Our storylines from episode 1 begin to converge this episode at the Moon Goddess Emporium, home of Marnie and her coven. Witches? We’ve had vampires, fairies, werewolves, werepanthers, maenads and now witches -- I think someone needs to take Alan Ball’s Dungeons and Dragons “Monster Manual” away. Unless we can get a beholder coming soon.
Marnie and the witches are being set up as the antagonists for this season, assuming, of course, that we’re supposed to root for Sookie, Bill, Eric, etc. Which, frankly, I’m not so sure is a given.
While “True Blood” is compelling in a “what’s going to happen next?” way, it’s not exactly blessed with an abundance of protagonists who could be called “sympathetic” or “honest” or “smarter than dirt.”
With that in mind, let’s compare the two sides and see if we can figure out which side is more appealing – the vampires or the witches.
- In a flashback, we see that at Bill’s behest, human agents of the American Vampire League shot Sophie Anne with bullets made of wood and silver. AVL honcho Nan Flanagan makes Bill the new king of Louisiana and he swears a pledge to the AVL that he will serve them. Nan questions him about Sookie and he promises there is nothing special about her.
Seriously, is there a more duplicitous character on TV than Bill? He makes Pete Campbell look like George Washington. And he’s not even good at it -- time and again his lies, no matter how well intentioned, end up boomeranging on him. But I’m sure this time will be different...
- The coven, giddy from reviving Marnie’s parrot for a couple of moments, discuss what to do next. Marnie’s plan? They’re going to bring a person back to life next.
First of all, no one with the slightest knowledge of the supernatural would think this is a good idea. Bringing someone back from the dead is Example A of “dabbling with forces beyond your control” in countless horror novels, zombie movies and campfire tales.
Second, and more importantly in this case – hey, maybe you should try to keep the parrot alive for more than a commercial break and then work your way up the food chain to reanimating a human. It’s like deciding that because you can toast a bagel, you’re ready to run your own restaurant.
- Eric has bought Sookie’s house so he can come and go as he pleases without needing an invite from her. He explains that vampires will smell how special she is and she needs protection from them and he can provide it. “If all I wanted was to taste your blood again,” he tells her, “I could do it right now and there wouldn’t be a thing you could do to stop me.”
As charming and worldly as Eric is supposed to be, you would think that he would realize that trying to force Sookie to be with him, or trying to force Sookie to do pretty much anything, is the best way to get her to do the opposite.
I’m also not sure that Sookie couldn’t stop him if he tried to bite her – we’ve seen her use her little strobe light power several times now – Eric himself saw her use it on Russel. Sookie later tells Bill there’s no point in going to another human’s house because Eric would just buy that too – which, what? If she went to Sam’s or Jason’s, she would be fine. This is a classic case of a character being an idiot for the sake of advancing the plot.
Still, their scenes together are a lot of fun, and it’s always awkwardly amusing that Anna Paquin has better chemistry with Alexander Skarsgard than she does with her real-life husband Stephen Moyer.
Point: Witches, because Sookie and Eric make each other dumber.
- Bill has another flashback to the early ‘80s, when he was a punk living in London, and I get excited because I think he’s about to fight Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. Instead, Nan sees him spare his supper’s life and recruits him to the AVL, revealing that top vampire scientists, including Louis Pasteur, are close to an artificial blood substitute. Moyer’s delivery “Pasteur’s a vampire?” is perfect.
Point: Vampires, for enlisting the father of pasteurization.
Under orders from Bill, Eric goes to confront the coven and tell them to stop meeting. Bill warns that a coven with control over the dead would be a very bad thing for vampires. Eric says he knows from first-hand experienced during the Inquisition. Not clear if this is foreshadowing or just a throw-away line.
Eric’s confrontation with the witches goes hilariously wrong when Marnie asks what she gets if the coven stops meeting, not understanding that she gets to keep breathing. Eric bites her and Tara, whose IQ seems to have dropped 50 points once she returned to Bon Temps earlier this episode, tries to stop him. Eric is about to attack Tara, which compels Lafayette to join the rest of the coven in chanting, giving Marnie control over Eric, as her face is intercut with the the face of a younger woman she seems to be channeling and she starts shouting at Eric in what sounds like Latin. (If anyone can ID the language for sure or knows of a translation, please put a link to it in the comments.)
As the episode ends, Sookie sees Eric walking along the side of the road, with no memory of who he is, who she is or how to wear a shirt.
While Eric is kind of an arrogant idiot in this scene, Marnie chants in a dead language. And if there’s one thing I know from a life spent consuming comic books and B movies, it’s that chanting in a dead language = evil.