Sunday, August 8, 2010

True Blood episode recap “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’” (S2E12)

Y’all, I have some issues with this episode, which I think is much weaker fare than we’ve been getting all season. Issues at the bottom.

After Sookie stops screaming, Zombie Lafayette tells her to strip. He hands her a white dress and tells her to put it on. When he brings her downstairs, Maryann is dressed in Gran’s wedding dress and being attended to by all her little zombie flunkies, including Tara, Arlene and Eggs. While Sookie sputters angrily at the sight, Maryann coos that she’s going to be her maid of honor.

Sookie has lost none of her gumption, thank goodness. She spits that she doesn’t know how Maryann did this, but she will not let her get away with it. Maryann sends away the zombie bridesmaids – including Lafayette, now in his own fabulous white dress and scarf – and dares Sookie to hit her with her best electric zap. Sookie gives it her best shot but nope, nothing doing. Maryann steps closer, scrunching her nose: “Come on, Sookie, you’re not exactly human - what are you?” Sookie: “A waitress. What the fuck are you?” Honey, we’ve already covered that. Try to keep up.

Ugh. The Fortenberry show. Maxine want to go to the party; Hoyt won’t let her. Moving on.

When we returns to Maryann and Sookie, Maryann is getting crazier and crazier, and more and more foolish, moaning about her “husband” the “god” and how happy they’ll be together at last. There’s quite a bit of exposition but basically Sookie is there as bait because once Sam knows where she is, he will come running to help her. Then Maryann can sacrifice him as the perfect vessel.

At the Queen’s, Eric has been roped into playing Yahtzee (they apparently play to 5 million). Blah blah blah … and then the Queen wants to know how Bill knows that she’s having Eric sell vampire blood for her. Oops. When Eric says that there’s no way Bill knows the Queen’s behind it, her fangs pop out and she knocks him to the floor, threatening him within an inch of his unlife. He promises to take care of Bill personally.

Jason Stackhouse quote of the day, as he and Andy, fully locked and loaded, head to Maryann’s wedding: “‘Say hello to my little friend!’ ‘Hasta la vista, baby!’ I love the smell of nail polish in the morning!” Nice. They enter the melee. It doesn’t take long for them to go down under a pigpile of zombies – without killing anybody, by the way – and coming back up with their own black zombie eyes. They seem to take to it quite well – “Fuck yeah!” shouts Jason joyfully before grabbing a fat old lady and shoving his tongue down her throat – probably because anger (Andy) and sex (Jason) are so integral to their personalities. Not much of a rescue op, tho’.

Over at Merlotte’s, Bill tells Sam that the maenad is here because of Sam (Sam: I know) and so he, and Sookie, needs him to make it right. Sam doesn’t think that giving himself up is going to do anything really but Bill’s all, I’m not so much giving you a choice here.

Oh good christ: they’re actually playing the damn Wedding March as Maryann comes out of the house. Andy carries her train. Bill is there, holding Sam by the scruff of his neck, and he trades Sam for Sookie – who is furious, screaming, “Maryann will kill Sam, you can’t let her kill him!” As the zombies tie Sam to that wicker and meat statue, and go through all sorts of Dionysus-raising rituals, Bill growls in Sookie’s ear that she needs to trust him, and use her gift.

Eggs walks up and plunges a huge knife into Sam’s chest. Sookie screams and falls to her knees. Then she hears Sam call to her, in her head: “Destroy it, all of it.” And she starts to rampage, tipping over the wicker and meat statue and screaming that none of this is sacred. The zombies all scream and wail. Bill slips away in the confusion. It’s not clear what happens to Sam.

Maryann, however, is furious. First she works some mojo that makes all her zombies squeal in pain, then she plunges her hands into the dirt and coming up with her giant claws. She points at Sookie and uses her god-voice: “You brought this on everyone.” Sookie runs, Maryann chases and catches and is about to swipe Sookie’s head off her shoulders … when the most gorgeous white Brahma bull walks up to her out of the darkness. I mean, this animal is beautiful.

Maryann trembles and cries, “My love! Come to me!” The bull walks up to her and lets her pat his nose. And then he shoves his big ol’ horn right through her chest (NOT a euphemism). He gores her, repeatedly, and then the horn transforms into an arm and the bull transforms into Sam. He pulls his hand out of her chest, holding her black-bloody heart. Maryann looks at him, sad and confused: “Was there no god?” Sam crushes her heart in his fist and the maenad falls, dead.

It turns out that while everyone was wailing and crying, Bill fed Sam his healing blood – which had been their plan all along as the only way to kill Maryann. Clever. With Maryann’s death, all the zombies come back to themselves and conveniently don’t remember a thing. Sookie starts throwing orders around: Sam and Jason, get the townspeople home; Bill, get rid of Maryann’s body (never mind that Bill can hardly stand up seeing how Sam drank more of his blood than he expected). Sookie takes a shaken Tara into her arms and tells her that it’ll all be okay.

At the Fortenberrys’ house, Maxine is back to being herself too, and Hoyt quickly figures out that she was telling him the truth about his dad killing himself. He is furious. Did I mistakenly attribute this to the last episode? It’s here that Hoyt tells his mother that he wishes Jessica had finished her off.

