Marnie, er, Antonia is in full-on attack mode. High-yo, silver, away!
"The sun" -- JessicaCall Bill what you will: A boorish politican, heartless-on-the-surface ruler, gold card member of Jos. A Bank. But he had a seemingly good plan to combat Marnie/Antonia's plot against all of vampire kind.
And he did it fairly quickly. American Congress -- take note.
MY ANTONIA: Basically, the whole Marnie as Antonia's rise to power and fast plan to wreak vengeance against vampires was the best part of this slow episode. Thankfully, it was most of the episode, so I was OK with it.
We started off where we left off, with Marnie/Antonia taking control of Luis (he's even instructed by Marntonia to kill the "traitor," Katie, so he suffocates her. Katie, we hardly knew ye). As Marntonia escapes Bill's compound, Luis then goes after Bill. He shoots Bill, but Bill overpowers him and kills him.
Which sets up backstory time! Bill tells Jessica that he knows just who Antonia is. Exposition awaits! "Antonia is the only human ever known to wield power over vampires," Bill explains. "She cast a spell that drew all the vampires into the sun."
"She has returned," he adds. DUN-DUN-DUN.
Jessica then learns of Bill's plans: silvering. Every one. Yup, every vampires (I guess in the Bon Temps Greater Metro Area) is told to silver themsevles in their coffins so they aren't powered by Marntonia to burn up in the sun.
We're treated to some nice scenes: Bill and Jessica (who is in full-on Git-R-Done mode about killing off Marntonia (she even says she waits to eat off her face) talk about their lives and connection together and how they love each other and whatnot; Sookie is there to protect her new beau, Eric (more on this later); and even Fangtasia's screaming human barmaid, Ginger, is there to help Pam. Aww, teamwork!
The weirdest part of this whole thing is seeing Tara being recruited by Marntonia to joint he fray. It wasn't too surprising to see Marntonia go after Tara as her main let's-fight-vamps-minion. Tara, after all, has never had a single good vampish experience. But did anyone see this plot coming? Tara deciding to full-on fight vamps with a witch who is posessed by a witch who died in 1610.
Tara can officially not catch a break. Even when we think she's on the right track (love with another cage fighter! Moving to somewhere that isn't Bon Temps!), she decides to be a soldier in the Marntonia Army.
Anyway, Marntonia wastes no time as chanting with her witch followers, elevating herself off the ground and causing one big old windstorm over the town. Vamps try to fight it, screaming. Maxine Fortenberry's vamp neighbor apparently didn't get the memo, because she trance-like, goes out into the sun and burns up in front of Maxine. "I knew it!" is all Maxine says.
Jessica, even bound by silver, is so overcome by the spell that she breaks free, knocks out a guard and leaves Bill, even though he urges her to let him free (Marntonia, oh-so powerful). The final scene: Jessica reaching the door and seeing the sun squeeze through. "The sun!" she says. Jessica, no!
It's not like I think she'll really burn up (Jason's out there to protect her, and I can sense the "True Blood" writers seriously setting up these two for a relationship), but I'm curious to see the aftermatch of Marntonia's first act against the vamps.
Let the Marntonia battle commence! Usually, we're treated to a final bad guy-good guys showdown in the last few episodes of each "True Blood" season. Now we're at the midway point and the battle is raging. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. And who will join each side.
LET'S TALK ABOUT SOOKIE-ERIC SEX: I may be wrong, but I think this is the longest Anna Paquin nudity scene in the show's history. Not that I'm complaining (one of my housemates particularly enjoyed it enough to yell, "Yeah! Soft-core porn!), just pointing it out.
I also like how the writers decided not to show us how exactly Eric and Sookie made it back to the house. Did they have sex in the woods first, then casually walk back home and start up again? Did they sex-roll back? Either way, that sex must have lasted awhile.
And then we were treated to some hilarious post-coital talk from Eric. Cheesy, no? "I'm listening to your heartbeat. I can feel it through your skin. It feels like my own heart is beating." Really?
PAM: MAKEOVER EDITION: Pam now officially looks like she's straight out of one of those "Bodies" exhibitions. She wasn't able to kill Pam and Naomi (thwarted by a punch of humans shooting footage to sell to TMZ), but she was able to get some treatment from a nurse, which looked to be some soft of full-body skin peel.
"You're still rotting on the inside," the nurse tell her. In case you were wondering.
LAFAYETTE-OUT-LOUD WEIRD: Lafayette is now pretty much sidled with the most random sideplot of the season. I'm not quite exaclty sure what went down in Mexico, but from what I gather, he now has some power of a medium and Jesus' Tio Luca. Or something.
Either way, now he can see that old-fashioned ghostlady that baby Mikey sees. And now the ghostlady creepily sings in French. Seriously, what is this?
WORST DATE EVER: Andy Bellefleur and Holly. He not only told her the roses he bought her were "on sale," but then has a withdrawl-from-V freakout within two minutes. Back to Match.com, Andy!
RELATIONSHIP THAT WILL NEVER STABILIZE: Sam and Tommy. After learning Tommy became him last episode and slept with Luna, he evicts him from his trailer. Being shape-shifting brothers is tough.
GOOD TO KNOW: Being initiated into a new werewolf pack includes a packleader rubbing blood from deer onto your face. King of like joining Phi Beta Kappa. Or so I've heard.
BEST QUOTE: "I felt like a giant-ass puppet for your ghost-uncle," Lafayette. Not only the best, but I'm assuming these words have never been spoken before.
OVERALL GRADE: Pretty slow in parts, but the Marntonia elevation and game-changing set-up for a supernatural battle, gives this episode a B.Jordan Bartel is assistant editor at b. Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter, @jordanbartel.