Episode Review: True Blood 2×07: Release Me

In Dallas, Sookie and Hugo settle into their new home—a cage in the basement of the Church of Crazy. Pastor Steve shows up to toss a few taunts through the chain-link, and Sookie promises unholy hell once Bill finds her. Steve (Michael McMillian) makes for a fun villain, possessing an intriguing twistedness—he’s half angry man, half spoiled scared boy, and McMillian succeeds in capturing both aspects of his personality. Amidst Sookie’s half-baked threats, Steve puts it together that Jason and Sookie are sibs and takes off running. After sending a psychic plea for help to Barry, Sookie lays hands on Hugo (not like that, people) and learns the truth. A vamp sex addict, Hugo joined the Fellowship in hopes of quelling his dark urges, and has been betraying Sookie and the vamps since her arrival in town. He offers Sookie a pseudo-friendly warning re: dating the undead, which she of course hastens to ignore.

Speak of the vampire. Rather than rescue Sookie from the angry Christian mob, Bill hangs out in the swinging sixties with Lorena, who’s keen on asserting her makerly dominance. Back in the past, Bill and Lorena bicker Mad-Men style over Bill’s decision to quit the whole murdering people … thing. Lorena tries to tempt her lover/protégé with an apricot-scented chorus girl, but Bill vows never again to succumb to her wiles. Back in the present, Lorena scorns Bill for loving a human. For those Buffy-Angel fans, it’s all sounding a little familiar. If we have to watch another bloodsucking couple eat a few civilians and roll around in the leftovers … okay, so it’s not exactly yawn-worthy, but this reviewer thinks the weekly flashbacks could do more to elucidate the strange and mystical relationship between maker and made. What does a vampire really feel for his sire in the world of True Blood? And are Eric’s crimson tears over the presumed loss of maker Godric in earnest? Next week’s ep could offer an answer. More on that later.

Meanwhile, Lorena and Bill stay up long into the afternoon. While their hotel stalemate doesn’t do much for poor stranded Sookie, the viewer gets a first-time peak at the effect lack of sleep has on the vamp anatomy. Physical and emotional sluggishness coupled with bleeding from various bodily orifices – no wonder vampires are such big nappers.

Back at the Fellowship of Evil, Jason and Sarah do some post church-coitus snuggling during which Sarah makes a surprise confession of love. Jason has little time to freak out over her declaration before Steve shoves him in a car … for betraying the Fellowship … not for sleeping with the missus. Steve sets his stooge on Jason, but the stooge snubs Sookie, making Jason lose it and fight his way to freedom. Aw, Jason, we didn’t know you cared. Really.

Despite Jason’s almost affection for his sister, the sweetest story of the night belongs to young lovers Jessica and Hoyt. While snuggling unchaperoned (Bill’s been busy) Hoyt confesses his inexperience in the bedroom. “Most girls probably think I’m some kind of bisexual gay or something,” Hoyt worries. Unperturbed by Hoyt’s lack of proficiency with English, and charmed by his attempts at romance, Jessica decides that Hoyt is the one and prepares to give him her, cough, innocence. In spite of the aw-cuteness of these two, it’s hard not to wonder how this could possibly end well.

The night’s biggest reveal, though, belongs to Daphne, who finally gets to tell Sam, and us, just what the deal is with Maryann. Daphne first claims Maryann is God, then amends that: she’s actually a maenad. According to Daphne’s helpful history lesson, maenads were the handmaids of Dionysus, also known as The Horned God for those of you playing at home. (Maryann has apparently gone by other names such as Isis and Lilith—is the last a Supernatural shout-out, Ms. Tucker?) Maryann’s end game in Bon Temps remains uncertain, but she does seem to have her claws set in Sam. Apparently ticked that Sam escaped her wiles back in the good old days, she’s back and working extra hard to snare him; shifters can’t be easily overcome like mere mortals. While it’s good finally getting some answers on the Maryann front, this entire scene felt a bit like an exposition explosion. As for Sam, is this guy ever going to get a break woman-wise?

Sam is not the only Bon Temps resident suffering as a result of Maryann’s sex carnival. At Merlotte’s, Arlene corners Tara to discuss her relationship with Terry.  Arlene confesses to a drink-induced blackout and … well … “Are you telling me you date-raped Terry Bellefleur?” Tara demands. And we all thought those kids would make it work …

Of course, Tara has greater challenges ahead than Arlene’s habitual troubles with men. Eggs is not what he seems. In fact, he seems to murder Daphne, sticking a knife in her ribs at Maryann’s bequest. What kind of hold does she have on this guy? And is he in fact a guy, or something else all together?

Maryann isn’t the only person to betray a pal in tonight’s episode. In fact the last minutes are rife with supernatural treachery as Sarah seemingly plugs Jason in the chest with her sidearm (Don’t worry, I think our favorite modern messiah will pull through.), and Lorena prevents Bill from leaving the hotel in pursuit of his endangered lover. In another Draper-inspired flash, Bill makes a cruel confession: he doesn’t love Lorena. Ouch. 

Amidst all the betrayal, Barry the bellhop comes through for Sookie, revealing her location and peril to Bill. Bill’s a little tied up, but Eric overhears and heads to church minus his Sunday best. It looks like he isn’t going to make it in time to save Sookie from being raped by a Fellowship stooge, but then another savior arrives in the form of the missing Godric. Here’s hoping Eric encounters his old sire real soon …

Quote of the day: (Vampire Isabel re: the human ageing process) “I find it curious. Like a science project.”

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