Sookie and Bill reconnect, Eric's past haunts his present, and Tara's still tied up with Franklin

By Mandi Bierly
Updated July 19, 2010 at 04:00 PM EDT
Credit: John P. Johnson/HBO

Let’s begin with Franklin and Tara because they stole the hour. Franklin had Tara tied up in a chair as they waited for Russell to return with Bill and Lorena from their joyride. Talbot (”Who’s a pretty girl?”) played host even though Franklin and Tara were at odds with his décor. The trio returned with blood still on their faces from the stripper they’d dined on, and Tara asked Bill for help. He said no.

Franklin was there to give the King Bill’s file on Sookie, which made Russell think again that Bill had been in Bon Temps under Sophie-Anne’s orders. Why else would he have a dossier on his human? (And we know that Sophie-Anne believes there’s something special about Sookie; she told Eric in last season’s finale that Sookie’s not entirely human.)

Franklin asked to be paid for his services in cash, and Russell told him the last time he had any real money, he ended up at the slots in Biloxi slaughtering a church group of elderly women. ”They wouldn’t let me have a turn,” Franklin said. Russell told him it was sloppy to drag another girl around, but Franklin said Tara was different. ”She’s such a f—ing disaster, we could be twins,” he said. ”The attraction is electric.” As someone who noted last week that Tara is one of the five unluckiest characters on TV, I laughed out loud at that. Russell called Franklin a huge freak but said he likes his work.

The next time we saw Franklin, he was tying Tara — clothed in a long, modest gown that Franklin said he picked out (but that I’d like to imagine Talbot selected) before he sat down to do Tara’s hair — to the four corners of the bed. It wasn’t quite as horrifying as seeing her tied to a toilet last week (which, now that I think about it, could have been Franklin’ attempt at kindness — they never deal with hostages… soiling themselves on TV, but if they’re tied up for hours, they must, right?). Of course, anytime you see a woman tied up, you worry that a man’s about to force himself on her. Are we supposed to think Franklin hasn’t forced himself on Tara, or assume that he’s using mind control to make her a willing participant? He pounced to lay his full weight on top of her, and said, ”Even when I’m away, I can feel your flesh molded to me. That’s how close we are now.”

”That’s really sweet,” Tara said, trying to play along.

”I know,” he answered. Franklin then remembered that Tara had gotten a text from Lafayette, ”Bitch, where are you?” He demanded to know who Lafayette was, or he’d rip Tara’s throat out. She hesitated, not wanting to bring Lafayette into this, but finally said he’s her gay cousin. The next portion of the scene was by far the best moment of the episode: Franklin wondered what he should type back to make Lafayette go away. He thought about ”I’m busy, bitch,” but then realized that was too many bitches. Something with ”hooker,” Lafayette’s other term of endearment for Tara, maybe? Tara told him to say she’s okay. ”Say, ‘Trust me, motherf—er.”’

NEXT: I guess Tara doesn’t use T9?

Franklin: ‘Trust me, motherf—er.’ Brilliant. Hey Tara, watch how fast I type ‘motherf—er.’ It’s cool, right?

Tara: Yeah. Amazing.

Franklin: I’ll delete it so you can watch again. [He texts again, she looks away.] Look. Look at me. [She laughs, rather convincingly.] Love you. [He puckers to blow her a kiss.]

Seriously, that scene is right up there with Eric asking Lafayette ”Is there blood in my hair?” last season when he made the mistake of killing a hostage while waiting for the highlights Pam was giving him to set. It’s the moment that we all knew we wanted to see more of Franklin on-screen. Side note: It’s also the moment I realized I should really have a code word that I could text a friend if someone I date kidnaps me. Just like two years ago after seeing a repeat of that Sex and the City episode where Miranda chokes when she’s home alone, I realized I needed to make sure a friend knew that if she ever got a call and it was just someone tapping on the line, it was me unable to breathe and she needed to call an ambulance.

