Sookie and Alcide party werewolf-style as Bill strikes a deal with the vampire big-wigs

By Mandi Bierly
Updated July 12, 2010 at 04:00 PM EDT
John P. Johnson/HBO

True Blood

S3 E4
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As a frequent contributor to the Skarsgard Your Loins category over on our PopWatch blog, I wasn’t sure I had it in me to embrace Joe Manganiello’s Alcide. It’s amazing what a broad chest (wide enough to fit at least two Anna Paquins across it), a butt that looks good even in a robe, an apartment in a great building, and a glimpse of a flatscreen TV can do for a girl. We began with Sookie nursing a scratch on shirtless Alcide’s back, and his ego — she told him the werewolf that had kicked his ass (Don Swayze) had V in his system, so he shouldn’t take it personally. After he shared the start of his sob story — fiancée Debbie left him a month ago, he still hears about her through his beautician sister, Janice — Sookie’s hand lingered on the bandage, and she awkwardly told him she was almost done. We’re supposed to be sensing sexual tension between the two of them, but it feels like he’s doing most of the heavy-lifting, doesn’t it?

At that moment, Sookie got a call from Bill, who has apparently earned back his cell phone privileges after pledging his allegiance to the King of Mississippi. We all know that he doesn’t really want to say goodbye to Sookie, but he was trying to make her believe it, and he failed in multiple ways. For starters, his voice was too void of emotion. I’m sure he had to turn his feelings off to tell her, ”I’ve left my life in Bon Temps. And I’m leaving you.” (Cue the line of the episode, Sookie’s ”Shut the f— up.”) But he sounded so unlike himself that of course, she would think he was only saying she did them both a favor by not accepting his marriage proposal because someone was listening in on the call.

This portion of the conversation, Bill handled well:

”Lorena, actually,” he said, ”to whom I have just made love.”

Ca va, Sookie?” Lorena added into the phone.

”We f—ed like only two vampires can. I didn’t hold back for fear of hurting her like I do with you,” Bill continued.

But then he faltered again. He told her to look at her life since he’s entered it. He’s only brought her pain. She said that wasn’t true. (He also brought her orgasms.) ”I am death. I will bring you only suffering,” he insisted. ”Our worlds are too different. Our natures, too. We were doomed from the start.”

Sookie said she wasn’t buying it, and why should she? The only bit of that speech that felt at all genuine was the ”We were doomed from the start.” That Bill believed.

”Believe what you want. You are no longer of concern to me,” Bill told her. ”Do not try to find me. I do not wish to be found.”

NEXT: Read and learn, fellas

Mistake No. 3. He should’ve said, ”I don’t want to see you ever again.” Men, you’ve got to speak in simple blunt terms when you’re breaking up with a woman, otherwise, we’ll just spend way too much time analyzing your words. When Sookie started sobbing worse than Meg Ryan during Sally’s ”And I’m gonna be 40” breakdown in When Harry Met Sally, Alcide tried some tough love, telling her that no matter how well you think you know someone, they can always turn around and kick you in the nut sack. Very comforting, sir. But when he figured out that Bill had been her first love, he softened his approach. He hugged her as they sat on the edge of his bed, and she commented on how warm his body is. ”It’s a werething. We run hot,” he explained. (”Yes, they do,” I said to my TV, then felt my DVR/life partner, Peter, roll his eyes at me. I’m less shocked that I’m still anthropomorphizing my DVR than I am at the fact that he’s straight.) ”I thought maybe you were coming down with the flu,” Sookie said. And this was so charmingly clueless that Alcide titled Sookie’s head up and fought the urge to kiss her. He tried to excuse himself so she could have some privacy, but that’s the last thing that she wants, she said. ”At least let me go put on a shirt,” he said. He put on an undershirt, when really, to be effective, he should have come back in a Slanket. Then again, have you felt a Slanket? Mine is so cuddly, I named it. (Mr. Furley.)

