‘True Blood’: The Authority Tortures Bill and Eric

Valentina Cervi in True Blood (John P. Johnson/HBO)

It’s official: “True Blood” has too many characters. Either the show needs to start airing five nights a week telenovela style, or it’s got to pare down its cast. Because right now, everyone is getting the short shrift. There are just two many people and plots for 13 episodes a year. Half the characters on the show have never even met each other and have no awareness of what’s happening in other storylines. Sunday’s episode, “Authority Always Wins“, felt like a bunch of disjointed scenes rather than a cohesive whole. On the other hand, Chris Meloni finally debuted as the head of the authority,  Roman, so maybe the Authority is about to set everything right. Here are the top five developments this week.

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Bill and Eric Fight Authority, Authority Always Wins

Bill (Stephen Moyer), and Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) are imprisoned at the Authority’s headquarters, which look like a cross between an investment bank and Gitmo. They are thrown in cells and tortured with ultraviolet light. Then they are interrogated separately by two chancellors of the authority, who seem to have learned their techniques from watching Meloni on “Law & Order: SVU“, who attempt to get them to confess by claiming the other has already turned on him. Eric and Bill are way too smart to fall for it, even after being subjected to an IV of liquid silver. Bill’s interrogator introduces the audience to the vampire bible, which is older than the old testament and states that Lilith was a vampire created in God’s image and that Adam and Eve were created so vampires would have something to eat. Bill denies believing a literal interpretation of the vampire bible, correctly claiming that he supports mainstreaming. So they are brought before Roman, and the rest of the chancellors, including child Alexander (Jacob Hopkins), sexy Salome (Valentina Cervi)  and Texan Rosalyn (Carolyn Hennesy).  Roman, who wears a suit at seems at once a mobster, a CEO and the Pope, performs a ritual where he recites a prayer in Aramaic and slices his wrist so that the Chancellors can drink his blood. It’s a literal communion wafer. This examination of  the intersection between vampire religion and politics has the potential to be a powerful allegory and one of the strongest storylines in the show’s history.  The chancellors are divided about whether to sentence Eric and Bill to the True Death.  Bill offers a deal: if the Authority spares them, they will lead the Authority to Russell, who is surely hellbent on paying them back for encasing him in cement.

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Russell is Back, Far The Worse for Wear

We finally get a glimpse of Russell. He’s lying in a bed in what appears to be a dank basement strewn with body parts. An unseen person/vampire/werewolf/fairy/yet-to- be-determined being is tending to him. But his face is the showstopper. It’s covered with realistic bloody lesions. Between this and his “American Horror Story” character, Dennis O’Hare must have logged in hundreds of hours in the make-up chair and may be asking himself how he ended up being typecast as the guy with the messed up face.

Eric Was Every Bit as Awesome in 1905

Pam (Kristin Bauer) reminisces about how she met Eric. In 1905, she as the madam of a San Francisco brothel. Vampires were killing some of her employees. While walking down the street, she encountered a Jack the Ripper copycat. Eric, looking very dashing in an early twentieth century suit, kills the killer, drinks his blood then chivalrously offers Pam money to buy a new dress before disappearing into the night. This is pure speculation, but given the timeline the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 seems like it might play a role in Pam and Eric’s origin story.

Tara is Not Exactly Grateful to be Alive

Tara (Rutina Wesley) was an angry human, so it’s no surprise that she’s an even angrier vampire. She trashes Sookie’s house. Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) nearly stakes her because he thinks it was selfish of him to have her turned into the creature that she despises. Sookie persuades him that Tara will eventually adjust to her new life and be glad she was saved. Tara bolts from the house, despite Sookie’s attempts to install a sort of vampire stun gun on her porch.

Steve Newlin Comes Out of One of his Two Closets

Steve (Michael McMillian)  appears on a talk show to proclaim himself a Christian vampire, stating, in the episode’s best line that Jesus is pro-vampire because “Anyone who’s been dead for three days knows where we’re coming from.” He’s still in one closet, however, claiming that he has met a special woman. After crashing Jessica’s college party, and doing some hilarious dancing with the students at Bon Temps U., he attempts to buy the true object of is affection, Jason, from her for ten grand. She tells him she’ll do it for 20,000 dollars. When he agrees, she tells him that he is pathetic and she would never sell her friends. Given this season’s religion theme, Steve seems like he is on a collision course with the Authority.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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