I know Tara eventually chewed her way through the ropes binding her hands and tried to run for her freedom during daylight — a solid plan if the King didn’t have Coot, who ran her down in his wolf form. But I want to believe that the laugh Tara gave Franklin when he said, ”Look. Look at me,” was real. I’m guessing it was just actress Rutina Wesley genuinely smiling at James Frain’s delivery — how could you not? — but the fact is, Tara has lived through enough crazy sh– that I think she could see the humor in him trying to impress with his texting speed. I wonder why if Franklin’s had her blood, he can’t sense her true emotions, but I guess he’s only able to sense their existence not their meaning. So when he confronted her about why she tried to escape, sobbing bloody tears and saying it felt as though he’d been staked, she was able to convince him she ran not because she was afraid of him but because she was afraid of all the other vampires in the mansion. He assured her he wouldn’t let them touch her.

NEXT: Have we met? Boy have we.

Next, it was Tara’s turn to cry. She told Franklin it was because she was hungry and she couldn’t eat the day lilies she’d been served. She told Franklin they needed to talk, and his response: ”Don’t say that. Women say that, everything goes black, and I wake up surrounded by body parts.” He has a way of making threats sound so charming when he wants to. She told him that wasn’t the direction she was headed. She’s really into him, she said, and the man almost blushed. If they’re gonna be together, he has to remember that she’s alive and has needs, like food. He said he’d take her someplace special for dinner (she seemed excited) — a Shoney’s in Vicksburg (okay, not so much) — and celebrate her last night as a human. He’s going to turn her, he said. He asked her to be his vampire bride, and as he bent to kiss her hand, only we saw the look of horror, fear, and holy f—balls on her face. That look is something Wesley does better than anyone else on this show. In the promo for next week’s episode, it looks like Tara drinks from Franklin, so I’m thinking she actually does get turned. Though honestly, I wouldn’t put it past Tara to bite his neck in an attempt to gnaw his head off. Are you hoping she becomes a vampire? I feel almost guilty for saying yes, but with Jason, Sam, and Lafayette moving into new storylines, she doesn’t have a large role with them. Franklin can bite it in whatever battle is brewing, and she can be a single vampire then. Win-win.

Speaking of that battle, I’m so happy Eric has finally entered the fray. He showed up at the King’s mansion, much to Talbot’s delight: ”Hello,” he cooed. ”Have we met?” Eric was there to ask Russell’s permission to hunt for Bill in his territory, an old-world courtesy the King appreciated. Eric said Bill had gone missing and was wanted for selling vampire blood, and the King said they should ask him if he was guilty. In walked Bill to the candlelit room (I imagine Talbot lit all those candles just before he made the blood martinis). ”He’s not missing, and he’s way too square to deal V,” Talbot said. Bill confirmed what Eric deduced: If Bill’s in Mississippi on his own accord, then Sookie is no longer his. (Although, she could move. They do presumably have bars in Mississippi, though she’d actually have to stick to the schedule.) ”A king in front of them, a queen behind them, and they’re talkin’ about a human girl,” Russell said, holding Talbot’s hand. ”Men,” he answered.

You’ve got to hand it to Eric for staying calm. He admitted that he was the one selling V at Sophie-Anne’s request and had tried to frame Bill to save her. Then he asked the King what he should do next — unless he gives the Magister Bill, he’ll murder Pam.

Fortunately for Eric, the King hates the Magister, and the power he has over them, and said there might be a way to solve all of their problems. He asked Eric to sleep him in their home, and Talbot and Eric raised their glasses to one another before Eric nodded to a pissed off Bill.

NEXT: Oh, Coot

Eventually, Russell showed Bill the file Franklin had uncovered in Bill’s home, and Bill denied that he’d ever seen it before. He’s such a bad liar. Russell thinks Bill had circled the names of Sookie and Earl Stackhouse because he’s trying to uncover the origin and meaning of her telepathy because there’s a payoff somewhere. Coot interrupted their conversation and the King put Bill back under guard. He’s not buying it. Coot showed up in Bill’s room to torture him by telling him that Sookie, his ”Bon Temps piece of country ass” and ”blonde ho,” is screwing a werewolf right there in Jackson. ”Suck that d—,” Coot said. Bill asked where Sookie was, then pummeled Coot. (Talbot will not appreciate what he did to that bed.) When the guard came in, Bill burned his face on the silver door and fled.