Franklin the vampire detective glamoured Tara into telling him about Sookie being a telepath and that she’d gone to Jackson to find Bill. He wanted to know exactly where Sookie was, so he had Tara phone her. A robed Sookie answered (from the bed she was sharing with Alcide and a bunch of used tissues) but refused to give her address because she didn’t want Tara to come and get involved in this mess. Oh, it’s too late for that, Sookie. Tara is easily one of the five unluckiest characters on TV. She tried to escape, and Franklin finally drank from her because now she doesn’t want it. The next time we saw Tara, she was tied to the toilet, with duct tape across her mouth, unable to get to her cell phone when Lafayette called to tell her that she was inheriting his old ride now that his ass was sitting in his gift from Eric. Franklin came back with a bouquet of flowers that he taped into Tara’s hands. He eventually drove her to the King of Mississippi’s house, confirming that that’s his boss. Talbot made a brief but memorable appearance: ”Is this for me?” he asked, looking at a terrified Tara. ”It’s skinny.” (My DVR, Peter, should be more like him.) King Russell was out, but more on that later… Is anyone else still hoping that Franklin isn’t all bad, even though he’s trying to force Tara to be his bride because he’s lonely?

NEXT: A bare bosom does not a character make

Let’s talk about what we assumed was a second interruption for Sookie: the arrival of Eric. Even though the sight of him hovering outside her window, his left leg coolly crossed over his right at the ankle, was a more mild option on a cheese plate that includes the more pungent Once Bitten and Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, I thought it was real until Eric asked Sookie how the search is going and she responded, ”Turns out, he’s not who I was looking for.” Then, of course, I thought we’d be earning the ”nudity” in the episode’s content warning with a Sookie sex dream, courtesy of Eric having tricked her into drinking some of his blood last season. It was so obvious, what with Sookie telling Eric that he smells like the ocean in winter, right? (I’d love to hear all the options the writers went through for that. ‘Ocean in winter’ is pretty great, but in my fantasies, Eric still wears Drakkar Noir because in vampire years, it’s still relatively new, and I have an inexplicable love of it.) That was a brilliant fakeout. Who knew that ERIC fantasizes about Sookie smelling his memories (which somehow sounds kind of gross) and telling him, ”Oh, I got skills you can’t even dream of, cowboy.” Sookie kissed him, pushed him down on the bed, dropped her robe to reveal a matching bra and panty set and the reason Paquin recently graced the cover of Self magazine, and asked him if he wanted more. Sookie’s voice turned into Yvetta’s, and we saw that Eric was actually in Fangtasia, where she was dancing for him. I can see why his mind drifted — Yvetta was boring. (So was the stripper Bill met later. Are we supposed to think they’re bad on purpose, or did the show simply not hire a choreographer? Some straight male viewers might be entertained by bare breasts alone, but I need a little performance value, thank you. Not Flashdance, but at least the Scores girls’ tutorial on the Showgirls V.I.P. edition.)

Sticking with Sookie and Alcide, he was ready to drive her back to Bon Temps the morning after Bill’s call, but she told him she wasn’t going to believe that he was that big of a douche until he could look her in the eyes and break up with her. (I’m paraphrasing.) She wanted Alcide to take her to Debbie’s engagement party, which he refused to do because he had neither the desire to get his ass kicked again nor the will to celebrate Debbie’s relationship with Coot. While Alcide went out to buy a frying pan, Sookie had his sister Janice come over to give her a makeover into a werewolf biker babe ”who could kick some serious ass.” (Pause while you think back to Paquin giving Rachael Leigh Cook a new look in She’s All That.) Janice was hoping Sookie was Alcide’s rebound girl, but Sookie assured her their relationship was strictly professional. When Debbie’s name came up, Sookie heard Janice’s thoughts — she’s hooked on V and is being initiated into Coot’s pack. She was Coot’s first love.

NEXT: Pssst. Werewolves. Get a door guy.

Alcide returned home to find Sookie wearing fake tattoos, a black wig, leather pants, gloves, and a sort of halter top corset. In my mind, it was a rocker ensemble Kelly Clarkson would’ve worn a few years ago if she’d had a better stylist. (I adore her, but the girl has had some fashion misses.) Sookie told Alcide about Debbie, who he hadn’t known was a ”bloodhead,” and he reluctantly agreed to go with her to the party.

I don’t quite understand how Alcide and Sookie made it into the private party, unless the society is so secret that its members don’t even know each other. We know Alcide’s friend wasn’t working the door, but apparently no one was? They had to work the room separately, and naturally, Sookie ended up at the bar next to Swayze, who offered her a shot. She refused, but then realized she needed to stay in character and downed three of them. Debbie recognized her as an outsider, and asked her who she was. Alcide stepped in and said she was with him.

