The writer of The Mamafesto and I are watching True Blood together and doing our best to occasionally apply some feminist analysis to what is otherwise just our mutual lust for the character, Eric. Our first discussion about episode 1 is here on The Mamafesto site and below is our discussion of episode 2. Proceed no further if you don’t want spoilers for this episode.
But if not, what were your thoughts on this episode?
Mamafesto: I felt like it took a while for me to get pulled in with this episode
blue: Hmmm and why was that?
Mamafesto: I’m not quite sure. The first note I have is over my excitement in getting to learn about Pam’s background. Apparently nothing piqued my interest enough to jot something down before that.
blue: Ok, well I loved seeing Tara as a vampire.. liked both learning more about the ‘psychology’ of vamps and also love the concept of someone you love suddenly becoming sinister for you – classic horror movie stuff. So I enjoyed these scenes because there was a bit of horror movie flavour there.. being scared to approach her and wondering if she was behind the door and that frantic mixture of chaos and anger in Tara, it was a bit poltergeist.
Mamafesto:: I felt very anxious watching those scenes.
Mamafesto: Like, what would vamp Tara be capable of, since she was so volatile as a human.
blue: Yes, and particularly when she rightfully feels betrayed by her best friend and cousin. So, you liked the flashbacks? Pam? And how about Terry’s?
Mamafesto: Completely re: Tara.
Really liked Pam’s flashbacks and getting to know her back story. I need more. How did it go from that to Eric eventually changing her? And there was some heat/passion there. How did it turn to more of a sibling relationship as vamps? So many questions. Also, Pam as a madame was all sorts of interesting – I hope they explore her back story more.
blue: Interesting, I found Pam’s flashback scenes too contrived. But the back-story they’re building for her feels right, just its execution was a little hammy.
Mamafesto: And yes, I can see how it can come off as contrived. I just really love Pam as a character, and appreciate any extra screen time she gets. Also, seeing Eric all turn of the century wasn’t too shabby either😉
blue: Yes, looks like Pam is getting a bigger role this season and that can only be good. Haha. Oh Eric had some good scenes, yes. That man has such good facial expressions, they might not show all that much range though: ‘incredibly hot’ all the way through to ‘more incredibly hot’. I also liked the controlled smoulder he does when he’s up against stronger enemies and especially when they’re hurting a woman he loves but he has to hold it all in so they don’t hurt her worse. Sam, take note for the next time you’re ‘negotiating’ with the werewolves. Anyway, Eric could ‘look’ me right into bed.
Mamafesto: Oh, without a doubt. Can we talk about the vampire mythology that came to light in this episode? I found it absolutely fascinating. The story of Lillith and the “true purpose” of humans
blue: Yes, this season seems to be exploring the vampire hierarchy, which is great, although they can afford to make the politics a little more complicated and sophisticated. (See Game of Thrones). Confession: I don’t read vampire books. But I get the sense that tying vampire mythology to Christianity is quite a notable feature of the genre.. do you know? That kind of storyline works for me but then I am not religious, maybe it is offensive to religious viewers?
Mamafesto: I’m not well versed in vampire literature as well (really, I doubt we can count Twilight into that), but that sounds about right.
blue: Haha. Well Twilight goes to the Vatican, I think.
Mamafesto: Well… we did see that Alan Ball was using Michele Bachmann as inspiration.
blue: I am probably going to piss off some vampire fans terribly with my ignorance here.
Mamafesto: Nah. I think the beauty of the show is that you can watch it with whatever background you have, and still pull from it, you know? I think this week’s episode is starting the Bachmann-influenced storyline for sure, with this quote of Balls: “My first instinct about going into religion and politics was from watching Michele Bachmann, who thinks she has a direct line to God. What would happen if she became president? A lot of right-wingers would like to see a theocracy in America. From there we thought, “What would a vampire theocracy be and how would you justify it? What kind of impact would it have on humans?””
blue: Great premise. Anyway, the vampire hierarchy does intrigue me. You have people living for hundreds of years, they’re going to get bogged down in rules and structure when they stick around that long. That idea that they’re very wedded to an oppressive system of order and authority (pun intended) makes a lot of sense to me. Also, a lot of them are so old and they’d have a mindset that was very fatalistic about power because they came from eras when social mobility was unheard of. Vampire theocracy – great storyline. (I need to stop using the adjective ‘great’ in this discussion already).
Mamafesto: I really liked Eric’s response ( I felt like it was Alan Ball speaking through Eric being a little cheeky) when the Chancellor asked where Eric’s allegiance stood he goes “I’m just trying to stay away from politics as much as possible. And religion.”
blue: Weren’t there some funny lines in this episode?
Mamafesto: Yes. I feel like there are always a few good zingers.
blue: Was the Authority HQ everything you imagined?
Mamafesto: Oh, and also not really related to anything, but I swear they were using some muddled form of Hebrew (a la Sacha Baron Cohen in Borat) when they were chanting. (Or perhaps some bastardized version of Aramaic? definitely some Hebrew tossed in though). (Turns out I was right, see this link for a full run down of everything offensive about the scene for Judaism).
