bill is no more….
‘You are my child, as I was the child of Godric.
You were born into greatness.’
Everyone will hate me for saying this but I am not feeling Nora. Nor feel that she is a part of Godric. Is it because I dislike her so much? Whats wrong with me? I try and try but she just doesn’t fit in that lineage in my book. Help :~((
No one will hate you. Why would they? :)
But families? Generally speaking, there’s usually someone who doesn’t fit. Families are seldom entirely harmoneous units. And Godric wasn’t infalliable. He picked her for specific reasons, but it doesn’t follow that she would have developed the same way Eric did. In fact, that seldom happens. She is her own person, and while she did love Godric, she clearly held some very pronounced resentment toward him, as well. Being someone’s child/progeny doesn’t mean you are going to be like them in some or any sense. Nurture means a lot, but nature — whatever her nature was before she was turned, and she wasn’t turned as a small child, she was a fully grown adult — is also a huge factor.
I kind of like the fact that she isn’t necessarily the “greatness” we expect of the Godric’s leneage. Because she definitely has some pretty standout qualities, but I feel like she is the “greatness” Godric was before he evolved into a more accepting, heart-driven entity: The ultimate survivor with ambition and some political aspirations.
Exactly. Nora is Nora. She’s not a copy of Godric anymore than Eric is. There is no reason to hold her to some impossible, godlike standard.
Thank you for your comments Hidden. They do always enlighten things.
Very welcome. And thank you. :)
Godlike standard? Neither Eric, Pam nor Tara are held to godlike standards IMO. I just don’t respect a person that doesn’t respect another person that is not at the same or of higher social, economic or educational status as she. This is the impression that I got by her; “But she’s a former prostitute” comment, bewildered on why Eric would risk his life to save this former prostitute.
Nora clearly has strong prejudices. (So does Pam, in her own way, and so does Tara, but they are of a different kind). The thing is, we don’t really know what kind of values Godric might have been instilling into his progeny. Apart from the sheer survival. We do know he told Eric, at least, that there is no right or wrong, only death and survival.
Of course that can be interpreted, and clearly Eric values survival and doesn’t particularly care about whether a person is on the “right” or “wrong” side of the privilege. Which is interesting, because he comes from the royal stock. And I don’t remember if it’s been specified where Nora comes from, but given that she was chosen for her political brilliance, it’s not hard to suppose she wasn’t a peasant in Sussex. But her class prejudices prevailed, wheres Eric’s were never really there. Perhaps it comes with being politically ambitious? Eric wasn’t all the eager to inherit his throne, he was much happier hanging with the goat girl. :))
Two things I learned about Nora in just a few seconds; she has no sense of family and family loyalty and as I mentioned no respect of lower class people (in this case Pam being a former prostitute) or what she thinks of as lower class. In other words she is a MAJOR snob. I hope she proves me (and many others) different in season 6.
I grant you the second one with gusto. But the first one? I am not so sure. She was loyal to Eric. Even with all her misguided Lilith obsession, she tried to convert Eric to the last. And while it took grotesque forms, the motivation was love. She may have harbored resentment against Godric for real or perceived abandonment, but she didn’t want to abandon Eric. Her loyalty may be warped, but it’s there. As to Pam, she doesn’t really know her, we don’t even know if they met before (after all, it’s clearly been many decades since she and Eric saw each other last), but even if she had met her, the loyalty she owes her is tangential. Out of respect for Eric. And for Godric’s line.
Believe me, I am not defending her classist and sanctimoneous attitude. Far from it. I’m just not as quick to dismiss her as entirely worthless or completely disloyal. I am wary of her, yes, and I don’t entirely trust her, but I am willing to give her credit for what’s due and some benefit of a doubt. And to wait and see.
I suspect Nora, but I also agree — she does have a sense of family. It’s just not the same sense Eric has of it. What I love about this family is how different they are from each other, and also that thing they have in common, which is loyalty. Nora is a snob, and her loyalty expresses itself in ways that turn gruesome, but she loves Eric. I don’t think that means she will always agree with him or obey him, though.
