True Blood Review: "Me and the Devil" (Episode 4.05)
“You are incapable of love, you are damned.”
Continuing the themes of last week’s episode, “Me and the Devil” explores characters having to confront their identities, but this time placing more emphasis on what is against their nature and their temptation to give in to that. In an interesting dream sequence, Godric berates Eric and tells him to feed on Sookie. The new Eric of course protests, and Godric tells him to quit fighting his nature. The sequence shows us an internal struggle of his character and gives us an insight into what Eric is really going through. With his memory completely wiped, he only has his new personality, and his vampire urges (which are often primal and violent) to guide him. As we go deeper into season four, I expect most of the main characters are going to have a shift in their identity.
The other part of the equation to the Eric plot of course, is Sookie. She is seeing this new Eric and is slowly falling for him. But she’s also known the old Eric for years, and all the pain and suffering he has caused to others. So she’s constantly having her judgment challenged as Eric keeps proving to be something different than what she originally thought. The scene where Eric acts like a little kid awakened by a nightmare and wanting to sleep with a parent in his bed was cute. And I have to really give a hand to the writers; I think they have done a great job so far building on Eric and Sookie’s new relationship without it feeling rushed. In some ways, it kind of feels like the first genuine relationship Sookie has actually had. With all the deceit and gray areas with the Bill relationship, this one is actually honest, as Eric’s new life really began with her. It remains to be seen how this will hold up in the long run, as we have no idea where they are going to go with Eric’s memory loss (as the show deviates from the books). But for now, I’m thoroughly enjoying this centerpiece romance plot this season.
We saw in season three that Sam had a dark past to him, and clearly that runs in his blood. Tommy finally snapped and killed both his parents. As awful as that sounds, I’m glad they are finally done with. I found their plot arc in season three to be insufferable and was dreading that they would become another fixture on this season. With Tommy completely giving in to his violent side, it at least gives us something to work with in his character. Although, I did find Sam’s coldness about all of this to be, well, creepy. The scene where they dump the bodies in the swamp was Dexter-esque, especially Sam’s outlook on things: “What about war? Killing is all right if you are at war. I mean self-defense, right? You were at war with your parents, and it was self defense.” In a way he is right; Tommy was only defending himself. But it was the callous way that Sam delivered this logic that was off-putting. I have to say; I’ve found his character development to be more confusing than any other on the show. His character was the “nice guy,” and now he’s a pro at killing people, and being okay with it? Even in a general sense, more so than before, I always get this feeling that Sam is pissed off about something. Nonetheless, what Sam said was an interesting play on the themes of the episode—trying to justify our actions and accepting them as being a part of who we are. While Sam seems to be comfortable embracing his darker side, Alcide seems to be running from his nature, as he turned down the local wolf pack’s offer to join them. Naturally, Alcide wants nothing to do with another pack given his last experience. But I think on a deeper level, he’s worried that his girlfriend Debby will fall back into hard habits running with wolves. Similarly, we see Jason Stackhouse still trying to fight his old ways. They even made light of it, as Jason tells Hoyt he feels like God is punishing him for having too much sex. But on a serious level, Jason is starting to have sexual dreams about Jessica (due to her giving him blood in the last episode), and this is deeply conflicting to him, as he feels guilty since Hoyt is his best friend. Given that Hoyt and Jessica seem to be falling apart at the seams, I wonder if they are trying to hook these two up.
After Bill’s personal S.W.A.T. team detains Marnie, we get more flashbacks of the spirit that is visiting her. We see that in Spain, witches were being detained in jail cells and were being brutally treated. The priest themselves were vampires and used their position to “condemn” these people using magic. As Bill explains later: “Vampires have often found it advantageous to maintain a hidden presence in humanity’s most powerful institutions.” One of the sheriffs then explains that in Spain, a witch named “Antonia” was being burnt at the stake when she used necromancy to pull all vampires within a 20 mile radius from their sleep and into the sunlight, where they were burned alive. This of course is the spirit that has been visiting Marnie, and we are now getting a clearer picture of what is going on. But again, I have to bring up the fact that it seems the vampires were the ones doing terrible things. I’m not sure why we shouldn’t be rooting for Marnie at this point. In fact, she really gave Eric new life by allowing him to forget the terrible things he has done. But I’m guessing there is more to the story than what we are being told. While visiting Marnie before her arrest, Sookie’s palm reading session put her in contact with Gran. She told Sookie that Marnie posed grave danger to her, and that she needed to run away from her—so I’m definitely curious where they are going with Marnie and Antonia at the end of all this.
The best part of the episode was when Tara visited Sookie and told her about her girlfriend finding out about her real identity and being profoundly upset. Sookie urges her to fight for her if she really loves her. Eric awakens from his sleep and walks out to greet Sookie, and Tara freaks out. As Sookie tries to explain to her that Eric is good, Tara rattles off all the pain and suffering Eric has caused them. This scene is important because it not only reminds us about all the terrible things Eric has done, but it makes Eric aware of all of this. He sees the fear and terror Tara has in her eyes. Eric is completely stunned by the fact that he has caused Sookie and others so much pain, and this also helps him understand why she is so reluctant at times to help him. Despite this, Sookie tells Eric that she knows he can change, that she thought so even before he lost his memory.
But Eric just can’t reconcile with what he has done. “There is a light in you, it’s beautiful,” he says. “I couldn’t bear it if I snuffed it out.” He walks out, and Sookie runs after him and tells him to come back. They then share a passionate kiss. It’s what some fans have been waiting for a long time. Still, for all of the romance and passion, Sookie had to give into her temptation. Her Gran’s spirit even warned her to not give her heart to him, because it’s only “temporary.”
“Me and the Devil” ends with a rotting Pam calling for the blood of Marnie and her followers. Bill of course, playing the politician’s role, says that the A.V.L. won’t allow it. In her anger, Pam slips up and mentions what they did to Eric. Bill commands her to tell her where Eric is, and she regretfully does. What comes next? Undoubtedly a war—not just a physical one, but an internal one for all of these characters.