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Dragonflies and Timebombs: Another Explosive Episode of HBO's "True Blood"

Wars don't just stop when you want them to. They have a nasty way of spreading like wildfire and quickly growing out of control.

This is especially true of ideological wars, such as the one between the vampires and the human-led Fellowship of the Sun on HBO's True Blood. Both sides have become blood-thirsty and mercenary in no uncertain terms and both factions are willing to obliterate some moral codes to achieve their agendas.

On last night's breathtaking and heartbreaking episode of True Blood ("Timebomb"), written by Alexander Woo and directed by John Dahl, the powder keg of hatred and combat finally ignited, leaving stunned viewers to wonder just how grim things will get before the end of the season.

So what happened on last night's episode of True Blood? Grab yourself a bottle of Tru Blood, slip on your honesty ring, sidle up to the hotel bar, and let's discuss "Timebomb."

No discussion of this episode could start without mentioning the truly poignant and disturbing discovery that baby vamp Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) made upon returning to Bon Temps, which offered this sensational episode an additional sheen of gut-wrenching pathos.

I've suspected for a while now that something had to go wrong with the tender courtship between Jessica and Hoyt Fortenberry (Jim Parrack) because everything has gone so right up until this point. The two innocent lovebirds met cute, overcame obstacles (not least of which was the human/vampire barrier), and both lost their virginity amid rose petals in a luxe Dallas hotel room.

True Blood has never been a happy, sunny sort of series (given, you know, the undead's aversion of sunlight) and I've been waiting for the catch. But I never imagined just how brutal it would be, thinking instead that Jessica would inadvertently bite Hoyt, Lorena (Mariana Klaveno) would maniacally kill him or both of them in recompense against Bill, or some other nefarious thing would occur. What I never saw coming was that virginal Jessica's hymen would reform after sex.

It's a heartbreaking twist that's coldly, brutally logical. After all, vampires heal from wounds quickly and Jessica was a virgin when she died, so why wouldn't her body heal this wound? Her dawning realization, as she and Hoyt attempt to, uh, reconnect at the Old Compton house, is harrowing. Yes, every time will be like the first, as Hoyt tries to tell her, but for Jessica, it's a reminder that this life (or death) is a unendurable punishment. And that in finding love with Hoyt, she's forced to come to terms once more with the fact that she's something other than a girl in the bloom of first love.

This being True Blood, there's a lot of slight-of-hand going on, not just with Jessica. I'm still not sure what to make of Godric or his agenda. Seemingly able to leave the Fellowship of the Sun at will, he's remained their prisoner as he claims not to want to spill blood... and he refuses to feed (though he admits he needs very little blood) off of humans as well. It's clear that Godric is meant to be a Christ-like figure who tells both the vampires of Area Nine and the humans to turn the other cheek, to replace violence with compassion.

The only problem is: I don't trust him. Despite the fact that he could have easily escaped the Fellowship, he nearly let Eric die in his stead rather than offer himself up for the "sacrifice" that was demanded. And the way that Gabe said "it's me" to Godric in the basement said something very different about their relationship than just jailer/prisoner.

So what are Godric's plans? To quell the war brewing between the humans and vampires or fan the flames? His actions seem to speak to the former but I can't shake the feeling that there's more here than meets the eye. Newcomer Allan Hyde plays Godric with just the right combination of godlike authority, preternatural strength, and piety. He's an alabaster saint come to life.

I'm also still deeply suspicious of Steve Newlin, despite Stan's claims that the vampires killed his father. Steve has proven himself to be an ambitious and draconian leader clearly capable of pushing aside morality for self-advancement. I'm still of the thought that he killed his own father in order to seize control of the Fellowship for his own ends.

And despite Godric's call for a truce between them and an end to the violence, Steve sends poor Luke (Wes Brown) to meet his maker, strapping explosives and silver to him and sending him into Godric's nest. Fundamentalism breeds hatred and hatred breeds a contempt for life; that poor Luke would sacrifice himself by becoming a suicide bomber is not only fitting, it also showed just how far Steve Newlin is willing to take his crusade. (I wondered when he palmed the honesty ring that Jason Stackhouse threw at him just what his next move would be.)

Things are going to get far worse. There's no way that the vampires of Area Nine are going to turn a blind eye to this opening salvo and let the Fellowship get away with their attack on Godric and his minions. Given that "Timebomb" is the eighth episode of the season, I wondered just why the writers would slate the showdown between the vamps and the humans at this point and the final scene confirmed that things are far from over in this storyline.

What else did I love? The shifting relationships between the characters for one. There was the tender (and hysterical scene) between Jason and Bill with Jason hugging Bill and apologizing for not supporting his and Sookie's relationship. I'm curious to see just what the writers do with Jason Stackhouse next. He's finally come to his senses--after nearly getting killed by Gabe, shot with a paintball gun by Sarah (in the crotch, no less), and taking down Steve Newlin in his own church--and sided with Sookie and the vampires. He even won over Luke in the end, as demonstrated by Luke telling his former Fellowship brother to get out rather than be killed. Hmmm...

I loved Sookie aggressively standing up to Lorena over Bill in a scene that was rife with tension. Sookie has long been known for shooting first and asking questions later and her lack of fear of the vampires has alternately won the fang gang over or made her an easy target. Not to mention the gripping scene where Eric told Bill that he won't relent in his pursuit of Sookie. Both of them see her as a prize rather than as a powerful figure in her own right and her standing up to Lorena proved that she's either crazy or canny.

Not sure why Bill refused to tell Sookie about Lorena keeping him from her in the first place. Or about poor Barry the Bellhop getting drained by Lorena... who is then hit over the head with a 52-inch plasma television by Bill. The final scene between Lorena and Bill, in which she confessed to still being in love with him and asked when they'd see each other, was a wrenching scene about obsessive passion. A woman scorned, as they say...