Oh, totally. I foresee a lot of disagreements in their future. But yes, she does love him.
I don’t think we have seen the true strength of Nora yet. She was presented in S5 with her worst foot forward. Similar to how Eric was initially presented. We saw her weakness first, her political ambition and feelings of abandonment by Godric which fed into her fanatical belief in Lilith. Possibly these weaknesses were what Salome saw and used to convert Nora. We saw her love for Eric perverted ,as she tried to force him to convert to Lilith, all in the name of love of course but speaking of just the opposite. We hear from Eric that she is a brilliant politician and that is why Godric chose her and we assume she is just that since she is a member of the Authority. However, we do not get to see much of it at work.There are only hints of it here and there. Mostly we are angry with her and mistrustful since she betrayed Eric and tortured him. However, she comes back to herself in the end and Eric forgives her and doesn’t seem to have any problem over riding her social prejudices against Pam or putting a strangle hold on her to prevent her from eating Sookie. He doesn’t seem to be treating her with kid gloves as if he thinks she will go back to betraying him at any instant. Nor does he seem to be watching her out of the corner of his eye for any hint or shadow of that. I think we are to take Eric’s lead in this and believe that Nora does have his back and will not betray him again. I think the writers are done with betrayals against Eric. S5 was his season of betrayal,pain and torture. He has emerged whole and it would be redundant to have Nora turn on him again, in any way, including anything directed toward Pam, Tara and Sookie. There may be some snark there as Eric’s “women” learn to accept and respect each other but I don’t expect anything major.
What I do expect to see is that strength that shows she is of Godric’s lineage and that political brilliance she was renowned for. If anything, she has been set up to sacrifice her life for Eric. There is, after all, a huge debt there.
I don’t know if I’d want that, to be honest. It’s not that I am particularly attached to Nora, but I would really not like it if this is how she went. And it’s not so much on her behalf as on Eric’s. He really doesn’t need any more family dying, especially in sacrifice for his life. These burdens are heavy, and he’s carried enough.
I have no idea what they’ve got in store for Nora. She is a mystery in many ways yet, and you are right, we got to see her bad side first. But we got a few glimpses of some good things, too. So, who knows. She’s got potential for both good and evil (like pretty much anyone), and it’s interesting to see which will have the stronger pull.
I don’t trust Nora, and maybe it’s the fact that she is presented like a “political genius” and a “power hungry bitch”. The fact that she is a politician and power hungry is the perfect recipe for another betrayal. After all, the basic reason why Godric chose her was her ambition and wit in political matters, not her loyalty. That doesn’t mean she can’t be loyal at all, but I suspect she spent only a few decades with Eric and Godric before she started pursuing the political career: Eric had a millennium to absorb Godric’s teachings while Nora only caught a glimpse of her Maker’s true personality, I think. Then she spent the rest of her vampire life trying to climb the vampire hierarchy and she succeeded, becoming a Chancellor. I’m pretty sure power comes first in Nora’s scale of values, even before family ties. And in a way, the Authority has been more of a family for Nora, than Godric and Eric themselves. I do not expect her to make a U-turn in terms of personality just on account of being reunited with her brother. That, and the fact that she has some vague resentment about Godric (we don’t know if misplaced or legit) and she underestimates or just doesn’t know the importance of the Maker/Child bond (the fact that she made that comment about Pam proves that she is a snob, sure, but also that she simply can’t figure why Eric would be so attached to his progeny in the first place… that she thinks a Child is somewhat expendable)… all of this makes her a shady figure even after her “redemption” at the end of s5.
On top of that, there’s the Sook factor. Will Nora be okay with her brother loving a human, after spending centuries in the belief that humans are basically food on legs? I doubt it - I think that while Nora did reject Lilith, she hasn’t really changed her opinions towards humanity, nor she is particularly excited at the thought of treating them as equals. And this can be a serious issue. The adrenaline of escaping the Authority and arranging a rescue team toned down every other problem, but I can see her struggle with the aftermath, trying to find her place in Eric’s current life, and seeing how much that life is extraneous and unfamiliar and how much has changed. I’m not sure if Nora can simply stay put and adapt.
