  Of course, she says that her bigotry is understandable, considering vampires cannot control the release of their fangs.  For her part and actually quite surprisingly for the first time, Jessica remains calm under fire.  She glamors the woman into leaving Arlene a huge tip and then instructs her to go into the bathroom so that she can feed on her.   It seems that Jessica is finally getting a handle on this vampire thing.  The one thing that did bother me about this scene, was the assumption that this customer could afford to part with this much money.  "True Blood" has a very nasty habit of portraying working class people without working class problems and this scene I think reaffirms that.

 Lorena sets about her work torturing Bill.  He says, "I wish I had known you before you were made.  Before you turned hard.  I would have liked to have seen you smile, with light in your eyes instead of darkness. That would have been something".  Alright I am just going to say it, Stephen Moyer has a complex.  He is sucking in his gut so hard, it looks like he can barely breathe throughout this segment.  Okay, back to analysis.  Of course Bill's vampire nature is all Lorena's fault and she rightfully calls him out .  "Yes, it's all my  fault isn't it?  You never enjoyed killing those humans, writhing naked in their blood, making love to me as the light died in their eyes, oh no.   I forced you to to do all that. Be a man and admit you liked it"  Lorena may have a sick obsession with Bill, but it is more than time for him to admit that he freely engages in a lot of behaviour that is at the very least problematic.

Last night we also learned what Sam's family has been reduced to for the sake of survival.  Sam at first believed that JoLee was beating Tom, but Tom denied the allegation.  Their mother enters and what she has to say to Tom is the most honest comment on class that I have seen on "True Blood". "

My back's done shot from all the years I spent in the ring.  I ain't able to work now. You wanna just leave me to rot in an alley somewhere? I did it until I couldn't do it anymore and now it is your turn.  The world ain't right you selfish little shit.  Without you the world ain't gonna survive, we ain't gonna do it.  You can't trust Sam, he may be blood but he ain't family and he ain;'t never gonna be.  He looks down on us, thinks he's better than us". For the first time there is an acknowledgment that Sam is not like all of the other working class people that populate Bon Temps. He owns a business and has developed a specific way of looking at the world based in his class privilege. Tom goes off with his mother to fight in the ring, but Sam figures out what is going on and sets off in his truck to play rescuer. 

Eric and Russel go on a road trip to see Queen Sophie-Anne.  Apparently, Russell has repeatedly asked for her hand in marriage and she has spurned his advances.  When Sophie-Anne realizes that she has no choice, she accepts his offer. It is certainly understandable that Eric has no interest in being loyal to the Queen because she betrayed him, but watching him pick her up as though she is trash,  is shocking.  Once again we have yet another scene where a woman is forced into an untenable position by a man.  In and of itself this would not be problematic, if this season had not been so rife with violence against women.  Furthermore, watching Eric assert his dominance over Sophie-Anne, was structured almost as balancing the scales.  How dare she presume to have power in the presence of such men.  I really miss the Queen from the books.

Watching Tara bite into Franklin's neck was extremely disturbing.  It made think of the way that Black women had been forced during slavery to fulfill their masters sexual desires. She knew that she had to play along for the chance to escape, and this is exactly the position that Black women were placed in during slavery.  It was either accept  the masters demands or die. I am generally speaking not a violent person; however, when Tara bashed Franklins head in, a part of me cheered.  Tara manages to save Sookie who wants to restart her mission to save Bill.  Tara says, "he was covered in blood and he was going to let them kill me.  I ain't risking my life to save his dead ass and neither should you."  In this context, I can completely see why Tara chose to save Sookie, but I am glad that she made it clear that she was not willing to play sidekick and run to Bill's rescue.

Tara takes off in search of car when she runs into Alcide, who apparently has been sent by Eric to rescue Sookie. In the final scene of the night, Lorena has Sookie trapped against a wall and is beginning to drain her.  I suspect next week we will see yet another magical display of Sookie's power.  In the end, I could not help but wonder, what these two women could  have been doing instead of investing so much time and energy into Bill the musty vampire. 

Editors Note:  For those of you that missed it, I am posting this weeks' True Blood Podcast that Tammi from What Tami Said,  and I participated in at 6pm EST this evening.  Give it a list and please be sure to join us next week.

          
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