Back in Bon Temps, Tara and Eggs unknowingly consumed Daphne's heart (in the guise of a bloody hunter's souffle) and then violently turned on each other before giving into the full-blown frenzy as Maryann watched smiling. I feel that this is all leading up to Maryann forcing Tara to kill Eggs and replace him as her new pet before they skip town for a new habitat. Eggs is becoming increasingly self-aware about the blackouts and his missing time and this makes him expendable for Maryann. I'm hoping that someone other than Sam and Andy Bellefleur figure out what's going on and quickly because Maryann looks like she's about to destroy the entire town.

I figured too that poor Sam would take the fall for Daphne's murder. After all, as Sheriff Dearborn said, this is the second time a dead woman with her heart cut out have turned up at Merlotte's and they know that Sam has been lying about his past. It's good that he's locked up in jail and not an easy target but at the same time he's in the local lockup with many of the people that Maryann has used her frenzy mojo on. It's not looking good for our favorite shifter and I'm praying that Sookie and some other supernaturals get back to Bon Temps post haste and take down the evil Maryann for good.

What did you think of this week's sensational episode? What's Godric's agenda? Who will serve the silver-laden attack on the nest? Who can stop Maryann? And just what will happen next? Discuss.

Next week on True Blood ("I Will Rise Up"), Eric plays Sookie for a sucker; Sookie and Jason bond over their recent adventures; Lafayette and Lettie Mae try to figure out a way to pry Tara from Maryann’s clutches; Hoyt defends his relationship with Jessica to Maxine; Sam looks for a way to escape both jail and Maryann; Godric decides to take the fall for the vampires' recent PR disaster when Nan Flanagan arrives in town.


Mazza said…
Fantastic write up as usual, Jace! My favorite bit was:

It's a heartbreaking twist that's coldly, brutally logical. After all, vampires heal from wounds quickly and Jessica was a virgin when she died, so why wouldn't her body heal this wound? Her dawning realization, as she and Hoyt attempt to, uh, reconnect at the Old Compton house, is harrowing. Yes, every time will be like the first, as Hoyt tries to tell her, but for Jessica, it's a reminder that this life (or death) is a unendurable punishment. And that in finding love with Hoyt, she's forced to come to terms once more with the fact that she's something other than a girl in the bloom of first love.

You totally captured that whole scene beautifully.

Not totally convinced tho that Steve killed his daddy but you do raise some good points. Re: Godric, I am also suspicious
ewench said…
Great review - I didn’t think last weeks episode could be topped but it was – wow just wow!

Godric just replaced every other vampire I have ever seen (including long haired Brad Pitt in Interview with the Vampire, and that is saying a lot) as the central star in my own personal vampire fantasies lol OMG, he is hot!! He looks so young but is obviously so powerful and old, he acts like a Greek god or an angel, my oh my! His agenda seems to be to foster peace between vamps and humans? I hope his character is here to stay but I suspect not, for some reason, especially if the storyline follows what happens in the books :(

So many hilarious moments – Jason getting shot in the crotch with the paintball, Steve getting shot on the forehead with the paintball, Jason hugging Bill, Jason telling Steve he saw heaven inside his wife lolol

This exchange made me swoon and brought a lump to my throat all at the same time:
Sookie- “Godric is your Maker”
Eric- “Do not use words you do not understand”
Sookie- “You have a lot of love for him don't you?”
Eric- “Do not use words I do not understand”

The heart casserole scene was disgusting, I couldn’t even watch and the ensuing violent sex was disturbing, I am so ready for Maryann to be gone. I think the vampires will have to stop her somehow, no one else is powerful enough.

Can’t Sam just shift into the shape of a moth or mouse and skedaddle?

Wouldn’t it be poetic justice if the vamps turned Steve Newlin into a vampire?
Bella Spruce said…
That exchange between Sookie and Eric was a true example of fantastic writing!

As for turning Steve Newlin into a vampire, I don't think they'd do it. They see being a vampire as an honor and I doubt that Eric, or anyone else, would bestow that "honor" upon Steve Newlin. They wouldn't want him to be a part of their club!
ewench said…
Bella Spruce, tis true the vamps see it as an honor but think of it from Steves perspective (kinda like waving a magic wand and turning the head of the mormon church gay? hehehe)
Barbara said…
I am constantly blown away by this series---each episode is better, more intriguing, more involving than the last!

As to why Bill was reluctant to tell Sookie about Lorena---being the Southern gentleman, he was disinclined to talk about "old loves" with his new lady, I think. That, and the fact that he escaped from her clutches in such a violent way. I think sometimes Bill underestimates exactly how tough Sookie is, and how practical.

And who thinks Eric is even scarier when he smiles than when he smolders? Loved the scene he and Bill have, when it's all about power and vampy testosterone!
rjlacoe said…
Hi Jace,

Thanks for the awesome recaps. I wait for them every week. I too was of the opinion that Steve killed his own family to both gain power and to draw attention to the vamps. I was shocked to hear Stan say they killed his family. I also wondered about Bill and why he did not tell Sookie that Eric orchestrated his captivity. If Eric is interested in making Sookie "his" then that information is pretty pertinent, don't you think?
Bill Wilder said…
Really great episode... Godric in my opinion is tired of being alive.... he is bored and feels that he cannot "grow" anymore. As for Steve Newlin... his parents were killed by vampires (Godric's Cowboy underling said so...) I fear that his actions sending in a suicide bomber will just enrage the vampires to slaughter... Guess we will see next week :)

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