I agree. Nora is going to be a problem. She’ll think she’s doing it for love, but she won’t be right.
Favourite Eric&Sookie Moments ↳ Season 5
Eric and Sookie didn’t have a lot of screen time together last season, but the time they had gave us a lot of information about their relationship and it was sooooo good.
just covering my ass…
I’m still wondering why Eric thought a bromance with Bill was a good idea. I prefer to think that was just a plot device the writers came up with to make sure the two of them ended up at the Authority together because I can’t think of a single thing that Eric would find appealing about being a friend to Bill Compton knowing what he knows about the guy. The only thing they have in common is their fangs. They don’t even have Sookie in common, in my opinion, because their relationships with her are so completely different.
I think part of it was to place Eric and Bill in a similar situation and then let their true colors show. With all things being equal, we see what choices each make, what they come to believe in, and what lies in their souls. I also think Eric’s heartbreak drives him to Bill. From Eric’s point of view, they share this. This pain he’s suffering, he assumes Bill suffers, too. He’s hurt and, for lack of anywhere else to turn (Godric is gone, Pam is estranged, and Sookie has dumped him) and the circumstances being what they are, Bill becomes a surrogate…connected by their love for Sookie and their dismissal by her. Thus, a bromance is born. Of course, Eric has badly misjudged Bill and Sookie’s significance to him. It’s not until the very last scene of season 5 that Eric realizes his mistake. The link he thought they had, that he probably needed them to have during his lowest point, didn’t exist.
I agree. I think Eric thinks that whatever differences they have, both of them love Sookie, and he makes the mistake of imagining that both of them know how to love.
I think the other reason is that this is the season where their plot vectors cross. Eric has always looked a bit questionable, while Bill gave lip-service to being good. Of course we know that has never been true, but I think this season was the turning point and reversal of those roles — Bill settled into villainy as if it were a warm, relaxing bath after a long, stressful day, only suffering one last cataclysm of doubt when it was too late to go back, and Eric’s actions and his motivations finally aligned themselves into an action that was truly selfless — getting Sookie’s help and going back to get Bill. I think this season was about them travelling side-by-side for a moment to highlight the shift in their roles.
I agree. I don’t even think this qualifies as “bromance”, since a bromance should be mutual, working two-ways. Through all season 5, Eric thought that Bill was a trustful ally if not a friend, but Bill was just “covering his ass”.
At the beginning of Season 5 Eric’s discerning skills were at their lowest point. He just resurfaced from an emotional cataclysm, he felt disconnected and betrayed by the people he loved (the rift with Pam, “Fuck Sookie”). Bonding with Bill was probably a consequence of Eric erroneously thinking that Bill was equally lonely and heartbroken, and could understand his pain and distrust. Which was true… in a way, but Bill simply cannot understand anyone and anything except himself. In all these seasons Eric probably thought that Bill’s only redeeming quality (and Achilles heel at the same time) was loving Sookie more than himself. He was wrong. Bill loves and hates himself more than anything else.
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.
So, carrying on with a very piecemeal and Eric-centric look back at season 5, I’m on episode 4 — We’ll Meet Again. I’ve already given some thought to where Sookie and Tara find themselves as the episode begins, so… back to the Viking and his ignoble sidekick.
Bill and Eric are finally released from the Authority, Rigged up with the iStakes, they get dropped off by the side of the road with a set of car keys, and Eric’s first words are giving Bill credit for a great escape ploy, and Bill replies by all but accusing Pam of breaking Russell out. Eric grimly acknowledges that only four of them knew where Russell was, and neither of them appears to believe Alcide had anything to do with it. Bill tells Eric he’ll drive.
Real time in my brain: Does it make anyone else furious when Bill is in charge? GOD I LOATHE HIM.
