Season 3/Episode 4: 9 Crimes

9 Crimes unsurprisingly opens with a scene of Sookie cleaning a shirtless Alcide’s wounds.  Maybe I’m not remembering correctly, but I don’t recall him sustaining severe chest wounds when he got into it with the Operation Werewolf Crew at Lou Pines last episode but, no matter, he’s shirtless!  Dude has Situation Level Abs  so I can’t imagine he’s going to be wearing many shirts this season and if he does they’re probably going to get torn off.  As Sookie nurses him, Alcide goes off on the V drinking weres and his ex-fiancé, Debbie. He also mentions his sister, Janice the beautician(probably to let us know we’ll be meeting her later).  Sookie’s touch on Alcide is long and lingering.. until the phone rings.  It’s Bill!  Oh, Bill!  Only…. he’s calling to tell her he’s leaving her and to really rub it in he lets her know that he and Lorena “just fucked like only two vampires can.”  Ouch.  He will only bring her suffering.   She should not try to find him and he doesn’t want to be with her.  Double ouch.  All the while Lorena cackles and drinks blood in the background.  Major mega ouch.

Poor, innocent, virgin-prior-to-Bill Sookie reacts to this information after the credits roll like many broken-hearted ingénues do – by completely denying and overanalyzing everything to come up with preferable conclusions.  Alcide is no help to her with this (other than still being shirtless).  He’s still pretty pessimistic about love due to Debbie.  But Sookie cries and cries until her charms prove irresistible to Alcide who eventually gives up and comforts her (still shirtless). 

Alcide tells her he’s going to have to put a shirt on if he’s going to keep comforting her but before he can do that, the action cuts over to the Merlotte’s  parking lot where Sam is still trying to find his thieving, no account shape shifter brother, Tommy, who tried to rob him last episode.  Unfortunately he doesn’t find him.  Instead he finds ma and pa shifter camped out in an RV. After telling his mom that Tommy tried to rob him, he tells her he’s done with this whole birth family bonding shit.  It’s time for them to take their RV and go.

It’s about time for someone to come and rescue Tara too but no one’s in sight, leaving her at the mercy of her new super mean vampire boyfriend, Franklin.  Franklin’s got her glamoured and spilling every intimate detail he can get about Sookie, Bill and… Jason?  Now that’s interesting.  I can understand why he’d want to know details about Sookie and Bill but what the heck he so interested in Jason for?  Hm! Franklin then forces Tara to call Sookie so he can find out where she is. When Sookie picks up, she’s lying in bed fully clothed next to a sleeping Alcide (who’s now rocking a wife-beater which is the next best thing to being shirtless).  Tara tries her best to get Sookie to say where she is but Sookie’s preoccupied about the whole Bill thing and hangs up.  That’s not what Franklin was hoping for and to make sure Tara knows it, he bites her.

Speaking of necks, Lorena’s cracking hers back at the King’s manse.  Man, I love the writers on this show.  Pardon the pun, but wasn’t that just a lovely little nod to last episode’s freaky vampire fuck fest?  Lorena’s all aglow at what she sees as decades in coming make up sex with Bill.  Bill, however, is having none of it.  He continues to insist that he’ll never love her and throws her against a wall to make his point.  Of course that only turns her on but not as much as the collective boner Team Eric gets when Eric turns up outside Sookie’s window, asking her to invite him in.  After he comes in, she starts babbling nonsense talk at him about The North Sea in winter.  Then they start making out.  Then Eric snaps out of it to Yvetta stripping in front of him.  He’s totally uninterested which Pam seems to find disconcerting.

Dream time is definitely over in Jackson where Alcide is calling Sookie a fool for continuing to chase Bill after he so viciously dissed her.  Then it’s over to Lafayette who’s sitting in that rad new sportscar Eric gave him trying to call Tara.  Tara can’t answer though.  She’s literally all tied up with duct tape on her mouth, helplessly watching her phone vibrate.  Then the action cuts back over to Jackson where Sookie is letting in Alcide’s sister who we conveniently learned previously is a hairdresser.  She has come prepared with shears in hand to give Sookie a more ass kicking look.  As Janice plays with Sookie’s hair, Sookie reads her thoughts and learns that Alcide’s icky ex-fiance is mixed up with the weres who kidnapped Bill.

