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Walking in the Shadow of the Blues: Birthday Presents and Room Service on "True Blood"

Could it be that our girl Sookie Stackhouse isn't quite as unique as she believed?

Last night's sensational episode of True Blood ("Shake and Fingerpop"), written by Alan Ball and directed by Michael Lehmann, offered up a rather tantalizing discovery: someone else shares Sookie's telepathic abilities. That Sookie should learn this fact and come face-to-face (and, well, mind-to-mind) with telepathic bellhop Barry in Dallas while there to investigate the disappearance of vampire Godric and getting ambushed at the airport seems rather coincidental, making me wonder if the Church of the Fellowship of the Sun have a pet telepath of their own.

Meanwhile, there were some rather intriguing developments between Lafayette and one-time jailor Eric, some hints about Eric's past involving Godric, and a nice twist in the relationship between baby vamp Jessica and Hoyt Fortenberry.

So what are you waiting for? Pop open a fresh Tru Blood, order up some room service, and let's discuss "Shake and Fingerpop."

I watched last night's episode well over a month ago but I've been rewatching the episodes as they air on HBO and have to say that "Shake and Fingerpop" was a worthy successor to the previous episode, "Scratches." Marking the second season writing debut of series creator Alan Ball, the episode took Sookie, Bill, Jessica, and Eric out of Bon Temps and deposited them in Dallas, where the big city was just as dangerous as everyone made it out to be.

No sooner do the trio arrive in Dallas (after a flight on--ha!--Anubis Air) than they are attacked by their chauffeur (Breaking Bad's Dean Norris), who was under firm instructions to kidnap the human (though he was unaware, I might add, that Sookie would be a woman) and kill the vampires. Loved that Bill let Jessica have a go glamouring said chauffeur (and that the results were so unexpectedly hilarious and juvenile).

Something major is brewing in Dallas and the Church of the Fellowship of the Sun is clearly behind both the attack on our troika and the disappearance of powerful vampire Godric. Just what the relationship truly is between Eric and Godric remains to be seen but there's clearly a hell of a lot of history and respect on Eric's part, not to mention outright reverence for Godric. (Bill, meanwhile, feels no such respect for Eric Northman; witness the petulance he displays by ordering the $45 Tru Blood just to waste Eric's money.) So what has Eric so scared? It's the notion that if these humans could nab Godric, any of them are vulnerable to attack. The stakes, so to speak, just got raised...

But let's not jump ahead. Before leaving for Dallas, there was that showdown between Bill and Jessica at the old Compton place after Bill discovered her on the couch with Hoyt. I have to say that I'm head over heels in love with this coupling, as unanticipated and unpredictable as any real-life romantic liaison. The innocence of their relationship is totally refreshing, even as Jessica lashes out at Bill for kicking Hoyt out, saying that she wasn't going to hurt him.

Given Jessica's power and strength, it's easy to forget that she's an awkward teenager, inexperienced in the ways of love and hungry in more ways than one. That she realizes that her amorous feelings cause her fang out (and bounds up the stairs giggling) is a humorous and touching discovery that speaks volumes about Jessica's contradictory nature. I can't wait to see where the relationship between these two is heading but I have to say that these two are perfectly matched for one another and Deborah Ann Woll (read my exclusive interview with her here) and Jim Parrack once again turn in sublime performances here.

Elsewhere, Lafayette received a surprise visit from Eric himself. I'm not sure what Eric's game is and whether he experienced (A) guilt at imprisoning Lafayette in the fashion that he did, (B) a surprising interest in Lafayette after Sookie exclaimed that he was important to her, as Eric suggests, or (C) something more sinister. Now that Lafayette has drank from Eric, there's a bond between them, an invisible thread which Eric can flick upon when necessary. Could Lafayette find himself in Eric's employ or forced to return the favor? Hmmm...

Loved Jason's slow-motion daydream about Sarah Newlin during the barbeque and her totally inappropriate lingerie-clad appearance in his bedroom... and its juxtaposition with Steve Newlin and Jason's gun-toting vampire "hunting" expedition in the woods. Just what will happen between this threesome looks to be very interesting indeed. The Newlins clearly have plans for Jason Stackhouse but it's hard to decipher just what they truly want from him, whether that be him as a sexual plaything or a hardened warrior.

Maryann's plans for Tara hit a snag when the latter announced her intentions to move in with Sookie but Maryann is nothing if not resourceful and she played on Tara's loneliness on her birthday to throw one hell of a party at Sookie's house, one at which she was able to harness the collective revelry of the party-goers into sheer power, transforming her hands into those of her maenad form... and displaying in no uncertain terms that it was likely she who attacked Sookie in the woods and killed Miss Jeanette. (Or so it would seem, anyway.)