Anyway, they head off to Fangtasia to confront Pam, who has just returned from saving her young progeny from frying in a tanning bed. She’s furious that the bar isn’t open and threatening to kill Ginger until Eric tells her he sent them all home, from his throne. Pam’s first thought is that Sookie came through for her — but that’s not it. She’s very apprehensive, and seems to decide that submissiveness is not the way to approach him — instead suggesting they just forget it all in a swaggery, bitchy kind of way. Perhaps she hopes to charm him with her lack of sentimentality. Eric does not smile, and Pam’s seemingly cavalier announcement that Tara is his granddaughter doesn’t please him either.
I say seemingly cavalier, because I think we all know that Pam is anything but. She’s afraid and miserable at being out of his favor. I love that she doesn’t even notice Bill until she is level with him, and that her reaction is a displeased “Oh.” followed by an obligatory “Hi.” She has no respect for him whatsoever. Eric needs to talk to Pam alone — and he dismisses Bill, who takes Tara with them. As soon as they’re gone, Pam steps forward more certain of her bond with Eric and her tone changes completely. “What’s wrong?” She asks him, without a hint of bravado, “What’s happened?”
Eric’s pain really shows in the scene where he questions Pam, as does the fact that he is adrift in so many ways. I think it’s easy to forget what he’s been through in the last week or so. He’s really had no time to process what’s happened to him, and suddenly everyone he loves and everything he cares about is suddenly rejecting him, or suspect somehow. Pam tells Eric she would gladly die for him a thousand times before she would ever betray him, and his answer is particularly sad: “Then you’d be a fool. I trust no one.”
He’s trying to be hard and cold, but he’s lying to himself as much as he’s lying to her — that part of his circuitry is fried, and we can see how cold he isn’t when Pam demands that he release her if he can’t trust her more than Bill Compton or werewolf. Poor Eric. He’s really on the ropes. He’s lost Sookie, his heart is broken, Nora is being tortured, he’s got that iStake thing happening, Russell is on the loose, and this rift between him and Pam is an open wound. He loves her and he trusts her, and I’m sure he even understands her actions at Moongoddess. He can also see that she is not lying. Back to square one.
His defeated return to his office, and Tara’s silent acknowledgment of his authority is one of my favourite scenes in the episode. Eric sits at his desk, Bill sits facing away from him on the edge of his desk, waiting, and Eric simply says “Not Pam.”
Going off topic for a moment, there is something to notice in this scene, and that is a very intentionally lit and highlighted picture of a Viking ship directly above Eric’s head — in fact, it’s the brightest thing in the room — even brighter than Eric’s face, and it’s meant to draw our eye.
I got to thinking about the significance of the boat as an archetype in Jungian psychology as a symbol of the self, afloat on the deep, dark waters of the unconscious, and about what Jung called “the night sea journey”. A classic version of this narrative is the story of Jonah and the whale, but really it’s a part and parcel of nearly every hero narrative — in which the hero experiences a kind of descent into hell or a perilous journey — and it can also be represented by imprisonment or abduction; also called “the dark night of the soul” by the Christain mystics.
The myths of the night sea journey, Jung thought, derive from the perceived journey of the sun — it “sails over the sea like an immortal god who every evening is immersed in maternal waters and is born anew in the morning.” The sun going down into the sea is analogous to the loss of energy in a depression or loss of connection to the world, and is a necessary prelude to a rebirth. The water (the unconscious) cleanses and renews, and allows the sun, which symbolizes the ego-consciousness, to live again.
What Eric undergoes during season 5 is unquestionably a kind of night sea journey — he is swallowed up by the authority, and he is systematically stripped of everything that connects him to his persona and the life he leads while he deploys it. For Jung, the “persona” is “…a functional complex that comes into existence for reasons of adaptation or personal convenience,” or “that which in reality one is not, but which oneself as well as others think one is.”