Inside Sookie’s house, Eggs is freaking out, trying to scrub Sam’s blood off his hands. He pants, “Where is Maryann? She’ll know what happened?” Tara says that they need to let it go – she wishes didn’t know some of what Sookie helped her remember, can’t they just move forward? Eggs cries that he needs to know. He’s a mess, probably in part because Maryann messed with his head for so much longer than anyone else.

Some unspecified time later, possibly the next day, things are getting back to normal. Sam reopens the bar so people can get something to eat and drink. The going story around town is that the memory loss/crazy behavior was caused by a gas leak, or maybe aliens, or LSD in the water supply, or a bad batch of vodka in an illegal still. Lafayette catches Sookie and tells her that even though she knows what happened, she’s never to tell him, even if he begs: “I don’t think it’s healthy for a motherfucker to know exactly what he done done. It’s like sausage – just eat it, enjoy it.”

Sam asks Sookie if she’d keep an eye on the place for him for a few days – he needs a break. Of course, she says. Then they’re interrupted when she gets a delivery: it’s a disgusting pale lavender chiffon dress and Bill wants her to wear it to dinner with him tonight. Then Eggs finds her and asks for her help in remembering what he did: “I had blood on my hands and I can’t remember why! … I got a right to know.” She says she can’t promise anything but takes his hands in hers. And it all comes back: him cutting out Miss Jeannette’s heart, and Daphne’s heart, and stabbing Sam. He fuh-reaks out and runs away. Sookie calls after him that it wasn’t his fault, Maryann made him do it.

Bill and Jessica, both dressed up, run into each other on their way out the door. Bill is taking Sookie to a French restaurant to “celebrate.” Jessica says she’s going to meet Hoyt as they had a fight and she wants to apologize to him.

Somewhere else, Sam knocks on a door. A woman (badly cast as she is not nearly old enough to be his mother, adopted or not) is shocked to see him. She lets him in reluctantly. When he wants to know the names of his birth family, she doesn’t want to tell him. But he goes in to see his adoptive father, who is dying of some wasting disease in a back room, and his father hands him a slip of paper with a name and an address on it. It also says, “I’m sorry.”

Hoyt knocks on Bill and Jessica’s door. He’s brought flowers for her but he ends up leaving behind on the doorstep since she’s not there. She’s currently sitting on top of a trucker at a truckstop. They make out for a while, and then she bites him, slurping at the blood as he flails and screams.

Bill has rented out the whole restaurant so it will just be him and Sookie. That dress is appalling. They dance, she eats, and then he puts a diamond ring and plane tickets on the table and asks her to marry him.

As Andy walks to his car in the Merlotte’s parking lot, Eggs walks up to him, waving that giant knife and confessing to killing Miss Jeannette and Daphne with it. He is beside himself, crazed, and he ends up knocking Andy to the ground and waving the knife at him. Suddenly, a shot rings out: Jason, coming to Andy’s rescue, inadvertently shoots Eggs through the head. It’s pretty gross with blood and brains flying. Andy grabs the gun and tells a shocked Jason to get out of here. People start coming out of the bar and Andy says that Eggs confessed about the murders and then came after him with the knife – he had to defend himself. Tara runs up and falls to her knees by her dead boyfriend. “Eggs!” she wails. Like we haven’t heard enough of that all season.

Instead of being happy at the surprise proposal, Sookie bursts into tears: she doesn’t know who or what she is, and she just doesn’t know what to do. She runs to the bathroom, leaving Bill alone at the table looking sad and rejected. Once in the bathroom, however, she puts the ring on her finger and the tears dry up immediately. (Whatever.) She happily exclaims, “Yes, Bill Compton, I will marry you!” and runs back out to the dining room.

But Bill is gone. While she was in the other room, someone came up behind him, wrapped a silver chain around his neck and dragged him off. Until next season!

Here’s my issues with this episode. Maryann in Sookie’s grandmother’s wedding dress, fluttering around like a twit? I mean, come on. They’ve been setting Maryann up all season to be this scary, fierce, sexy unstoppable force of nature, and now they’ve got her in an old fashioned satin wedding dress, looking and acting foolish. All that build up and they completely undermine it.

The whole bull thing? That was pretty cool and technically well-done. Except where did Sam find a Brahma bull to imprint on with such short notice? Because he told Jason and Andy just last episode that he had to do that before he would shift into a new animal. Did Bill plan ahead and bring a bull with him when he met Sam at Merlotte’s? That’s weak continuity right there.

Bill’s wedding proposal? In this world’s timeline, they’ve been together AT MOST a summer, right? At the start of S2, everyone was recovering from Rene’s murders which had just finished up, and this season seemed to take place over just a few weeks. Rushing it much, Bill? (BTW, the plane tickets were to Vermont since being a vampire on this show apparently = being gay in the real world and Vermont is the one place humans and vamps can get married).

Anyway, these quibbles may have annoyed me but they don’t keep me from having enjoyed the heck out of this ridiculous show. My hopes for S3 – and don’t tell me, because I don’t want to be spoiled – more Eric, Pam, Lafayette, Jessica and Sam, and let’s have Bill and Sookie spend some time with other people, because their mushy, schmoopy love story is the weakest part of the show.

Previously on True Blood / next time on True Blood

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