True Blood 3.04 “9 Crimes” Review

July 12, 2010 by  

After waiting two long weeks for our next fix, True Blood returned with plenty of good stuff to make the wait worthwhile. Several characters took quite a beating in “9 Crimes,” whether it was a physical one (Lafayette, Pam, Tara), or emotional (Sookie, Bill, Eric, Alcide). As plans continue to unfold, it’s hard to see how all of this could turn out well for anybody. I keep wondering who’s going to save them from their problems, when everybody else’s situations are just as screwed up.

Sookie is tending to Alcide’s wound from the fight at Lou Pine’s when she gets a phone call from Bill. His cold manner is jarring. He immediately admits that he just had sex with Lorena. “We were doomed from the start,” he tells Sookie. “You are no longer of concern to me. Do not try to find me. I do not wish to be found.” As soon as he hangs up the phone, however, his eyes betray him.

Having seen everything leading up to this, and the threats to Sookie’s life from werewolves, Russell, and Lorena, it’s quite obvious that Bill is purposefully trying to hurt her feelings so that she won’t want to be with him anymore. Something also seems to have snapped inside Bill. Trying to be a vampire with humanity may have brought him love, but it has also tormented him. Lorena thinks they have shared something special, but Bill puts that notion aside: “Any passion you felt was me killing my love for Sookie. It had nothing to do with you.” When she still doesn’t believe him, he just hits her, sending her out of the room and slamming the door in her face.

Sookie doesn’t know what Bill has gone through (except what she has seen in the minds of the werewolves who captured him), but she knows that the man who just said those things to her on the phone is different from the the one she fell in love with. Alcide, still heartbroken himself, is not so good at comforting Sookie in her time of distress: “No matter how well you think you know somebody, they can still turn around and kick you right in the nut sack.” Her tears get to him, though, and they share a cute moment together when he puts his arm around her: “Oh my God, you’re so warm.” “Sorry.” “No, it’s ok, I’m just not used to it.” “It’s a were thing. We run hot.” “I thought maybe you were coming down with the flu.” Alcide sleeps beside Sookie while she cries through the night, amassing a pile of used tissues.

Meanwhile, another vampire is in tune with Sookie’s emotions and finds himself thinking of her. Eric sits at Fangtasia watching Yvetta dance, but he fantasizes about Sookie finally wanting him the way he wants her–although I can’t imagine her ever saying, “I’ve got skills you can’t even dream of, cowboy.”

The next morning, Sookie is still resolved to find Bill, much to Alcide’s chagrin. “I’m not a doormat!” she insists. “I think he’s in trouble. Maybe I’m wrong, but if he can look me in the eye and tell me it’s over, then I’ll leave him here to rot.” She thinks she can find more information if they go back to the were bar for Debbie’s engagement party with Coot and his gang. She calls on Alcide’s sister, Janice (who works at the beauty salon Debbie goes to) to help her blend in.

Meanwhile, Merlotte’s has some drama of its own going on. Arlene is cranky, complaining about having too much work to do. Sam, keeping his promise to Sookie, hires Jessica as a hostess to keep her out of trouble. Then Arlene gets mad because she doesn’t want another redhead around to attract attention and split her tips. Jessica seems pleased to have something to do with her time, but she runs into a problem when a sweet boy she used to know from Bible study recognizes her. She glamours him to forget that he ever saw her (which Hoyt overhears and makes him have sad puppy eyes).

Jason looks on at Bud’s retirement party and sees Andy getting promoted to sheriff. On the other side of the bar, the current Bon Temps High School quarterback (expected to soon break Jason’s passing record) is messing around with his friends. Jason goes over and tries to share some wisdom: “10 years from now, there’s gonna be a version of you, 10 years younger, doing the same thing to you. And then who’re you gonna be?” Thinking about where he used to be, and where he’s ended up, Jason is still convinced that his life would mean something if he were a cop. He even blackmails Andy into making it happen: “I’m not doing them fake ride-alongs and filling out forms. I’m thinking there’s gotta be an easier way.” When Andy says he can’t break the rules, Jason uses his leverage with the Eggs situation, no matter what the consequences would be if people were to find out what they did: “There any rules about taking tv interviews and promotions for not shooting a killer dead, when I’m the one that’s gotta live with doing it?”

