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True Blood never shies away from slowly moving plot developments. In fact, most seasons start at a crawl, rush to their climax, and then slowly move to their resolution/cliffhanger for the next season. However, it appears that Season 8 might be changing the show’s previous storytelling M.O. While some storylines are still wandering in the wilderness (Sam/Alcide and Terry’s story, which appears to still be linked to the atrocious Patrick/smoke monster story of last season), the show has kicked several into high gear.
At last (which, coincidentally, was the title of this week’s episode), we have come face to face with the much discussed Warlow. And it turns out, we’ve met him before. While I was certainly suspicious of Ben’s presence in Bon Temps (not to mention his poor Southern accent), I didn’t peg him as the mysterious Warlow. But, it turns out Ben is indeed Warlow (he cleans up very nicely). And Sookie has him right where she wants him.
Suspicious of Jason’s quick recovery while under Ben’s care, Sookie’s Scooby senses go into overdrive when she sees a drop of blood near the location where Jason was laying down. After seeing it react strangely with her faerie light, Sookie realizes that kind, sweet, faerie Ben is really the dangerous Warlow. So, naturally, she invites him over for dinner (remember back in the first episode when Sookie said she wanted to just be normal and not deal with vampire things? Yeah, that sure lasted a long time.).
Meanwhile, Niall and Jason have also figured out that Ben isn’t who he says he is and set off to take Warlow down. Unfortunately, Warlow is as big and bad as everyone said he was, and he quickly knocks Niall unconscious and galmours Jason into leaving. After nearly draining Niall completely (but not drinking the blood - apparently Warlow can eat regular food and doesn’t need blood?), Warlow banishes Niall to the alternate dimension prison in which Warlow had previously been living.
The episode ends with Sookie revealing that she is well aware of Ben’s true identity, but falls short of giving us the long awaited confrontation between Sookie and Warlow (which, frankly, is just as well, as the show has been building to this moment since midway through last season). Now, I highly doubt next week will show us the final battle between Warlow and Sookie (although, since it appears they have shipped Niall away after only four episodes, anything is possible), but I’m hoping for at least some fighting (or maybe a deep discussion?). With the Billith storyline almost certainly about to intersect with the Warlow storyline (Billith is trying to synthetically create exactly what Warlow is: a faerie/vampire hybrid that can walk in the sun and doesn’t need to drink blood), I have a feeling Warlow will be around for a while.
Speaking of Billith, the episode’s other prominent storyline (slightly more prominent, in terms of plot development, than the Eric story) sees Jessica and Billith succeed in kidnapping the rapidly aging halflings and attempting to synthesize their blood. However, it turns out that faerie blood has special crystals within it that disintegrate mere seconds after the blood is exposed to the air, which makes it nearly impossible to synthesize.
Alas, it looks like Andy’s faerie daughters might not be long for the world, despite the setback with the blood. Upon smelling the girls’ blood, Jessica (who is already desperately trying to make the girls stay at Billith’s home) vamps out and appears to fully drain all four girls (isn’t it lucky that there is another specimen they can capture just around the corner at Sookie’s?). I have to say, one of the best decisions the show ever made, in terms of diverging from the book source material, was the creation of Jessica. She remains one of the most multi-layered characters on the show. Watching the various emotions play across Deborah Ann Woll’s face when she realizes just what she has done is amazing to watch.
Now that we know who Warlow is (and, thanks to Nora, we know that he has a crucial role to play in the Lilith mythology as well), we can finally see if he truly lives up to the hype. And we’ll also get the chance to see if Sookie can successfully use all her faerie power to vanquish Warlow and become a real girl.
-- If this is the last we’ll see of Rutger Hauer, I have to say I’m a bit disappointed. While Sookie needs to be the one to destroy Warlow, thus making Niall a bit redundant, I’ve enjoyed having Hauer on the show. He brought gravitas to a show that has rarely had it.
-- While Jason is feeling pretty good right now, we still don’t know what made him pass out last week. My money is still on a brain tumor.
-- Many shows on HBO and Showtime (and the various other premium cable channels) get flack for gratuitous female nudity, and very few also offer up an almost equal amount of male nudity. True Blood is certainly not afraid of showing off the chiseled chests (and other parts) of its male cast (I think only Spartacus had a stronger devotion to male nudity). This week is a particularly strong one in the realm of male nudity, with nearly every male cast member shirtless (or more) at least once.
-- Now that Eric has sired Ella Burrell, won’t that make the Governor even more hell-bent on revenge? I have a bad feeling that Pam, Tara, and/or Nora will suffer for what Eric has done (especially since both Pam and Nora were shot with the special new bullets this week).
-- Sarah Newlin and the Governor? Not really a step-up from Steve, Sarah.
--Can the show please give Lafayette something to do?