Nothing too outrageous is going on over at Merlotte’s where Bud’s retirement party is in full swing.  Jason is still acting like a spaz and all the cops are out of uniform.  Don’t they have an unsolved murder that involves decapitation hanging over their heads?  Thank god there’s a change in the leadership of the force underway.  But, uh oh, it’s Andy Bellefleur who’s being promoted to sheriff after getting kicked off the force about um.. I guess a week ago?  Jason’s is seething but not about the questionable municipal decisions of Bon Temps’ finest.  He’s all PO’d that the new star Quarterback in town is there. Apparently, Jason used to be the star quarterback on the team.  Equally apparent is that the writers for True Blood are clearly avid fans of the critically acclaimed football and family values teen soap, Friday Night Lights.     They have Hoyt calling Jason QB1 just like Big Tim Riggins calls .. Oh! I won’t get into that show as it definitely has NOTHING to do with comics.

Unlike True Blood!  Which has everything to do with comics and comics culture.  Take Sookie, for instance, who has emerged from Janice’s makeover with a not so cute goth bob and could now maybe pass for an obscure manga character at a con.  Is this thing permanent?  Are we going to have to watch her walk around in this unfortunate doo all season? 

There’s more important things to focus on though.  Like Bill and the King’s political discourse going on back at the manse.  These two are once again circling each other and trying to get a read on just what the fuck the other’s up to.  What did Bill do for the Queen?  Bill describes himself as a procurer for her majesty.  What can the King do for Bill?  Can’t he like, kill Lorena?  The king, at first, blanches at that request, saying vamping killing is a punishable offense.  Bill really, really wants her to die though and the King, well, he wants what he wants and in this case it’s the dirt on her majesty.  After some pussyfooting around what they have to offer each other, Bill rats out his immortal enemy, Eric, for selling V at what he believes is the Queen’s behest.  When the King asks why she’d be so stupid, Bill spills the deets on her tax troubles.  The King is pleased with this tidbit as it gives him what he needs to force her into a royal power couple arrangement.

Tara knows a thing or two about getting forced.  Back in Bon Temps, she’s still all tied up.  Franklin’s back and ripping the duct tape off her mouth in a way that doesn’t look sexy rough as much as it does plain old rough.  He’s also playing some wicked mind games with her and, even though it’s all kinds of wrong, I have to say that Franklin’s the VILF for me this season.  Sue me. The heart wants what the heart wants. Just whatever you do, DO NOT make me work at Merlotte’s.  Which is somehow something Jessica has decided is a good idea.  I guess I was wrong about Jessica and Sam screwing, instead he’s screwing her over with a minimum wage hostess job that probably doesn’t even pay tips.  All kinds of other tangents are popping off down at Bon Temps premiere (possibly only?) dining establishment.  Arlene’s bitchy ‘cos she’s preg, Sam’s parents are barbecuing in the parking lot, and poor Jessica runs into some schmoe from her old human bible study group who tells her her family will be so happy he found her.

Lafayette hawking V in Hot Shot

Lafayette’s out in Hot Shot, where Jason busted the meth dealer in episode two. He’s pushing the V hard on head Hot Shot scuz, Calvin Norris, who we were briefly introduced to (also in episode two).  Calvin tells Lafayette, they don’t deal with people like him.  He doesn’t know what’s he’s missing!  I know what I’m missing though – Lafayette being front and center where the action is.  Although I guess he’s up in it now, getting his ass kicked by Calvin and the rest of the Hot Shot meth heads.

The unfortunate young man from Jessica’s old bible study group is gettin’ it to, and Jessica’s givin’ it to him.  She’s laying a wicked glamour on him so he’ll forget he ever saw her.  Too bad she can’t do the same thing to Hoyt who sees the two of them giggling and laughing and breaks our hearts when his sweet face falls into sad, steely resolve. 

Also making with the steely resolve is Eric, who’s arrived just in time to get Lafayette’s back with the rednecks, simultaneously letting a backwoods tribe of feral looking drug addicts know that he’s involved in selling V.  Not his finest hour of discretion.  It is SO not Tara’s finest hour in any way.  She’s had numerous unpleasantnesses but this shit with her and my VILF takes the cake.  Tara and Franklin are now on a road trip to meet whoever employed him to do intel on Mr. Compton.  Tara demands to know what he wants with Sookie and Bill.  Franklin lets her know that while he came for info about them, he now wants her as well.

