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Mark Blankenship

Mark Blankenship

Posted: August 10, 2009 01:25 AM

True Blood Sucker Punch: Episode 8


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

Warning: This post contains spoilers.
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Iximng ti pu.

See what I did there? I took the phrase "mixing it up," and I mixed it up. That's because True Blood episode 2.8, "Timebomb," mixes up the meaning of two central metaphors. (I know, right? I'm so clever!)

In both cases, the allegories shift because they force us to reckon more fully with the hard facts of vampirism.

Take Jessica: She's been a consistent stand-in for teenage angst, discovering her new body and her new life while Bill stares on like an uncomfortable father. The scene where he catches her having sex with Hoyt only reinforces the dynamic.

But then Hoyt and Jessica have sex again. And Jessica discovers that her healing power regrows her hymen. Which means sex will always, always hurt.

Suddenly, Jessica is a woman who wants to make love, but whose body punishes her for it every time.

And sure, stories are always punishing women for expressing their desires -- think of all the Fatal Attractions you've seen -- but Jessica's eternal anguish kicks it up a notch. Now she's on track to represent women who are systemically repressed -- who are taught their sexuality is cursed by its very nature.

But who knows? Maybe she'll grin through the pain because her desires are just that important to her. Whatever the case, her self-healing flesh will deepen her impact on the show.

The other major wrinkle comes from Godric, who rolls between the Fellowshippers and the Texas vamps like a blissed-out grenade. Until now, vampires have often been a metaphor for oppressed minorities -- gays, religious types, etc. -- who are fighting for their rights, but as I mentioned in this video, that parallel has always been complicated by the fact that vampires, unlike any human minority group, are inherently vicious.

Godric's arrival critiques that viciousness. By refusing to harm those who attack him, punish those who betray him, or even feed on human blood, Godric offers an alternative possibility for vampire life. By striving to make peace with Reverend Steve, he demonstrates a compassion that Steve himself cannot return. And by chastising vampires who haven't evolved past brutish behavior, he chastises every undead character we've seen. (Even Bill has a violent impulse to protect Sookie.)

Does Godric's enlightened presence mean that vamps and humans should realize they're all just behaving like animals? We'll have to wait and see.

Of course, it's possible that Godric won't survive the suicide bomb that Luke detonates at the end of this episode, but if he dies, then the loss of a sane and peaceful voice will be resonant enough. If he does survive, then his reaction to an act of terrorism will speak loudly about reason's place in a war.

But that's all coming in the weeks ahead. For now, "Timebomb" gives us loads of over-the-top, sucker-punchy fun.

Like, there's the part where Reverend Steve says Jason is going to hell, and Jason says, "I reckon I've already been to heaven, and it was inside your wife."

Ohhhhhh, snap! Suck on that, preacher man!

And speaking of retorts, can I get an amen for the Sookie-Lorena throwdown? One of the reasons I love Sookie is that even though she's a sweet-natured heroine, she's also poor white trash. My girl always dresses in booty shorts, most likely wrote the word "Skynyrd" in silver magic marker on her fourth grade Trapper Keeper, and most definitely will not let some bloodsucking ho get up on her man. Vampire or no vampire, she will stick her gum on the side of her Miller can and get wild on a bitch, and if it weren't for Godric coming in and shaming Lorena for acting like a hussy, you know Sookie would still be pulling some hair.

And good for her. I'd much rather watch a heroine who is trashy and flawed and human. I don't drink Miller, but otherwise, I can relate.

And then there's Eric. When he pretends to be a yokel, just so he can fool the Fellowshippers? Awesome. When he smiles for joy to be around Godric again? Sweet. They aren't quite audacious enough to be Sucker Punches, but his scenes in this episode are great.

Ditto Lafayette's. He only has a few lines, but they revolve around Tarot cards and calling Tara a hooker. Thanks for the cameo, girl! I hope you get a talk show with Jackee!

Meanwhile, when it comes to true Sucker Punches, "Timebomb" leads us once again to Maryann's Wacky Shack. On this week's menu of crazy, Maryann cooks Daphne's heart. Tara and Eggs also get this close to figuring out what's happening to them, only to end up back under Maryann's spell, slapping each other into black-eyed lust before they freak on the living room floor.

But the biggest Sucker Punch comes when Maryann serves up a "hunter's souffle," made with brandy, diced vegetables, and a shape shifter's organs. When Tara slices into the entree, blood oozes all over the place, but is she freaked out? No! She shovels that mess with a serving spoon, and she only stops so that Eggs can scarf it, too. Their souffle orgy is such a perversion of the happy domestic meal that I feel gross just thinking about it, and that's exactly how a Sucker Punch should make me react.

Granted, the Maryann storyline doesn't advance much in this episode, but the blood feast ups her control over Tara and Eggs. That, plus Sam and Andy's increasing awareness of her power, implies something big is coming soon. Bring. It. On!

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