When I recapped last week’s season premiere of ‘True Blood’, I expressed some mild disappointment that the episode was very plot-heavy and lacked a lot of the atmosphere and character moments that make the show so entertaining. That appears to have been a necessary evil to grab viewers’ attention after last season’s lackluster finale. Fortunately, things have settled back into their normal groove with ‘Beautifully Broken’. Make no mistake, there’s still a lot of plot going on here. But there’s also a better balance of all the elements that make the series work so well.
Last week’s episode ended with Bill in a standoff against a pack of werewolves. Sadly, we pick up only in the aftermath of that battle. However, that aftermath is spectacularly bloody. Bill is officially a badass now. The first shot opens with a severed wolf’s paw in his teeth. Human bodies in various states of dismemberment are strewn about, and Bill stands ready to take down his last two opponents.
At this point, we’re delivered a big plot twist. A foppish vampire in 19th Century garb strides up on a horse. Bill immediately bows and addresses him as “Your Majesty.” It turns out that he’s Mississippi’s vampire King, and the werewolves are under his control. They were ordered to escort Bill to the King, not to harm him. For their disobedience, he shoots one of the survivors, but lets the strongest one (hilariously named “Cooter” and quite bitter about that) live.
The King escorts (and orders) Bill back to his estate. There, the King has Bill (under some duress) clean himself up and sit for a multi-course meal of elaborate blood-themed dishes. He lays out an offer: He wants Bill to be the Sheriff of Mississippi, in exchange for assistance in helping him marry the Queen of Louisiana. The King is quite obviously gay, and sees this purely as a political maneuver. Bill isn’t particularly interested.
Back in Bon Temps, Lafayette saves Tara from her suicide attempt, and pushes her mother out of the house (and out of Tara’s life). At first, he drives her toward the hospital, but she talks him out of that. She’s afraid that she’ll be made to talk about the things that happened with Marianne, which will make her sound so crazy that she might be institutionalized. Lafayette decides to make a side trip instead to a sanitarium nursing facility. Tara thinks he’s going to have her committed. Really, he just wants her to see his crazy, abusive mother (Alfre Woodard). Paying for her care is the reason he works three jobs. He tells Tara that she needs to pull herself together and fight so that she doesn’t end up like that.
Jessica is still dealing with the ordeal of the dead trucker body rotting under her house. She winds up seeking guidance from Pam, of all people. The pair of them together could make an interesting team. The need to cover up what’s happened forces her to break up with Hoyt in a very sad moment.
Sam’s trip to Arkansas finally pays off with the discovery of his birth parents and a younger brother. They’re decidedly poor white trash. His mother and brother are Shifters, but his father isn’t. They explain that they gave him up because they hoped he’d turn out normal with a family who could take care of him better. The brother doesn’t seem too thrilled about bringing a new family member into the fold.
Eric continues to press closer to Sookie. He decides to tell her about his past history with werewolves. In a flashback to WWII, we see that he and Godric posed as SS officers and hunted werewolves in Europe. That’s where he learned about the connection to the vampire who would later become King of Mississippi. Toward the end of the episode, he convinces Sookie to invite him into her house so that he can protect her from a werewolf.
In the final plot thread, we’re introduced to a new vampire. He snoops around Bill’s house and finds some papers and photos that suggest that Bill has been stalking Sookie ever since she was a young girl. He also appears to have cleaned up the trucker body. By the time Jessica gets home with a rented chainsaw to take care of it, the body is missing. She freaks out.
This new vampire also makes some moves on Tara, and protects her from a pair of drunken racist rednecks. He seems creepy, but his exact motivations aren’t yet known.
In Mississippi, the vampire King brings in Lorena, Bill’s maker. As soon as he sees her, Bill immediately leaps into action and throws a candle lamp at her, which causes her to catch on fire. He smiles with satisfaction. Is this the end of Lorena? I guess we’ll find out next week.
Sprinkled throughout the episode are also many terrific character moments such as Jason back to being a dope, and Terry trying to win back Arlene. (He still doesn’t know she’s pregnant yet.) All in all, the show is in fine form with this episode.
Bizarrely, after the end credits, HBO aired a totally surreal music video in which Snoop Dogg raps about the series and about how much he wants to seduce (that being the polite word for it) Sookie. I have no idea what the point of it is, but it’s incredibly weird and nerdy.