As always, spoilers lie ahead. Now read on you peckerwood....
After pushing several story arcs foward in last week's "You're No Good," this week's "At Last" was loaded with big reveals and plot twists that put several characters, both new and old, in perilous territory.
First up though, Ben is Warlow. Warlow is Ben. I have to admit that was a pretty good okey doke by the show, making us think Warlow was stalking around Bon Temp looking like the runner up in a Rob Zombie impersonator contest, when all along he was posing as sweet, aw shucks Ben Flynn. Of course this led to more questions, which to true to True Blood form, where all answered by the end of the hour. I was annoyed by this at first. We see Ben draw fang and heal Jason, setting up a potentially tantalizing "what are you?" story arc and imbuing his character with a much-needed layer of mystery, but then said mystery is all explained away quickly and in the most pat way possible. Warlow was a full fairy long ago who was turned by who we now know is Lilith, then proceeded to slaughter both his and Niall's fae relatives. We're four episodes in and not only has this season's main villain been revealed, his complete backstory has been told.
However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized there are still questions about Warlow and his intentions. He's clearly not above using deception and brute force--poor Grandpa Niall didn't even know what was coming--but he also went out of his way to not only heal Jason but glamour all his vampire-hate-mommy-and-daddy-issues angst away. And he revealed to Niall that it was he who spared his life all those centuries ago. Of course, he told Niall about his act of mercy right before he tossed him into the same alternate universe he escaped from. Though something tells me Niall won't go gently into that good nether realm. He's too obsessed with getting even, and Rutger Hauer is too good a screen presence to be dispensed with this quickly. Or at least I hope True Blood's writers realize that. But I digress.
Warlow clearly, as he stated, has a streak of both light and darkness in him. Even his treatment of Sookie is curious. Why still be so secretive and still play the flirtatious Southern gentleman after he glamoured Jason and got rid of Niall? What was stopping him from draining her dry or becoming the Princess Peach to his big bad Bowser before she summoned up her death star light mid-dry humping? What does he want from her? Sookie's not waiting around to find out; along with aforementioned fairy death star light she summons just as they start to work it out on the couch, she poisoned his food with silver to see if her suspicions are correct. Warlow doesn't flinch or fry though. The fae side must cancel out the vampire weaknesses.
Sookie must have guessed this as well (and no doubt remembered Grandpa Niall's shiny blood parlor trick), and though I counted her out at first, her seduction ruse was admirable. "Get the fuck off me or die Warlow," she tells him. Snap! This isn't the same girl who got goosebumps watching Bill Compton sit down in a booth at Merlotte's; after six years, Sookie is older, wiser and most importantly, worn out with the supernatural bullshit that has wreaked havoc in her life, and is all too eager to give up her own supe status if it means she can go back to being normal. Though I doubt getting rid of Warlow will be that easy, particularly if Nora's prediction that he is key to defeating Lilith/Billith proves correct.
Speaking of Bill, he and Jessica have kidnapped Andy kids, well teenagers now after their latest growth spurt. They grow up so fast, and their first rebellious act is taking daddy's cop car out for spin and getting some beer. Jessica, though conflicted about the whole thing--the girls are about the same age she was when she was turned--lures them back to Bill's mansion so Professor Takahashi can start working on a way to synthesize their fae blood and save the vampires from annihilation. Though right now he's having no such luck, as fae blood isn't all that resilient outside the fae body. Bill of course, threatens, levitates and asks questions later, and tells the professor failure is not an option. Though after he rushes into the living room to find the fae quadruplets drained dry and a distraught Jessica cowering in the corner with blood on her mouth, it may be the only option.
Eric and Pam catch up with Tara, who last week took off with Willa and tried to help her escape. Eric chokes her location out of Tara, he and Pam engage in their now customary sniping (aww, I miss their playful, harsh banter) and he speeds off to find her. Pam and Tara go off to feed and bitch about Eric, then Pam bitches at Tara for trying to free Willa. "This is war. It is us against them. What is it gonna take for you to understand ?" Pam says, and while this is only the latest version of the same old human-tolerant vampires versus kill-all-humans vampires argument the show has done for its entire run, now that things have literally gotten to the point of war, her words carry a sense of urgency they would have lacked as late as last season. Anyway, Tara disagrees and tells her she can hunt by her own damn self and speeds off. Bad idea, as forgetting her maker's advice to walk like a well, human causes soldiers to spot Pam and shoot her with a UV-silver bullet. Oh god don't let them take Pam!
