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A Doll's House: Games People Play on True Blood

As often happens in Bon Temps, people don't seem to be falling together, but rather falling apart.

Case in point: star-crossed lovers Jessica and Hoyt, who have embarked on a life of domesticity together, only to find that playing house isn't as easy as it looks from the outside. Over the last few weeks, we've seen these two engage in all manner of domestic sparring, as insignificant squabbles blow into something bigger and more indefinable about their relationship: an argument over dinner turns into a raw-egg-eating contest, a trip for Advil becomes a case of Jessica feeding on another man, and a confession turns into something brutal and heart-breaking here.

On this week's episode of True Blood ("If You Love Me, Why Am I Dyinʼ?"), written by Alan Ball and directed by David Petrarca, the widening chasm between Jessica and Hoyt looked all the more vast and empty, as something terrible came between the two young lovers on opposite sides of the vampire-human divide. And in the middle, that awful, creepy doll sat smiling its menacing grin, emblematic of both what these two will never share together... and of something else. Something that slouches towards Bethlehem, in a way.

While these two have had their ups and downs, I never thought that I'd see the day where Jessica forcibly glamoured Hoyt so he would forget something he learned. We've seen what happens to those who undergo glamouring way too often (waving at you, Ginger!), so I'm a little concerned about the precedent that this sets within Jessica's mind. It was bad enough that she went outside of their relationship for sustenance (her explanation: she wanted to eat something different), but to erase the knowledge from Hoyt's mind crossed another line altogether. It was a gross invasion of his mind, as she ripped away the unpleasant memory from Hoyt and reduced him to a lovelorn schoolboy once more. What's worse is the fact that Hoyt immediately knew what she was doing to him and tried to stop her, before she slammed him against the door.

But that's not the only sense of darkness that's emerging between these two. There's that wholly creepy baby doll that both Jessica and Hoyt claim to have gotten rid of, that keeps turning back up in the house once more. Which means two things: (1) that it's most definitely supernatural in origin, and (2) that it's connected to that house. Which means likely that whoever--or whatever--is moving it back inside has more of a claim on the house than neither of them do. Worse still is the fact that Jessica gives said doll--and whatever preternatural leanings it might have--to Arlene and Terry's baby to play with. Given that said baby is the spawn of serial killer Rene and that Arlene has been plagued by visions of Rene and exploding blood vessels in her eyes, it's probably not the best plaything for a growing boy... and makes me wonder just what evil it will awaken within him. Eeek.

Elsewhere, Sookie had to deal with the fallout from Eric's amnesia as she brought him back to her house and tried to figure out what to do next, turning first to Pam (who got her ass handed to her by Eric) and then to Alcide, who has made a go of things with Debbie in the last year. (Now clean and sober, Debbie seems to be playing the perfect housewife, offering Sookie Vienna sausages and crawfish dip and a hug.) But it appears that Sookie will have to tend to Eric on her own and we get some suggestive scenes in which she washes Eric's feet and Eric appears dreamily innocent, all wide-eyed about the world... Though that doesn't stop him from chowing down on Claudine until she bursts into bright light and white dust. (Convenient that faerie corpses turn to dust.) While he seems to be extremely naive about his identity and the world (love how he called Sookie "Snooki"), his true nature isn't lost to him. He's still predatory and hungry, still drawn to the light that the faeries possess and to the sunshine in their veins.

As for Claudine, she's gone poof into a flash of light after she reverts to her true faerie form, replacing the beautiful elegance of her features with something base and repulsive behind the gilded facade. However, we do finally get confirmation that it was Claudine who came to Sookie's aid during her fight with the Rattrays in the pilot episode, "awakening the light" within her so she could telekinetically wrap that chain around her assailant's throat. (Interestingly, in the original, unaired pilot, we actually do see an actress playing Claudine, as she crouches in the bushes and furtively helps Sookie from afar.) As for why Sookie still ended up in such trouble time and time again, Claudine says that with so many vampires out there, she had to keep her distance. But all of the faeries' scheming is for naught: Sookie has no intention of returning to their realm, and Claudine becomes a midnight snack for Eric Northman. (One friend of mine--who is obsessed with the books--wailed about Alan Ball's decision to kill off Claudine here. I did, however, love the tongue-in-cheek shout-out to Charlaine Harris here; as Sookie waits up for Eric, she's reading a Harris novel.)

I loved the showdown between Tara and Pam, as Tara cocked a wooden-bullet-laden gun at Eric's protege. I'm not entirely sure I believe Lafayette willingly going into the belly of the beast to throw himself upon the mercy of Eric Northman after everything that happened between the two of them, but my disbelief there was paid off by that fantastic standoff. Alan Ball told me a few weeks back that there are major things in store for the dynamic between these two, so I can't wait to see how things develop here.

