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True Blood Sucker Punch: Episode Two

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NOTE: This post contains spoilers.

Welcome to Sucker Punch, the only blog post that ranks the gaudiest moments on this week's episode of True Blood.

Before I get to the latest installment, "Keep This Party Going," let me say that after posting last week's journey through the season opener, I went on vacation. Last night, when I surfed back here to see if anyone had commented on my post, I expected to find five or six responses. Instead, I found forty-nine. That's awesome. I look forward to spending the rest of the season with you guys!

And now back to the important question: When does "Keep This Party Going" go the furthest over the top?

Last week's Sucker Puncher, Maryann Forrester, can almost claim a repeat victory. It's delicious to watch her turn Merlotte's into a writhing almost-orgy, complete with patrons whose eyes turn black as they dance under her spell. You've also got to love a gal who will transform a restaurant owner into a dog. The customer is always right, y'all, and if she says it's time for you to shapeshift, then it's time.

I can't quite give her the prize, though, due to some script holes. For instance, why doesn't Maryann arouse more suspicion when she orders everything off the menu? After what's gone down in Bon Temps, shouldn't the townsfolk be more conscious of strange behavior?

And why-God-why doesn't Sookie do anything after she learns that Maryann's thoughts are both delivered in a male voice and spoken in some crazy ancient language? This is the time to pull Tara aside and say, "Girl, get out. Mercedes McCambridge is doing a voiceover for your hostess at the luxury palace."

But does she do that? No! Instead, Sookie announces in front of the witch lady that she wants Tara to move in. I almost spit out my Fresca when that happened. Doesn't Sookie realize that could put Tara in danger? Is she so wrapped up in her Bill-Jessica-Gran's memory drama that she's lost all sense?

Sigh. Those inconsistencies keep Maryann and all of her subplots from being Sucker Punchable.

Thankfully, this episode also lets Sookie be stupid in an interesting way. Sure, it's a terrible idea to drive Jessica to her family's house, but thanks largely to Anna Paquin's acting, we can sense Sookie's sympathy for a teenager in distress.

And boy, do things get gauche when those two get together! First, how awesome is it that Sookie tells Jessica to change clothes before going to see her family? Jessica's miniskirt is actually a bit longer than Sookie's booty shorts, and Jessica's top reveals much less cleavage.

Later, the show reaches one of its all-time peaks when Jessica threatens to destroy her abusive family. The scene is brilliantly written because it deepens Jessica's character not through dialogue, but through action. When she's holding her father by the throat, we instantly learn about the type of undead girl she has become and the type of soul-dead girl she used to be.

Another nice touch comes when Tara is sussing out Eggs Benedict. It's not particularly gaudy, but when he confesses that he was in prison for drugs, she asks, "Possession or dealing?" That tells you a lot about Tara's life. Rather than being aghast at the thought of drugs, she implies she's created an internal standard for drug-related offenses.

And speaking of drugs... I am once again beholden to my favorite hooker-dealer, Lafayette. For several reasons, he almost, almost gets Sucker Punch honors this week. When he gets shot while trying to escape Fangtasia and still manages a sassy comeback for his assailant? Awesome. When he talks smack to Vampire Pam about being a survivor first and a prostitute last? Awesomer. When he suggests that he could be Eric's bad-ass vampire, if only Eric would turn him? Awesomest. (Bonus points for that scene, by the way, because it lets us enjoy Eric's new haircut and track suit.)

Yet despite Lafayette's strong showing, the Sucker Punch of the week comes from Amanda, the slutty-yet-virginal Christian pop singer who coos the instant classic "Jesus Asked Me Out Today" while performing at the Fellowship of the Sun retreat. I mean, how can you get trashier than that? The song and the singer are both designed to inspire dirty thoughts and then instantly make you feel guilty for having them. That sums up the anti-vamp cult that Jason has fallen into.

And about the cult... could it be more obvious that Sarah "Wife of the Boss" Newlin wants to sharpen Jason's stake, or that Jason's retreat roommate Luke is about to melt with jealousy over Jason's success? I can't wait to see where it all goes. And whatever happens, I hope we get another single from Amanda. I'm anxious to download "Second Date With Jesus (And This Time We Had Beer.)"

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