Salome has some serious plans up her (old) sleeves.

Salome has some serious plans up her (old) sleeves. (HBO / July 15, 2012)

Leave it to Russell Edgington to liven things up.

Finally.

Captured by Eric and Bill (finally) at the Asylum of High School Student Horror House and brought back to the Authority, Russell seemed done for. He's outfitted with one of those helpful iStakes and brought before Roman for execution that night. Because Roman wants to play golf.

Sidenote: Earlier, Roman celebrates Russell's capture with a bottle of 18th century Austrian hemophiliac blood. For the record, I enjoy 19th century Austrian hemophiliac. The 18th century vintage was totally overrated. It completely bothered me throughout the rest of the episode.

Anyway, Russell's on his knees and Russell presses the button. Nothing. It's been deactivated. Salome (sneaky, sneaky Salome) sheds a blood-tear as Russell grabs Roman.

"Peace is for p------," he yells and stakes him. So long, Christopher Meloni. Did not expect that this soon!

It was superbly twisty in what was the best episode of the so-so season so far. Mostly because, you know, unexpected stuff happened. Before tonight's episode, I thought about how this was the midway point and SOMETHING had to go down.

And it did. It wasn't too much of a surprise though that things we're about to change course. When Salome says to Nora that Russell's execution is set for that night, she says it with a wink-nod as though to say to Nora that the plan is coming to fruition.

Nora gets all excited and prays to Lilith and such. At one point in the episode, Eric says, "Enough of this religious bulls--- already. Lilith can f---ing blow me," which pretty much sums up how I felt about the slow-moving mainstreaming vs. sanguinista plot so far.

Now things have turned on their head and hopefully it will invigorate the lackluster stuff. Because a lot is lackluster here, too.

The smoke-monster curse? Done. While it's sad to see Terry break up with Arlene because he's cursed by an Iraqi smoke monster and she and her kids are in danger, the whole thing is head-shakeningly ridiculous.

Ditto for what they're giving Sam this year. Shifter/vampire assassins wearing Obama masks and yelling "Yes, we can" after killing people? What the hell. The humans vs. supernaturals aspect to "True Blood" is an interesting relationship to explore, but Sam being brought into hunt down the assassins because he has a heightened sense of smell? OK. Sure.

Which, again, is why Russell is so important here. Without him, we'd be wallowing in the boring Authority (the beginning awesome potential of the plot was finally reached here) and having to deal with Sookie whine about the men in her life and how sad she is and such.

Speaking of the men in her life, how weird was the fake-glamoring Bill put on her. A tad bit heartless to basically say, "You will not think of me and go back to where you belong -- with humans" basically (even though she's not really human). I know the fake-glamouring was to appease the Authority who ordered him to do it, but was this his way to help her move on or to get back at her for getting hot and heavy with Alcide.

Alcide is glamoured too (or can werewolves be glamoured?) by Eric and told that he should protect Sookie but not be interested in her romantically, "because she sort of disgusts you," Eric adds.

Alcide made a major move tonight. Angry with the werewolves getting involved with the business at the Asylum (they tried to drag him away and kill vamps) he approaches the pack and says he wants to be master (to keep the peace). Standing in his way is JD, who sports a really awesome faux-vintage American flag shirt, the type you find around Walmart on July 4 (Faded Glory, baby!).

"I accept the role as master of the pack," Alcide says, though JD informs him he needs "a second" to assume that role (these werewolf rules be complicated!). Rikki, aka: the abnormally hot female werewolf, stands up next to him. Aww?

 Sookie appears to have moved on from her trio of maybe lovers, and is now being moved to a plot involving who really killed her parents. Jason tells her what Hadley told them -- that their parents were killed by a vampire, not a flood (it's easy to confuse the two).

We meet a new fairy, Claude, Claudine's brother, who tells Sookie that it's true, that vamps ambushed her folks when they smelled her fairy blood on a band-aid that fell off in the back seat of their car. Sad, yet very plausible.

Sookie is not pleased, tries to use her fairy light fingers, but can't and then all the other fairies shine their light hands on her, which I took to mean they were erasing her powers or that it was some sort of fairy-hand dance off.

Finally, Lafayatte, who is running around in circles about having to beat the Mexican warlock within. I had to battle my own inner-Mexican warlock a few years back, so I'm particularly invested in this plot.

Lafayette rushes to see his crazy mom, Ruby Jean, who reveals she also saw lip-sewn Jesus and basically tells him that "things ain't right." She rambles on. "He in trouble." "La La, help him!" "You gotsta go!!"

How drunk does Alfre Woodard have to get to play this role? Also, La La = best nickname ever for Lafayette.