Friday, December 04, 2009

My Review of True Blood's 2x04: "Shake And Fingerpop"

Written by Alan Ball
Directed by Michael Lehmann

Eggs: “What are you crying about?”
Tara: “I always cry on my birthday. It’s the worst day, no matter what I do. I always end up crying because my birthday always sucks.”

Yeah, I have to admit that some of my birthdays haven’t been that great either but not to the extent where I’ve cried over them. That can only be a good thing. Poor Tara. Turning 26 was certainly made into a more unique experience thanks to Maryann’s intervention.

Moving out of the woman’s house was always going to be hard for Maryann to keep tabs on Tara but it certainly didn’t deter her. Of course Sookie would have to be out of town long enough for Maryann to throw a birthday party. Only this was anything but a quiet affair with loved ones.

Most of the people who crashed Sookie’s house for Tara’s party probably didn’t even like the birthday girl and vice versa. Only Sam seemed to be the only concerned party there despite the familiarity of Terry, Arlene, Andy and even Daphne as well. Funnily enough, Tara was too overjoyed to give a shit who was there and what was happening.

We’ve had three sex fuelled happenings with Maryann there. We know that she’s causing them and given the intense chanting in the woods, she’s definitely feeding off them. Maenads feed off that sort of thing. Maryann was a maenad in the book. Figures that she’s still one here, only with an expanded role.

Maryann is still fascinating stuff and Michelle Forbes plays her wonderfully. When Tara told Maryann she was leaving her home, I feared Maryann was going to hit the roof. Her involvement in Tara in particular could be for anything. Eggs too seems like he might a part of whatever Maryann is cooking up as well.

It’s kind of sad that Eggs and Tara finally had sex while they were under Maryann’s influence. Though what they were doing seemed tame compared to everyone else. People were fighting, overindulging in food and alcohol and one girl was even chewing on dirt. It was almost like something out of Jerry Springer. Earth fetish delight, yuck some.

Speaking of delights, it appears that Daphne does actually have a bigger role to play in proceedings. Both her and Sam were unaffected by Maryann’s stirrings (then again, they did actually leave before things really got out of hand) and Daphne herself made it clear that she knew what Sam was.

It doesn’t take a genius to guess that Daphne is something supernatural as well. Those scratches haven’t killed her and she’s also gone from ditzy to cryptic in about four episodes as well. Those are clear enough signs. The only other question is whether Daphne is friend or foe. I’m kind of hoping for the former. It would be nice to see Sam with someone who is actually attracted to him.

In terms of attractions, how cute was the opening scene with Jessica and Hoyt? Bill went a little overboard in the protective stakes but I guess he was right too. He wanted to protect Jessica from killing an innocent and Hoyt from being dinner. I don’t exactly blame him but I do love that the confrontation seems to have encouraged Hoyt to continued pursuing Jessica.

Plus I just love Sookie’s attitude to Jessica. Sookie and Jessica should buddy up, if only to prove Bill wrong. Besides Sookie is too involved in the vampire world to not be on Jessica’s good side either. Sookie even encouraged Bill to take Jessica along with them for the whole Dallas trip as well.

Reading the book, I knew exactly what to expect so when Leon showed up with a welcoming sign; Sookie was going to be in trouble. To be fair without Bill’s intervention, Sookie might have actually fought Leon off. Luckily for Leon, the only retribution he got coming to him was Jessica having some mischievous fun with her glamouring.

Jessica certainly providing the entertainment during that scene but the serious stuff was Leon revealing that the Fellowship Of The Sun sent him to abduct Sookie. Again, not a shocker and I’m not saying this as someone who has read the books. It’s just too obvious that the Dallas stuff would connect with the Fellowship.

The only stupid thing was Eric not sharing this information with Bill. Eric may be his superior and have an overt enjoyment in goading Bill but it was reckless not to voice his fear of Fellowship involvement. I think it’s also safe to assume that the Fellowship are responsible for snatching Godric as well.

Eric didn’t exactly have a lot of scenes in this episode. Apart from him and Bill’s discussion in the Dallas bar, we also saw him with Lafayette. Lafayette went from pushing Tara away and risking infection to devouring Eric’s blood and feeling the benefits from it. Lafayette practically humping his own furniture was too funny. Does this mean the spring is officially back in his step? Can’t be that simple, can it?

