Monday, July 18, 2011

Searching For Signal: “True Blood” - Season 4, Episode 4

We start out right after Eric has made a snack out of Sookie’s fairy godmother. He smacks his lips, then falls flat on his face. Sookie is alarmed at first, then Eric raises his head, eyes all woozy, mouth all grinning. Apparently home boy is drunk on fairy liqueur. Sookie is not impressed. “You drank the whole fairy! You’re going to your room.!”

No, Eric declares, he is not. He’s schnockered and wants to get rowdy, as any decent person should want after knocking back some Tinkerbell tequila. First he tries to sample some Sookie, but instantly stops when she hollers at him. Then he decides that he wants to run free and wild like the gazelles before they get shot on The Nature Channel. Sookie ixnays that. “It’ll be dawn soon!” Eric doesn’t care, doing the vampire dash and zipping off into the forest.

Leaving another mess for Sookie to agonize over while not wearing a bra. Poor thing. Guess she won’t be taking one of her beloved showers any time soon.

Roll opening credits. Abusive police, snakes, and tiny children receiving Klan training.

Scene with Bill and Pam. Bill: I’m looking for Eric. Pam: No clue. Bill: It would be treason if you knew and didn’t tell, since I’m the sheriff and all. Pam: I wouldn’t take the chance. But since we’re chatting, I think you purposely sent Eric to that coven just so his mind would get jacked. Bill: None of your business, since I’m the sheriff and all. Pam: “You like the feel of that crown, don’t you?”

Jason wakes up on that nasty cot, and discovers one of the older Panther Women astraddle his manly bits, workin’ hard for the money. Jason is not pleased. “Get off of me!” Woman is devastated by the unexpected dismount, shedding tears, then hollers out “Next!”, indicating we apparently have a line of unwashed hillbillies queued up at the door.

Said door flies open, and Ugly Old Luther leans in to yell “Breed, Ghost Daddy, breed!” (a vision I never want to see again, ever) before sending in the next ticket holder, Little Becky, who looks to be maybe 12-years old. (Um, better not be going there, producer people.) Becky is defiant at first, whipping out a knife and promising “I’ll cut off your thing if you put up a fight!”. But Jason realizes this is her first time at the rodeo, and she’s only doing what she’s been told to do.

He’s very sweet. “This ain’t the way it should be.” Then he comforts her with visions of nice boys who buy presents before things get tawdry and messy. Then he gets real. “Cut me loose. I’m scared I’ll die here.” Becky: “So am I.” Then she uses the knife to slash the ropes that surely smell like week-old Jason by now.

Jason rushes out the door, wallops Nasty Luther (yay!), and heads for the hills.

Cut to Nan (she of the murky position with the Vampire League of America), still wearing that severe hairstyle and chewing out Bill for sending Eric to the coven. He whines that they are potentially powerful witches who can control the dead. Nan is not impressed. “They don’t make necromancers the way they used to!” She orders him to clean this mess up because she can’t go to The Authority. (Just who are they again?) She and her hair utter one final warning. “No dead humans!”

On this show? Has she been watching the episodes?

Next we have Marnie, tossing in her sleep and dreaming about a witch-burning back in the day. She’s in the scene, listening to two religiously-dressed men getting far to excited about the proper sequence of burning the body parts of a witch. Dream Marnie tries to stop the barbeque, hollering and such, but the program has already been printed and there ain’t no stoppin’ it now. Probably some type of union issue. Flames crackle.

We see that the witch on the menu is the same ghostly person who was wearing nite-nite clothes and sitting in a nearby chair while Marnie tried to slice-and-dice her wrist with a little too much exuberance in the last episode. Marnie, bad hairstyle blowing in the wind, communicates with the Rotisserie Woman in some guttural foreign language, exchanging words that are probably not recipes.

Alcide arrives at Sookie’s house, apparently responding to her phone call that she needed help finding Eric. This means that Alcide needs to do that nifty thing where he turns into a wolf, but it also means that he has to do the irritating thing they do on this show where people start to drop their pants in the midst of shifting but before we get to see the crotch goods. In this particular instance, Alcide torments the viewing audience by fiddling with his unzipped jeans for a very long time before he finally races off, wolf-form, the scent of Eric in his nostrils courtesy of Eric’s blanket that Sookie shoved in his face while Alcide played with his zipper.