Now would be a good time to dive into Sookie and Alcide. I feel slightly cheated that we didn’t get to see Sookie and Alcide escape Lou Pine’s. We picked up with them speeding away in Alcide’s truck. ”I am not gonna die ’cause of your sh–ty girlfriend and a Mississippi pothole,” Sookie said. Alcide pulled over and tried again to explain that Debbie wasn’t all bad, but Sookie doesn’t really care. She just wants to get to Bill. She said she needs to meet Russell because he knows where Bill is or he knows who knows. Alcide said he promised Eric that he’d keep her safe, so she wasn’t going anywhere near him.

Debbie, wearing a cutout shirt that Tanya Roberts would have worn in 1984’s Sheena had she been queen of the biker bar instead of the jungle, showed up at Alcide’s. She said they would have still been together if he wasn’t so weak, and told him she was there to warn him that he’d die if anyone found out what he’d witnessed at Lou Pine’s (V-addicted werewolves bowing to a vampire). Naturally, Sookie couldn’t stay out of it and after the insults flew back and forth between the women (Sookie read Debbie’s mind and tossed out all the names of men she’d cheated on Alcide with), Sookie asked Debbie where Bill was. Debbie had no idea who he was. Debbie must’ve gone to Coot and told him about the telepath named Sookie with Alcide, and that’s when Coot went to Russell with the information.

Alcide wanted to fill his pack leader in on Russell, and Sookie insisted she go with him — otherwise she’d just read his thoughts when he got back if Debbie hadn’t already come over to kill her. The pack leader said he already knew all about Russell. The plan: ”Do nothing, tell no one.” He told them Russell is the vampire king of Mississippi, and has had wolves serving him for centuries, all over the world. Alcide doesn’t want to let him pick them off one by one, but the pack leader said he was trying to save them from extinction. ”Let him do what he wants to do until he goes away.” Sookie read his mind, and the pack leader was scared. There was no one who could face him. He was thinking about just leaving town. The pack leader tried to deny he was just frightened, but Alcide said he believed Sookie. There was a definite weight put on that statement. She’s so going to lie to him.

NEXT: V-neck sweaters FTW

Alcide eventually got another late-night visitor. This time it was Bill. The music as Alcide moved aside and Sookie saw Bill was romantic, a softer version of the melody that played that night she ran to his house and they made love for the first time. She jumped into his arms. And Bill said she had to leave. Alcide had to get her out of Jackson now. She said Bill was coming, too, and he said he wasn’t. There was no hope for him now. She wouldn’t leave until she told him who she was running from, and just then, Coot, Russell, and a henchman arrived. Coot kneed Alcide in the nuts ”from Debbie,” then went to grab Sookie. She zapped him like she had done Maryann. ”Fantastic!,” Russell said, cackling. Is he old enough to know what Sookie is? Russell had referred to that outing as ”an experiment” when he told Eric he was stepping out. Was the purpose to see if Sookie would defend herself that way?

Eric, annoyed that Russell wasn’t focusing on his situation when time was running out for Pam, was told to stay in and allow Talbot to give him the full tour of the mansion. Waiting for his guide, Eric and Lorena caught a glimpse of one another. (”You?” ”You?”) ”Boys only,” Talbot said, sweeping Eric past an old portrait of Russell and himself (it didn’t look like Talbot, but I assume he wouldn’t hang a painting of another man with Russell) to show him Japanese vampire erotica from the 16th century. Eric asked Talbot if he’d learned any tricks. Talbot said they both knew there was nothing new except someone new. Eric, not above flirting with anyone to get what he wants, laughed and looked Talbot up and down. Talbot told him he should see the rest of their collection — Russell is a greedy little boy who wants what he wants and he takes it. He’s same the way with people, Talbot said, and told Eric to watch out. (I wouldn’t want anything to happen to him in that light blue V-neck sweater as well.)

Eric noticed a Viking crown and we got a flashback to Eric as a human with long hair that made him about half as hot as normal. He was carrying his baby sister to his mother. His father was wearing that crown. His parents wanted to know when he would be marrying. Soon, he said. He’s too busy in the barn with the redhead who feeds the goats, his mother added. ”Eric, grow up. You can’t spend your life between a woman’s legs,” his father said. ”I can try,” Eric said. His father wanted him to learn to be king, and Eric took an extraordinarily long time to say ”I will… tomorrow!” in what I assume was Swedish. As Eric left the home to go have sex with the redhead — how many times do you think that actress has been asked by friends to relive that moment? — there was a knock at the door.