Another interesting thing about the Dallas trip was Sookie meeting Barry. Finally another telepath on the show and clearly one with not as much experience as Sookie either. I take it he’ll play a bigger role in later episodes despite running away from Sookie at the end of the episode.

As for Jason, both he and Luke just need to knock seven shades into each other already. Luke clearly has bigger issues with Jason than he’s letting on and the comments he made about Sarah does suggest that he could stir some major problem if Jason’s not careful. And Jason should be.

Sarah seems to have made it clear that her interest in him exceeds his potential as a Soldier Of The Sun and even Jason was fighting off his attraction to him. I saw it in my last review but Jason really is showing a lot of self restraint here. There was at least a good few scenes where it looked like Sarah was coming onto to him as well.

The more Jason spends time with Sarah and Steven, the more their negative traits rub off them. Even in Season One, Jason wasn’t this negative towards vampires. He’s even beginning to spout off the same war crap that Steven in using to brainwash everyone else into saying. Get out of there, Jason.

Also in “Shake And Fingerpop”

Luke’s little prank scene felt kind of similar to the one Jason pulled on Dawn back in “Mine”. Though it was funny seeing Jason punch Luke as revenge.

Sookie: “Okay, let’s all try to calm down.”
Hoyt: “That’s a very good idea.”
Bill: “Are you gonna leave or am I gonna have to throw you out through a window that is closed?”
Sookie: “Bill, that is just rude.”

Sookie’s picture gift to Tara was sweet. It was the same picture of them as kids with Adelle that we saw earlier in the season.

Tara: “Thank you so much for everything.”
Maryann: “I’m sure you’d do the same for me. Go flourish and don’t ever say no to yourself, okay?”

Bud: “I’m not an alcoholic.”
Andy: “Nah, you’re just a dumb old man who don’t know anything about nothing, who don’t wanna learn.”

Bud’s a lot more tolerant than he should’ve been with Andy during that exchange. Interesting that Andy’s pursuing the pig he saw from “Scratches”.

Tara: “If you die, I’m gonna be really pissed.”
Lafayette: “Well that makes two of us.”

Sookie: “Is that how you wanna leave things?”
Sam: “What other way is there?”
Sookie: “I don’t know Sam but throwing away years of friendship seems pretty damn stupid to me.”

Sookie did have a right to be pissed as did Terry. Why is Sam running away if he knows how dangerous Maryann? Unless he’s trying to find something to stop her.

Maryann: “Well I have to say I’m impressed by your showing up.”
Sam: “Go ahead and turn me but you’ll also reveal yourself in the process.”

Luke (re Sarah): “Wow, you work fast.”
Jason: “I ain’t working, she’s married.”
Luke: “Go for it, she’s hot.”

Sookie was tempted to watch some of the vampire porn that the Dallas hotel had on offer. And Bill bought some True Blood, just to put Eric financially out. Godric’s also 2000 years old. I also felt bad that Maryann binned Lettie Mae’s present.

Lafayette: “You let me go.”
Eric: “I gave you a very generous gift. The gift of not killing you and I am here to give you something else. The healing elixir that is my thousand year old blood.”

Bill (re Leon): “Jessica, what on Earth did you do to this man?”
Jessica: “I’m on the phone.”

Standout music: “Shake And Fingerpop” by Junior Walker And The All Stars and “Dig” by Headbone feat The Tense Young Man.

Bill: “What can I give you to release Sookie from her agreement?”
Eric: “Nothing. And since you like humans so much I think you will want to protect them. The vampires here, they’re like cowboys. If they don’t get Godric back, they’ll want justice. They’ll start attacking people.”
Bill: “Open aggression against humans, that’s insane.”
Eric: “That’s Texas.”

Chronology: A few minutes from where “Scratches” finished off.

“Shake And Fingerpop” is the first episode from Alan Ball this season and it’s certainly laced with a lot of his trademark wit (Arlene’s bitchiness towards Daphne for starters) but the sex parties are certainly increasing as well. I can see why some people were overwhelmed with them as the season went on but it’s still a wonderful episode. There’s even a nice little Angel reference if you can spot it.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

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