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.
So ... Are you guys excited for Turned By a Twink: The Eric Northman Story? Because after watching last night's installment, "Never Let Me Go," I'm positive that's gonna be the name of Eric's memoir.
Set in some ancient Viking forest, Eric's transformation at the hands of Godric, a ripped and barely-legal teenager with no shirt and a torso full of runic tattoos, is a homoerotic fever dream. It's also a compelling new vision of how vampires are made. We've seen Lorena turn Bill with deceitful selfishness, and we've seen Bill turn Jessica with a tidal wave of guilt. When Godric makes Eric, however, he does it with admiration. He's so impressed by Eric's warrior soul that he decides he can be a "companion of death". He bestows vampirism like a gift on a great man who is about to die.
Since Lorena rolls up in the final scene, baring her fangs when she hears Bill and Sookie hooking up in a Dallas hotel room, this episode consciously contrasts the different roads to vampirism. I don't know how that's going to play out, but for now, it's interesting to see that while some vampires are made through violence, others are made through a weird kind of love. For some people, becoming a vampire isn't a curse, but a salvation.
Because of that resonance -- and Godric's man-boy sexiness -- Eric's transformation is our Sucker Punch runner up.
Really, it's one of only two moments that even merits consideration. Despite some interesting bits and pieces, "Never Let Me Go" spends more time setting up future action than depicting action itself.
We see two sets of "power twins" just getting to know each other, for instance: telepaths Barry and Sookie and shapeshifters Sam and Daphne. The former are a prickly match and the latter are instant bed buddies, but right now, that doesn't mean much of anything. (Well, it means that Sam and Daphne make the world's lamest jokes about having sex on a pool table, but let's ignore that.)
Meanwhile, Maryann and Tara's arc takes a baby step forward as Maryann moves her creepy posse into Sookie's house (!) and starts dressing like Sookie's gran (!!) in order to convince Tara that she's an honest-to-goddess mother figure. That's cool, but like many of you, I'm impatient for Maryann to stop moving the pieces into place and start playing the game already.
Part of my impatience comes from watching so many disconnected storylines. I hope that True Blood learned from Heroes and Lost that if you keep your main characters separated for too long, your master arc loses focus. These tiny dramas need to feed something larger, or they feel inconsequential.
Granted, Sookie's decision to infiltrate the Fellowship of the Sun could bring her and Jason crashing back together, since Jason is traveling further into the Fellowship's inner circle. He's getting praised during training sessions for the Light of Day Insititute (LODI), he's learning about secret stashes of high-tech weapons, and he's even catching wind of Steve and Sarah's marital problems. (Sidebar: thanks to the readers who noted last week that "Lodi" is also one of California's most conservative cities.)
And oh yeah ... Jason's also getting sexual favors from Sarah Newlin.
Snap! What a perversely over-the-top way to address the mounting sexual tension! As Jason sits in a bathtub, Sarah sneaks in, locks the door, and gives Jason a sponge bath while comparing herself to Mary Magdalene washing the feet of Jesus. Then, claiming she can bring Jason "back to joy," she gives him a happy ending.
Obviously, this is our Sucker Punch of the week. Any scene whose combination of religion and sexuality could spark a protest from Fred Phelps deserves the title.
For more, please join me at The Critical Condition.
Follow Mark Blankenship on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CritCondition