Sookie and Bill reconcile as Eric makes his move against Russell

By Mandi Bierly
Updated August 09, 2010 at 04:00 PM EDT
Credit: HBO

There was a moment during this episode — when Eric slowly removed his shirt for Talbot — that I became so engrossed in what was happening onscreen that I forgot there was a MacBook Pro balancing on my lap. When I reached to grab a pillow to beat my bed with (the physical response I have to the rush received when a TV show gives me something that’s even better than I imagined), my laptop nearly fell to the hardwood floor. Fortunately, I caught it, or a Best Buy Geek Squad Agent would be checking to see if ”dropped when owner was distracted by vampire homoeroticism” was covered by my warranty. I was almost afraid to rewind. But of course I did.

Let’s go for some foreplay and start at the beginning. Bill and Sookie had a tearful goodbye at the hospital. She wasn’t sure how to start forgiving him for nearly killing her; he wants her to have that normal life she’s been waiting for them to start, and he knows he can’t ever give it to her. The camera panning down the IV Bill had used to save Sookie and pulled from his wrist was a nice touch. Did it symbolize the end of their affair? Was it a nod to the fact that this relationship had seen so much blood spilled that it was only right that some drop on the floor when it was over? Or were those drops a sign that we hadn’t seen the last of Bill and Sookie as a couple?

Russell arrived home with his bride, Sophie Anne, in tow. While she was upstairs complaining about the size of her room, Talbot let Russell know he wasn’t excited to have another houseguest, even if control of Louisiana came with her. ”Franklin’s brains won’t wash off the guest linens, I had to bury werewolves under the gazebo, and that Sookie bitch staked Lorena. I’ve had enough excitement, thank you,” he quipped. Watching the scene again, I can’t believe I didn’t predict Talbot’s fate when Eric overheard Russell attempt to sooth him by saying, ”At least you’re safe. That’s what matters most to me.”

Eric, still wearing that blue cashmere V-neck sweater we’ve grown to love so much, informed Russell that a werebitch (Debbie) was waiting in the study to see him. She wanted permission to rip off the heads of those who killed Coot, and Eric urged Russell to consider the value of the heads in question. Yes, Sookie is special, Russell agreed. ”She f—ed my ex-boyfriend and made him shoot my fiancée. She’s a c—,” Debbie argued. ”But she’s a special c—,” Russell said. His compromise: Debbie could play with Sookie before he brought her in.

NEXT: What every man wants to hear

Eric — also still genuinely trying to help Sookie, I believe — tried to tell Russell that now may not be the best time to bring Sookie into the equation. But Russell wanted to have her as his secret weapon in case he did inadvertently start a war when he killed the Magister. The question wasn’t whether Russell could trust Sookie, it was whether he could trust Eric, who so easily turned on his queen. Eric told Russell exactly what he needed to hear: he’d been searching for him for 1,000 years — a true leader, a vampire strong enough to unite them all. Killing the Magister wasn’t rash and foolish — it was brave and uncompromising, Eric insisted as he knelt before his new king. (I wasn’t quite sure what he was going to do down there.) ”Give me the chance,” he said, kissing Russell’s ring, ”and I will show you just how deep my loyalty runs.” Man, I’m gonna miss Eric’s loaded dialogue now that he’s openly turned on Russell.

For a bit of comic relief, we cut to Arlene and Terry, who sweetly serenaded Arlene’s womb. She fell asleep and dreamt that it was Rene singing and assuring her that his child would finish what he started (killing women who were pro-Vampire), because it’s in his blood. She woke up screaming, and clung to Terry. I feel like there’s got to be more to this pregnancy storyline than the paternity question. But what?

Staying in Bon Temps, Bill returned to his home to release Jessica. The problem: She didn’t want to leave him. She told him about the man she’d accidentally drained and that she needed him to teach her. ”I can’t take care of you!” Bill shouted. ”I can’t protect you! I’m no good to you.” Jessica told him she was no good either and no matter what he said, she wasn’t leaving. It was a childlike tantrum that part of me thought was going to turn into a very adult mistake when she told Bill she didn’t want to be alone anymore and he reluctantly comforted her. But thankfully, it didn’t go any further.