Debbie seemed a bit jealous, and I think Sookie was getting to her with her speech about how Alcide was there to try to get her to hold onto the girl she used to be, even if he doesn’t get to hold her. Cue Coot. Again, I found myself wishing the best of people. Maybe Debbie suggested Alcide stay and watch her be branded so Coot wouldn’t have his crew take him outside and beat the crap out of him? Probably not. She looked like she enjoyed crowd surfing to the stage, where Russell ultimately branded her after bleeding into shot glasses for his wolf minions.

This would be a good time to back up and discuss Bill, Lorena, and King Russell. After Bill’s chat with Sookie, he laid shirtless in his black pants, his legs dangling over the foot of the bed. It was a position Sophie-Anne could photograph and put on the cover of a vampire calendar and make enough money to solve her financial woes. Lorena was basking in the afterglow of the best sex she’s had in decades. [Cracks neck.] ”At least somebody enjoyed it,” Bill said. Ouch! Lorena told him there’d been true passion between them (when he twisted her head 180 degrees) and he said, ”Any passion you felt was me killing my love for Sookie. It had nothing to do with you… It’s been a long night, and I need to sleep. Now get the f— out.”

This would have reduced any human woman into tears, but Lorena giggled. ”Oh, William, I’m happy. You’re with me. And you’re not goin’ anywhere. Even if it takes 40 years, I know you will love me again. You can’t help but love.” I’m not usually in favor of violence against women, but Bill punching Lorena out into the hallway was fantastic. Even bleeding from her nose, she smiled. He closed the silver doors to his room — getting rid of her was worth the pain. Steel-jawed Bill is sexy.

NEXT: Mmmm, sob story…

In addition to phone privileges, Bill has also apparently earned the right to wear casual attire in the King’s home. He was wearing black jeans when he cut a deal. He would help the King with Sophie-Anne, and in exchange for signing his own death warrant, when the dust has settled, Lorena would be gone (as in dead-dead). Bill said he’s worked for Sophie-Anne for 35 years as a procurer and was on sabbatical in Bon Temps. Either Franklin hadn’t told the boss about the file he found on Sookie’s family tree at his Bill’s house, or Russell didn’t care if Bill was fibbing on that because the dirt he gave him on Sophie-Anne was so good. Bill told him that Eric was selling V, and he presumed it was for Sophie-Anne, who was close to losing her fortune now that vampires are being taxed by the IRS. The King was pleased — Sophie-Anne should do whatever he wants to avoid the Magister, who’s jonesing for another good inquisition.

The King wanted to celebrate, so he took Bill and Lorena out in his limo. A piece of me thought the King had taken them to the middle of nowhere so Bill could kill Lorena. First Russell sent Bill into a strip club to procure someone who would satisfy Lorena’s craving (”smokey, not too fatty”) and his own (”ethic”), then he excused himself to run an errand. I thought perhaps the limo would explode and burn Lorena to death. But it’s too early for Russell to lose an ally like Lorena. That’s when he went to Lou Pine’s, fed his wolves, branded Debbie, didn’t realize Alcide and Sookie were in his midst even though Sookie was doing running commentary, and left his wolf pack to celebrate. (After Bill and Lorena’s disturbing sex scene, would anyone have been surprised if Coot had taken Debbie right there on stage. In wolf form? He stripped down to transform, then the rest of them started shifting. Alcide, wolf eyes already showing, yelled at Sookie to run.)

Bill, meanwhile, found the aforementioned stripper, and glamoured her into telling him her sob story. If he was looking for the most depressed, broken woman in the joint so she might not mind dying, he found her. He brought her back to the limo and Lorena took the first bite, then Russell, who insisted Bill join them. The shot of blood dripping out of the limo made me think that these three should be better at killing. So much blood wasted. But maybe Bill was being purposely brutal and messy going for what I presume was the femoral artery so the girl would die sooner and not suffer any longer than she had to.

NEXT: Eric and Lafayette: Great duo? Or the greatest duo?