And loved the fact that Lettie Mae turned up at Merlotte's to give Sam a present for Tara... only to have Maryann toss the gift in the bushes. Ha ha. Can't have Tara reforming any bonds with her estranged mother, now can we? Not if her plan to have Tara for herself is going to come to fruition.

I have to say that one of the most vile moments of the series to date came at the party when the guests turn so rowdy and so transfixed by the atmosphere of depravity that they begin to stuff their faces with whatever is at hand, whether it be food or dirt. (Ick.) And it's that atmosphere that pushes Tara and Eggs into bed together as they rather heatedly consummate their relationship for the first time.

Something tells me that Bon Temps will never be the same again... Was that genuine sparkage we saw between Arlene and Terry Bellefleur? And just how does Daphne know Sam's shapeshifting secret? Could it be that she and Maryann are more similar than we thought and that their arrivals in Bon Temps at around the same time are far from being a coincidence?

All I know is that I'm completely intrigued. "Shake and Fingerpop" definitely started off more slowly than previous installments but its slow burn pacing paid off remarkably. The truly shocking revelation about Barry the Bellhop was a hell of an episode close-out after an installment that displayed some nice minor details--the request for a bed at the hotel, Sookie telling Bill that her telepathy is improved through touch, the Tru Blood childishness, Sookie checking out the vampire porn, Jessica ordering in some room service of her own--that fleshed out the world of True Blood while also offering some major twists of its own. Sunday can't come quickly enough...

What did you think of this week's episode? What is Maryann's master plan? Who is Daphne and was she sent to keep Sam occupied? What happened to Godric? What do the Newlins want with Jason? Why did Eric let Lafayette feed off of him? And just what will happen next? Discuss.

Next week on True Blood ("Never Let Me Go"), Sookie connects with one of her own in Dallas, then joins Bill and Eric for a strategic summit at the lair of the missing vampire Godric and meets his lieutenants, Stan and Isabel; Jason is rewarded for his hard work with a gift from Sarah; Maryann decides to cast her spell on the staff of Merlotte’s; Eric shares a secret about his past with Bill; Sookie makes a decision that could solve the mystery of the missing Godric or get her killed.

Comments

It's Me said…
So there IS a Stan in the show! Oddly enough, in the books, Stan is the sheriff, and is not kidnapped -- instead it is his boyfriend who is kidnapped (a vampire named Farrell). I find it highly entertaining that Alan Ball is changing it up some, but still keeping it highly entertaining for the fans of the books!

I'm excited for more of Barry the Bellboy. Let's just say he's very important to both this season and an upcoming season ;-) I wonder if they're still keeping him as a young 18 year old in the show? I guess we'll find out when Sookie hunts him down! Can't wait to hear more telepathic conversations....

Sounds like next week there is going to be some crazy Fellowship of the Sun going on, hopefully a supernatural's bar.... Keeping my fingers crossed on that one.
Lisa said…
I'm wondering if they're going to play it out that Godric was Eric's maker, or, former lover. If I remember right in the books, it's alluded (sp?) to that he went 'either way' so to speak. He's obviously reverent of Godric, so either scenario could play out. I do think that the thing with lafayette (who was FRICKIN PHENOMENAL last night as always) is a ploy to get closer to Sook. And Jessica, as always, STOLE the show last night. Wasn't a big fan of varying from the books at first, but the plots with Jessica & Lafayette have provided some of the highlights thus far in Season 2. Looking forward to next week already, as always!
Radha said…
I love Jessica's "awkward-teen-vampire" storyline and Deborah Ann Woll plays her brilliantly.

And I'm really excited to see what happens with Barry the bellhop!
Annie said…
Great write up as always. Loved this ep. Hope that Eric & Godric did have romantic relationship in past.
rockauteur said…
Great episode, great show. I think Godric made Eric... or was a worthy ally of his. While I do think Eric does swing both ways, to me his loyalty to Godric doesn't seem like that a former lover... Can't wait to see what they have in store for the telepathic bellhop!
Lisa said…
I'm 8 kinds of mad that I know where they (the books at least) go with the Barry the Bellhop storyline. Hoping that AB varies on that one a bit. I'm a big Eric fan, so that storyline has me the most intrigued at the moment. The guy playing Stan COULD NOT BE more hot! And I know that Lorena is coming into the fold soon, before the end of this season. On HBOs site, there was the thing where you could click on each character and get a sneak preview of some clips. They seemed to show Eric back in the Viking days, being turned, so that's another thing leading me to believe that they'll play Godric out as his maker. Something tells me it'll be one non-stop crazy train from now until the end of the season ~ can't wait!

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