"True Blood" recap 4x8: Vampire trust issues

Everyone shows a remarkable lack of judgment when it comes to their feelings during witches v. vamps

By Drew Grant

Published August 15, 2011 12:16PM (EDT)

Last week I expressed some concerns about Vampire Jessica. Not only because the episode ended on a cliffhanger where she opened the door to greet the sun and there were gunshots, but she just had so many confusing feelings about boys! We've all been there, Jessica. I mean, not literally -- I don't consider all those times that I have feasted on the blood of skeevy men at Fangstasia to be technically cheating on my significant other. No, I mean the shared experience of being in a safe, monogamous relationship with someone and feeling like it's not enough. You start wondering, "Am I the bad guy here? Do my needs and desires make me an awful person…and follow-up question…would I be better off concealing these feelings from my partner and letting them fester, or should I lay it all out on the table and possibly hurt the guy I care most about?" These are all normal, human emotions. But since this is "True Blood," we aren't allowed to really dwell on these issues for too long. So let's crank this up to 11 and start in on the crazy Narnia sex dreams!

First off, no, Jessica didn't die. Jason saved her (obviously) by running into the house and tackling her away from the sunlight. Then they make out, even though her face is all gross and burned (obviously x 100). This is an example of both wanton vampire nature and wanton Stackhouse nature at its finest. Apparently smooching a vampire is all it takes to break the witchy spell cast by Antonia/Marnie and her coven, though Vampire King Bill still demands that Jason chain his new lady-love back up until nightfall. Just to make sure that the witches haven't taken 15 for an Orange Julius break, I guess. Jessica is very sorry that she killed a guard while under the spell. Jason is very sorry that he shot one of the king's SWAT team in the arm while trying to save Jessica. It's weird that in the world of "True Blood," where all manners of creatures exist, the concept of "expendable henchmen" needs to somehow be justified with a couple throwaway lines about these people's families. They should have just shown this deleted scene from "Austin Powers" in lieu of King Bill pretending to feel bad that some nameless guy on his payroll was killed.

When night falls, Jessica goes home to break up with Hoyt, because she now is in vampire-love with Jason. Oh brother. You'd think having a part of you in Jason Stackhouse would make you feel pity for what it's like to be Forrest Gump with a gun and abs. Nope. Jessica is filled instead with undead lust. Hoyt takes it like we (the audience, Jessica) expect -- by sobbing hysterically, acting like a giant baby, and crying that he's not worthy of her love. "I'll die without you!" Hoyt whines, and Jessica decides that maybe that wouldn't be so terrible. She smashes his head into something and he dies. R.I.P. Hoyt Fortenberry. Jessica runs outside, where Jason is waiting with his pickup truck (that's how you know we're dealing with "Cool Jason" and not "Deputy Jason"), to tell her how sexy she looks covered in his best friend's brains.

That's when she wakes up. Yes, it was all a dream, and Patrick Duffy is in the shower, waiting to hear all about this wondrous world she imagined. This conceit could have been totally clichéd, but saves itself when Jessica actually goes to confront Hoyt. Instead of seeing a burbling baby who needs her, Hoyt explodes in a rage, telling Jessica she's not good enough for him. (See what they did there?) He also throws her out of the apartment by revoking his vampire invitation, which is something that would make breakups a billion times easier. Sadly, in this scenario Jason is not waiting in an awesome car, and when Jessica shows up at deputy Stackhouse's apartment, he actually plays the "Bros Before Hoes" card and revokes his invitation as well. Ya burnt, Jessica! (Well, not actually, thanks to Jason. But you get what I mean.)

In non-Jessica related news, Antonia/Marnie is so pissed that the coven was only able to kill one single vampire with their super-sun attack. Back in her day -- the 16th century, for those just catching up -- she was able to kill all vampires in a 20-mile radius by making them walk into the sun. Which, fair enough, lady, but times are a-changin' and vampires have the Internet and cars now. They are a part of society and don't have to pretend not to exist, which makes it much easier to keep in touch via email threads about the importance of staying indoors during the daytime. They also have King Bills to make sure that all subjects are silvered and kept away from the sunlight. (Although he himself is a terrible judge of how exactly that works, since his own ward was able to escape and almost die.)

Bill calls up Antonia/Marnie at her Moon Goddess 'n' Things shop to demand a truce, but Tara answers the phone. Bill is slightly surprised, perhaps because he assumed Tara had found some other cult to join in the last three episodes? Either way, Tara puts Bill on speaker, because ancient witches like Antonia can't figure out simple technology like television remotes, let alone iPhones. Bill is very sorry that vampires killed Antonia like, a billion years ago, and he suggests that the two groups make peace. This involves Bill and the witch shaking on a truce at exactly midnight in a graveyard, completely alone. This is exactly how a lot of wars have ended, actually. Mutual trust about midnight graveyard meet-ups. Check it in your (fake) history.

Since it's now nighttime, Sookie lets Eric out of his silver and feed off of her. Why? Because he is so hungry and had such good self-restraint when it came to not killing her fairy godmother? Sookie lets Eric bite her, though at some point he stops so she can suck his blood to get vampire/fairy high together.

