Episode Title: "Hopeless"
Writer: Alan Ball
Director: Daniel Attias
Previously on "True Blood":
In the seemingly abandoned hospital, Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) and Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) confront the recovering Russell Edgington (Denis O'Hare) moments before Alcide Herveaux (Joe Manganiello) is dragged from the room by another werewolf. As Bill and Eric fight two other wolves, Sookie Stackhouse ( Anna Paquin) is briefly left alone against Russell himself, but she uses her faerie powers to subdue him. Eric and Bill kill the wolves attacking them before Eric nearly finishes Russell off. Only at the point of a stake is Bill able to hold Eric back before members of the Authority's security force arrives with Chancellor Kibwe (Peter Mensah).
In Fangtasia, a bathroom fight between Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) and Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley) bursts into the main bar, with Tara quickly getting the upper hand. Pam (Kristin Bauer) watches with amusement before stopping the fight and dragging Tara away. Pam tells Tara that she only works there, but her showing in the fight made her proud. But then Pam ruins the moment by saying it was like a human being proud of a well trained dog. Back at the abandoned hospital, Russell is chained by the strike team. Kimbe demands to know who Sookie and Alcide are, so Bill and Eric lie and say they were simply bystanders caught up in their hunt for Russell.
With the implied threat against their safety, Bill pretends to glamour Sookie into forgetting him and Eric. Unfortunately for Alcide, Eric really does glamour him into forgetting… and into finding Sookie to be "a bit disgusting" to kill their romance before it gets started. At the same time, Kibwe finds Alcide's friend, Doug and the humans who were held captive to feed Russell. Kibwe even promises to have the humans glamoured to forget their experiences after they are questioned. At the home of Martha Bozmen (Dale Dickey), her granddaughter, Emma (Chloe Noelle) shows up as a werewolf pup sometime after the shooting of Emma's mother, Luna (Janina Gavankar) and her boyfriend, Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell).
Back at Fangtasia, Hoyt (Jim Parrack) is happy because he thinks that Jessica's fight with Tara means that she still has feelings for him. Hoyt offers himself to be used by Jessica in any depraved way that she sees fit, but she rejects him and tells him "this isn't you." On the road, Alcide is surprised to find himself driving with Sookie and he is unable to remember where they are or why she is crying. Kibwe sees Eric and Bill off to the Authority before he enters a bus holding Doug and the other human survivors… shortly before slaughtering them all. At his home, Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten) has a dream vision of his father and he promises him that he will find the vampire who killed him.
But when Jason's father begins to speak, Jason suddenly wakes up. Sometime later back at Sookie's house, Alcide wakes up naked and alone in Sookie's room. He finds Sookie downstairs at her breakfast table. Alcide's fuzzy memories lead him to believe that they slept together, but he recoils when Sookie tries to take his hand. Realizing what Eric has done, Sookie breaks the glamour over Alcide's mind; which allows him to remember that the third werewolf that attacked him was J.D. (Louis Herthum), the new packmaster of Shreveport. Alcide takes off to confront J.D., leaving a dejected Sookie behind.
Meanwhile, both Sam and Luna survive their gunshot wounds in the hospital. Martha arrives with Emma before Luna grudgingly allows her to be a part of Emma's life going forward. To protect Emma from the shifter killers, Luna asks Martha to look after her daughter. At the nursing home, Lafayette arrives to see his mother, Ruby Jean Reynolds (Alfre Woodard). Ruby tells him that his dead lover, Jesus (Kevin Alejandro) passed on a message and he wants Lafayette to save him from his uncle, Don Bartolo. Ruby also explains that she has always had some psyche ability, if not the ability to fully articulate what she sees and hears.
At the hospital, Sam goes to Sheriff Andy Bellefleur (Chris Bauer) and he demands to be a part of his investigation into the shifter shootings or else he'll do it himself. Elsewhere, Rikki (Kelly Overton) and a few of the other werewolves are clearly disappointed with J.D.'s leadership when Alcide arrives and makes a challenge for J.D.'s position. When no one else will openly stand with Alcide, Rikki offers to be his second. Back at Authority headquarters, Bill and Eric are given a hero's welcome and their harnesses are removed. Roman (Christopher Meloni) is especially happy to see them and toasts to their success with a bottle of expensive and rare blood.