Eric has long been living with the notion that he IS his persona, but his loss of memory and experiences of himself as an innocent, and of love have shown him that he is not only this — that there is more that he has forgotten. Remembering himself in that way and experiencing his own ability to love and be loved is a kind of heaven for him, but it’s one he hasn’t yet earned through a true integration of these warring parts of who he is, and he is thrown out of it at the end of season 4. Eric’s initial reaction to this is anger and defense (“fuck Sookie”), and trying to go back to the easier path of just being Eric Northman, vampire sheriff, but he can’t — that persona no longer fits him. When Eric says “I trust no one” we know he’s lying — he trusts Pam, Sookie, and even people he shouldn’t like Bill and Nora. He trusts too much, and feels too much.
It makes me think back to Salome telling him he’s cold because he’s been hurt and the wound is fresh. She’s wrong about him. He was cold before that wound, and now he’s trying to struggle back into that persona, but he can’t — emotion is burning in him — he’s all warmth, and he’s trying like hell to shut it down.
Anyway — back to the episode.
Bill has no idea what kinds of cataclysms are taking place in Eric’s heart, and he presses the case that it’s Nora who freed Russell as part of her agenda to take over the Authority, and he presses Eric to confess that he told her about Russell, but Eric didn’t. Bill ends the scene with that scheming look in his eyes and says “There has to be a leak somewhere.”
Indeed. I wonder where.
Eric, it strikes me, is an open book here. He’s willing to give Bill the credit for getting them out, willing to accuse Pam, and he’s really told Bill everything he knows about this Russell Edgington situation — but what Eric doesn’t know about Bill is a lot. Like, how he came to be king, than he was working for Nan and was a double agent, and on and on.
Bill is as shady as ever…
Part 2 Later tonight… it was just gettting too damned long!!
So, continuing my very piecemeal look back at season 5, I’m now in episode 4, We’ll Meet Again. It’s been an Eric-centric look back, because let’s face it — I’m a red-blooded girl, and I love me some Eric Northman, but I thought I’d start this time by considering where Sookie and Tara find themselves.
It’s been a very rough season for Sookie so far. Here’s a recap:
- She left Bill’s mansion, having just broken up with both of the men she loves, feeling like she’s juts broken both of their hearts.
- She drives back across the cemetery and goes home, only to be immediately confronted with a shotgun wielding Debbie Pelt.
- Her best friend Tara rushes in to defend her, and is shot in the head.
- Sookie gets the gun and makes a conscious decision to blow Debbie’s head off.
- Lafayette, who has just woken up to the fact that he killed the man he loved while possessed by Marnie, comes into the kitchen to find his only sane family member bleeding out in Sookie’s arms.
- Pam arrives looking for Eric, and to save her friend and spare Lafayette the pain of losing her, she makes a deal for an unspecified favour with Pam to turn her.
- The morning after she kills his girlfriend, Alcide shows up to tell her that Russell Edgington isn’t dead, and is on the loose.
- Pam turns Tara, but when she rises, something is very wrong with her.
- Tara comes to her senses and tells her and Lafayette to fuck right off.
- Sookie gets some respite from an understanding, sympathetic Sam, but
- The guilt won’t let her go, and she tells Alcide what she’s done.
- At the start of episode 4, Lafayette, angry that she’s told Alcide, turns on her and tells her that she always survives, but she leaves a trail of bodies behind her — that she is the angel of death.
And, things aren’t going much better for Tara:
- She got half her head blown off,
- Got turned into a vampire, the thing she’s always hated most, without consent,
- Got a blast of colloidal silver in the face,
- Nearly ate a motorist with a flat tire,
- Got a brief respite and a less murderous meal from an understanding, sympathetic Sam
- Decided to kill herself in a tanning bed
- At the beginning of episode 4, she is saved from burning by Pam, her former arch enemy and now? Maker.
