Episode Title: "Cold Grey Light of Dawn"
Writer: Alexander Woo
Director: Michael Ruscio
Previously on "True Blood":
Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) learned that his rival, Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) had been hiding out at the home of Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) and he confronted them just before they were about to make love. Eric easily dominated the fight until Sookie told him that Bill was his king. After Eric surrendered to his custody, Bill had Sookie escorted away from him as she pleaded for Eric's life. Meanwhile, Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) had to deal with the fire seemingly caused by the evil doll or the evil baby of Terry (Todd Lowe) and Arlene (Carrie Preston). In his absence, his brother Tommy Mickens (Marshall Allman) discovered that he could shift into Sam's form and wreck havoc in his life.
Meanwhile, Bill's other prisoner, Marnie (Fiona Shaw) gave herself over to the will of the dead witch Antonia (Paola Turbay), giving the spirit the chance to avenge herself upon one of the vampires who raped and tortured her 400 years before. In Mexico, Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) and Jesus (Kevin Alejandro) were tricked by Jesus' grandfather, Don Bartolo (Del Zamora) and Jesus was poisoned by a snake. A spirit entered Lafayette's body and saved Jesus with magic before departing.
Back in Bon Temps, Bill was moved by Eric's apparent selfless penance to him and Sookie. Bill even let Eric go and reunite with Sookie. Almost immediately, they picked up where they left off and made love under the stars.
One of Bill's female security operatives sees the vampire in Marnie's cell and assumes that he is attacking her. But it turns out to be a trap and Marnie — or rather, Antonia in Marnie's body — orders her new puppet to kill the woman who once betrayed her. She then sends him after Bill with a message. Elsewhere, Pam (Kristin Bauer) is kicking the s*** out of Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley) and her MMA girlfriend. Only the arrival of anti-vamp witnesses saves Tara and her girl, with some of the assembled onlookers guessing that Pam is a zombie. But given what the AVL would do to Pam for killing Tara on camera, the smart thing to do would have been to say "Brains…"
Instead, Pam lets Tara go with a warning that she will kill her in the future. Alarmed by the threat, Tara brakes up with her girlfriend to spare her from Pam's wraith. Meanwhile, Marine's puppet vampire attacks Bill and lets him know that Antonia lives again in her body. Realizing that Antonia has the power to force vampires to walk into the sun, he warns the sheriffs to evacuate all vampires in the state. Those that remain are told to bind themselves with silver during the day. In the forest, Alcide Herveaux (Joe Manganiello) and Debbie Pelt (Brit Morgan) are initiated into their new wolf pack. And Debbie generously offers to search for Sookie with him during a lull in the ceremony.
However, instead of finding Sookie in danger, they see her in the throws of passion with Eric. Somehow, Eric and Sookie make it back to their place and into bed without bothering to stop going at each other or getting dressed. As they hold each other, Eric admits that he doesn't want his memories back if they would separate them again or make him the vampire he used to be. At Fangtasia, Pam undergoes a dramatic full body peel to remove the dead and rotting flesh from Marnie's spell. But she's told that there is no cure for the rot and she will have to endure injections for the rest of her life to recover her looks.
In the woods, Tara encounters Marnie and the older woman makes Tara experience her life as Antonia. Marnie offers Tara the chance to strike back against the vampires as part of a new coven, which she accepts. Bill visits Sookie and Eric and he warns them about the danger that Marnie represents. He also gives Eric silver chains so he can be bound and survive the day. Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) is bound near her maker, Bill; although she reacts poorly to the silver burns on her body. In Merlotte's, Lafayette (seriously?! did he teleport from Mexico?!) sees the spirit of a young black woman haunting Arlene's baby. And Sam works out that Tommy slept with his girlfriend and usurped his life. He orders Tommy to be out of his house in ten minutes and to never return.
At Marnie's emporium, the new and reformed coven casts a spell as she commands. All over Bon Temps and the surrounding areas, every vampire gets the uncontrollable urge to walk into the sunlight. Those that didn't heed Bill's warning die almost instantly. As Sookie tends to Eric, she mentions to her brother, Jason (Ryan Kwanten) that no vamp can fight the spell by themselves. Jason immediately thinks of Jessica and runs to Bill's home. Inside, Jessica brakes free from her chains as Bill screams at her to return. Outside, Bill's security guard tackles Jason just as Jessica opens the door to step into the sunlight.
I have to admit that I loved the early scene between Pam and Tara more than anything else in the episode. Zombie skin Pam is just a lot more fun than her usual self, although that crowd of onlookers was a little too convenient. Tara's girlfriend should have probably been killed off in that scene to give her the motivation to join the coven. Otherwise, it's hard to buy that Tara would willingly get involved with Marnie. As I recall, Tara doesn't have any magical affinity and she was only there by chance when Eric attacked the coven in the first place.
After last week's epic consummation, it seemed like Sookie and Eric spent almost every scene together either having sex or lying in bed. They can get away with that for a while, but at some point the primary protagonists have to actually do something other than waiting around for the story to come to them. They're very likable together, but they haven't been very active in the chain of events. The interesting thing that's emerged from that courtship is that Eric has no desire for his memories or his former life if they would separate him from Sookie.
The show has kind of danced around the fact that Eric's done some horrible things to Sookie that should have alienated him from her already. But there was a nice callback to the second season and Eric's willingness to die for Sookie and Godric. Sookie actually took the time to reflect on that and accept the gesture for what it was. However, she's less direct with Eric's current incarnation about whether she would still love him if his old self returned. Chances are, she probably wouldn't. At some point, the old Eric is bound to come back. The only question is whether any trace of the new Eric will remain.
Lafayette and Jesus' sojourn into Mexico doesn't seem to be very popular among some fans, but I actually thought that sequence was fairly cool and I like Lafayette's new status as a medium. It was strange that Marnie didn't approach him for the new coven. But do you know what was even stranger? How the hell did Lafayette get back from Mexico in time to handle the lunch crowd at Merlotte's?! Seriously, does Bon Temps have a major metropolitan airport that nobody mentions? It can't have more than one restaurant, otherwise why would people keep eating at Merlotte's?
It seems like "True Blood" is trying to make the audience root for Hoyt and Jessica to stay together, but when Hoyt comes off like a wet blanket and Jessica says that she doesn't love him, then maybe it's time to see other people. Jessica's inevitable romance with Jason could be interesting if he doesn't regress into acting like a moron. I'm not holding my breath on that one.
More than anyone else, Fiona Shaw really stole the show this week. While Marnie was too scared to be an effective villain, Antonia has the perfect blend of righteous anger and the power to take revenge on all of the vamps. It's hard to top Russell Edginton and Maryann, but this was the first indication that Marnie may be able to reach their level.
One last note, Debbie Pelt could be a really interesting character if she didn't seem to be destined to go into a jealous rage against Sookie. She's one of the few characters on the show who has actually been trying to make herself a better person without the benefit of magical amnesia or lying about her background. It would be refreshing if she didn't violently attack Sookie by the end of the season, but I wouldn't bet against that either.
Crave Online Rating: 8 out of 10.