NEXT: Jessica, up in the big leagues

By the time the noise drew Eric back into the room, his mother was dead. A wolf attacked Eric, and he stabbed it with his sword, then saw the mark on its neck when it turned into a human corpse. His father was attacked, and a cloaked man told another wolf to bring him the crown. The man told Eric not to be a hero, and Eric went to his father. As the blood gushed out of his neck, his dad told Eric he was king now and he knew what to do — vengeance. ”It’s beautiful,” Eric said in the present day, looking at the crown. ”Quite,” Talbot said, looking at Eric. Now we know why Eric has been searching for the leader of the V-addicted wolf pack. If there’s anything that could get Eric to work with Bill, it was finding out that it’s Russell. That’s way too simple though. How Eric plays his hand now will be interesting. The promo for next week’s episode looks like he’ll pretend he’s on Russell’s team. I suspect Talbot will turn on Russell in the end. We know he hates the idea of Russell fake-marrying Sophie-Anne, that he is a romantic who loves sob stories (and what’s sadder than a Viking trying to avenge his father, mother, and baby sister?), and has a soft spot for Eric. I can also see him dying for it. I just hope that he dies in a beautiful room, looking into Eric’s handsome face, after making a comment about the wallpaper.

While the werewolf subplot is plowing ahead, the mystery of Sam’s family is still at a standstill. They moved into one of the homes Sam owns across the street from Arlene. Sam told his dad he could be his on-site handy man. Tommy is working as a busboy at Merlotte’s and actually seems to be loving it. Possibly because he gets to chat up Jessica, who’s still having a tough time with Arlene, who admitted she won’t look into Jessica’s eyes because she doesn’t want to be hypnotized. (Jessica retaliated by using mind control to make sure the next couple she seated would not tip Arlene.) Hoyt came in with a young woman who shouldn’t be getting a second date, so I’m not even going to worry about describing her. Jessica told Tommy she was upset because Hoyt was her ex. ”He look like he got bombed by radiation on his way to middle school,” Tommy said. Jessica told him Hoyt was actually really sweet, and Tommy said Hoyt is Little League and she’s a smokin’ hot vampire in the Majors. Before Tommy could continue hitting on her, he got a call from his dad, who was screaming at him to come home.

Tommy later asked Sam if he could crash at his place that night, and Sam said he could, as long as he told his parents. Sam had been sensing something weird was going on with his parents ever since Joe Lee had told him to have a great day and wanted Tommy to tell him what it was. He wouldn’t. That night, as Sam and Tommy watched Animal Planet or something (nice touch), Joe Lee knocked on the door and came in yelling that he owns Tommy from head to toe. Tommy needs to learn responsibility, he said. Sam threatened to throw them out on the street if Joe Lee didn’t leave, and he agreed to go sleep it off. Two things: 1) Thank goodness Joe Lee doesn’t carry a weapon. 2) What could he have meant that he ”owns” Tommy?

NEXT: Jason loves police procedurals

Another mystery: How did Crystal dial down Jason Stackhouse’s bulls— factor to near zero? He showed up for work at the Sheriff’s department and was promptly put in charge of phones (and instead, played limbo with a line of paperclips and tasted the ink used for fingerprinting). Jason couldn’t handle a desk job — ”I need a cold case, a special assignment,” he told Andy, proving he watches CBS — and Andy gave him one. Cut to Jason washing the patrol cars shirtless. That is a fine use of taxpayer money right there. Jason saw Crystal, the girl he’d seen crying in the woods the night he helped bust the meth lab, driving by in a truck smiling, and naturally, he got in a police car and followed her. Had the music been a little bit livelier, I would say it was an homage to The Dukes of Hazzard. He pulled her over, and, still shirtless but now wearing sunglasses, he approached her vehicle as she got a show in the side mirror that probably inspired many a sweet dream last night.

Jason asked for her license, registration and insurance card, but she wasn’t giving him anything because she didn’t believe he was a cop. ”Where’s your badge? Where’s your gun? Where’s your shirt?” she asked. Jason admitted he was a ”deputy sheriff liaison” in training — he knows the word ”liaison?” — then asked her why she was crying the first time he saw her. She said she wasn’t crying being she never cries. ”I’m Jason Stackhouse, and I want to know you,” he said, in what has got to be the most honest thing he’s ever said to a woman. Finally, she gave him her first name and he asked her to meet him at Merlotte’s that night. She said she couldn’t, but he said he’d be there waiting.

