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True Blood 4.02: "You Smell Like Dinner"

A column article, Shot For Shot by: Danny Djeljosevic, Rafael Gaitan
The ridiculous HBO vampire soap opera continues! In this episode, we get some sweet flashbacks, more shapeshifting, and pedophobia! Also, we skipped the Sam Merlotte subplot because, outside of boobs, there wasn't much to talk about there. Just know that we laugh every time somebody transforms into a horse.



Rafael: So it's come to this.

Danny: Another episode of True Blood. Even though the premiere wasn't half bad. Or maybe it was half-bad. But also half-decent.

Rafael: I was not looking forward to this week, considering how dreadfully up its own ass the premiere was. At least it'll save money on a colonoscopy.

Danny: We are the worst Statler and Waldorf ever.



This episode gets off on the right foot by focusing on Jason Stackhouse's cooky adventures in captivity, being licked by some kind of creature named Timbo. "It's not that I don't appreciate all the lickin', cuz I do..."

Rafael: Haha, man, those goony fucking backwater kids are great. Stackhouse really has a hard-on for idiocy. I guess he likes his own type.

Danny: Dumb attract dumb. This is a fun subplot by virtue of involving Jason Stackhouse.

Rafael: It starts off with the right amount of humor to ease into the story. Too many times has an episode begun with stark violence. Stackhouse is becoming one of my favorite characters. He's got serious personality. He's not JUST beefcake, he's kinda legit. If he wasn't, it'd be like having Channing Tatum -- okay to look at, I guess, but pretty thuddy on screen.

Danny: My favorite part of this subplot in this episode was the way the backwater V-dealers get rid of Andy's snooping with a vial of vamper blood. My actual favorite part was the reveal that they're keeping him around to turn him into a shapeshifter so that he can impregnate that backwater lady, Crystal.



Rafael: Man, that was a pretty clever twist. I love that Asshole Man recognizes the symptoms in Andy. That's some Season 2 shit, and more than welcome. That's a fucking silly soap-opera plot point -- I WANT THAT. NONE OF THIS VAMPIRE MYTHOS GARBAGE.

Danny: For me it's the hilarity of knowing that Jason being a shapeshifter will require him to get naked a lot, which is the only reason to make him a shapeshifter. It's certainly not done for any story purpose.

Rafael: Someone in the writer's room got a bonus check for coming up with that one.

(UNRELATED NOTE: Who the hell is Charlaine Harris?)

Danny: Yeah, they're all getting fruit baskets. Ryan Kwanten is clearly having a lot of fun playing a dimwit.



Rafael: Kwanten knows what this show is. A consummate professional. Most actors on this show are, save Pookie Wackhouse. How'd she win an Oscar again?

Danny: Didn't she play a retard?

Rafael: Something like that. That first dialogue scene with her and Eric -- GUH. He could've done this whole scene by himself. And I'd actually rather fuck him -- how is a vampire the liveliest of the two? Is idiocy necrotic? SHUT UP, NOOKIE. Let the other characters charact!

Danny: The Cookie Crackhouse scenes feel so forgettable in this episode. She's mad at Eric, she's mad at Bill. Good thing all the other subplots make up for it.

Rafael: When isn't she mad, really?

Danny: She's always annoyed. She's annoyed in the fairy dimension. She's annoyed when Bobby doesn't want her to take Dr. Rao's mutant cure.

Rafael: She's pissed when those geese won't fly, she's pissed when Holly Hunter won't play her a piano or whatever that movie was about.

Danny: To their credit, the writers even make this subplot about Eric owning Cookie's house kind of fun in this episode, like when she finds a secret hatch that Eric built into her closet.

Rafael: Haha, yeah, all amidst Tara's return to Bon Temps. Because we were all clamoring for a return to normal in a post-Noah Wyle world. FUCK WRONG SHOW.



Danny: The scene where Tara and Cookie reunite feels so perfunctory to me. I actually forgot that they were, like, besties. I feel like they're in such different places that they don't even need to meet anymore.

Rafael: They don't, at all. Except for you always have to get the band together. Even their hug is so minimal and blase.

Danny: Get back to the lesbian cage fighting, True Blood!

Rafael: SOMEBODY SHOVE SOMEONE'S SOMETHING INTO SOMETHING ELSE OR I QUIT.

Danny: The best part about Tara coming back to town is that Lafayette has someone to call "hookuh" once again.

Rafael: "That's the influence of that Asian puss-ay." Man, they know that!



"I am a Christian, goddamn it."

Danny: The human protesters outside the vampire club is more than welcome. It's the show really getting back to the social roots of the show.

Rafael: Minus the "Look at this video phone! It's 720p!" comment, it's not particularly overt either, in that I really enjoyed it. It reminded me of the opening of episode 1.01, where the drunk chick and her boyfriend harass the clerk, and it turns out the trucker is a vampire. And Hoyt, I love that goon, so help me. That character is like Terry -- when given something to do, he knocks it out of the park.

Danny: I guess they needed to get Hoyt and Jessica together for that to happen, because Cookie Crackhouse and Bill Condom are too muddled in other plots to explore the issue of anti-vampire sentiment.

Rafael: Remember how I was worried it was skewing too much to bullshit drama? It's skewing too much. You can partially dump some of that blame on Jessica's youth, but considering she's a vampire now, she's gotta be a bit smarter than that.

Danny: The Hoyt/Jessica fight in this episode was not nearly as fun, but fairly well done, with a fun complication as she storms off and drives out to the vampire club in Shreveport to party by herself.

Rafael: It loses its immediacy because it's stretched out over the episode. It also seems a touch perfunctory -- it's a good excuse to get her out of the house and into the club. Her literally being at a crossroads, though -- ugh.