Maxine shows up at Merlotte’s and stomps toward Sam, all in a huff and demanding to know what he has done with “her boy”. Sam plays ignorant at first, babbling about Hoyt (Maxine’s real son) when she’s really talking about Tommy (Maxine’s surrogate son after Hoyt discovered a certain thing called free will). Sam finally tells Maxine that Tommy’s a big boy and he’ll be fine. Maxine: You better not be messin’ with me, because “I’m a lioness!”

That’s not the word I would use, Maxine.

Cut to the Panther People camp grounds, where Felton walks inbredly up to Little Becky, all hot for her now that she’s done grated the cheese with Jason. When she tries to avoid his advances, he gets a good look at her and somehow is able to discern that she ain’t bumped nothin’. He starts a shoutin’ and he and Crystal rush into Jason’s former suite and find Nasty Luther tied up in Jason’s place. Time for Plan B. Dirty folk start turning into Panthers left and right.

Next we have Marnie, with Jesus, Lafayette and Tara trying to convince her that she needs to reverse the spell she put on Eric. Marnie: It wasn’t me, it was her, I just don’t know who she is. Laff: Get her on the Goddess Line. Otherwise, we all gonna be very unhappy and dead. Marnie tries contacting her little spiritual friend, but nothing happens. Tara remains unsatisfied with her decision to leave New Orleans and come back to this dump.

Now we have Alcide (wolf form) and Sookie (perky-ponytail form) wandering through the woods, with Sookie babbling away about nothing. Just to shut her up, Alcide manages to find Eric, who is currently swimming naked in a convenient pond. And Eric is doing so in full daylight. Oh? Alcide transitions back, which causes Eric to instinctively go on alert (werewolf!), and they begin to bicker and snarl, both of them naked and dripping wet, with Sookie enjoying the view.

Sadly, the sun finally starts to burn Eric, so Sookie and Alcide have to cover him up in the blanket that Sookie has been dragging along, and the three of them head back to Sookie’s house, because nothing bad ever happens there.

Cue Jason running through the woods, with panther cries filling the air. He takes off his shirt and throws it far in one direction, grabs a stick, rubs dirt all over himself to disguise the smell, and then heads in the opposite direction of the shirt-throwing. Which means that Jason has somehow grown smarter in the last few days. Interesting. Making a note in my journal that perhaps stupid people should be tied to cots more often.

Tommy comes wandering up to some crappy trailer in the middle of nowhere, hollering for his momma, Melinda (who is also Sam’s mom). She comes running up lugging pails of water, because indoor-plumbing is apparently not one of the offerings at this fine establishment. It seems that Melinda tracked Tommy down and called him, so’s he’d stop by and sit a spell.

And she’s got great news! She done ditched Joe Lee, her trashy beau that walked around in underwear at inappropriate times and made Melinda participate in dogfights. Hurray! Tommy has terrific news himself. He can read! Oh, and Sam shot me in the leg. He never cared about me.

Speaking of, Sam arrives at Luna’s house. He’s being spontaneous and all with the dropping by, just like she’s been encouraging him to do. Except she’s acting all jittery, looking about and such and proclaiming that “now’s not a good time”. Cue a little urchin to run to the door. “Mommy!” Can your friend come in and play Barbies with us? Please? Because I’m a demonstrative child and demand satisfaction. Luna reluctantly invites Sam in, glancing up and down the street as she does so.

Something is a bit wrong about this development. We’ll see.

Another scene with Jason running and panthers crying. We learn nothing new.

Eric and Sookie are in his cubby at Sookie’s house. She’s telling him he needs to get to bed, if he stays awake he’ll bleed all over the place and she’s not in the mood to clean the mess up. (What is that all about, the bleeding if a vamp stays awake? Did I miss a memo?) Eric wants her to stay with him. Sookie declines. The lighting down here just doesn’t accent my golden locks in the manner I see fit.

She climbs back upstairs, where Alcide has been listening to the entire conversation, because when you have a secret life as a wolf, you need to be aware of what people are talking about. He tells Sookie that it’s nuts that Eric is here, totally dangerous. Sookie counters with the fact that Eric is hooked up again with Nasty Debbie, the skank who has poor people skills and tried to kill Sookie. Game even.

Eric hears all of this in his cubby, his ears cocked in the boyishly-charming manner he has had since Marnie and the Minions did the redecorating with his mind. (To be honest, a bit of me really misses the former Eric. Something about that Nordic dominance thing, sayin’.)