However, I'm beyond tired of the awful Jason/Crystal storyline, the werepanthers, and Hotshot in general. The whole hillbilly-junkie-shapeshifting creature thing has gotten really old, really fast and the grotesque nature of Jason's imprisonment, his rape by Crystal, and this whole notion that she and Felton are transforming him into one of them so he can help conceive a new generation of werepanthers is so entirely over the top and off-putting. Every time we come back to this storyline, I feel a queasy unease in my stomach, and I just what this plotline to come to an end already... While we know that Andy is under the influence of V and not thinking clearly (hence his antagonism towards Sam Merlotte), I'd think that somebody would notice a deputy sheriff going missing several days ago and look around Hotshot for clues. Sigh.

Sam, meanwhile, isn't falling back into Tommy's life easily, despite the effort Tommy seems to be making to try and bond with his estranged brother, offering him a ploy to buy Maxine out of the natural gas-lease rights she unwittingly has. Given the line about killing one's blood--and Luna's story last week about how to become a skinchanger--these two seem to be on a collision course as one of them will likely try to kill the other once more, continuing the vicious cycle that they seem to be trapped in. It was good, however, to see Sam relax a little, enjoying a drink with Tara even as they didn't exactly come clean about who they're seeing nowadays.

And not surprisingly Bill and Portia Bellefleur ended up in bed together, though he didn't end up feeding off of her, surprisingly. Bill admitted that he's too old for love (it takes "a young heart"), but I can't decide if he's just toying with Portia or if he means it, that he's still hung up on Sookie and is just using Portia for sex. Either way, I'm glad to see Bill--who is slipping quite easily into his role as King of Louisiana (witness the casual way he condemns a vampire to the one true death)--paired with someone who is his intellectual match. I'm glad to see the writers using Portia as a woman who knows what she wants, both in the boardroom and in the bedroom. Curious to see where this new addition to the love rhombus (now a love... pentagon?) goes...

What did you think of this week's episode? Are you as turned off by the Jason Stackhouse arc as I am? Wondering whether Alcide will end up putting Eric in one of those abandoned houses... and whether Debbie will fall back into her old ways? Are you shocked that Ball killed off Claudine? Sound off in the comments section.

Next week on True Blood ("Iʼm Alive and on Fire"), Alcide helps Sookie hunt for Eric; Marnie searches for guidance to break a spell; Bill discovers a common bond with the Bellefleurs; Jason begs for liberation from Hotshot; Sam penetrates Lunaʼs inner circle; Arlene sees the writing on the wall; Tommy returns to his roots.


Anonymous said…
Jace, Yes I am creeped out (and not in a good way) about Hotshot, as it appeared that all the ladies in town were in line waiting for their turn with Jason..

I was not sad to see this version of Claudine go. I had imagined her to be more of a Liv Tyler - Lord of the Rings type fairy and less of the Disney pixie-ish kind. It almost seems as if the writers didn't like writing about the fairies.

Otherwise, I am liking Alcide & Debbie Pelt as a Stepford werewife, and nearly everything else.

Ally said…
I could not agree more about the Jason storyline. Every time they come back to it, I get restless and annoyed.
ewench said…
As a lover of the books long before this TV series as well, I was also very shocked they killed off Claudine so casually as she is a fairly significant and benevolent character for a few of the novels. And yes also so ready for the Jason/Hotshot story to move on. I have to say this is the first season some of the liberties they are taking with the storylines from the books are starting to annoy me for some reason.

The one thing I do like that is a departure from the books is Bill as King - I am really grooving to him as the big cheese for some reason.

The doll - "eek" indeed! It is so nasty looking it was a stretch to believe anyone would let their baby play with it, even to avoid hurting Jessica's feelings about a it being a "family heirloom".
LondonBuddy said…
I love the tie in website

It's great they have put alot of effort into it. It reminds me of The Blair Witch Project.
Chrissie said…
Ugh. The Jason/Hotshot scenes just gross me out. I feel like I need to shower after watching them.

I haven't read the books, but I was still sort of surprised they killed off Claudine so suddenly. She just seemed important to me, and I didn't expect her to just poof into a pile of dust outta nowhere!
Bella Spruce said…
Didn't mind that they got rid of Claudine as the fairy storyline is not my favorite. (Although it's not as bad as Hotshot.) I do, however, love seeing Eric and Bill in their new roles - Bill as King of Louisiana and Eric as a (somewhat) innocent vamp. It's a great way to shake up the season and both of the actors are great in their "new" roles.
Anonymous said…
Super pissed Alan Ball killed off Claudine..why bother introducing her character at all when she only had maybe a grand total of 30 minutes screen time?? POINTLESS. Especially considering how prominent she is later with the fairy war, etc... The Jason's necessary, but not in the way Alan Ball shows it...I really am annoyed with how far he's deviated from the books. At this rate it will be an entirely different story from the books. And hate to say it, but with AB making Bill the king, and his love for the Bill/Sookie pairing despite the majority of the series being Eric/Sookie, I get the feeling that bastard is going to do something to really screw with the love triangle...T__T

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