Speaking of ending suffering, how about Eric flying in to save Lafayette from the meth dealers who attacked him when he went to Hot Shot to try to sell them V? ”Let’s go, RuPaul,” Eric cracked, after closing the deal by nearly strangling someone. That little smile Lafayette flashed when he told the guys who’d been beating him to ”Get the f— up out of there,” and they went running — totally rewound. I’m all for this unlikely friendship between Lafayette and Eric. The latter of whom actually had some sound advice: He told Lafayette he lacked the artistry needed to be a good salesman. He goes into every situation all flash and fire because of his ego, when he really should be adapting him presentation to suit his customer. While in the car with Lafayette, Eric got a call from Pam, who said the club was being raided by the Magister. Eric said he would be right there, and Pam tried to tell him to run while he still could. He rolled down the window, and were Lafayette not such a fan favorite, he could have snapped off his neck and thrown it out. I mean, if Lafayette had moved the rest of the V as quickly as they’d told him to, there wouldn’t have been vials left for the Magister to find. Instead, Eric flew out the window, leaving Lafayette to say, ”Oh hell, how I’m supposed to deal with this f—edupness?”

Proving Eric is just as loyal to Pam, whom he’d turned, as he was to his maker, Godric, he showed up at Fangtasia to find Pam tied up in what may or may not have been one of Eric’s S&M contraptions. He almost had tears in his eyes. Eric told the Magister he was being set up. By whom, the Magister asked, Sophie-Anne? Pam blurted out Bill’s name. Eric said Bill had gone missing, and he was compiling evidence against him. The Magister said Eric has two days to prove it, or Pam dies a true death. So are we to assume that the King phoned in a tip to the Magister before heading out to Lou Pine’s, but left Sophie-Anne’s name out of it so she’d be scared enough to come to him? Or did something else happen there?

The rest of the episode’s action all took place in or around Merlotte’s. Sam found his family sleeping in their van because they have no home. They’re behind on rent, which is why Tommy was trying to steal from his safe. Sam had a heart-to-heart with his brother, and told him he could stay with him and work at the bar. But Tommy knows his parents can’t survive without him. He won’t be free of them until they die. Sam told his parents he’ll find a place for them to stay as long as Tommy doesn’t steal and Dad (who still looks like a character Scott Thompson would do in a Kids in the Hall sketch) doesn’t drink. Sam’s such a good guy… You just know he’s gonna get screwed.

NEXT: Jessica, the hostess with the mostess

Sam had another issue: Arlene was tired of being the only waitress at Merlotte’s. Seriously, there has to be someone else in Bon Temps who doesn’t need such a flexible schedule. Sam hired Jessica as a hostess, which ticked Arlene off because people love to give redheads tips, and she’s always been the only redhead at Merlotte’s. Why is she keeping her pregnancy, which is making her overly emotional, a secret from Sam? Because he might be smarter than Terry and ask if the baby’s Terry’s or Renee’s? Jessica’s first night on the job, she was recognized by a boy from her old Bible study group. She took him outside to erase his memory, and Hoyt saw her laughing. He couldn’t hear what they were saying, so he probably thinks they’re dating. Hoyt needs a good storyline STAT.

Jason did some soul-searching at Merlotte’s during Bud’s retirement celebration. Let’s just pretend that Jason is actually smart enough to be a quarterback… he explained to the boy (a.k.a. ”disrespectful f—tard” Kitch) who was going to break his high school passing record that in 10 years, there’ll be an underaged kid drinking in the bar getting ready to replace him. It was another one of those moments when Jason backs himself into a pearl of wisdom. Feeling obsolete, then hearing Andy was named acting sheriff, gave Jason an idea: He followed Andy into the men’s room and essentially told him he’s going to blackmail him into making him a deputy. Screw the exams and training. If he doesn’t get a badge soon, he’ll come clean about Eggs, and Andy’s career will be over because he falsified evidence. I’d feel better if Jason had made sure no one was in a stall before he had this conversation. Too bad the bathrooms would have to be coed for Kenya to overhear that. She’d love to take Andy down. ”Drink like a fish, hallucinate farm animals, and kill a black man. Hey promotion!” she summarized at the bar.

So there you have it. What did you think of the episode? Do you feel any heat between Sookie and Alcide? How much danger will she be willing to put him in now that she knows Coot was one of the men who took Bill? Do you think Jessica will work out at Merlotte’s? (We know she can handle the job: ”I’m a vampire, not a f—n’ idiot.”) What’s your theory about how the Magister’s raid will play out? Who’s gonna save Tara this time? It’s out of Jason’s jurisdiction.

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True Blood

Sookie, Bill, Eric, Lafayette, Sam and the other residents Bon Temps deal with vampires, werewolves, fairies, and shape-shifters—not to mention romance and drama
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