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True Blood Sucker Punch: Episode 7

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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.

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(We begin with an argument already in progress)

Are you serious, True Blood? Are you really going to spring Godric on me in the last moment of Episode 7 ("Release Me") and then cut to the credits? Don't you realize that I have to wait an entire week to see what happens next? God! Why are you... it's just... selfish!

Oh... hey everyone. Sorry. True Blood and I are having a lovers' quarrel. I mean, we've been dating for a while, and even though he's not the perfect boyfriend -- don't you roll your eyes at me! You're not! -- um, anyway, even though he's not the perfect boyfriend, we usually get along great. But then he pulls this crap, where he teases me with things I love -- chocolate covered peanuts, flavored seltzer, the long-awaited emergence of a vampire sheriff -- and then hides them for days. It's mean, and I hate it. That's why I acted like I forgot his birthday last year.

You heard me! I was pretending I forgot! How did you like it? Wait... what? You're walking away? Where are you... ? I can't leave! I'm talking to these...

Okay. I'll deal with him in a second. Sorry.

The point is, this week's episode had some character inconsistencies, but in the end, it gave me an hour of zippy entertainment.

Like, I have to applaud when Hoyt seduces Jessica by decorating her hotel room with blood-scented candles and playing "Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis. "Bleeding Love!" Even if Jessica were human, that's the exact song a softie like Hoyt would play for her. But because it mentions blood, he probably thinks cranking it on the stereo makes him extra smooth. Can't you just imagine a rack of "Bleeding Love" CD singles in the vampire hotel gift shop, and Hoyt buying one with a shy little grin? That's exactly who he is.

Speaking of welcome touches, I love the return of Lafayette's attitude. His descent into fear has given him new depth, but it's even more intriguing to watch him cloak his fear in sasstalk. When he tells Tara that Eggs is "Satan in a Sunday hat," we smile at the top-notch zinger, but we also see the deadness in Nelsan Ellis' eyes. He's a time bomb, y'all. When do you think he'll go off?

On the other hand, I'm frustrated with the Maryann storyline, since it highlights the show's tendency to turn smart characters momentarily stupid. Is Tara really such a moron that she can't see how dangerous Maryann is? Because let me tell you this: If I blacked out, and my fellow waitress blacked out, and the town deputy came in screaming that everyone was at an orgy in the woods, and my weirdly witchy new mentor rolled up with bloody feet and a dead rabbit in her arms, then I might just put it together.

And Tara's smart enough to put it together, so why insist on keeping her in the dark? She deserves a story that lets her take action instead of being victimized, and her passivity is even more irritating because the writers have to ignore her well-established shrewdness in order to keep her ignorant.

Likewise, can Sam Merlotte take an action? Any action? I appreciate getting some clear information from Daphne about Maryann -- she's an immortal Maenad who can control everyone but "supernaturals" -- but when Daphne tells Sam the truth, why doesn't he do anything? And why doesn't he talk to Andy after the poor man hollers about the orgy that Sam also saw? Again, this is inconsistent with a character who is hungry to open up about himself. His perpetual inaction suggests the writers see him as a character who gets "told things," and not as a central part of the story.

That said, I don't hate these scenes. I could watch Michelle Forbes' loopy performance as Maryann all day, and that scene where she chases Sam in her Minotaur head, and he escapes by turning into an owl, literally puts me on the edge of my sofa. Bravo to director Michael Ruscio (and his editing team) for crafting such a nail-biting moment.

And bravo to Raelle Tucker, the episode's chief writer, for doing such clever work with the Fellowship segments. The crisscross of loyalty and deception gives emotional heft to the mounting danger for Sookie and Jason. Granted, I wish Sookie could save herself from getting raped, instead of needing some vampire man to rescue her, but I can let that go. Overall, I enjoy learning who cares for whom in the shadow of this church. Hugo's shifting loyalty to his vamp girlfriend, the Fellowship's shifting loyalty to Hugo, and Reverend Steve's wild mood swings are all good fun.

On that note, a friend and I have been debating whether True Blood respects its Fellowship characters. I think Sarah Newlin proves the writers want to do more than take potshots at conservatives. Her tortuous moral code lets her find holy love in her affair with Jason, so long as she confesses her indiscretions to her husband. To me, that reads as the effort of a very devout woman to somehow balance her faith with her human weakness. She's really trying to believe in something, which makes her more than a cheap joke.

Plus, who knows what her need to feel pure will make her do next? At the beginning of the episode, did any of us think Steve was going to tell her something that would make her shoot Jason in the chest?

And that's why Sarah's gunshot is our Sucker Punch of the Week. It's more than just the advancement of a plotline: It's a metaphor for a woman's desperate attempt to keep a grip on her faith. She's so confused that she can love a man in the morning and shoot him that night... all in an effort to get closer to God. If we find out next week that she plugged him with one of those Holy Water bullets that Steve's been showing off, then her gunshot will be even more operatic.

There's more I could talk about, of course, but I've got to get True Blood out of the bathroom. He's sulking about the stuff I said earlier, and if I don't calm him down, then I'll have to sleep on the porch.

For more, please join me at The Critical Condition.