Meanwhile, Sookie was back at her house, sitting on the sofa with Alcide, who was looking fine as ever in an undershirt and jeans. Andy and Jason arrived to interrupt a tender moment that Sookie had already ruined when she brought up Debbie as Alcide touched her hair and told her that someday her heart wouldn’t hurt this badly. Jason wanted Sookie to press charges against Bill for ”domestic… something,” but she refused. What Bill did was just his nature, it’s over between them, case closed, Sookie said. Andy was willing to accept that, but Jason wasn’t. Sookie listened to Jason’s thoughts and knew he was hiding something from her. He accused her of trespassing in his mind and stormed off to make ”the fanger” pay. Sookie told him he wasn’t a bigot or a murderer and that she’d seen enough killin’ and hatin’ without him doing some in her name. But once Jason decides to go Rambo…

NEXT: Sam: Bon Temps’ most eligible bachelor?

From that drama, we went upstairs to Tara, who’s refusing to talk about what she went through with Franklin. ”Well, hooker, I need to know. You got a death wish?” Lafayette. ”No. I don’t,” she said. ”I fought like a motherf—er to survive. Never realized how much I wanted to live until…”

The next morning began with Sam sniffing the presence of another dog outside his door — his mother. I guess she came in that form because she knew he’d have to let her in if she shifted back to her nude body on his porch. She came to get her and Joe Lee’s things — she’s still not leaving him — and to ask Sam for money. After he gave her the wad that was in his wallet, she said, ”That ain’t gonna get us far.” His response: ”I don’t give a f— where it gets you, as long as it’s out of here.” Even though it made the house seem too small, I liked how large Sam looked standing in the doorway just then. This story line may not be explosive each week, but it’s great to see a man be decent but not a pushover. Tommy cried when his mom left, and Sam sat down beside him. Even with parents that forced his brother into dogfighting, Sam is suddenly looking like the catch of Bon Temps to me.

Over at Sookie’s, Tara tried to wash Franklin away with a morning shower. Or so we thought. You knew something was up when she started enjoying lathering one part of her anatomy a little too much. Franklin appeared, fangs drawn, and they kissed. Sex dream! (Can’t wait to see the real Franklin return next week.) The real Tara woke up and went outside to find Sookie sunbathing in a bikini top and short-shorts, an image that showed why Anna Paquin has graced the cover of Self magazine. The two laid side-by-side like two ”normal” girls chatting about relationships. Sookie admitted Bill’s dangerous side was one of the things she fell in love with, and that no matter what had transpired, what they had was real and she couldn’t just turn it off like a switch. ”You know what you sound like? One of those sad country songs about dumb bitches who let their men cheat and beat on ’em all for the sake of true love,” Tara said. ”Let me tell you somethin’, at the end of those songs, the dumb bitches always end up dead.” (Tara must not listen to Miranda Lambert, but point taken. Sookie said she and Bill aren’t that different: She knows what it’s like to be afraid of her own body and not know what it might do next. She hasn’t cheated, but she wanted to (ooh, with Eric, Alcide, or both, I would have paused the fight to ask). Tara is convinced that Bill is as cold and crazy as Franklin but she won’t tell Sookie why. She stormed off and ran into Alcide, who stopped dead in his tracks at the sight of Sookie. ”Good, maybe you can flirt some sense into that girl,” Tara said. ”‘Cause logic sure as hell ain’t workin’.” There goes my dream of Tara and Alcide. But please, someone jump that man already!

NEXT: She’s a witch! Or… something?

Speaking of not listening to logic, Jason was ready for Operation Kill Bill and looked through his Fellowship of the Sun keepsake box for bullets. Before he could leave his house, Crystal showed up with a black eye, asking to borrow his truck. She swam to his place from Hot Shot because it was the only way they (her father and now ex-fiancé) couldn’t track her sent. While Jason got her a towel and whiskey, we cut to Merlotte’s, where Tara flashed back to the moment she first served Franklin. Arlene finally found time to conduct an interview. ”This is Holly, your new waitress,” she told Sam. ”Don’t sleep with her.” With that high hairline, Holly would definitely be a vampire if this were an early Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, but I’m not sure what she is in this world… She knew that Arlene was pregnant, but didn’t say how. Maybe she’s whatever telepathic being Sookie is and was sent undercover to keep an eye on her. Maybe she’s a witch, which I don’t think this True Blood universe really needs, but since Lafayette’s mother mentioned witches and vampires were coming for him when she showed up at his place, who knows?

