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Cycle of Death: Everything is Broken on True Blood

There's no use crying, as they say, over spilled blood.

Everything must come to an end. The precipitous peace brokered between the American Vampire League and the human government came crashing down around everyone's heads this week as the humans got a sight of the true nature of vampires. But while the truth came out in a most shocking, hysterical, and dramatic way, courtesy of Russell Edgington, this week's episode of True Blood ("Everything is Broken"), written by Alexander Woo and directed by Scott Winant, dealt with the impermanence of life in many different ways.

It wasn't just the death of an idea--or a political movement (the fragile nature of the Great Revelation)--that this week's installment faced head on but in the fact that even for immortals such as Eric Northman and Russell Edgington, the threat of the one true death is always there. The cycle of life--and of death--keeps on turning and nothing can prevent this neverending dance from continuing apace.

Even in death, it seems, life has a way of staking you in the heart with surprises.

So what did I think of this week's episode of True Blood? Grab yourself a warm Tru Blood, load up some wooden bullets, get some rope, and let's discuss "Everything is Broken."

As in previous episodes, "Everything is Broken" reflected on the preciousness of life, even in death. Bill and Sookie reaffirmed their love for one another, Hadley sought to protect her son, Jason came to Tara's aid and finally freed her from Franklin's clutches, Arlene pondered whether she could bring an "evil" baby into this world, and Russell mourned his dead lover, spooning up his sticky remains into a crystal urn.

The nuances of life and death were beautifully handled in that gorgeous scene between Eric Northman and Pam, who remain two of my favorite characters on the series. While Pam is often a source of dark humor and appetites, here we saw both a different side to Pam and also a very different side to the relationship between Pam and her maker. (It also mirrors the reaction of Russell to the death of poor Talbot, the inciting incident that pushes him over the edge. Could it be that the last vestiges of his humanity were tethered to his once-human lover?)

When faced with the possibility of execution for the death of the magister, Eric begged his protege not to take the fall with him, even as she tearfully looked back on the century they shared together, an all too brief time. To them, human life must seem like the flickering of a candle, a brief spark that's extinguished in a matter of minutes. But for Pam, in that moment, no length of time would be enough. She's not ready to say goodbye to Eric and to the life they shared together, something of a blend between siblings and parent and child.

It's the latter relationship that provides the most haunting echo here as Eric tells Pam that if he should die, she will have to create a vampire and continue to their line. It is time for her to become a maker. It's a reminder again of that cycle of life. A child becomes a parent, the circle continues. She might be 100 years old, but for Pam, the thought of losing Eric is like an adult losing a parent and being pushed into the role of the protector, rather than the protected. (Additionally, the lengths that Eric went to save Pam echo that of Hadley's efforts to protect Hunter. But we'll get to that in a bit.)

Fortunately, Eric isn't to be executed. The Authority has ruled that that Eric was not complicit in the magister's death and that, with a rogue vampire king on the loose, it needs to stay as far away as possible from this "political tarbaby." Eric, on the other hand, will be given a blind eye to continue his revenge plot against Russell and take down the King of Mississippi with impunity. Though the Authority, of course, disavows all knowledge of his actions.

It's interesting that the Authority isn't a single entity but rather a collective council, governing the affairs of the vampires from afar and watching with intrigue and clinical detachment the "trial" of Eric Northman via webcams, choosing to act through its intermediary, Nan Flanagan, rather than appear in the flesh. Definitely getting some echoes of Big Brother watching there but their detachment might prove to be short-lived after the actions of Russell make it impossible for any vampire to remain uninvolved.

Appearing on a 24-hour news channel, Russell rips the spine out of the news anchor on the air and then delivers a message to viewers that the vampires and humans are not equals and never will be equals: the humans are a food source and nothing more. The vampires will eat them and their children and they will enjoy every second of it. It's an outright assault on the American Vampire League, the Vampire Rights Amendment, and the tentative coexistence between the humans and the vampires after the Great Revelation.

