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'True Blood' review: The bloody soap opera of '9 Crimes'

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The soap opera was as thick as a vial of V on this week’s episode of True Blood. I mean, really, breaking up over the phone? Being so jealous of your ex-girlfriend’s new love you pretend to be with another girl to make her jealous? What was this, a particularly bleak episode of The Hills? The key couples this week were Sookie and Bill, and Alcide and Debbie.

In keeping with Bill’s ongoing charade to fool Russell into thinking he’s switched allegiances, Bill told Sookie over the phone, “I’m leaving you… We were doomed from the start.” He also mentioned having just had sex with Lorena, though he didn’t go into the neck-twisting S&M stuff. Sookie fell for it, blubbering inconsolably to Alcide: “He doesn’t want to be found… that isn’t the man I love,” she said through her tears to Alcide. Right, dummy: he’s just pretending he’s not the man you love. You’re smarter than this, Sook. What’s happened to you, girl?

He had problems of his own. His ex, Debbie, was scheduled to have one of the Deep South’s classier engagement parties, at Lou Pine’s bar. Still, um, pining over her, Alcide got his sister, Janis, to make-over Sookie as a goth-looking tramp to inspire Debbie to become jealous, or at least realize that hooking up with Coot was not a great idea. It didn’t work. Turned out that Debbie was being turned out by none other than Russell, who appeared in the bar to give addictive blood to the bar’s crowd of lusty werewolves, and to receive a red-hot branding-iron initiation into the were pack.

The sub-plots are piling up. Sam’s giving some devious aid to the Mickens and sympathy to Tommy. Jason is blackmailing acting-sheriff Andy into making him a deputy. (Gee, in the real-time world of True Blood, wasn’t Bud having the fastest-organized retirement party ever?)

Franklin bit Tara, tied her up, and then said, “I’m not a bad guy, Tara.” Coulda fooled her. Invoking once again the notion that his “employer is interested in Bill,” he then brought Tara to… Russell’s big house. So it’s all coming together, see?

By far the most entertaining moments all involved Eric. His fantasy of appearing outside Sookie’s window, hovering until she allowed him in, was the Cool Sight Of The Week. His rock-and-a-hard-place dilemma over who to save — Pam being tortured by the Magister, or his own skin in admitting he’s been dealing V for the Queen — came close to being the night’s one true moment of un-ironic, non-campy drama. Best of all, there was Eric coming to the aid of Lafayette, being beaten by some V addicts, choking one into submission, and then turning to Lafayette to utter the deathless line, “Let’s go, RuPaul.”

How long do you think Bill is going to put up with being Russell’s “procurer” before he snaps? Which of these plots most interests you? What’d you think of the episode overall? I found it scattered, distracted, but entertaining.

Follow: @kentucker