Episode Review: True Blood 2×02- "Keep This Party Going"

One of television’s more serialized offerings, True Blood tends to pick up each week just seconds after the previous installment ended. While weekly cliffhangers can be exciting, the close timeline sometimes makes the pace drag. This episode seemed to be largely about setting up the characters for their respective season-two arcs. If last week’s theme was creators and their creations, tonight’s episode seemed to focus on journeys and growth.   

After its bloody beginnings, the episode finds Sookie and Bill in bed after a bout of make-up sex. (Bill remarks on last season’s “ ‘You thought I was dead’ sex.”) Their post sucking and, er, lovemaking talk soon shifts to a discussion of Bill’s new teen terror, Jessica, and her lack of humanity. Read: Danger, danger Sookie Stackhouse!

Next, we rejoin Eric, still with blood in his hair. While Pam attempts to save his dye job, the vamps question Lafayette about his past dealings with the undead. In a betrayal worthy of Gossip Girl, Lafayette points the finger at Jason Stackhouse, partly responsible for the death of sad-vamp Eddie in season one.

Jason’s attempt at a fresh start with the Fellowship of the Sun—blatantly reminiscent of the Yes on Eight camp—is hindered by violent flashbacks to Eddie’s death. Still, Jason seems blissfully at home in this crowd, even finding a friend and bunkmate in fellow football-playing cultist, Luke. However, the relationship takes a competitive turn after a roleplaying exercise in which Jason nearly stakes his fellow actor, and queen cultist, with an American flag following a particularly vivid flashback. Jason and Luke face off in a hardly-gay-at-all bathroom showdown.

Back in Bon Temps, Tara and the mysterious, muscled Eggs take a post-coital walk in Maryann’s yard. Trying to overcome her mistrust, Tara asks Eggs about his past, only to learn that he did time for drug dealing and assault. Freaked, Tara heads to Merlotte’s—women are so picky about their ex-cons nowdays—but Eggs finds her and makes another attempt at sharing and caring; the two reunite by episode’s end.

While at Merlotte’s, Tara catches up with Sookie, who surprises her with an invitation to move in. Still mourning her grandmother’s passing, Sookie hopes Tara’s arrival will facilitate the healing process and push her into taking over Gran’s old room. Sookie’s struggles to move on and grow in the wake of her grandmother’s death help spark a connection with Bill’s lonely teen charge. “It doesn’t really matter who’s dead,” Sookie says of her and Jessica’s shared familial loss. After Jessica catches a TV broadcast featuring her griefstricken parents, she convinces Sookie she needs to see mom, dad and little sis once more. In a decision that seems a bit too naïve for the usually bright psychic, Sookie drives Jessica home for a family reunion that quickly turns deadly.

While Sookie is off making bad choices, Bill goes shopping for Jessica’s affections in a Forever 21-type clothing store.  The classic fish-out-of-water sequence provides a good deal of comedy that is only enhanced by the arrival of Eric, looking for a favor. He wants Sookie to accompany him to Dallas for business. When Bill balks, Eric reminds him, “I can simply take her.” Did you catch that double entendre, Bill?

Back in Merlotte’s, Maryann eats her way through most of the menu—is this some sort of weird feeding frenzy?—before starting up a dance party. She even scores a slow dance from maudlin Detective Bellefleur, drinking himself into an early retirement after being booted from the Miss Jeanette murder. After all, it’s not every day somebody is brutally murdered in Bon Temps. Oh, wait …

Disturbed at his bar turning into the southern version of So You Think You Can Dance, Sam confronts Maryann, whose supernatural mojo is apparently behind the strange occurrence. Unfazed, she responds by going all “shakey” and turning him into his dog self. This is clearly one chick you don’t wanna mess with, though her endgame remains frustratingly unclear.

Of course the episode can’t end with Sookie and Bill still getting along. Bill arrives in time to stop Jessica’s (perhaps warranted) attempt at patricide but, in his frustration, tells Sookie to get lost. Teeth bared, he prepares to do something … that will be revealed in next week’s episode. Still, the real cliffhanger isn’t S and B’s on-again off-again love but poor Lafayette’s "to be decided" fate. After a failed escape attempt, Lafayette is shot by a waitress, only to end up the main dish at a vampire buffet. Before the vamps chow down, Lafayette makes a plea that they turn him.  Tune in next week to see if Lafayette will join the ranks of the undead …

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