While Sam hugged a weeping Tara (and I wished she was emotionally stable so they could get it on — Team Sam!), damsel-in-distress Crystal told Jason how she’s been promised to Felton since she was four years old. If it’s a cult she’s in, he could understand, he told her. He was in one, and ”they washed my brain.” In classic Jason fashion, he followed up that stupid statement with something simple and poetic: Crystal told him that she got the shiner because she told Felton she wasn’t going to marry him, and Jason asked how she made him feel this way — like he was home. Crystal asked for his keys to leave, but Jason kissed her. He knew she wanted to stay but was just afraid. ”You don’t know them,” she said. ”They don’t know me,” he answered. And, they kissed again. Clearly Crystal doesn’t know Jason either or she would’ve guessed that he would eventually go to Hot Shot. If she knew that, she owed it to him to tell him what she — and they — are. You can’t fight something you don’t know how to defend against.

While they had sex on the couch, we went back to Lafayette’s, where he opened the door to find [scream!] Jesus. He explained that a new nurse had left Ruby Jean in the garden. She excused herself to go pee and returned with a large kitchen knife in her hand. She didn’t want to go back to the hospital. ”You have power, boy,” she told Lafayette. ”You always have. That’s why they’re comin’.” She wanted to stay and protect Lafayette, and she couldn’t if the hospital kept drugging her. Jesus told her that Lafayette was powerful and he wouldn’t let anything happen to him. He told her to give him the knife and they’d watch TV, which she did.

”TV’s all faggots and murderers and hos, Jesus,” she said. ”Where the clicker?” Wouldn’t you love to watch an episode of Maury with Ruby Jean?

NEXT: The Alcide-hug humanity test…

Back in Mississippi, Hadley exited Sophie Anne’s room in lace lingerie, which seemed ill-advised if Russell still had werewolves patrolling his property. Eric grabbed her and told her to take a message to Sookie, to tell her only what he said to and nothing more. He was bleeding from his nose and ear — side effects of being up during the day when vampires are supposed to be resting, I presumed. At that moment, Alcide got a call informing him that Debbie had burned down his sister’s hair salon. He had to go find her before she went after someone else he loved. He wanted Sookie to come with him, but she said she wouldn’t spend her life running. Nor would she bring Jason or Andy into this because she couldn’t let anyone else get hurt protecting her. (It’s good the writers had her say that because we would’ve been wondering.) Sookie said Bill would come to her if she was in danger.

”You read minds and shoot light out of your fingers. Who am I to tell you what’s best for ya,” Alcide said.

”If I knew what was best for me, I would have fallin’ in love with someone like you,” she said.

”Back at ya. It’s too bad we’re so stupid, huh?” he said. Then, Alcide took her hand and told her he was glad he’d met her. They hugged, and he breathed in the scent of her neck, and you (read: I) had to wonder what it felt like to hold that much man. (I wasn’t in town last week when Joe Manganiello stopped by EW’s offices, or I would have asked to measure the breadth of his chest, you know, ”for the readers who’ve been asking.”) They pulled back and stared at each other. Sookie is definitely not human because there’s no way a straight woman could’ve resisted kissing him at that moment. At least she was shaken enough to stutter when she asked, ”You’ll… you’ll come back and see me some time?” ”You can bet on it,” he said. And off he drove.

At Merlotte’s, Sam warned Tommy not to hit on Tara because she was going through things that were none of his business. But judging from the way he put down Hoyt when he asked if Jessica was working that night, Tommy still has his eye on her. Sam broke up their fight before they took it outside. He told Tommy to put trouble aside for a while, and put away money for his future, maybe go to college. Apparently college isn’t on Tommy’s agenda. Yes, Sam does have a lot to learn about his brother.

Night fell, and Bill was up teaching Jessica to fight at vampire speed. Each time the two of them stopped darting around the room, one of them had his or her hand on the other’s throat. Again, it could’ve been sexual, but no, Jessica wanted to know why Bill wasn’t with Sookie if he thought the werewolves were coming back for her. He told her Sookie didn’t want him there, and he’d sense if she needed him. Jessica refused to believe they were over. She knew Sookie screwed up his proposal but she wore his ring when she searched for him. ”Jessica, it’s over,” Bill said.

NEXT: Party on, Bill. Party on, Jessica.

”No way,” she said, reminding us she’s technically a teenager.

”Way,” he answered, proving that joke will never get old.

”But you love her,” Jessica said.

”I do… which is why I have to let her go,” Bill explained.