(I thought for a split-second that Russell was going to kill Nan in the limousine, but I could not have imagined just how much more brutal and deadly his on-air assault was than just taking out the vampires' de facto spokesperson. I can't wait to see just what the fallout will be from this act of brazen arrogance.)

Elsewhere, Sam grappled with just how to keep Tommy in line, particularly as he can't seem to control his wayward younger brother, particularly after Tommy accuses him of being a doormat for everyone else to trample on. But that's not quite the case: the darkness within Sam threatens to overtake him as he unleashes a wave of violence upon Crystal's father Calvin (even knocking Crystal to the ground in the process)... to the point that Lafayette and Jesus have to take him to the hospital. While Sam cools off, Tommy seems to have more respect for Sam but the violent encounter may have opened up a Pandora's box of anger within Sam's soul. All of his anger, his rage, his frustrations, seem to come to the fore in those moments. And once unleashed, I can't help but wonder if he'll be able to lock them up again...

Hoyt admitted to Jessica that he hated his new girlfriend, who sees Hoyt as having chosen life (her) over death (Jessica). But it's not as simplistic as that, particularly as a life with Summer means a life filled with dolls, antiquing, and insipid conversation. Even if it means giving himself over to the night, Hoyt knows that he won't be happy unless he's with Jessica. Sniffle.

I was also happy to see the writers deal with the friendship between Tara and Sam in that brief scene between the two as Sam pushed Tara to seek psychological counseling after her ordeal. While Tara doesn't go see a shrink, Sam's words do propel her to seek solace in a support group for rape survivors, where she comes face to face with new Merlotte's waitress Holly, herself a rape victim who was raped for over five hours by a coworker.

I'm already suspicious about Holly's true identity--I'm convinced she's a witch, even moreso after this week's episode--but the fact that she came through the darkness points towards a possible hope for Tara as well. As for Holly, she offers Arlene a shoulder to cry on in Sam's office after her argument with Tommy, as well as a solution to her problem. If Arlene won't have an abortion to end her "evil" pregnancy, Holly tells her that there are other means of bringing an end to her situation. (Cough, it's witchcraft...)

Tara, meanwhile, finds the strength to stand up for herself, even as she finds it impossible to talk about her traumatic ordeal at the hands (and fangs) of Franklin. But it's a short-lived recovery process as Franklin grabs her outside Merlotte's and threatens to end her life right then and there because she didn't "mourn" his death and didn't really love him. It's a dark place when one realizes that death might be the only true escape... but, fortunately for Tara, it doesn't come to that as Jason unloads a wooden bullet into Franklin, ending his existence amid an explosion of blood and plasma. Fitting, really, that it would be Jason who would save Tara; it's a nice callback to their backstory in which Jason protected Tara from the drunken wrath of her mother. Hmmm...

Speaking of mothers, Lafayette's mother had one of the best lines of the season as she expressed her happiness seeing her son without his mask on. It was a touching moment between mother and son, a respite from the madness that has plagued Ruby Jean, and a testament to just how happy Lafayette is with Jesus by his side. For one glittering moment, we saw the true face of Lafayette, open and honest, without his warpaint on. Which makes me all the more cautiously concerned about what heartbreak lays ahead. Could it be that there's more to that jaguar tattoo than Jesus let on? Just what darkness is he concealing behind his crystal eyes?

Crystal, meanwhile, continued to waver in her relationship with Jason. Despite knowing that she needs to get away from Hotshot and her crazy family, she still chose to go to the hospital with Calvin rather than stay with Jason. And she knew that Felton would likely go off the rails after she knocked him unconscious and tied him up for the sheriff's department to find. (But why didn't Andy send the V to the crime lab?) Jason is playing with fire and his efforts to get Andy to raid Hotshot and round up Crystal's whole meth-cooking family are likely to backfire in an explosive way.

I loved the scene between Sookie and Hadley at the aquarium, where Sookie came face to face with her little nephew Hunter, a brooding tyke who shares her telepathic abilities. Their meeting is brief, however, as Sookie quickly learns of his abilities and Hadley and Hunter go running off, lest Hunter be rounded up by Russell and Sophie-Anne. Just what do the vampires want with the telepaths exactly? How does Sookie's true nature play into Russell's grand scheme? And what war is Russell really waging? Is just against the humans or does he have a bigger target? Hmmm...

