True Blood Sucker Punch: Episode 4

Aug 12, 2009 | Updated May 25, 2011

Warning: This Post Contains Spoilers

Welcome to Sucker Punch, the only blog post that ranks the gaudiest moments on this week's episode of True Blood.

I'd probably have guessed that series creator Alan Ball wrote this installment, "Shake and Fingerpop," even if I hadn't seen his name in the credits. Like American Beauty and many episodes of Six Feet Under, it unites multiple plot lines with a single theme.

In this case, the theme is "unexpected vulnerability." Almost all the major characters are weakened in some way, which creates a queasily exciting energy: We can sense a bomb's about to drop, but we can't quite tell where it's going to fall.

It makes sense for everyone to be vulnerable, of course, since we're entering the second quarter of the season. The first three episodes defined this year's major arc -- Maryann is powerful, there's a beast ripping out hearts, etc. -- and the next three will probably prepare everyone for the climactic conflicts in episodes six through twelve.

In other words... now that we know something crazy's going on, we need to understand that the Bon Tempians are susceptible to it.

And so we get Jason moving in with Reverend Steve and Slutty Sarah. We're clear on the Newlin's pure-yet-vicious personae, and we've seen how they use them to fuel both vampire hatred and their seduction of Jason the Golden Boy.

And in this episode, Jason takes the bait. The scene where he fantasizes that Sarah is fellating a beer bottle totally makes him vulnerable to whatever mind and/or sex game the Newlins want play on him. Suddenly, in the very place he thought he could escape them, Jason is tempted by his horndog impulses, and that makes him a target. The next time he takes off his shirt, he may get "Fellowship of the Sun" branded on his abs.

Jason's fantasy sequence is a strong contender for Sucker Punch, as is the, um, "practical joke" that starts the episode. I mean, seriously: Luke pounces on Jason and threatens to have sex with him and kill him, only then he says it's all just a joke, ha-ha-ha. That's so... dirty. And sick. And weirdly hot. Thanks, Alan Ball. I'm sending you the therapy bill.

Sookie has an over-the-top moment, too, when she learns that she's not the only one who can hear thoughts. Who is Barry? And why is working in a hotel? Is he spying on Sookie for the Fellowship? Whatever he's up to, he certainly makes our heroine vulnerable in a new way.

And speaking of "I know who you are," I'm frothing to find out who Daphne is. Why doesn't she care that Sam sees the claw marks on her back? And why does her "aw-shucks-I'm-a-bad-waitress" personality disappear when she sexy whispers that she knows Sam is a shape-shifter? His triple vulnerability -- Daphne knows his secret and she's seen his softer side and she's seen him naked -- makes Sam a candidate for something unpleasant.

It's also interesting that Daphne has suddenly gone from bumbling barmaid to one one of the few characters with power. At the moment, she knows more about other people than they know about her, which gives her the upper hand.

Personally, I think she's in cahoots with Maryann, who's newly-revealed Krazy Klaws suggest she is the one who slashed Sookie in the woods.

Things also get trashy after Lafayette agrees to drink Eric's blood, then starts dancing like a freak machine. Now Lafayette is tethered to a vampire with an agenda.

But isn't it interesting that Eric is vulnerable, too? When he tells Bill about Godric being kidnapped, he expresses real fear and raises serious questions. How did a human capture such a powerful vamp? And what will that mean for the rest of the undead?

(Sidebar: Eric mentions a vampire queen. Can we cast Rue McLanahan now, or do we need to dummy up an audition process before handing her the role?) (Update: Thanks to the readers who pointed out that Evan Rachel Wood will play the queen. She's cool, too.)

The silver Sucker Punch medal goes to the scenes between Bill and Jessica, who are acting out a charming family comedy. I love watching Bill show fatherly pride when Jessica learns how to glamor, and I double-love seeing Jessica abuse that power to make her glamored human shout rumors about a trampy girl who went to Jessica's church. Those are just such human moments, you know? Of course a teenager is going to push limits, just like she's going to swoon for the first boy she kisses.

But as weirdly sweet as those scenes are, the Sucker Punch comes from Tara and Eggs Benedict. As I said in the comments for Episode Three, I do not trust Eggs at all. At all! He's just too perfect to be real. And in this episode, it's clearer than ever that he's in cahoots with Maryann to exploit Tara's loneliness. It's so creepy when they show up at Sookie's house, where Tara is crying, and just happen to have a wedding cake.

And boy, does Tara fall for it! The Sucker Punch comes when she and Eggs have lusty sex in Sookie's place, while outside, Maryann whips the townsfolk into such an orgy that they screw, fight, and eat dirt. The whole montage reeks of terrible consequences, namely because on television, no one gets to party that hard without getting impregnated with a Greek god's baby. Here's to seeing the aftermath!

For more, please join me at The Critical Condition