Above ground, Sookie and Alcide hug it out, bordering on the line of sudden French-kissing but not quite getting there. Sookie: “Friends?” Alcide: “Keep in touch.” (He SO wants her.)

Cut to Jason in a tree, carving that stick into a stake. One of the Panther People pads up, and Jason leaps on it, jamming the stake in an I-mean-business way. The panther transitions to a dying Felton (the crowd roars), then another panther moseys up and becomes a breast-swinging Crystal. She kicks the corpse of Felton and utters “I’m the Big Momma Kitty now!” We can be together!

Oh my.

But Jason is having none of their former relationship. “We ain’t nothin’ but a disaster!” I hope to never see you again. Crystal is not perturbed, convinced he will be wantin’ some panther lovin’ soon. “I’ll be waitin!” Next full moon!

Next up is Bill and Portia, with Bill about to meet Portia’s grandmamma, Caroline. (What’s up with that? I thought their relationship was purely physical. People just lie in this town all the time.) But then I’m no longer troubled when we see that Grandmama Caroline is being played by Katherine Helmond. All is forgiven, love her.

As Caroline takes a seat, Sheriff Andy comes tromping down the stairs and tries to head out for the night. (He lives with his grandmother? Explains a lot.) Grandmama Bellefleur is not putting up with that, ordering Andy to sit and visit. Then she proceeds to berate him, in a manner that indicates the berating is a family tradition when it comes to Andy. Surprisingly, Bill defends Andy, with Andy being an officer of the law and all. What’s his angle?

Back over to Luna’s house, where Little Emma is being rambunctious but finally forced to go brush her teeth. Luna and Sam chat about raising “shifter kids”, and we learn that Emma’s daddy was a werewolf. Luna has to be careful because Baby Daddy watches her all the time, he’s extremely jealous. Sam assures her that he ain’t skerred. But we all know that within two episodes something unsatisfactory is going to develop and people will have to run from things very fast.

Cut to the Moon Goddess Emporium, which now looks amazingly like The Magic Shop in the “Buffy” series, with Marnie flipping through ancient texts, finding nothing helpful, and Laff, Tara and Jesus standing around and being unimpressed. Jesus convinces Marnie that she just needs to try harder with the mind-meld thing. Marnie scrunches her face and utters incantations. Lo and behold, a book falls off a shelf, splaying open right at a spell to erase the erasing of memory. See? Listen to Jesus.

Alcide arrives home, and he is greeted by Debbie, and they sit on the couch and make nice. Things get a bit awkward when she sniffs his shirt and is able to tell that he “shifted” today (you can ascertain this by sniffing?), and he has to spill that he helped Sookie find a vampire. But Debbie is fine with that. “I’m not mad. You’re a good man. I ain’t worried about no Sookie.”

Something tells me she actually is. In an I’ll-kill-me-a-bitch sort of way.

Back over to Grandmama Caroline Bellefleur’s house, where she is babbling to Bill about the genealogy of her family. Apparently this is something she does far too often, because Andy gets fed up and leaves, which is fine, don’t care. Then Caroline has a senior moment and forgets a branch in the family tree, so she says to Portia “Get the family bible. And a little whiskey.”

Love her.

Bill offers to read the faded penmanship in the bible, which Caroline happily agrees to since she can’t see it anyway and there’s an alcoholic beverage to be consumed. Bill proceeds with the family linkage, and is startled to discover that one of those links is a certain “Elizabeth Harris”. Both Caroline and Bill react to this news as if they’ve just received unexpected enemas. Caroline: “You cannot do this.” Bill: “Forgive me. I didn’t know.” Then Caroline races upstairs to bed, her whiskey shockingly unfinished.

Bill tries to scurry forth out of the house (“I must go. We cannot see each other.”), but Portia is not so complacent about the matter. “I will not let this go.” Bill pauses dramatically, then pronounces “You are my great-great-great-granddaughter!”

So? This is Bon Temps. Ain’t nobody up in this grill that ain’t done nothin’ a wee bit twisted. Just settle down.

Zip over to Terry holding that little Damien Baby that Arlene shot out, despite attempts to stop such by drinking nasty concoctions in a chalk circle. Terry is talking about what a lovely family the baby has, pointing out the family members snoozing on the living room couch. Then Terry stupidly sets the baby down in his play area, all alone, and goes off to figure out why the dryer is buzzing. (Um, maybe the clothes are dry?)