Interesting too that Bill was able to enter what appears to be a gateway to the faerie world after drinking Sookie's light-charged blood, much to the shock of Claudine, who assumes that Bill had killed Sookie. Given that Bill was able to enter that half-world of water and gravestones by nearly draining Sookie to the point of death, what would Russell be able to do if he had a group of telepaths? Bring the faerie world to its knees? Invade another kingdom and steal the light that Claudine is entrusted to keep safe?

I'm very curious to see just where all of this going, really. "Everything is Broken" also dealt with that secret file that Sookie learned that Bill had been keeping on her. Do we believe that he's telling the truth about its purpose? That it was an effort to discover why Eric had an interest in her? I'm not sure as its existence long predated Eric's knowledge of Sookie's true nature. While he's drawn to Sookie, I'm not sure that Eric has ever suspected she was, well, whatever it is that she is. (Faerie?) But the two did have a gorgeous scene in the shower in which they washed off the blood and the past, exchanging a baptism in which their wounds--both physical and emotional--were healed.

If only that could be true for all of Bon Temps' residents...

What did you think of this week's episode? Just what does Russell want with Sookie? How was Bill able to get to Claudine's world? Head to the comments section to discuss.

Next week on True Blood ("I Smell A Rat"), a reluctant Bill warns Sookie about the dangers she will face; Jesus is intrigued by the mysterious qualities of V; Samʼs recent fit of rage triggers dark memories; Eric takes precautions and fulfills a wish; Arlene turns to Holly for help with a pressing problem; Jason deals with the unexpected, both with Tara and Crystal; Jessica is torn between Tommy and Hoyt; after communing with Talbot, Russell promises to extract vengeance on his enemies.


Bella Spruce said…
I loved that Jessica's fangs accidentally popped out when she met Hoyt's new girlfriend, Summer, and that Hoyt confides to Jessica that he hates Summer. It was nice to see Jessica and Hoyt share a sweet moment together, even if it did end in bloody tears.
Unknown said…
What a great episode and I am so sad there is only 3 left to the season. Anyways this is what I thought about this episode.
1. It was great seeing a different side to Pam, although I love the "normal" Pam. I wonder if she will become a maker soon seeing as she helped Jessica in the beginning of the season.
2. Russell is crazy. I hope than Nan will stop being such a bitch and help Eric take him down. And, I hope Alcide comes back to help as well.
3. I though the scene between Sookie and Hadley's son was so cute!
4. I'm not sure if I like the new Sam, but I do like him standing up for himself. But I do not want him to kill anyone.
5. What is Crystal and her family?
6. I have a feeling Holly is going to take care of Arlene's evil baby.
7. Although I love Sookie and Bill together, sometimes I would want to see Sookie and Eric together.

Great review as always - can't wait until Sunday!
JackiWhitford said…
Jace - Another excellent recap. I am going to miss Dennis O'Hare. He is the best villain so far and I hope the writers have a great send off planned for him. He deserves it. Bill drained Sookie dry and ended up in the Land of Light. Then turns around and likes to Sookie. Bill's nose should have grown a foot. I think there is something seductive to vampires in Sookie's true family of beings. Bill tried to bite Claudine the minute he met her. So Claudine was right - it is not Sookie he loves. He is probably addicted to her light/blood. Only three episodes left. I cannot imagine what can top last night's last ten minutes.
rockauteur said…
Did I miss something or forget something? How does Hadley know so much information about Sookie, but yet she doesn't know anything about herself?
ewench said…
SPOILER (sort of)

Vampires find fairy blood irresistible.

Hadley knows so much because she is Sookie's cousin and grew up with her. She knows about her telepathy and told the queen and that is why she is so interested in Sookie. In the books, that is why Bill moved to Bon Temp, to investigate Sookie for the queen, he didn't intend to truly fall for her! Not sure if that is the way they are playing it out on the show though.

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