Think Dick Cheney's thoughts on torture are extreme? Meet the Authority.
Meet them and be afraid. Very afraid. Because underneath the sheen of gentility, bureaucratic formalities and a really sweet reception area, the Authority is pretty vicious.
Indeed, Nan Flanagan was murdered and they want to get the bottom of it. But seriously, silver pulsating through Bill and Eric's veins during interrogation? Whatever happened to we want to live with the humans peacefully?
The bulk of the second episode of the season was set at the Vampire Authority headquarters in what appears to be an underground labyrinth of a warehouse (it's super dark). Bill, Eric and Nora are in handcuffs and escorted in to meet Salome (Valentina Cervi) a fellow Authority chancellor who is not happy with Nora.
Quick summary of the meeting:
Nora: "They're more valuable to us alive!"
Salome takes the three down to their jail cells where they meet a fellow prisoner, Nigel, who Nora tells us was eating babies instead of delivering them. You just can't trust all vampire doctors to not eat newborns, apparently.
Nigel's face is severly scarred and we soon find out why — UV light blankets each cell and smoke stars to come off of the prisoner's faces. Authority does not play.
It only gets worse. We don't see what the Authority has in store for Nora (she's being suspected of treason, so that can't be good for her), but Bill and Eric get separate interrogations.
Bill is questioned by an older gentleman (I say this loosely) and he's attached to a machine with three vials hooked to his arm via a tube. It looks vaguely like a Jack Kevorkian suicide machine.
There's a copy of a "Vampire Bible" on the table, and Bill's interrogator wants to know if he's a true believer. Here, we interestingly learn that before God created Adam and Eve he created Lilth, "who, like God, was vampire." I could already hear the church protests forming.
The Bible also says that man was put on Earth as food sources (co-mingling peacefully, huh?).
"Do you believe it?" the man asks Bill.
"I do not," Bill responds.
When Bill later says he isn't a "true believer" again, the man presses a button and the silver floods Bill's veins. He grimaces wildly, appears out of breath and looks to be suffering something similar to a heart attack.
Eric is tortured similarly by Salome.
"Was it you or Bill Compton who murdered Nan Flanagan?" she asks.
"Nan Flanagan is dead?" Eric says.
Later, the two are hooded and transported to a chamber where we finally meet Roman, the Guardian of the Vampire Authority. And what an entrance.
Played by Christopher Meloni, Roman is a hulking menace in a tailored suit. He appears and slices his wrist, sucks out some blood — "the blood of Lilith. The first, the last, the eternal" — and places blood drops into the mouths of the fellow chancellors (who seem to be his right-hand men and women) sitting around a table.
Think the president's Cabinet but with more vampire religion and blood.
There's a little boy, a woman who dresses and looks like Elizabeth Dole, Salome and an older man (who seems more sympathetic to Bill and Eric's motives).
Meloni is great. He embodies power and fear with a single glare. We don't quite know what he's all about (in"True Blood"tradition, we'll have to wait to see if he's purely evil or a conflicted antagonist), but for now, I'm happy with his edgy performance, even if he does say stuff like "We are the Authority. I am the Authority. The True Death for Northman means the True Death for Northman."
The chancellors say the "mainstreaming agenda is too important" to let these guys live, though the older man says the two "destroyed a very real threat."
"They killed an Authority member!" the little boy screeches. He is, officially, my least favorite Authority chancellor. Elizabeth Dole lookalike is a close second.
It appears Roman has decided to give Bill and Eric the True Death (he loves his wooden stake) but lets them have a final word.
"I offer an exchange," Bill says. "Our lives in return for Russell Edgington."
Bill explains that he and Eric did not kill Russell, but "consigned him to the ground" and now he has broken free ("We felt like the True Death was too good for him," he explains).
Bill says that while he fully expects to eventually get the True Death, he and Eric will help track down Russell and kill him. Good move, Bill Compton.