Poor Tara. Franklin forces his way into her house, tries to use her to get to Sookie, bites her, and is now holding her hostage. He might be genuinely insane, laughing about fruit and strapping a bouquet of flowers to her hands like it’s some sweet gesture. Tied up in the car taking her somewhere for a “surprise,” he explains, “My job supports my financial needs. My emotional ones…there’s so much I want to tell you. I’ve been so lonely, but now you’re mine, all that’s changed.” Their destination: Russell’s mansion.

With Bill in his service now, Russell wants to find out what Queen Sophie-Anne is up to. Bill worked for her as a “procurer” for 35 years. He sticks to his story that he was in Bon Temps by choice, “on sabbatical,” he says. The King knows he’s still hiding something about Sookie, but Bill reveals other useful information–he figured out that the Queen has been using Eric Northman to sell V in his area because of her money troubles with the IRS. Russell is pleased by the news: “Tug on the purse strings, you’ll find the lady’s heart.”

Sam thought he wanted to find his family, but now he can’t seem to get rid of them. Joe Lee and Melinda are camping out in their van in his parking lot, and Tommy has gone missing after trying to break into his safe. Sam feels for his brother, and when he finds him, he offers to let him stick around, but Tommy won’t leave his parents: “I ditch them tomorrow, they end up the gutter by the end of next week. You think I can live with that? I won’t be rid of these people until the day they die.” Sam decides to share the burden with Tommy, so gives the Mickens a place to stay until they can get on their feet, as long as they quit drinking. Oh, Sam, if only it could be that simple!

Lafayette has become attached to his fancy new car from Eric, so he sets off to sell the V. He meets with Calvin Norris in Hot Shot, but he doesn’t accept the offer. Lafayette is getting beat on by Calvin and his “brother-cousins” when Eric drops in from the sky to help change their minds. Lafayette and Eric are driving along talking business when Pam calls—the Magister is raiding Fangtasia looking for the V. The Queen set them up. Eric flies to her straight away, and finds the Magister burning her with the silver tip of his cane. Instead of turning in the Queen, Pam and Eric throw the blame on Bill. Eric asks for the opportunity to find the missing Bill and bring evidence of his blood betrayal. The Magister gives him two days, or he will use Pam to punish Eric: “They say the loss of a child is the deepest of despair.”

A few stick-on tattoos, lots of leather, and one black wig later, Sookie is ready for Lou Pine’s. Alcide reluctantly agrees to go, too, so that he can try to step his ex-girlfriend from being initiated into the vicious, V-addicted pack. Sookie is drinking shots with the same were who attacked her the previous night, when Debbie Pelt makes her charming introduction: “Who the fuck are you?!”

Russell takes Bill and Lorena out for a drink. Their limo pulls up to a strip club, and as if to make Bill prove his loyalty, the King sends him out on the hunt. Bill looks around at the various women and chooses the one with the sadness in her eyes to match his. As she says later when she’s dancing for him: “No point anyway. Loving anyone, anything. Feels good at first but always turns to crap. I know the truth about life. It’s a hell I’ll never get out of alive.” “No one does,” Bill replies.

Back at Lou Pine’s, Alcide tries to beg Debbie not to join up with this crew or other werewolves will never accept her. “I don’t need your pussy pack!” she screams. Then Russell arrives and the party begins. What follows is a creepy communion of sorts, with Russell biting into his own wrist and letting the blood pour into shot glasses. Passed around on trays, the weres take it and drink before branding Debbie with their mark. Then Coot shifts into his wolf form and starts howling. The energy in the room seems to take over, with everyone changing, even Alcide who can’t control it. His eyes turn orange and he yells at Sookie to run away. She gasps with fear, and elsewhere in Jackson, Bill senses her. He gets that familiar look of pain that Sookie is in danger, but he can’t go to her. He and the stripper climb into the limo, and Russell, Lorena, and Bill all start draining her. She was right about life, but sooner than she realized.

How did this new episode of True Blood measure up to the last three episodes?

(Photo credit: HBO, Inc.)