Jessica is a quick learner. She told Bill she loved Hoyt, and he’s so good and sweet that he deserves someone who deserves him. I still think that person can be Jessica (because otherwise, what role does Hoyt have on the show?). But Bill didn’t say that. He just told her he was sorry.

Meanwhile, Sookie sat at her kitchen table looking at a photo of her and Bill in a piss-poor scrapbook and flashed back to him feeding on her in Alcide’s truck. She pulled out a gun when she heard a noise, but it was only Hadley coming to deliver Eric’s message: ”Russell is coming for you. Don’t trust Bill.” She didn’t tell Sookie how she knew Eric. She just told Sookie to run, but again, Sookie said she wouldn’t. If Russell was powerful enough to capture Bill, he’d find her eventually. Hadley told Sookie she hoped she’d forgive her, and Sookie read Hadley’s thoughts and heard her say she was the one who told them what Sookie was. But Hadley left without telling Sookie what that is.

Russell was on his way to Bon Temps, which didn’t go over well with Talbot, who was tired of his husband chasing after this or that while he sat home alone.

”In a giant mansion with all the blood you can drink and all the vampire boys you can possibly want. Oh, poor Talbot. Are your diamond slippers chafin’?” Russell asked. Talbot, however, was not silenced. He started destroying pieces of the collection Russell values so much. When he was about to toss Eric’s father’s crown, Eric swooped in and said he’d be honored to keep Talbot company. ”That sounds like fun. I am positively jealous,” Russell said, before mouthing ”thank you” to Eric. Eric put the crown back in the case, and still, it hadn’t occurred to me that he was going to do what he did.

Jason also mobilized for a mission. He used Crystal’s growling stomach as an excuse to leave the house. He said he was getting them food, but when he grabbed his rifle, you knew he was going to Hot Shot to threaten the men who were trying to come between them. Those two — Crystal’s father and ex — were at Merlotte’s. Crystal had taken Fenton’s truck and parked it outside, so they didn’t believe Sam when he told them he hadn’t seen her. Tommy had Sam’s back, and we found out that the two of them could smell something different about Crystal’s dad and ex, and those two knew Sam and Tommy were shifters. Even if I didn’t already know what Crystal was from spoilers, I think by now I’d have figured out that she’s a werewolf. Which, again, is why she should’ve come clean to Jason before he headed to Hot Shot.

NEXT: Jesus returns! Again.

While that mystery has begun to unravel, I’m wondering if there’s a new one building with Jesus. He told Lafayette that what his schizophrenic mother had said about him being powerful was true, and that dealing drugs was dangerous for someone like him because all that energy that he has could go dark if he let it. So is Jesus another undercover telepathic being sent to watch over those in Sookie’s circle. If Lafayette is ”powerful,” it would make sense Jesus would protect him so he’d be there when Sookie needs him. Is Lafayette some kind of wizard (for lack of a better word)? I think the fact that Jesus kissed Lafayette and presumably made that um, offering they spoke about on their first date supports my telepath theory because Lafayette’s confession that he’s tried to quit selling V but can’t for reasons out of his control wasn’t compelling enough to make Jesus stay on its own. I think Jesus had to read his mind and hear that Eric and Pam would’ve killed him if he stopped to know he was really telling the truth.

As for Mr. Northman, he and Talbot entertained themselves with a game of chess. I think I speak for everyone when I say, ”REALLY?” Talbot may be a sore loser, but he’s a winner when it comes to knowing what we really want to see: ”I’m bored,” he said. ”Take off your clothes.” Eric asked for privacy, and once Talbot dismissed his guards, Eric stood and started slowly unbuttoning the striped shirt he’d changed into (because him pulling that V-neck sweater over his head wouldn’t have been half as sexy). Eric kept his eyes on Talbot’s, and pretty soon, Talbot’s fangs were extended. ”It’s been a long time since I’ve done this,” Eric said. ”A man?” Talbot asked. ”No, a vampire,” Eric answered. Fangs out, Eric growled and stepped in to maneuver his way through a steamy and toothy kiss.

Seriously, the cut to Jason arriving at Hot Shot was just cruel. He followed a blood trail to a naked man eating a deer, and ran back the way he came. Crystal’s father pulled in and Jason told him they were going to leave Crystal alone or the entire sheriff’s department was going to come down on him and his ”hillbilly freak show.” ”You feel me?” Jason asked. ”Oh yeah, I feel you, boy,” Crystal’s dad said to himself. Now he knows Jason’s scent and can follow it right to Crystal. I want to fault Jason for not remembering that that’s why she said she swam to his place, but then again, if you think someone’s human, that statement makes no sense so you would probably forget about it.