These girls have it rough, but what gets me about both of them, is how hard they try to do what’s right. Sookie can’t lie to Alcide — it’s just too wrong. Debbie Pelt tried to kill her twice, and I can understand what Sookie chose to do in her kitchen. It’s hard for her to see that viciousness in herself, but I think it’s understandable, too. Tara’s death was too much for both Sookie and Lafayette, and I can understand the impossible decision to ask Pam to turn her — at least it gives her another chance. Sookie isn’t sure it’s right, but once she makes the decision, she owns it. But what Sookie simply can’t justify is lying to Alcide to save herself — she has to tell him the truth. She’s right: he deserves to know. I love that she tells Lafayette that they can’t keep digging the ditch — they have to do right. She’s right again.
And what about Tara? Well, she awakens to find that she has become the thing she hated most in all the world. After suffering so much at the hands of vampires, she is one, and on top of that, her former enemy, Pam, is her new mom. Tara can’t forgive Sookie and Lafayette immediately, and she runs. In the forest, she discovers her new senses, and the fact that she heals quickly — healing quickly has never been possible for her. Hungry, she nearly kills, but stops when she sees everything she hates about vampires in her own face. I love that she goes to Sam for help, and I love that he helps her. I love that she decides it’s not worth living if she’s going to be a monster, and I love that her pain moves Pam, and that Pam saves her.
Sookie and Tara get a lot of shit from the fandom, but I love the way they have so many champions around here, in our little Tumblr TB discussion group, because both of them are so, so brave and strong.
So, continuing my very Eric-centric rewatch of Season 5, yesterday I posted about Pam’s flashback to her turning, and Eric and Bill’s first meeting. Interestingly, the scene in which Eric receives payment on his sexual transaction with Pam, and then she forces his hand in her turning cuts straight to another scene in which Eric is pressed into another kind transactional sex act: Salome’s attempted seduction.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves — Bill’s seduction comes first.
I loved Bill’s scene with Salome when I first saw this episode, because Salome just plays Bill like a fiddle. First she tells him how her own backstory, the beheading of John the Baptist, wasn’t her fault — it was her fucked-up family and politics that made her do it. Bill asks her “So, you didn’t ask for a man’s head on a silver platter?” Salome pauses, and doesn’t deny it.
Now, I buy her story, and am willing to see her as a victim of her circumstances, but at the same time, telling her sad story of victimhood to Bill right then — telling him about how she was used and wronged and forced into things she didn’t want to do — is a manipulation deployed very much on purpose. Her story of her own powerlessness offers Bill the opportunity to map that same sense of victimisation onto to his own feelings — nothing is ever his fault, either. But, it’s a bit gruesome, isn’t it? That a story of a woman’s powerlessness and victimization allows Bill, who himself is a victimizer of women, to wallow in his own sense of victimhood? Very creepy, but, there it is. Salome’s approach is a complete bull’s-eye. You can practically see Bill letting down his guard.
It’s then that she really goes for Bill’s jugular: she tells him that what she admires most about him is his heart — that he still lets it rule him — a rare quality in a vampire. And that she likes him — he interests her. We’ve just seen him be humiliated and utterly ignored by Eric, but now this woman, more powerful and older than Eric, is giving him the stroking he so dearly desires. Not only that, but Bill’s sentiment is his greatest god, so he eats this up like a virgin fairy’s blood.
Stephen Moyer is fantastic here, and you can see Bill giving in by degrees. By the time Salome says “Something about you moves me”, he is so clearly already hers. She offers herself to him, and he fucks her without preliminaries against the wall, staring into her eyes as if they are the mirror that tells him everything he most desperately wants to believe about himself. Salome knows she can trust him, and not because he will be loyal to her, but because he is enslaved by his own ego.
Having already strummed Bill’s pain with her fingers, she calls Eric in to her bedroom for his turn, but Eric is not so easily played. Salome brings out the big guns straight away — the memory of Godric, and the chance that something Eric might do, say or choose might save Nora, but Eric, stoic as ever, rebuffs her efforts to wheedle her way into his heart, deflecting her by asking if she’s lonely. He’s not taken in by her, but you can see that the possibility that he might be able to somehow save his sister if he cooperates is doing its work.