At Merlotte’s, Andy told a waiting Jason that all he had to do to become a deputy was pass the physical and the written exam. Jason knows he doesn’t test well, so he left feeling doubly rejected. That’s when he saw Crystal walking away in the parking lot. Turns out she hadn’t stood him up, she just couldn’t get herself to go inside because she’s not supposed to be with him and she couldn’t explain why. Jason asked her to go for a walk with him, and she took his hand. Down by the water in the moonlight they shared a sweet kiss and realized they have something in common — they both like the outdoors. Jason said there’s something happening to them and he doesn’t care about those things she can’t explain now and maybe forever. She said there is no forever for them. There’s just now, and she’s never been happier than she is with him. He said if she didn’t want him to touch her, he was going to need to step away because he was… ”a little upset.” She said they had that in common, too. Apparently in Bon Temps, ”upset” means ”aroused,” because Jason pinned her against a tree for a steamy kiss. I know what Crystal is hiding, so I can’t tell you if I would be able to figure it out from the clues we’ve been given. Likes the outdoors, has a secret she’s not supposed to share with humans. Sounds familiar, right?

NEXT: Jesus!

There’s another new romance in Bon Temps — Lafayette and Jesus, the man who takes care of Lafayette’s mother in the psychiatric center. He showed up at Merlotte’s, and Lafayette, who’d been outside making friends with Tommy, thought he was there to tell him his mother died. He wasn’t. It was his day off, and he’d come to see if Lafayette wanted to see a movie. Lafayette was so surprised, it’s like he’s the only out man in Bon Temps. Did you see the way those long-lashed eyes softened? He said he had to work, or he would have. Jesus said he’d wait until Lafayette got off — ”It’s only nine hours” — and they went inside. ”Oh, Lordie,” Lafayette said when Jesus opened the door for him. Jesus let out a relieved sigh. So, so sweet. Anytime there’s a gay relationship on TV, people study the level of physical contact because they want it to equate with what we’d see with a straight couple. I’m actually hoping we take things a little slower than Jason and Crystal and see more heavy flirting like we witnessed when they played pool and Jesus admitted that he’d enjoyed looking at Lafayette while he worked. For starters, it’s a way to distinguish this relationship as something different for Lafayette, something he takes seriously. And if handled properly, they have the chance to be the happiest, healthiest relationship on the show. (Of course, we have no idea how Jesus will react to Lafayette’s colorful past and present.)

If they do get down to business quickly, I hope it involves Lafayette doing a strip tease for him. It’s been too long since we saw him dance. Regardless, I’m going to assume that Jesus is a good guy coming into Lafayette’s life now only because he needs a good distraction so he doesn’t go hunting for Tara.

Last but not least, we get to Terry, who moved in with Arlene. He hugged Sam so tight that Sam assumed he was scared. ”She’s a little crazy, but so are you — so is everybody,” Sam said. He told Terry not to worry. Fighting back tears, Terry explained, ”I ain’t worried. I’ve never been so not worried. This is what normal people do, Sam. They fall in love. They make each other laugh. They move in together. They raise kids. They fight over money. They get old and fat together. And it’s normal. And it’s happenin’ to me. I can’t believe it.” Maybe that seemed like sappy filler to some people, but as a 34-year-old single woman, I understood and it gave me chills. It’s amazing that something that comes so easily to some can be so elusive for others. Someone to care for seems so basic that you can’t believe you don’t have it. And then when you’ve lived long enough without it, it’s easier to picture your life staying the same than changing. That’s why even when Arlene said she didn’t clean the house or make room for Terry’s things because she wasn’t feeling well, he still thought he was the luckiest man in the world. (Weird thought: I think Terry would’ve been fine raising another man’s child had Arlene told him the baby wasn’t his from the start. I think he’ll be fine even if the baby comes out looking like Rene. But if he can’t forgive Arlene for lying to him, maybe he could get with Jessica. They’re both sort of new at relationships and have pasts they’d like to forget, and he’s a good guy like Hoyt who wants to treat a woman right.)

Your turn. What did you think of the episode?

Episode Recaps

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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