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Last week’s True Blood was probably the worst episode in the show’s history. With basically nothing at all happening and avenue upon avenue of potential being closed, I was less than interested in seeing what the vampire drama had in store on Sunday. Much to my surprise “Me and the Devil” didn’t suck, but it was still only a stepping stone towards the level that the show needs to be at to make the fourth season one that anyone should watch again. The strengths of the episode actually came largely from the supporting characters and perhaps the best of all of the storylines came from Tommy and Sam.
At the end of last week Tommy had been tricked into returning to see his mother after he had heard that she finally left his father. Unfortunately for him that wasn’t entirely true, and even though his mother was proud that her son could now read, she didn’t seem all that bothered about him very much still in the picture, nearly choking Tommy to death with a chain. The quality of the storyline really began at that point when rather unexpectedly Tommy fought back, killing both of his parents in self-defense. I was completely prepared to see two or three episodes of Sam figuring out that his brother is missing and then working out where he is, finding him, saving him and ultimately creating a much stronger bond between the two to give Tommy some relevance in the True Blood world, but instead the show just got to the point. Scared, Tommy turned to Sam for help and even though the two had been in their own two-man emotional war since the beginning of the season, they worked together and grew stronger for it. It was interesting to watch and gave us a genuine reason to care at all about what is happening when the two are on screen together. At this point Tommy has just been self-involved and Sam has been distant and hostile, but now there is actually something to work with.
Another major supporting cast piece for the episode came from Terry and Arlene. Up until this point the two have done absolutely nothing for the story. Their entire existence in the show has been utterly pointless. Even though the two both work at Merlotte’s, they’ve been shown almost exclusively secluded away together at home, removing them completely from any semblance of an interesting storyline. All they have done is worry about their baby and whether or not he is evil, which until now just seemed like unnecessary melodrama, but Sunday finally made me care at least a little bit about the two. After an incident with the baby the two called in help from God to rid their house of Renee’s “ghost.” Whilst seemingly stupid initially and used completely to add some humor to an otherwise serious episode, when a book of matches set itself alight in their room as the two fell asleep, I was fairly intrigued. With the witches adding a new level of psychic connections and possibilities in the regular humans of the True Blood world, there is at least some scope for whatever is happening with the baby to be supernaturally interesting and somewhat plausible relative to the rest of the show.
On the witch front, Bill sidestepped the AVL’s desire to keep vampires from being violent to humans by having humans pick up Marnie and deliver her to one of his holding cells (who knew there was a prison in Bill's house?!). After several episodes of not having a clue of what keeps happening when Marnie becomes “possessed,” (through flashback and tales of vampire history) we finally see that the spirit watching over her is that of one of the original necromancers of the Wiccans. After Bill glamours her we know definitively that she isn’t just concealing that she knows what has been really happening and the whole story feels like it can be put to rest. I’ve no doubt that it won’t be, but the story has served its purpose with Pam’s rage over the spell that Marnie cast upon her, leading to her slipup in letting out that she knows Eric is with Sookie. Although I can’t say for sure, Bill storming to Sookie’s house at the episode’s close may be the beginning of the Eric vs. Bill fight that I was hoping for when it appeared as if the king had sent Eric to lose his memory on purpose. The likelihood of some kind of fight is greatly increased by Sookie and Eric finally sharing their first kiss.
A fourth season episode wouldn’t be complete without Jason Stackhouse having some screen time, but for once it finally made sense to give it to him. After being saved by Jessica and Hoyt, Jason is back in the world of relevance and added some fairly big laughs to the episode. Jason pondering if God is mad at him for having sex with too many attractive women made the episode for me, but there was also some genuine progression of his story. Having tasted Jessica’s blood, Jason is now attracted to his best friend’s girlfriend (as if he needed the blood to be) and the full moon that is supposed to change him into a werepanther is coming tomorrow. The only other occurrences of note in the episode came from Lafayette, Jesus and Tara, with the lovers going on a getaway from the vampires with a road-trip to Mexico whilst Tara’s lies about her life in Bon Temps catch up to her life in New Orleans.
“Me and the Devil” was okay. Relative to last week it was phenomenal, but there is still a lot of ground for the show to recover. Some potentially interesting plot points have been opened up after several were closed last week but whether or not they will be followed remains to be seen. The season can definitely be saved from the forgettable category, but there is work to be done yet.