True Blood 3.07 “Hitting the Ground” Review

August 2, 2010 by  

When we look back on “Hitting the Ground,” it will surely be viewed as a defining episode of True Blood. For better or for worse, every character is set on the path that will take them running towards another jaw-dropping, mind-blowing, heart-breaking season finale.

Lorena made a meal out of Sookie, and it’s a good thing for her it was so delicious because it was the last blood she would ever taste. Bill musters the strength to wrap a silver chain around Lorena’s neck and pull her to the ground, calling for Sookie to stake her. With her last breath (figuratively), she says, “William, I love you.” As impressed as I was by Mariana Klaveno’s performance last week, it was time for that awful woman to die.

When Tara and Alcide try to pull Sookie away from Bill, she refuses to leave without him. If he were dead, she says, he’d look like the bloody mess on the floor. Just as they are wrapping Bill up in a blanket and preparing to carry him to Alcide’s truck, in walks Debbie pointing a gun at them. Alcide takes a soft approach with her, calling her “Sweetheart” and reminding her of how much they used to love each other. Sookie is a little more abrupt, getting Debbie fired up: “You sure picked a dumbass time to call me ‘bitch,’ bitch!”

Tara is still in fighting mode after her daring escape from Franklin and tackles Debbie. Alcide holds the gun now and, even though he doesn’t seem like a very violent werewolf, he doesn’t hesitate to kill Coot when he tries to attack. Debbie promises that she will hunt him down, but Alcide can’t bring himself to kill her (and past feelings aside, I wonder if he’s going to regret that decision later).

They have to make a quick getaway when they hear the other werewolves approaching. Sookie rides in the back with Bill and tries to revive him. She slices her arm with a handsaw and lets the blood pour into his mouth. His strength returns as he starts to drink, but Sookie‘s relief turns to fear when he pins her down and bites into her neck, ignoring her struggle as he feeds on her.

When Tara comes back to check on her, she’s unconscious from losing so much blood. Bill doesn’t remember what he’s done, but Tara is furious–she kicks him out into the sunlight, and Alcide drives them off to the hospital. For some very strange reason, Bill doesn’t seem to be burning in the sun right away. He’s concerned for Sookie‘s well-being, but when his skin starts smoking, he mutters, “Damn,” and then runs away to find cover.

Over in New Orleans, Sophie-Anne has been reduced to a captive in her own home, imprisoned like a bird in a cage (in which she has no doubt held many people before). Eric uses the Queen’s human, Hadley, as leverage to learn what is so special about Sookie. Sophie-Anne seems willing to let this happen rather than give up her secret, but Hadley doesn’t want to die. She whispers to Eric what he wants to know: “Well I certainly wasn’t expecting that.”

Jason is surprised to find himself wallowing over Crystal: “It’s funny, I never really thought I was smart enough to get depressed, but here I am.” He doesn’t understand why she lives with that jerk in Hot Shot, or why he feels like he already loves her even though he barely knows her. Hoyt suggests that he go down to the jail and talk to that drug dealer he tackled. The guy is pacing his cell angrily, going through painful withdrawal, and he will only talk about Crystal if Jason brings him some crystal meth.

Sam discovers the dogfighting ring where Tommy is being made to fight. He infiltrates the operation as a pit bull, sets off an alarm, and frees all the dogs locked up. Tommy is bleeding from a bite on his neck, and Melinda at least has the slight decency to seem upset about putting her son through this. Joe Lee, however, is nothing but a piece of trash. Sam is not afraid to stand up to him: “You like makin’ people scared, huh? Think you’re good at it? For the life of me, I can’t understand the power you got over these people ’cause I see you for what you are. You’re just a scared man in saggy underpants with no discernible life skills whatsoever.” Sam promises his brother a better life, and Tommy is finally ready to leave his parents (although that’s certainly not the end of this story…).