When Terry returns, he discovers that apparently the demon child has snatched up a crayon and scribbled “Baby Not Yours!” on the wall. Well, then. That’s a bit unsettling. Of course, Arlene chooses this exact moment to terminate her slumber session on the couch, review the proffered graffiti, and begin screaming.

Sookie and Eric, once again in his cubby. Sookie: “You’re too quiet,” (What’s wrong with quiet? Quiet is good.) Eric: “I’m just being me.” Discussion ensues wherein Sookie points out that Eric is not acting like, well, the other Eric. Eric: “You want the Eric that doesn’t feel. Kiss me.” Sookie actually looks like she’s about to do so, when Eric mucks it up with a sudden vampiric realization. “There’s someone at your door.” Sookie, because by now she knows to always have a plan if the doorbell should ring, tells Eric to stay put.

It’s Bill.

Sookie: Whaddya want? Bill: Eric. Sookie: He gone. I thought you’d come through for me and took care of it. Bill: The one place he owns we didn’t search was here. Sookie: Well, my house is all clean and all, don’t need dirty people touching things. Bill: Sookie, I gotta do this. Sookie: When have I ever lied to you?

Um, right about now, that’s when.

Bill shoves the door open, with Sookie and her form-fitting top being shoved to the side, then Bill pauses. “You’re right.” You’ve never lied to me. Then he leaves.


Jason, still running from the panthers even though you’d think Crystal Meth would have pulled back on the hunting down of her one true medicated love, stumbles along the side of a road, wretches up something in a graphic fashion, and then collapses on the ground with his head sticking out into the pavement of the roadway. (Dude, really?) A beat-up truck comes tooling along, because they always do in Louisiana, and it just happens to be Jessica and Hoyt, driving home from their latest misunderstanding of one another.

They screech to a halt, hop out of the pickup, realize they know the person lying in the road (which shouldn’t be surprising, since it’s Bon Temps, with its population of 25) and proceed to aid Jason in his dilemma. Which means that Jessica rips open a wrist and proffers her dripping arm to Ghost Daddy.

Tommy and mom Melinda again, with Tommy boasting about how he can read actual words now. Melinda is overjoyed. “I’m fixin’ to bust I’m so proud.” (Really? Did you even try to put that child in school? Hello?) Tommy then moves on to how wretched of a human being Joe Lee was, forcing his wife to be in dogfights and such, even when she was way too old for canine shenanigans. Hell, in dog years, she must be older than Noah.

Lo and behold, but not really surprisingly, here comes Joe Lee hisself, stomping up and throwing a wicked chain around Tommy. You mine now, bitch. (Melinda: “Honey, we missed you!” This is so Jerry Springer material.) Joe Lee: You will learn obedience. This is your last free breath. Then Joe Lee and his unchanged underwear drag Tommy off somewhere.

Sort of thinking that Tommy getting shot by Sam was the least of his problems.

Final scene with Marnie, Laff, Jesus, Tara and Pam standing around in a field at night. (They couldn’t meet at Starbucks?) Pam is being super bitchy, despite Tara holding a gun on her, which is not surprising. Laff tries to get Pam to understand that she needs to hold off on the attitude. Pam refuses to understand anything, other than she wants these people to fix the issue with Eric pronto.

Marnie starts in with some more of the creepy mumbling and summoning of the spirits. Pam gives this about two seconds and then goes postal. “This is BS!” And then she spits out that Marnie is retarded. (Oh, girl, you shouldn’t do that, I don’t care what TV show you star in.) But the remark apparently jump starts Marnie, who vogues into that foreign-speaking whatever that knows all the nifty spells. Marnie directs her flow of unintelligible invective at Pam.

Pam’s face begins to rot. Stupidly, Pam starts fingering at the abscesses on her face, and is soon pulling away layers of skin, an action that probably excites people who revel in such things, but does nothing for me except force me to rethink eating at a Chinese buffet.

Marnie to Pam: “Corrupt, unsanctified corpse that walks!”

(I am SO stealing that for my next conference call at work.)

Pam, half her face gone, realizes that it’s time for another course of action. She vampire-zips off into the woods.

Marnie (or whoever she is channeling) breaks into peals of laughter. Then she collapses to the ground, show over. Jesus rushes to tend to her, while Laff and Tara stand there despondently, reflecting back on simpler, by-gone days, when all they had to worry about was Tara’s mom’s raging alcoholism and whether or not Laff could find enough accessories for his latest outfit.

Roll end credits.

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