“True Blood”: Evan Rachel Wood vamps things up

Wood as Sophie-Ann is, thankfully, not Asasha
Wood as Sophie-Ann is, thankfully, not Asasha

By Elaine Bergstrom

It was probably inevitable that, after so many sobering and thought-provoking episodes, True Blood would wander back into comedic territory with Evan Rachel Wood’s over-the-top performance as Sophie-Ann, Queen of the Vampires.

And what a job she did as she lolled around the pool in false sunlight with her human donors at the ready like a living wine rack. With almost incorrigible good humor, she played perfectly off the dour and puritanical Bill, who came to seek her advice on what to do to restore order — and some dignity — to Bon Temps. She tossed off her one-liners as if she’d truly had thousands of years to perfect them. Most notable:

When Bill says things have gotten bad in Bon Temps and they are running out of time: “There’s no such thing as bad — or time, for that matter.”

When she finally explains what little she knows about Maryann’s kind: “Maenads are sad, silly things. … They’re still waiting for the god who comes. … They only exist in human’s minds, like money and morality.” She then noted that maenads imagined themselves into existence, as everything did. When Bill questions this, she adds, “Never underestimate the power of blind faith.”

And, after she finally tells Bill what he needs to know — that Maryann needs to find what she thinks is the right vessel, a supernatural being with a beating heart — she sends him off with, “Enjoy your restricted diet.”

There was even more humor in the interplay between Jason and Andy who, along with Sam, seem to be the only people in Bon Temps who haven’t been turned black-eyed and pixilated by Maryann’s shaky power. Jason is still in full Rambo mode, and when he is reminded that the people he wants to shoot are his possessed neighbors, he says, “Sometimes you have to destroy something to save it. That’s in the Bible (befuddled pause) or the constitution.”

And, of course, there were those moments when Jason and Andy conjectured, as well as they were able, on Sam’s shapeshifting abilities. “Could he turn into a chicken and lay an egg and then turn back and then eat something that came out of him?” Or the dog-on-dog reference, which did make me wonder a bit about what Sam and Daphne were up to at night.

Sheriff Bud dancing in his tighty whities (boxer-style) with a reluctant Andy was as disturbing as it was hilarious. Or Lafayette commenting to Sookie about Eric, “Somebody ought to slap that bitch.” Her response, “I did.”

But there were serious moments, too. Sam taking Arlene’s kids under his wing (could be literally, this is Sam, after all) and feeding them their first meal in days. Sookie walking through Gram’s ruined house, and telling Lafayette, “I almost got raped in Dallas. This is so much worse.” Lafayette terror struck when Lettie Mae lets fly a round. Then, as he looks at her in horror, she morphs into Eric in a dress. It wasn’t pretty, though I must say that Eric is growing on me. I just wish he wasn’t quite so preening. It’s beneath a man of his age — particularly a former Viking (unless he is channeling diva wide receiver Randy Moss).

September 13 is the season finale — and the main question is: Who will Maryann want as her vessel? Will she want to use Sookie? Or will she choose Sam, who will be dragged, the finale rushes suggest, to the altar by Bill? Or perhaps she has other plans for Sookie. No matter, I will be glad to see Maryann gone once and for all so we can concentrate on the real problems of humans and vamps.

Two questions, readers: What would you like to see next season? And can someone explain what Maryann meant when she said to Tara, “You willed me into existence.” She has to be referring to something that happened last season, perhaps at the exorcism but my memory fails me. Maybe all our memories are supposed to fail us, making us get a glimpse of what it means to be pixilated.

Photo credit: HBO

About Elaine Bergstrom 212 Articles
Feature writer, writing coach and novelist (12 published, another on the way) in the genre of horror/vampire fiction