We're two thirds of the way through this season of "True Blood," which means that this week's visit to Bon Temps advanced a whole lot of percolating subplots. In this episode: Sookie took a backseat, Alcide took a beating, Lafayette took $300 for witch-work, and Eric took a look at his life and his choices.
Whatever Lilith wants, Lilith gets
The Authority's long, bloody tumble off the mainstreaming wagon continues, as the group's bloodsucking binge gets chased back to Headquarters by the approach of dawn. But every party needs a pooper, and since nothing kills a good blood-of-Lilith buzz like getting shamed by the ghost of your maker, Eric is starting to have second thoughts about what just went down. He frowns and glowers, but nobody cares. Sporting beards made of crusty blood, drunk on the prospect of vampire supremacy, the group discuss their next move — although some of those present seem a little confused about the difference between "divine inspiration" and "rampant self-interest," including the gentleman who declares, "Lilith wants me to eat a baby."
But where Eric hesitates, Bill exsanguinates. Salome effectively baits him to enjoy a midnight snack — while we get a peek at the guilty memory of 1800s Bill visiting his daughter's deathbed, where she begged him to make her immortal and he instead left her to die. And it's his idea to incite anarchy in the U.S. by bombing the True Blood factories, thus giving even the most dedicated mainstreamers no choice but to feed on humans. Is Evil Bill for real? Or is this part of a cunning plan to destroy the Authority from the inside out?
Wolves, witches, and... Warlow?
After weeks of perfunctory nods, the wolfpack plotline took a big step forward. Alcide's training for the packmaster rumble has come to an end... and speaking of ends, we got an awfully nice look at Joe Manganiello's in one of this season's better sex scenes. But not even those rippling muscles could compete with the murderous, V-addled J.D.; after dashing into the woods to save the packmaster's human prey, Alcide comes out the loser in the ensuing struggle. It's only a last-minute intervention by Granny Bozeman that keeps his head un-bashed-in.
Meanwhile, Arlene and Holly are on the Ifrit case, convincing Lafayette to use his witchy powers of persuasion and trick Terry into believing that he's no longer cursed. There's just one teensy problem with having a real witch conduct a fake seance: the ghost actually shows up. But she agrees to lift the curse, and all she asks in return is that Terry kill... Patrick? Patrick! Where ya going, buddy?
And elsewhere, Sookie's attempt to drain herself of Fae-ness is interrupted by Jason, who waxes poetic about parental legacy and the power of love. Also, they might need her faerie powers when they find the vamp who killed her parents, so maybe don't do that just yet? Sook agrees, and soon thereafter, she and the rest of the Faeriefolk meet at the bridge where her parents died, where Sookie can (apparently) tap into the lingering echo of her mother's final thoughts. And it works... a little too well, as she finds herself inside the murderous vampire's head. But at least she gets the killer's (stupid) name: WARLOW.
Sam I am
With Sam and Andy attending to the most recently-arrested member of the Redneck Hate Brigade, the hospitalized Luna panics, loses all control, and skinwalks... right into her boyfriend's body. Whoops! Terrified, she runs to the police station — where she catches the real Sam at the tail end (no snake pun intended) of exacting a confession from the suspect. (And this week's Excellent in Acting award goes to Sam Trammel, for his astonishingly spot-on impression of Janina Gavankar's walk, voice, and speaking patterns.)
The RHB's next victim: Jessica, who's been kidnapped and silvered as a special gift for Hoyt. But as angry and emo as Hoyt's gotten this season, he's no murderer; after confronting Jess and confirming that she'll never love him, he sets her free and goes for help. Bad news: he just misses the arrival of Andy Bellefleur and the two Sams. And more bad news: when we see him last, he's staring down the barrel of an unknown assailant's gun.
Meanwhile, Luna is reaching the twitching, puking denouement of her walk in Sam's skin; the real Sam has just enough time to smooch his own pretty face before she shifts back. It's a rough transition that has enough in common with Tommy's final moments from last season to leave us a little bit worried.
What do you think? Is Luna on her way out? Has Bill officially gone bad? Is Warlow the dumbest name for a vampire, ever?