Roman agrees to the terms but not before a truly scary scene of his jumping onto Bill and yelling, "I feel like staking so f---ing much right now!"
See what I mean? Meloni = awesome.
Speaking of Russell, we see him for another moment, this time post-feeding-on-humans time. He's in bed trying to ... I guess ... regenerate himself. He licks his lips and his face appears to be half-human. He opens his eyes briefly. But who is procuring these humans for him?
And how are you today, Tara? Tara's new life as a baby vampire is not going well. We started the episode where we left off, with Tara pining her best friend to a tree and attacking the living daylights out of her.
She bites her, and throws Lafayette to the ground and seems super angry, even for Tara (who has never really been happy. Ever.). Pam is no help, beyond tearing Tara away from them and instructing her not to hurt Sookie and Lafayette. She throws her into the house and peaces out.
"Good luck, kiddos," Pam offers. Looks like Tara will not have a mentor in the form of Pam.
Tara is, to put it lightly, going nuts. She tears up Sookie's house, does an evil Tara glare at everyone and ruins every single appliance.
Eventually, Sookie realizes that they have to get Tara to sleep under the house before the sun comes up. Lafayette cuts his arm as bait and Sookie wraps her friends up in chains.
At this point, you begin to think about (or maybe it was just me) how you'd deal with a former human who you're close who became a rowdy, confused vampire who, you know, wants to eat you. If you're like Lafayette, you'll consider staking her because she's in pain and no where near the person you once knew.
Sookie urges him to be patient. "It's always hard in the beginning," she says, remembering how Jessica was once she turned vamp. "Tara is in there. You have to have faith. Please."
Lafayette relents, and Sookie's plan is, for some reason, to go to the Stake House, a redneck shop for vampire protection that looks like a gun shop in Alabama but features stuff like silver mist spray, stakes and chains.
Sookie buys some of the home-protection system in case Russell comes a knockin'.
But later Tara wakes up, stares them both down again and says "I will never forgive any of you." It's the first thing Tara has said to her cousin and best friend since turning vamp and it's some strong, painful words.
She runs out of the house, gets sprayed by the silver mist and runs away. Vamp Tara is on the loose. Hope she's not heading to pay her bare-knuckle fighter girlfriend a visit. That won't go well.
Wolf politics: Speaking of rednecks, the rednecks of the supernatural world, the werewolves, are still feeding on their fallen packmaster Marcus.
And Alcide wants nothing of it. Particularly the food, but also now becoming the packmaster since he killed the old ones. Werewolves have rules, you know. "My son was not perfect, but he deserves respect," says Martha Bozeman. Respect = eating him.
Alcide reiterates that he has no interest in being packmaster. Martha seems pissed, but the pack seems OK with it because they think Alcide is "above the laws of the pack." Alcide has always been conflicted about not necessarily being a werewolf, but having to be in a vicious pack like his. He wants to be more mainstream with society, but the wolfpack and defiantly un-human-assimilation in their ways.
Meanwhile, Luna helps nurse Sam back to health but Martha comes to the door to see her granddaughter, Emma. Luna wants nothing more to do with the Bozeman family.
"What happens when Emma turns? She needs a pack," Martha offers.
"Maybe she's a shifter?" Luna says.
"She's wolf. I can feel it," Martha says.
If having to raise a little girl alone isn't hard enough, Luna now must think about whether sweet Emma will become a shifter like her mom or a werewolf like her dad. Awkward. They probably don't go over that in sex ed in Bon Temps.
Luna doesn't care that Martha wants a relationship with her daughter. And Sam does his best to be super-nice Sam.
"Easy now. She just lost her son," he says.
"She just ate her son," Luna says. Morbidly, this was one of the funniest moments in the episode.
Sam tries to act as though he has a right to tell Luna what to do with her own daughter.
"There is no 'we' in this decision," Luna says and kicks her boyfriend out.
Later, she's faced with one of her biggest fears. She checks on Emma, opens the door and sees a tiny wolf pup.