Here’s what I do not want: anymore useless Sam working it out with his long lost shapeshifter fam – at least not until it’s relevant to the rest of what’s turning out to be a very compelling plot.  It’s a nice comedic aside for now and we do get a good bare butt shot of his little brother in the next scene as the two have a heart to heart but I’m officially phoning these scenes in till they matter.

I’ll tell you what matters. An Eric and Lafayette Road Trip, that’s what! But it’s not to be.  Unfortunately, Pam calls Eric while he and Lafayette are putting Hot Shot in the rearview, informing him that the Magister’s shown up and is wise to Eric selling V.  Eric disappears from the car at super vamp warp speed, leaving Lafayette with the best line of the episode at least, “Aw hell! How my supposed to deal with all this fucked uppedness?!”

The usual fucked uppedness is still going on at Merlotte’s.  Jason tells Andy he’ll bust him for falsifying evidence if he doesn’t make him real police and Sam tells his shapeshifter fam they can stay on as long as they lay off the booze.  Fucked uppedness of the most ununsual kind is going on back at Russell’s where Tara and Franklin are greeted by Talbott who seems hungry. He asks if Tara is for him, then bitchily notes she’s skinny .  I love this guy. 

I also love Alcide but in a different way.  If Franklin’s my VILF, then Alcide’s my WILF.  Unfortunately he’s got his shirt on. More fortunately, however, Sookie’s disguise is intact as the two try to blend in at Lou Pine’s.  Sookie sidles up to one of the weres and makes with the mindreading.  He thinks she looks familiar. Did he bang her? Sookie starts doing shots to fit in. This works until a biker babe, who can’t be anyone but Alcide’s former ol’ lady, Debbie, gets in her face.

Back at Fangtasia the Magister isn’t just getting in Pam’s face; he’s totally torturing her!  Eric shows up and the Magister chillingly tells him that the loss of a child is the deepest despair that Eric will soon know if he doesn’t ‘fess up to whose behind the V ring.  Pam throws Bill under the bus to save Eric and Eric goes along with it.   The Magister gives Eric two days to come up with evidence to that effect or Pam’s toast.

No one is toasting anything over at Lou Pines which is weird for an engagement party.  But I guess when your old boyfriend shows up at your engagement party, toasts aren’t going to be first on the agenda.  Sookie tells Debbie that Alcide loves her enough to keep her from getting involved with this nasty pack.  She looks moved for a minute but it’s a quick one.  Then she’s getting passed around the crowd of weres and getting her clothes ripped off like she just stage dived into a pit at a questionable death metal show.

Cut to Russell, Lorena and Bill in a limo outside a strip joint.  Russell tells Bill that if he procured things for the Queen, then he should get his ass in the strip club and procure away.  Bill complies and Russell takes off as well, leaving Lorena all by herself.  At first I thought Russell was setting her up to be killed but instead he shows up on stage at Lou Pine’s just as Debbie’s been passed up to the stage.  Russell starts speaking German to the weres and bites open a wrist vein to fill a round of shot glasses with V.  It looks a lot like a V communion but it takes on a whole new meaning when Russell starts giving a speech about “their collaboration through the ages” together.  Sookie doesn’t get it.  Russell’s the Master that Eric and Godric spent the better part of the 20th Century trying to find! Although to be fair, this is a pretty fast reveal for the Season’s Big Bad – especially one whose identity has been a mystery for so long. But, still, DUH, SOOKIE!

Debbie gets initiated into the Operation Werewolf Pack

Good for Debbie too.  She’s getting just what she’s always wanted at Lou Pine’s.  This turns out to be a hot poker Operation Werewolf brand on her shoulder.  As she’s screaming in pain, Cooter shifts into a wolf and licks her wound.  Then, in a truly creeptastical scene, every wolf in the place starts shifting uncontrollably.  Including Alcide, who manages to tell Sookie to run before he turns.

Next we see Bill’s anguished face as he’s escorting the stripper into Russell’s limo.  He can feel that Sookie’s in danger and nearby but he’s also taking the stripper’s words to heart. There’s no point in loving anyone. And if there’s no point in loving anyone, then there’s no point in the cruelty free diet he’s been on either. After a barely perceptible hesitation, he joins Lorena and the King for a footlong slut sandwich and the episode closes on her blood dripping into a puddle underneath the car.

The undercurrents of resigning yourself to your basest instincts and the doomed nature of love were so palpable in this episode that it almost made me ache.  Except it didn’t.   Because this isn’t Friday Night Lights! It’s True Blood!  And this was the best episode of the season so far.  At least I thought so. What did you think?


  1. That Franklin is trouble! I liked Sookie’s reaction to being dumped. Also, more Eric and Lafayette hanging out please…

  2. on a day like today, one filled with Pekar remembrances and distribution rebellions; i feel proud in stating this fact…

    not comics.

  3. “They didn’t air an episode on July 4th? I thought you’d be two weeks behind.”

    HBO tends not to air new episodes on holiday weekends.

  4. So far, I’m finding this season to be a tad dull. There’s no sense of tension nor are the episodes ending on a cliffhanger which the previous two seasons had.

    Also, I’m finding the new, lovey-dovey, Fonzi-like Eric kind of goofy. Liked him a lot more when he was prick vampire.

    However, I am enjoying Franklin. He’s been about the best thing on the show so far this season. He would be a perfect Cassidy if that Preacher movie / series is ever made.

    I’ll keep watching with the hope it’ll turn things around. But right now, it’s reminding me of the season 2 of Heroes… and that’s not a good thing.

  5. Jacob – Agreed. Definitely not comics. Not sure what else to say about that other than I felt weird about posting this recap after Harvey Pekar’s passing. It certainly wasn’t my intention to take any of the focus off the community’s rememberances of such an important, seminal figure.

    Wesley – I think the first episode sucked but it’s picked up from there. Storylines ARE going to need to start converge quickly though. I am, however enjoying how the last couple episodes have ended on totally angsty notes on the human condition. The last two ending scenes with Bill, while not cliff-hangers, have been really intense.

    And yeah, you called it, Eric is totes acting like some dorky Fonzie vampire.

  6. Shannon- You do have a point regarding the last two endings involving Bill. I’ll even take it a step further and say the guy playing Bill is doing a knock out job this year. He’s been showing his chops this season.

  7. I want Tara to be vamp-turned… leave Bon Temps… marry BLADE (how’s that for ‘Comics content’?)… and raise a bunch of Daywalking Vampire Hunters.

    At least it’ll be better than the TRUE BLOOD life she’s having!

  8. despite my “not comics” comments, i find True Blood to be a pretty poor show in general (i say that only having seen the first two seasons).

    it feels like “Buffy with tits”

    if i was a teenage girl i’d probably love it; but i’m not. i’m a comic book fan. so i’m stuck wondering what this has to do with Comics Culture.

    i’ve been quiet on the subject lately, but i’m hoping at some point that you (or someone else here) could explain to me what this television show has to do with sequential storytelling.


  9. Shannon, i certainly never thought that you ever intended to take the spotlight off of Harvey Pekar. it’s just that the existance of clive owen/gerard butler/harry potter/george lucas/ professional wrestling/ lost/ television/ hollywood here in a “comics culture” blog continues to confuse me.

  10. Jacob: IDW is publishing a True Blood comic. I think the first issue comes out this month. So there you go, comics!

  11. Jacob, I can’t really comment on the editorial choices of this site. However, in my opinion (which does not reflect the opinions of this site!), it can be fuzzily argued that genre television shows like Lost or True Blood are of interest to MANY (although for sure not all) comic book readers and therefore fall under the realm of “comics culture.” Particularly serialized shows with rich character histories and lots of cliffhangers that make use of genres like fantasy, sci fi, and superheroes.

    That said, I totally get where you’re coming from. Except for one thing – a lot of teenage girls read comics, dude. Their opinions are just valid as anyone else’s. So watch who you’re dissing when making a point.

    Oh, and the Buffy with tits thing? So not true! True Blood often rips storylines straight from Buffy but they’re two totally different animals. And there were a lot of bouncing boobs on Buffy. Just not naked ones.

    Ed – Re: Tara and Blade. Gosh that would be an awesome pairing. Someone needs to pitch a miniseries to IDW stat! Or at least write some groovy fan fic.