There's a lot of things I could call this week's episode: The 28-year-old virgin. The Truth About Maryann. Lies my Preacher Told Me. Mostly, though, I feel inclined to call it My Favorite So Far This Season. Multiple plot threads came to a jaw-dropping head this week. "Release Me" (the episode's for-real title) finally answered some of our most burning questions, but did so without really offering any resolutions. All the better, I say. With five episodes left until the season wraps, I'll take all the tension sexual, religious and otherwise I can get. So what made this episode the best so far? Let's recap and see...
"Piiiigggggg!" hollers Andy facedown in the mud. (I can't get enough of Andy and these pigs.) Andy, on the heels of shapeshifted Sam and Daphne, inadvertently ends up in Maryann's circle of sex/death/wtf. The sobering sight of the zombified orgy causes the suspended detective to fire off his gun, disrupting the group trance. Sam takes the opportunity to escape and the bull-headed Maryann pursues him into the woods, grubby pig fingers and all. A glimpse of an owl in a tree gives Sam the out he needs, and he drops trou and flies off.
The next day, Sam returns to Merlotte's to fish a gun out of the chimney before heading to the dock. There he finds Daphne, chillaxing in the warm Louisiana sun. He threatens her, half furious, half brokenhearted, accusing her of betraying him and saying he trusted her more than anyone in his life. Ever. She laughs it off, belittling his torment and slowly begins to reveal the mystery behind Maryann: "She's God dum dum!" "She's not God," says Sam, incredulous. "She's as close to God as we'll ever get," Daphne replies in her undies from the lake. "People call her all kinds of things: Holly, Lilith, Isis, Gaia but she's really a maenad one the handmaidens of Dionysus...Dionysus, Satan, it's all just a kind of energy. Wild energy."
Daphne goes on to explain that, yes, as supernaturals they're resistant to Maryann's powers. Maryann's so fixated on Sam because of how elusive he's proven to be. Daphne urges Sam to give himself over to her as she has, but he looks at her all crazy-like and storms off.
Sookie's trapped with claustrophobic Hugo in a cage in the basement of the Fellowship of the Sun church. Godric's nowhere in sight and Sookie's having a hard time piecing the whole thing together. (No surprise there.) Preacher Steve comes down with refreshments in an effort to glean information from the pair. Sookie refuses: "You call yourself Christians? Jesus would be ashamed of you!" "Well, I guess we're gonna have to agree to disagree on that one," says Steve. Hugo, on the other hand, can't wait to spill his guts and betrays Sookie's real name. Steve's eyes bulge out of their sockets when he hears the name Stackhouse and rushes out to find Jason. Royally pissed, Sookie snaps: "Hugo, do me a favor and shut the fuck up."
At one point, Sookie grabs Hugo's arm to shake some sense into him and is immediately immersed in his thoughts, which, up until now, have remained heavily guarded. Hugo's the mole a classic case of misplaced passion and unrequited vampire love. Confused because Bill hasn't yet come to her rescue, Sookie attempts to contact Barry the Telepathic Bellhop to relay her S.O.S.
Lorena's still got Bill holed up in his hotel room at the Carmilla. She's crazy about him literally and we flash back to the couple's last encounter. Fed up with her carnivorous ways, Bill demands out of the relationship. After a heated struggle in which Bill declares "I do not, can not and I will never love you," Lorena finally concedes, saying "As your maker, I release you." Back to the future 70 years, and the two are still having essentially the same argument. They're facing off, attempting to Outwit, Outlast and Outplay each other through the night and into the daylight hours. ("The bleeds have begun." Bill) He pleads with her to allow him to call Eric, and Lorena, amused, finally informs Bill that Eric is the reason she's there.
Over at the Light of Day Institute, Jason and Sarah bask in the afterglow of their vampire-hatin' lovemaking session. Sarah's a crier, it turns out, which confuses the easily confused Jason. Even more confusing, nay troubling, is her insistence on informing Steve of their balcony nookie. "Wait. Let's think about this. A. Steve has guns. Then there's the lockdown tomorrow night. And secondly we're gonna be locked in this church with Steve and his guns all night."
Realizing his time is up, Jason packs his bags and attempts to sneak away. Steve and Gabe intercept him, however, forcing him into a shiny beige Escalade with a hunting knife. They drive him out into the woods and Steve confronts him, "You are snakier than a snake in the grass." Ouch! "Hey buddy, you're confusing me with someone else," says Jason. "Say a prayer," advises Steve. "You are going to hell and you're going there today." Jason manages to escape after brawling with Gabe (who's a surprisingly crappy fighter for a Soldier of God, by the way). Hours later, Jason's still running for his life away from the LODI when a vehicle comes barreling down the dark country road after him. Rather than take cover, Jason waves down the SUV, pleading for his life. He's momentarily relieved to see Sarah step out of the car. That is until she shoots him in the gut.
Gabe returns to the LODI dungeon for Sookie after having his ass handed to him by her brother. He knocks Hugo unconscious and moves in to rape Sookie when Godric swoops in to pull him off of her. Now we're talkin'.
Oh, and remember that bloody rock from last week? Yeah. Eggs has totally ripped out peoples' hearts before and Daphne is next.
Eric: "Tell me what is it that you find so fulfiling about human companionship?"
Isabel: "They feel much more strongly than we do. Everything is urgent, exciting. Maybe because their lives are so ... temporary."
Eric: "Yes they certinly don't keep well."
Hoyt: "I ain't never done it yet ... with a girl."
Jessica: "What have you done it with?"
Jessica: "I totally woulda been a slut if I coulda gotten away with it."
Tara (about Maryann): "She is so fucking weird."
Andy: "Terry! Get out here! I'm gonna kick your ass so hard you're gonna be shittin' boots!"
Arlene: "I haven't blacked out since junior prom."
Lafayette (about Eggs): "Satan in a Sunday hat. Satan in a fucking Sunday hat."
Andy: "Fuck all y'all devil zombies."
NEXT WEEK: Eric tries to sacrifice himself for Godric; Stan brings in the vampire troops; Steve promises a holy bonfire at dawn.
(Photo by Steven Lippman)
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