Meanwhile Eric, has found Willa, who isn't running for her life but sitting calmly on a merry go round. She didn't even bother to run, not only because she knew he'd find her, but because she loathes her father's anti-vamp crusade and wants a taste of his blood. And well, you can guess what happens next.
While Eric's decision to turn Willa is not earth shattering, the way it happens is unexpected. Many times on True Blood, becoming a vampire is something done out of selfish desire (Lorena's making of Bill is the obvious reference point, but Tara's turn at the hands of Sookie and Lafayette could fall under that as well), punishment (Jessica) or abject despair and desperation (Pam). Out of all our creatures of the night, only Eric saw becoming a vampire as a wholly positive, transcendent, almost sacred event.
It would have been easy for the whole thing to be framed as Willa being all "I wanna be bad" (yes I went to that well again. Willa Ford, where are you now, besides popping up in Friday The 13th remakes?) and clawing at Eric like a cat in heat, begging to be an immortal as a big screw you to Daddy. Instead of a vengeful act though, Willa's turning is treated like a rite of passage or a wedding night deflowering, one both she and Eric feel she deserves. What's more striking is Willa is the polar opposite of Pam. Where the latter is cynical, the other is earnest; where Pam guards her feelings behind an almost insurmountable wall of bitchiness, Willa is achingly vulnerable.
All that being said, it also ain't much of leap to see that white, virginal night gown and think Eric sees Willa as a brunette Sookie, and is using her as stand-in for whatever lingering romantic feelings he still has for our fairy princess. Unlike Sookie (or Nora or Pam) though, the two never consummate their union. Eric sends her back to the governor, and while it seems cruel to Willa at first, he explains he wants her to return to show her father that vampires are not monsters. Hmmm, that's nice and idealistic and all that jazz, but who's to say Willia won't be sharing a cell with Steve Newlin down the vampire experimentation compound?
Well, so says the former Sarah Newlin, who's banging the governor--oh honey, you can do so much better, but you're on a power trip, so do you--who shoots Willa just as she's about to snack on her father. Eric's plan was good in theory--making the political personal by forcing the governor to face the object of his hatred in the flesh--but not in practice. Willa is only like, a day old, and it's kinda naive a vampire as old as Eric wouldn't keep her around longer to school her on impulse control.
Over in shifter/werewolf land, Sam (who has to have been the wolf who scared off another were from Nicole last week, so my apologies for that mistake), Emma and Nicole continue their escape, with Lafayette playing get-a-away driver. Later, Nicole, who is stupidly calling and texting her now deceased friends, tells them she'll limp along on her own and to go on without her. Sam tells Lafayette to take Emma (which means more uber fab babysitting scenes for her and us) and convinces Nicole to go with him, shifting into a horse so they can ride off to a hotel to hide in. Once there they commiserate over dead lovers and friends and kiss. I'm not 100 percent against this development; Nicole's already more interesting a character to me than Luna ever was, and their reaching out to each other in the midst of tragedy makes sense. Though I don't know how their hook up will work in the long run.
As for the wolves, Alcide's still hot, Ricki still doesn't know her place in the pack and they're still looking for Emma. And while I get she's her grandmother, I'm sure the actress who plays Martha would love nothing more than to go an episode without running around and screaming that Emma's gone. This plot needs a new twist, and fast.
---Nice, realistic touch to have the same sleazy gas station cashier from the pilot episode appear in this one.
---Pam's talk about vampire speakeasies with willing human donors was an interesting little aside, though now that she's frying from the inside out and being shuttled off to the vamp concentration camp, we probably won't get to see what that's all about.
--Who else thinks Sarah's big secret to Governor Burrell is she's pregnant?
--Niall might've gotten owned by Warlow, but he sure gave Nora one to grow on with that super Hadouken fairy light blast. Girl's got stop geeking when she's in the presence of fairy blood.
--Thankfully the writers didn't devote too much to Terri's Ifrit-sacrificial-murder PTSD. Though realistic (Patrick was his friend after all), it's not a story arc I want to see take up the majority of an episode.
--Lafayette was giving Janet Jackson in Poetic Justice with the look on his face as he turned Emma away from a naked Sam as he shifted. You could almost hear him him thinking "Nuh uh. That's wrong."
--Governor Burrell to Ginger: HUUUUUSH! DAYUM!
--Jason having a homoerotic dream about Ben/Warlow set to Miguel's "Adorn"? Thank you True Blood. Thank you.