At the hospital, the doctors and nurses are trying to give Sookie a blood transfusion and are shocked to learn that she doesn’t have a blood type. Her body convulses when they try to give her O negative, the universal donor. They don’t know what else to do–she’s in a coma, and they inform Tara that she should start notifying next of kin. Jason has gone to Merlotte’s in a panic to see the only dealer he knows: Lafayette, who thinks he wants to buy more V: “Oh, no, I told you–that shit’s behind me. I just need some meth.” Then Jason gets a phone call from Tara that he needs to come to the hospital.

Tara and Jason stand at Sookie‘s bedside crying and holding her hand, telling her how much they need her, unaware that her mind is in another place at the moment. Dressed in a sparkling white gown, she follows a trail of flower petals outside to a garden where people are dancing. There she meets Claudine, who gives her a drink from a pond, and the water is full of light. In Sookie‘s hospital room, Lafayette is reciting a verse that is more appropriate than he can know: “I think over again my small adventures, my fears…and yet there is only one great thing, the only thing…To live to see the great day that dawns, and the light that fills the world.”

Claudine invites Sookie to come with them to their home beneath the pond. She hears in Sookie‘s thoughts that she is afraid of swimming because her parents drowned, and Sookie hears in Claudine‘s that it was not the water that killed her parents but something else. Before she can explain further, a shadow is cast overhead: “The dark approaches…” It’s night, and Bill has come the hospital to save Sookie. Tara doesn’t want any of his help, but it’s Jason’s choice. He agrees, so Bill opens his wrist and gives her an IV of his blood. This has always seemed like a more heroic, romantic gesture when Bill has done this for Sookie before, but it feels almost sinister when interposed with Claudine‘s warnings to Sookie about not letting Bill “steal her light.” And watching his dark blood travel up the tube into Sookie, I knew that it would heal her body, but it also seemed like it might be suppressing the special light water she drank. When Claudine and the others had disappeared into the pond, the camera panned back and showed that the dream-like garden was in Bon Temps Cemetery. It’s a sweet sight to see in Sookie’s hospital room: Jason, Tara, Alcide, and Lafayette are all sleeping in chairs next to her bed. Bill is awake, though, when Sookie stirs from her coma. He smiles down at her, but when she sees him, she starts screaming. Things are definitely going to be changing…

The Magister still has Pam chained with silver in the basement at Fangtasia. In spite of her pain, Pam remains brave and as snarky as ever. Eric comes down to stop him, followed by Sophie-Anne, and then Russell. The Magister tries to exercise his power, vested in him by “The Authority,” but Russell just laughs at him: “Who are The Authority? What gave them the authority? Nothing. No one. They took it, as I am taking it today.” For the first time, the Magister looks nervous, but he is stubborn about his duty to uphold the sacred laws for this unknown entity ruling over vampire society (perhaps the American Vampire League?) Within a second, the King has released Pam from the chains into Eric‘s arms, and placed the Magister on the table: “It’s vampires like you who’ve been holding the rest of us back for centuries.”

Russell stabs the Magister with his own cane until, as the sharp wooden end is poised over his heart, he obeys Russell‘s wish and pronounces him and Sophie-Anne married. The King then gets carried away talking about the only real law: “The law of nature! The survival of the fittest! And we need to take this world back from humans, not placate them with billboards and PR campaigns, while they destroy it. That is not authority! That is abdicating authority!” He sends the Magister to his “true death” and cuts off his head. Eric, Sophie-Anne, and Pam watch in shock as the head flies through the air and explodes when it hits the ground. What a way to end it…

There was so much happening in this episode I can hardly believe it. The most significant development: it looks like Sookie is finally going to begin her journey of self-discovery. Readers of the book series have been expecting the “fairy” reveal for a while now, and since it’s finally introduced into the show, we can begin the lengthy discussions on what those first scenes might mean (because we all know that Alan Ball will put his own unique twist on things). Based on people’s reactions in the comments section in the past few weeks, I think this will make viewers very happy. It’s a shame that it took Bill almost draining Sookie to death to open her eyes to the truth about herself, but nothing will ever be the same for her. Now that she knows the origin of her powers, she can start learning how to use them with confidence instead of just as an accidental defense mechanism. I expect that this will make her smarter, stronger, and just more capable in general now that she has been “enlightened” (literally and figuratively).

(Photo credit: HBO Inc.)