Salome tries to touch Eric’s rawest nerve, too — accusing him of being cold because he’s been hurt and the wound is still fresh. It’s true, and Eric doesn’t deny it, but he doesn’t wallow in it either — he simply tells her that he heals quickly.
I think it’s interesting that the only question Eric asks her is “What do you want from me?” Every other thing he says in the scene is simply a response to her, and everything he says is a deflection. He doesn’t ask her about herself — he takes for granted that he knows who she is. He doesn’t need to hear her centuries-old sob story because he has centuries old pains of his own, and he knows their weight. He’s not even curious about her, beyond wondering why he is there, in her bedroom, while she performs the current version of her dance. He already knows she’s dangerous and manipulative, and he doesn’t give her an inch.
In the end, when she spreads herself naked over the bed telling him she wants to be his friend, but that it’s what he wants that intrigues her, there is no pretense left in the room. Eric gets up and has sex with her for what his cooperation might mean for Nora. There is no illusion that what happens between them is anything but a transaction. It’s such a contrast to what she achieves with Bill — the illusion of a real alliance, the illusion of actual desire, the illusion that she is telling him the truth, and the illusion that their tryst isn’t the transaction it is.
I have to admit that Bill and Eric’s scene together in the elevator after they’ve both been with Salome is a scene I didn’t like when I saw it, and still don’t. Eric’s boastful little announcement rubs me the wrong way completely, as does his disappointed surprise when he realizes Bill was also visited by Salome. I don’t know why, but it makes me cringe everytime — like a wrong note in the middle of an otherwise harmonious melody. Bill, though, doesn’t seem fazed, and his line about how a “gentleman doesn’t brag about sloppy seconds” is revolting, because it feels like it’s as much about Salome as it is about Sookie, and it’s so disrespectful and gross that I wanted Eric to punch him in the face.
Alas, we can’t always get what we want.
Still doing my season 5 rewatch — very much piecemeal and just as it interests me. I’m in Epsiode 3, Whatever I am, You Made Me, and thinking about Pam’s second flashback, because it’s such a great example of the kind of compact, rich story-telling that True Blood so often excels at, wherein they show us a great deal, but tell us very little.
In Pam’s memory, Eric has returned, this time to her place of business and he would like to buy some of her time. Pam’s price is that he help her out with what turns out to be her vampire problem: Bill and Lorena. The scene between Eric, Bill and Lorena in Pam’s brothel is such an informative one.
First, there’s the reiteration of Lorena and Bill as serial rapists and thrill killers, who torture their victims because they LIKE IT, full stop. As Lorena glamours Pam’s working girl into begging for death, Bill smiles evilly, and grunts and moans with pleasure over her femoral artery. He laughs with Lorena when she makes the girl say “Drain me Daddy, drain me ‘til I’m dead.” The two of them are filth. Yes, Lorena is a bad influence, but Bill is an apt pupil, and there is no denying that he is enjoying himself.
Eric bursts in, and what’s most interesting here is how much the conversation he has with Lorena and Bill is not about it having been wrong for them to kill Pam’s girls; it’s all about vampire business. He doesn’t correct Lorena when she says she did not know it was his territory, so I assume it is, and while their thrill killing may disgust Eric, he doesn’t show it. I also don’t think he’s terribly bothered about the human victim. What he does in this scene is assert his dominance, and tell Lorena that she needs to teach her rambunctious progeny how to treat his elders. He notably does not rebuke them for their actions, and when he makes Lorena apologize to Pam, it’s for disrupting her business, not killing the girls. I love his little smile as Pam shows her matching hard-nosed lack of sentimentality by asking for $500 for each girl they drained. He approves.
This scene is not about Eric’s being a white knight, or a champion of working girls, and it’s not about he and Pam launching a romance; it’s about Eric striking a bargain and keeping those beneath him in the vampire hierarchy in line. Eric wants Pam, so he helps her. Eric has the power to strike fear into the hearts of Lorena and Bill, and he uses it. The heroism of it is incidental… as is often the case with Eric’s heroic moments, until the end of season 5, when his motives and his actions align more cleanly than they ever have in past seasons.
