In this week's True Blood episode, "Me and the Devil", it didn't have that usually shock and awe humour this Sunday night series is normally known for. Rather it seemed like it was more of a bridging episode, with strong religious over tones, than a regular standalone episode. "Me and the Devil" had its moments yet was holding back more some reason.
The episode opens with Tommy in an impossible situation fighting for his life against his parents. After the last vampire/witch encounter between Marnie and Pam Bill has the necromancer collected and contained. Jason seems to back to normal quicker than expected. Sookie's growing affection for Eric both scares off Tara and starts a possible romantic relationship. Jesus' family animal slaughtering backstory looks like the next disturbing thing True Blood will dive into to make the viewers at home squirm. Then finally a small glimpse into the ancient vampire/witch feud is given; again through Marnie's eyes.
Right off the start the show amps up the violence from Joe Lee and Melinda against their own son, Tommy, making it easier for him, as well as the audience, to be able to justify killing them when he got his chance. When it comes to Tommy getting Sam to help him dispose of their parents' bodies in the swamp that darker side of Sam comes out again when he justifies his brothers actions for him without showing any remorse. This new Sam has found a way of controlling that darker of his two different sides just like flicking a switch. But then again there is a whole lot of season left so things could get much darker.
Speaking of getting darker, even if Marnie's involvement so far this season has been innocent in her eyes she seems to be getting drunk with power after each time she is possessed by that ancient witch. Marnie is willingly letting this powerful witch use her as a conduit and at the same time is also being shown graphic memories from the 1600's vampire on witch attacks to help sway her away from her peaceful palm reading and become more violent. I like this new dynamic of Bill using his own vampire detainment center as a nonlethal alternative after Nan's 'do not kill' warning last episode. Yet I can see this backfiring quickly because caging and cornering someone that powerful because its only a matter of time before things get out of hand. As for Bill's other endeavours this episode I'm still perplexed why exactly the show decided to have him and Portia 'get it on' only to find out that they share a bloodline the very next episode. Thankfully here in "Me and the Devil" Bill does clean up this incestuous mess in a humorous fashion by him glamouring her into freak out when she sees him from now on. This will only make for some funny moments in episodes to come. But what still gets me is why did they even decided to include this twisted Compton family tree story arc in the first place?
Jason must have some important things happening in his storyline coming up soon because from last episode to this one they seemed to fast track his recovery. It's not the physical recovery I have a problem with, because Jessica did give him some of her blood to heal him. It's his mental recovery I thought was way too quick. I know this is just TV but don't care how mentally tough someone is after being raped by over a dozen different people in one night. You would think hanging out at the local bar & grill the very next day would be one of the last thing on your 'to do' list.
Finally I did like that True Blood had some discussion in this episode on vampire's history within the rest of human society going back hundreds of years. That kind of stuff I always find interesting in any vampire medium. With their unique restriction to sunlight placing vampires within areas like businesses, religious groups, and other large human institutions is intriguing if it is done properly. Even if this newly discussed knowledge into the series' backstory was only touched on for faction of the episode it was still more interesting to me than, this now seemingly inevitable, blooming romance between Sookie's new vampire roommate Eric. I'm not saying a love triangle between Sookie, Eric, and the possibly/likely Bill Compton won't get interesting, because it will. It just wasn't for this particular episode. I will say the few moments Sookie and this newer version of Eric had together came off as genuine and touching because of Paquin and Skarsgard's performances. Skarsgard's fake blood tears didn't hurt either.
For True Blood's quote of the episode I gladly turn to Nelsan Ellis' unique slang talkin' Lafayette Reynolds. This character not only has some of the best lines in the show but you almost need a PVR just so you can go back and listen to what he said again. Here is Lafayette's newest quick witted angry rant directed at Marnie:
"Look, this kind of dog ate my homework excuse it don't work really flop with vampires because they sniff that sh** then they eat you. Like f**king potpie."
Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.