Let's just pause here a second. At this point, Sookie should technically be turning into a vampire, right? That's how it happens, even by "True Blood's" own internal logic: vampire drains human of blood, vampire feeds human vampire blood, something something living underground for three days -- and then poof! Vampire! It is known. Yet for some reason when Eric and Sookie drain each other, they just go into a magical Narnia where there is snow and trees -- and a bed for having sex. Seriously. Even Sookie is like, "Why is there a bed in my acid-Vampire-blood-trip?" And the answer Eric comes up with is basically, "For us to make sex on?" Even he doesn't know what's up, but who cares, it's another Sookie/Eric sex scene. Look, I never said this show didn't know how to deliver the goods when it needs to.

The third (Fourth? Eighth?) subplot in this episode concerns the newly formed werewolf pack, who spend the entire hour talking about how they don't need to get themselves involved in the war between the vamps and the witches. Alcide and Debbie's new pack leader, He of the Very Trustworthy Hair, takes a very pragmatic approach to letting those two supernatural groups fight it out amongst themselves. Perhaps we have judged him wrong this whole time, letting our deep prejudices against men named Raoul (LOL) with terrible pedo-grooming habits and a love for motorcycles get in the way of understanding the intentions of this very nice man. Maybe we are all Sookies and Bills with our trust issues in this scenario. Since it later turns out Raoul is actually the abusive ex- of Sam's new shape-shifting girlfriend, Luna (LOL x LOL! This show really needs to conjure up some less ridiculous names), and he gets totally aggro when she won't let him come over for midnight hangouts with his daughter. I guess we were right to be wary of this greasy weirdo all along. Go us.

But none of the werewolves know about Raoul's custody issues, and as he did make some good points re: "Not getting involved in vampire issues," Debbie tries to persuade Alcide not to worry about Sookie. It seems like the two of them have this conversation at least once a day, which is oddly unwarranted; Alcide is like, third in line to getting in Sookie's fairypants. He really hasn't even made that much of an effort, but Debbie forbidding him from trying to save Sookie from whatever Scooby Doo-mess she's gotten herself into this time is the only way to actually tie the werewolf theme back into the show's plot. So that's what happens. Alcide's disobedience happens to be fortunate timing, since he happens to be the only one around to save Sookie when she gets shot.

Oh yeah, Sookie is shot. About that. As it turns out, the mano-a-witcho peace treaty in the graveyard didn't go exactly as planned. Both sides brought secret backup, which according to Bill, "is a sad testament to how much we can't trust each other blah blah blah." Shut up, Bill, you King of Hypocrites. To be fair, it was really Sookie who convinced Eric that he is a warrior and must help his king, and Eric who convinced Bill that he needed Sookie and his help -- though again, it's Bill's misplaced trust in those two that turns a resolvable issue into a crisis. As it turns out, "Live together, die alone" doesn't apply to situations where over 70 percent of your main characters are already dead.

At the graveyard, Sookie uses her telepathy to hear Antonia/Marnie cast a spell in her mind. I thought that only worked if you had a bunch of people chanting out loud, but what do I know. Antonia/Marnie screams at Sookie for using her unholy demon powers, which is really the ancient-witch pot calling the fairy-kettle black. Suddenly there's anarchy: King Bill's SWAT team descends to grab the witches, but the coven grabs and silvers King Bill. Antonia/Marnie makes a super-fog to confuse everyone, which seems pointless since vampires have super-sight, right? Before Bill is caught, he makes sure a newly re-faced Pam (looking good, Pam!) doesn't eat Tara, which is supposed to be significant, somehow. "You know why," says Bill, when Tara asks him why she was spared. But we don't! Tell us! Why can't anyone kill Tara, for the love of God!

A stray bullet from the SWAT team hits Sookie during the commotion, which is probably a metaphor for our own human folly. I mean, no humans were hurt in the making of this scene, unless you count the one hurt by other human guns. Eric would have saved her, but Antonia/Marnie gets to him first and makes him go all blanky-faced again. You'd think Tara could maybe be bothered to check up on the only person she cares about in this situation, but we all know that when push comes to shove, the only thing Tara is good for is getting drunk and yelling at other people for being bad friends. So it is up to Alcide, who has tracked Sookie through the fog, to pick her up "Bodyguard"-style and make sure she doesn't bleed to death before the end of the season. He fails to realize that the white wolf that's been following him since he left the pack is his girlfriend Debbie, even when she changes back into a human behind a tree and glares at her boyfriend for saving another person's life. Bad dog!

Bonus material from this week includes: Sam's brother skinwalking as Hoyt's mom in order to sell her land to the guy from the natural gas company (man, what?), and Arlene's baby getting kidnapped by Lafayette, who is possessed by that Creole ghost who formerly lived in Hoyt's old doll. Ya know, regular Bon Temps stuff.

Drew Grant

Drew Grant is a staff writer for Salon. Follow her on Twitter at @videodrew.

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