NEXT: Run, Jessica, run

From one locked-and-loaded Stackhouse to another, we cut to Sookie, standing in her bedroom with her shotgun. She heard the wolves howl and knew Debbie was on her way. Burning down Alcide’s sister’s salon was just a ploy to get him out of the way. Debbie let the two wolves enter first. Bill took one, and smiling Jessica (”Hi,” she waved) the other. Debbie, looking a bit like Alanis Morissette this evening, took one sniff and headed upstairs. ”I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in,” she said as she kicked in the door to Sookie’s room. Sookie should have taken the shot when she had it, of course, but she didn’t want to kill Debbie unless she had to for Alcide’s sake. Debbie didn’t want to hear Sookie talk about love (”bitch, please”) and the insults flew. Debbie grabbed the gun and tossed it aside. Sookie warned Debbie that she’d had lots of vampire blood. ”Oh, me, too. Your boyfriend’s yummy,” Debbie said. And it. Was. On. As good as this fight was, it was nothing compared to Beyonce’s and Ali Larter’s in the movie Obsessed. They really should’ve used more of the house.

Downstairs, Bill took care of his wolf, but Jessica’s ran outside, where she was grabbed by a waiting Russell. He wanted to trade Jessica for Sookie, and when Bill balked, Russell drank from Jessica. Bill played the King of Mississippi beautifully. ”You are 3,000 years old and a king, yet you hide behind guards, wolves, a baby vampire,” he said. ”Are you a coward, or are you just lazy?” Russell tossed Jessica to the wolves (or wolf), and she ran. He grabbed Bill and put the silver spur on his boot to his face. What exactly was Bill’s plan?

Sookie and Debbie, meanwhile, wrestled all over the bedroom. I particularly liked the way Sookie hopped up to straddle her on the bed. Sookie managed to get her hands on a pair of scissors while Debbie was strangling her on the floor, and she slashed Debbie’s cheek. That distracted Debbie long enough for Sookie to grab the gun, but still, she didn’t use it. As Russell literally kicked Bill’s ass outside Sookie’s house, Eric and Talbot were naked on the floor. ”Turn over,” Eric said. ”Oh yes, daddy,” Talbot answered and did. As Talbot anticipated what he thought would happen next with a lustful hiss, Eric said, ”Russell took my family, now I take his” and staked him from behind. Russell, who was then towering over Bill, stopped and said, ”Talbot.” He could sense what was happening.

”Yes!” Eric shouted, bloody stake in hand.

”Noooooooo!” Russell screamed and took off like a rocket flying. (Why can’t Bill fly? Do you have to reach a certain age to have that power?)

Inside the house, the showdown continued. ”Get out of my house, bitch,” Sookie said to Debbie, who stood in front of the window looking as crazy as Jack Nicholson as the Joker. ”F— you,” Debbie said. And Sookie fired a shot into the wall beside her. (Once Maryann decorates your house, anything goes.) ”Next time, I won’t miss,” Sookie said, and Debbie dove out the window and ran away in wolf form.

NEXT: Apology accepted

Bill ran into the room and hesitated, but Sookie told him she loved him and kissed him as he kept repeating, ”I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” Those two may have made up, but Jessica and Hoyt are still worlds apart. He was shown crying in his truck (ah, Tommy made him cry?), and passed the woods where Jessica was drinking Gus (Don Swayze). He begged her not to kill him, and she went back in for more. You were awesome, Don. Sorry to see you go.

The final shot was of naked Sookie and Bill having sex amidst the destruction of her room. She was on top and, we’ll call it aggressive. Nothing like we’ve seen from her before. It wasn’t their love theme playing, but music possibly too hard to make it on Sons of Anarchy. Sookie may have said she loved Bill, but you got the feeling it could have been anyone underneath her at that moment. It wasn’t romance, it was anger and a need to feel out of control because she chose to be out of control. Or, it could’ve been the V. Perhaps it slows the wild ones (like Jason) down and speeds up the softies (like Sookie).

Your turn. Did you see Talbot’s death coming? How much will you miss actor Theo Alexander? (It’s a good thing we get more Pam next week so the sound bites keep coming.) Any theories on Holly or Jesus? What kind of power do you think Lafayette has? Do you believe Sookie can trust Bill? What about Eric? What do you think happens next to Tara?

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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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