Interesting, too, is what 1905 Eric sees in 1905 Bill: promise. He’s brave, loyal and strong for a new vampire, and Eric doesn’t blame Bill for his missteps or for his viciousness — he blames Lorena for not teaching him what he ought to know. In this scene, Eric, who doesn’t even deign to speak to Bill, resoundingly humiliates him simply by ignoring him — he directs everything he says to Lorena. Bill is nothing but an insignificant, unruly child to Eric, and he communicates that very clearly.
Bill’s reaction is so informative, too. First, he offers Eric a fight, man to man. Eric just laughs, and Lorena stops Bill — she knows as well as Eric does how outmatched he would be in that fight. It’s this dynamic between Eric and Bill that has lasted more than 100 years, too. This scene reminds me of their little pissing match in season two, when Eric laughingly asks him if he’s trying to start a fight and then tells him he’d like to see him try. For Eric, the journey from somewhat scornful indifference to seeing Bill as an ally is a stretch, but to imagine that Bill has even a scintilla of loyalty for Eric is just nonsense. Bill hates Eric, and he has since the moment they met. In the end, after Lorena apologizes to Eric and then Pam, Bill just steps to him with a look of pure, yet impotent rage and hatred and then vamp speeds it out of there. He obeys his maker, but Eric has hurt his pride, and Bill’s pride is tender indeed.
It’s amazing how many moments in the show are reshaped by this one incident — and how much light it sheds on Bill’s relationship with Eric that it began like this — with humiliation. It makes me want to go back and watch every scene they’re in together to look for the residue. For example, how much deeper and more pathetic does Bill’s cowardice look from this angle in the scene where he punches Eric in the face as Godric heads up to the roof to die?
After Bill and Lorena make tracks, Eric looks seriously at Pam — and for a moment, I wonder what he’s thinking. I think he’s wondering if she’s afraid now that she’s seen him with his own kind; if she sees that he isn’t her white knight, but is like them — a vampire, and a dangerous predator. Pam steels herself and diffuses it by immediately offering to pay her debt to him, and his face softens into just the suggestion of a smile, as warmth flickers to life in his eyes. He goes to her, lays his hand on the side of her neck and face and kisses her very softly before twirling her away down the hall.
I remember there being a lot of discussion about whether Pam forced his hand at her turning, or whether he made the choice to change her. I think the answer is both. He had no intention of making Pam his progeny, but when he saw how serious she was, how far she was willing to go, I think he gave in, and not just to her, but to his own loneliness.
The Eric we meet in 1905 is more than just vaguely melancholic — his smiles are faint and ghostly. He’s lonely, and he likes Pam. Her lack of fear and knowledge of what he is combined with her profession mean that he can bargain for a moment of honest intimacy with her. He doesn’t have to pretend he’s in love with her, he doesn’t have to pretend he isn’t what he is — it’s an honest transaction.
When he turns her, there were other of things he could have done — fed her some of his blood to heal her and then leave her, drain her and let her die, etc. And we have to remember that in the True Blood world, for a vampire to be made, the maker has to drain them, feed them their own blood and then sleep with them in the ground — hardly a process that is seen through on impulse alone. I think he did choose her, even if it was under some duress. Eric is a big boy — a little duress doesn’t strike me as a thing he’d bow to if he didn’t want to.
Whether or not you agree, the point that matters, I think, is that after the choice is made, he owns it. He doesn’t blame her for his decision, and he clearly took her on as what he considered a sacred responsibility. He’s cared for Pam ever since, and if he hadn’t yet come to love her then he certainly loves her now. Pam’s memory makes their relationship — its closeness, her loyalty, his fatherly love and the trust they bear each other — make sense.
In this one little sequence they reveal so much about characters we’ve known for some time, and what amazes me is how consistent all of it is with who they are as we have come to know them.