Danny: There ain't but two roads in Bon Temps.



Rafael: I actually really enjoyed all the flashbacks to Bill's life. LOL @ 1982 Thatcher-hating Bill.

Danny: Holy crap, Punk Rock Bill was great. That whole section was so well produced.

Rafael That segment was a lot of fun. So well choreographed and staged. It felt like a nice treat but not a total departure from the show.

Danny: It was way better directed than the show usually is.

Rafael: It was nice to see something more contemporary than all those Season 1 Civil War flashbacks.

Danny: I completely forgot about the War Between the States flashbacks. I guess they weren't as relevant as this one 1982 flashback.

Rafael: Well they showed how Bill got "made."

Danny: See, I don't even remember THAT.

Rafael: This one showed how he's been dishonest all along.

Danny I dunno about dishonesty, but it does show what his overall goal in life (unlife?) is -- infiltrating vampire royalty and helping grease the wheels of change from within by planting the seed of coming out to the world. Or something. They've got Louis Pasteur helping to develop synthetic human blood, y'know. Which made me giggle)

Rafael: That was such a rad reference. Especially Bill's incredulousness. "Pastoo-yer is a vamp-ir?"

Danny: It was so hilariously forced, too -- "Oh, yeah, and we've got Louis Pasteur, too." Most enjoyable.



The other Bill flashback comes from around the end of Season 3, where a bunch of commandos explode the Queen with wooden bullets.

Rafael: Fuck Bill's ridic hairpiece, but man, that was the dopest thing in this ep.

Danny: She just blows up in a big bloody splash.



You know what? Cookie is pretty well used in at least one scene of this episode.

Rafael: Oh, the scene with Terry and Arlene's kid?

Danny: Arlene thinks her baby's demonic because it's really the serial killer Rene's. When Cookie's admiring the baby, saying that he looks like an old soul, Arleen freaks out. "No! Don't say that! He's a brand new soul!" Hilarious.

Rafael: Oh yeah! That was a genuinely fun moment, agreed.

Danny: One of the great things about this show is how the intentionally funny moments are often on par with the unintentionally funny moments. So, lulz all around.

Rafael: You do raise a good point (from the dead). Like the other scene with Arlene and her baby. Everyone's idiocy!

Danny: Where she looks at the baby too long and her eye gets all red.

Rafael: With her hysterics, she still somehow seems more composed than Tookie Mackhouse. That girl stupid as hell.

Danny: That scene has a damn near touching ending, with Terry telling the baby there's nothing wrong with him. "Your momma gets a little crazy sometimes, which means we gotta love her even more."



The coven scene was fun, too. Sheriff Eric (Sheric?) comes in to stop the witch coven (including Lafayette and Tara who's sitting in on the whole affair), but in the struggle end up... doing whatever it is they do to him.

Rafael: It looks like they blanked/glamored him, almost? Seems like they can control them, so I imagine they might chase him.

Danny: I think they might have made him human.

Rafael: Hmm... the thought hadn't crossed my mind. No! They blanked him. Remember, he asks her "Why do you smell so good?"

Danny: What's the significance of that line? I figured that just meant he had senses, being not undead anymore.

Rafael: His heightened senses tell me he's still vampire. He can smell her fairy blood- they mentioned it before the scent drives them wild. They've always had senses, though. I mean, they remark on the taste of Tru Blood and such.

Danny: I don't know much about vampers.

Rafael: It seems like the coven's aim is to control things, but they did talk about resurrecting a dead body. So you might have a point.

Danny: Wait, does Eric know that Cookie's a fairy? I guess with Eric not knowing who Cookie is in that scene, him becoming aware of her again with his mind wiped could mean trouble.

Rafael: I'm pretty sure he does. If Bill knows, I think he does. They used her blood to take Russell Edgington out, remember? But that was a pre-Russell Edgington world, so I don't expect you to dwell in it.

Danny: Hahahah, post-Russell Edgington. It just doesn't roll off the tongue. They gotta find a better way of saying "after Russell Edgington killed that guy on TV." "Post-Russell Edgington" isn't working outside of being a hilarious inside joke to us. Though it's only that one vampire lady what says it.

Rafael: I humbly suggest "Post-Russ," or "Post-Redge."

Danny:: Is that what it's like to be post-Russell Edgington?

Rafael: Please, "prudge."



THE BIG SCORE

Rafael:

Wavering to a 3.5. There were some marked improvements, but there was too much bullshit still to call this a truly good episode.

Danny: This episode was seriously fun, starting to approach something from Season 2.

Rafael: It was fun as hell! Well, can I give 3.0 Bullets and 1.0 Boners for seeing Shivakhomeini Somarkandarkram's boobs and such?

Danny: Trying to spell my last name won't earn you brownie points, buddy.

Rafael: Sorry, dad.

For more True Blood hijinx, check out our reviews of previous Season 4 episodes:

Episode 4.01: "She's Not There"




Danny Djeljosevic is a comic book writer, award-winning filmmaker (assuming you have absolutely no follow-up questions), film/music critic for Spectrum Culture and Co-Managing Editor of Comics Bulletin. Follow him on Twitter as @djeljosevic or find him somewhere in San Diego, often wearing a hat. Read his newest comic, "Sgt. Death and his Metachromatic Men," over at Champion City Comics.



Rafael Gaitan was born in 1985, but he belongs to the '70s. He is a big fan of onomatopoeia, being profane and spelling words right on the first try. Rafael has a hilariously infrequent blog and writes love letters to inanimate objects as well as tweets of whiskey and the mysteries of the heart at @bearsurprise. He ain't got time to bleed.

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