The Authority was very old world meets new world ‘over the toppness’ as I was expecting.
blue: This reminds me.. I was out one night drinking with friends and one of my friends told me that old vampire novels, which I thought were a metaphor for fear of male sexuality were actually a metaphor for antisemitism.
Mamafesto: Oh that’s interesting. Can you elaborate more on that?
blue: I was drinking, so.. this won’t be the best summary. But vampires were supposed to be ‘other’ and ‘ungodly’ and somehow more inclined to ‘animal spirits’ and therefore seductive to good women. I hadn’t heard this before but that particular friend is an academic in literature.
Mamafesto: Interesting. I think vampires are a pretty fluid stand in for many different things, just with their overt otherness, you know? I think you can attach a lot of different things to them, and it will certainly be interesting to see how Alan Ball does so with right-wing Christianity.
blue: Yes. Speaking of which.. I LOVE the Reverend vampire. Love him.
Mamafesto: I’m excited to see Detective Stabler (aka The Chancellor) more this season. Seems like a juicy part. Will be fun to see him pitted against Russel Edgington. Haha. Yes Reverend Steve, he’s pretty fun.
blue: His entrance into the King’s house with Jessica was perfect.
Mamafesto: The scene with him and Jessica was great.
blue: Ah, I know Christopher Meloni from Oz.. did you ever watch that series? Am finding Jessica just a tad annoying with these endless frat parties but then I might not be her target market.
Mamafesto: I haven’t watched Oz…should I? I find myself annoyed as well, especially since this is a huge 180 from the Jessica we saw with Hoyt.
blue: (You should watch Oz, it’s not perfect but it’s really very good, and I hate to take the tone down here because we’re so very intellectual about True Blood but Oz has a LOT of penis). Yes, we knew she wanted to cut loose and sow wild oats and I like her ’empowered slut’ happening.. but like this?
Mamafesto: Too stereotypical wild child playing about while dad’s away
blue: Nice to see Hoyt back.. and funny lines, how about Hoyt’s mother’s lines?
Mamafesto: Yes! At the end there with Jason.
blue: Ok.. should we talk about the werewolves? I think in the book the new packmaster was expected to impregnate all the females of the pack so eating the corpse of the old packmaster seems quite coy in comparison..? Nobody was ready to see Alcide humping every were-lady, including the grieving mother, were they?
Mamafesto: Ha. I was amazed at how quickly their anger shifted once it was known that Alcide killed him instead of Sam, (also, that Sam/Luna argument seemed a bit ridiculous). Their anger turned into duty and tradition – like, okay, let’s get to eating his innards and have Alcide as packmaster.
blue: Yes I was miffed with Sam. When you have an argument with a guy and it’s about something particularly important to you and not to him, and the argument makes you a lot angrier than it makes him and he doesn’t get it and instead of him going, oops, I’m insensitive, he goes, you psycho, what’s wrong with you, well, it’s very annoying. Aaaanyway. Boo Sam. But also, realistic couple fight.
Mamafesto: Yeah, after the night they both had, you would think they would have taken a moment to cool off rather than react so vehemently.
blue: You would think, unless you’re in a relationship with me, I always seem to have arguments like that.
I’m looking forward to TB eventually returning to the bit with Alcide finding out that Sookie killed Debbie.. and she wasn’t even sorry about it – big development in the character of Sookie. No more pacifist. (Spoiler alert – the book gave this storyline quite a good run).
Mamafesto: Yes – I’m glad they’re setting that up. But now I’m wondering if we’re going to overloaded with too many storylines.
blue: Also, Alcide is a bit wasted at the moment. No nudity? No making eyes at anybody?
blue: That is definitely how TB likes to go.. so many stories all at once. And Terry? Sad to see the ‘gentle Terry’ go but he is making quite a good go of ‘creepy Terry’… not sure how people will feel about the dangerous PTSD storyline though.
Mamafesto: But there’s always been an undercurrent of the more disturbed Terry even when he was more gentle like, you could always tell his demons simmered below the surface
blue: Yes, that’s true. But he seemed more self-destructive and immobilized by it than capable of hurting his partner. I liked Arlene trying to deal with it all in this episode, particularly when she tried to talk the story out of Terry’s friend. She showed some skill at reading those men, I thought.
Mamafesto: She’s also no bullshit.
blue: Final thoughts?
Mamafesto: and I appreciate that – getting to the root of the problem and demanding it gets fixed rather than waiting for something to happen first.
Final thoughts: I’m excited to learn more vamp lore and to see what will play out in this Authority vs. Edgington fight. Especially knowing Alan Ball’s intent w/pulling inspiration from Bachmann – it should be interesting. You?
blue: Oh, I am so looking forward to everybody being terrified by Vampire Edgington again. Sookie, Bill, Eric, Pam, Jessica, the Authority – everyone being all nervous about when he is going to pop up and what he has been planning all this time. Also, I just want more and more Vampire Tara. She’s got so much potential in this role, I hope she gets to absolutely go for it.
Mamafesto: I also want to know who helped him escaped and is feeding him…
blue: Yeeeeees, who are the dirty fundamentalist vampires?