By Ken Tucker
Updated July 20, 2009 at 06:27 AM EDT
John P. Johnson/HBO

This week, True Blood was all about making connections. While still in the Dallas vampire hotel (the episode took up right where last week’s left off), Sookie connected with another telepath, bellboy Barry, who is impressively terrified of the local, murderous strain of vamps and hides his power from them. Sam and Daphne connected by sharing their knowledge of each other as shape-shifters, and would later connect in another, deeper way. Tara, who tried to disconnect from Maryann, found it impossible to do so, thanks to the latter’s heebie-jeebie, mind-controlling powers. (And for what follows, here’s your spoiler alert.)

Jason, still in Fellowship of the Sun boot camp, made a connection of the flesh with Sarah Newlin, who surprised Jason in the bathtub with a little under-the-bubbles hand-love. We knew Sarah was attracted to Jason, but now it’s clear that part of her affection is inspired by annoyance with hubby Steve, who condescends to her and who wanted to show Jason his own comradely friendship by revealing the church’s vast storehouse of vampire-killing weaponry. (Liked the silver throwing stars shaped like crosses. And yes, the wooden bullets were mentioned again — who do you think will be the first vamp to take one in the heart?)

But the core of this episode, directed with swift economy by thriller veteran John Dahl (The Last Seduction, Red Rock West), was the showdown in Dallas between (on one side) Bill, Sookie, and Eric and (on the other) Stan and Isabel, “vicious, petty, vile creatures,” in Bill’s description, haughty lieutenants of the missing Godric. Sookie really showed how decisive she’s become, aware of her value to the vampires, by volunteering to infiltrate the church and read minds to find out what the Fellowship knows about Godric. (Wait: doesn’t she know she’s going to encounter Jason?) An important bit of character-history was dropped in here: Godric, we saw in flashback as Evil incarnated as a toothy boy, is Eric’s “maker,” thus Eric’s loyalty to him.

All in all, a very nicely tense yet dreamy episode. I don’t think the lovey-dovey scenes between Sookie and Bill have ever been as lushly romantic, do you? I want to hear what you think: What did you make of a subdued Lafayette asking for his old job back? Where do you think the Dallas trip is headed? And who’s the vampire woman in the final shot?