Although Bill plays along with Roman's speech, Eric refuses to concede his belief in Roman's philosophy… which only makes Roman laugh. Eric requests that he be allowed to see Nora (Lucy Griffiths), but the favor is not granted until he confesses that she is his sister. Salome (Valentina Cervi) seems surprised when Roman states that he wants Russell executed immediately, but she follows his demands and prepares him for the ceremony. Back in Merlotte's, Sookie runs into Eric and learns about the faerie nightclub. After finding their way back there, they encounter their cousin, Hadley and Claudine's brother, Claude.
Claude explains that Sookie and Eric's parents were killed by a single vampire who was drawn to the smell of something in their car. In a flashback, we see that the object in question was a band-aid with Sookie's blood on it. In disbelief, Sookie activates her faerie powers before she is struck by beams of light from multiple faeries. At the anti-vampire shop, Andy pursues a line of questioning of the owner as Sam snoops around the store. But when the owner moves to shoot Andy, Sam saves his life with a crossbow. Back at Fangtasia, Hoyt allows a male vampire to drain his body well past safe levels… before the vampire is murdered in front of him by the masked shifter killers.
One of the killers recognizes Hoyt and carries him to the car before they drive off. In the Authority's dungeon, Eric is dismayed that Nora is apparently a radical Sanguinista. Nora doesn't even acknowledge Eric until Salome leads Russell through the dungeon. Nora is surprised by Russell's presence and she tells Eric that this all part of Lilith's divine plan. In the main chamber, Bill is present alongside Salome, Kibwe, Rosalyn Harris (Carolyn Hennesey) and Dieter Braun (Christopher Heyerdahl) as Russell is prepared for his execution at Roman's hands. Eric arrives just in time to see Russell break free from a disabled harness. And before anyone can react, Russell stakes Roman, killing him.
I was a little late to the "True Blood" party this week thanks to Comic-Con, so Roman's death was spoiled for me ahead of time. Note to other TV news sites, when you put a character from a television series up on your home page and say "**** talks about last night's shocking ____," we already know that it's code for somebody getting killed off or written out.
That said, Roman's death still had a bit of shock value, if only for the moment in which his face violently contorted after the death blow. Russell's "peace is for pussies" line may also be one of the best this season. It seems a little wasteful to let an actor like Christopher Meloni leave a series after such a brief stint, but for the unspoiled it was probably a great surprise. For the last two episodes, it's been clear that Salome was the ringleader of the Sanguinistas within the Authority. There's no subtlety there. But now I wonder how many of the rest were in on in on the plan. After all, Kibwe seemed to be pretty reasonable right up until he slaughtered a bus full of humans.
This was never about overthrowing the Authority, it was about co-opting it from within. Russell may not care for the Authority or the Sanguanistas, but his presence even as a figurehead could legitimize the coup to the more radical vampire elements. That's really bad news for Bill and Eric, who have to be wondering how they will even get out of the room with a fully revived Russell standing in their way.
The murder of Sookie and Jason's parents took an interesting turn this week when we learned that they essentially died because a vampire smelled a drop of their daughter's blood in the car. A single vampire killed them? That usually means that it will be someone whom we've met before. In this case, I would say that the killer was either Bill or Eric. But I think that making Bill the killer would really twist the knife in Sookie… figuratively, at least. However, it could easily be Eric or someone else.
Eric did have a truly hilarious moment in which he tried to sabotage Alcide's feelings for Sookie. For a second, I thought that Eric was going the noble route while telling Alcide to protect her. When he went in the other direction, it was a cock-block of epic proportions. Of course, Eric wouldn't have done that if he didn't still have feelings for Sookie. That's never going to go away from either Eric or Bill.
Hoyt's story isn't really doing anything for me, but it was nice touch to tie it in with the shifter (and now, vampire) killers. It's hard to picture Jason becoming fanatical with his anti-vampire feelings again, but I can totally see that for Hoyt. Losing Jessica has made Hoyt so desperate for what he experienced with her that he will literally take it from anyone who gives it to him. An obsession that strong can turn into hatred pretty easily.
The Sam and Andy partnership is also showing some promise now that some of these plotlines are converging. However, the best part of the episode is still Denis O'Hare's Russell Edgington. O'Hare' just gets all of the best lines and the joy he seems to get from his performance is infectious. And the idea of the Vampire Authority under Russell's control has a lot of dark possibilities going forward.