Ok, Part two — the first half of this post, looking back as True Blood episode 4 of season 5 We’ll Meet Again can be found here.
I think the thing that hit me hardest, in this episode, is the difference between Eric’s decision to make a huge personal sacrifice and release Pam — something neither of them truly wants, but which Eric does to protect and save her — and Bill’s interaction with Jessica, which pretty much amounts to him trying to show her how cool he is by advising her to get some better weed, while taking undeserved credit for who she’s turning out to be.
When Eric releases Pam, his words to her — that she is his child, as he was Godric’s child, and that she is his one legacy and that she and Tara must live on, is him saying to her that if he should die, she is not only his worthy successor and legacy, but Godric’s, too! And, let’s face it: that means A LOT coming from him. He doesn’t say “Pam, I love you and I’m proud of you,” but everything he says honours her, expresses his faith in her and tells her how much she means to him, and none of it is selfish. Like himself, he sees Pam as the inheritor of Godric’s greatness, and he tells her that she must continue the bloodline.
I love the way they play this scene — his little hesitation before he says the words that will sever their bond is perfect: not so long that you feel like he is taking any time to pity himself, but long enough so that you feel how painful it is for him, how little he wants to be separated from her, and to see him steel himself to do what must be done. I love the way his voice sounds when he says “I release you” and the way Pam gasps and flinches, her eyes welling with tears immediately, as if it were a physical bond that has been broken, and she felt it.
I know this scene saddened a lot of people, and it is sad — but I also see it as a wonderful new chance for Pam. No longer bound to Eric, she is free to do as she will and be responsible for her choices. She is no longer his appendage, and her freedom made me instantly more interested in her, and in seeing what she’ll do. Pam snark has always been a thing of beauty, and I’ve loved her relationship with Eric — but letting her go, and her accepting his will in this scene? That was their ultimate expression of love for one another.
And it’s a stark contrast to what happens with Bill and Jessica. When we join them, they’re tearing apart Bill’s office, but he hasn’t even told Jessica what they’re looking for, perhaps because he knows that a bug would be evidence of about a million things he’d like to hide. Jessica asks him if he’s still King, and he essentially lies to her and tries to make her believe that everything’s ok. Then, she asks him if he’ll go see Sookie — she tells him that Sookie’s had it rough, and that she’s falling apart. Bill replies by saying “You took care of it with the Sheriff, but don’t make a habit of it — she tends to bring it out in people.” And then urges Jessica to take care of herself first.
This echoes what Tara tells him about her own turning in Fangtasia — that there’s always some fool willing to die for Sookie, and that Bill has to stop worrying about her above all. His reaction there is stoneface, and a repeated desire to know if Sookie is safe. Wouldn’t “Is Sookie OK?” be a more natural way to ask about the well-being of someone you care about? “Is Sookie safe?” makes it sound like she’s a thing he doesn’t want damaged.
Going back to Tara for a moment — she’s angry because she’s been turned against her will, and she hasn’t made peace with it, but she loves Sookie, and if she had it to do again, she would give her life to protect her — and Sookie would do the same for her. Tara’s talking nonsense, and now Bill parrots it back to Jessica like it’s his, and like it’s true. And all that is to say nothing whatsoever about how fucking RICH it is, coming from him, since he hasn’t done anything but manipulate, abuse and endanger Sookie since the moment he met her.
Then, as if his douchebaggery were not already supreme, he takes credit for Jessica’s quality, as questionable as it is thus far, in this season — “I think I’ve done well,” he tells her, and then looks into her eyes long enough for her to tell herself, “he loves me, he’s proud of me”, before leaving the room, his face a cold mask. Seriously, watch it again, and look at his face.
What he doesn’t do is anything whatsoever to warn her of the very real danger she is in with Russell on the loose, or as the progeny of a disenfranchised King of Louisiana. Jessica is so alone, and so vulnerable, and everything she has learned and become she’s learned and become on her own.
Honestly, though, I don’t think he cares for her at all. I think he’s just trying to shut her up. Of course he’s going to see Sookie, and it won’t have anything to do with making sure she’s alright.
Meanwhile, what about Sookie? Well, after a day in which she’s told Alcide she killed Debbie and seen him leave in a rage, been called an “angel of death” by her one remaining friend, told her brother she’s a murderer, and then had her car drive off the road due to Lafayette’s demon spell, she’s ready to forget it all in a bathtub full of sweet, barfy cocktails.
That plan is well underway when Alcide arrives to be awarded a hero’s accolades for not telling the police that Sookie killed the mentally fragile woman who snapped and tried to kill her because she was so jealous of Sookie, and jealous WITH REASON. Sookie thanks Alcide, and doesn’t blame him for Debbie, but I DO. That’s when he ventures even further into hero land by agreeing to drink with her, and letting a woman who’s just told him “the drunker you are, the less you care” to climb up on his perfectly sober jock. Awesome.
Outside, Eric’s arrival interrupts Bill’s voyeuristic vigil outside Sookie’s window, just as she and Alcide lock lips. Eric glibly says “Awkward time for a drop-in, Bill” but as impassive as Bill is, Eric’s face tells us everything we need to know about how he feels. Again, he tries to be cold, but all he wants is to get away from there, because watching Sookie kiss Alcide is like a knife in the gut. But, Bill has other plans. He want’s to keep doing what he always does with Sookie — involving her in his shit.
Eric, who respects her desire to break with both of them, and has accepted it despite the fact that it’s killing him, says “I don’t think she wants to have anything more to do with us,” His wet, luminous eyes full of heartbreak.
“I don’t think we give her any choice,” replies Bill, coldly. And, typically. He’s never had even the smallest respect for her agency.
Eric side-eyes him, but goes along. Poor Eric.