$10,000 for Jason: A pleasant surprise so far this season: the comic relief of Steve Newlin in love with Jason!
Steve pays a visit to Jessica, who is still partying hard at the mansion while Bill is away (her version of a keg stand? Holding a keg above a girl's head while drinks).
Steve takes a meeting with Jessica and offers $10,000 cash for Jason, thinking the two are still a couple. Jessica pretends to be interested and asks for $20,000.
This a gleefully clever raunchy exchange:
Jessica: Let me ask you a question, Steve. Have you seen Jason's butt?"
Steve: Of course I have. Why do you think I'm offering you $10,000?"
Jessica: "You can chip a fang on it."
Steve: "$15,000 and that's it.
Jessica later implies that Jason's manhood is, well, impressive and Steve gets excited — barring his fangs.
Jessica eventually tells Steve that Jason's a friend, she doesn't sell friends and to get out of the house.
These Steve Newlin moments are hilarious and weird and campy and yet I can't get enough. But the question remains: Does he truly love Jason or does he have a more devious plan? Are the writers using him for comic relief, to portray a hypocritical closeted religious figure or both?
And now for the plot I don't care about at all: Once again, the Terry's PTSD reawakening as his former fellow Marine Patrick (Scott Foley) comes to town situation is ludicrous and boring.
Terry is having flashbacks to Iraq as though this is the first time his PTSD has been discussed in the series. Arlene is reacting as though she knows nothing of his inner-turmoil and Patrick is sitting alone in his hotel room generally being creepy.
"Did something happen in combat? Something that might have stuck with him," Arlene asks Patrick out of desperation. Really? Because nothing ever happens in combat that sticks with someone.
Eventually, Terry comes to see Patrick, tells him that a former comrade is still alive, "just off the grid," and the two decide that it could be him who is starting fires.
Everything still seems very disconnected from the rest of the Bon Temps action. Arlene (Carrie Preston) has never had a solid subplot (last season's dead ghost woman trying to steal her baby was beyond ridiculous, too) and Terry (Todd Lowe) is one of the most underutilized actors on the show.
They deserve better.
The most interesting moment: Seeing Pam flashback to when she first met Eric. Pam is trying to figure out why Eric has disappeared, so she begins remembering when the two first encountered each other.
In a great flashback, we see Pam working as a madam at a brothel in San Francisco in 1905 (nice red dresses!). She discovers one of her girls murdered and is later attacked by a Jack the Ripper-esque fellow herself.
Eric rushes in to save the day, slicing the throat of the would-be serial killer. Eric also looks great in a top hat, in case you were wondering about that.
"That is a lovely dress. Sorry about all the blood," Eric says after he licks his thumb.
He kindly gives Pam some coins to cover the dress cleaning and rushes off before she can get his name. We don't see him turn her, but hopefully that's coming. If she's not going to help Tara, we might as well learn more about Pam's past, right?
More highlights from 'Authority Always Wins'
Off the sauce: Andy and Jason find Debbie Pelt's car — and V inside. Recovering V addict Andy pockets the stuff at first, but then hands it over to Jason. "Good man," Jason says. We like clean and sober Andy.
Most random moment: A teenage boy punching Jason because he slept with her mom and now she's getting a divorce. Haven't we had enough moments where we see Jason questioning his sluttiness?
Worst thing to say while sleepwalking: "We're all going to die" — Terry to Arlene while he hovers over her bed.
Best description of an anti-vampire technique: The salesclerk at Stake House describes what the silver mist can do: "[Vampires will] say, 'It burns! It burns! I'm going to leave you alone and eat your neighbors now."
Very, very, very close: Andy: "Stackhouse, have yo slept with every woman in this town?" Jason: "I don't know. I'm close I guess."
Best way to kick freeloaders out of your house: Jessica: "Hey idiots, you're boring me. Go back to your human lives before I eat you."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun