Episode Title: "Authority Always Wins"
Writer: Mark Hudis
Director: Michael Lehmann
Previously on "True Blood":
Outside of the Stackhouse home, Pam (Kristin Bauer) laughs her ass off as the newly turned Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley) attacks Sookie Stackhouse ( Anna Paquin) and Lafayette Reynolds (Nelsan Ellis). Pam only intervenes when Tara begins biting Sookie's neck, so Pam simply orders Tara to not kill Sookie or Lafayette and to remain in the house before she departs. Sookie and Lafayette are momentarily relieved until they see Tara trashing the house with her new-found speed and strength. Elsewhere, Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard), Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) and Nora (Lucy Griffiths) are escorted to the Vampire Authority's headquarters.
Once inside, Nora attempts to maintain her cover to her fellow chancellor, Salome (Valentina Cervi); who slaps Nora for her betrayal and has all three of them locked up. Meanwhile, Alcide Herveaux (Joe Manganiello) watches with disgust as the members of his wolf pack eat the body of their dead leader, Marcus Bozeman (Daniel Buran). Marcus' mother, Martha ( Dale Dickey) and other werewolves try to convince Alcide to partake of Marcus' body and become the new pack master, but he refuses. Luna (Janina Gavankar) then takes a badly injured Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) away from the scene.
In the Stackhouse home, Sookie and Lafayette make little progress in getting Tara under control. It's not even clear if Tara remembers her previous life as she rages through Sookie's house. At Fangtasia, Pam is upset that Eric hasn't gotten back to her and she remembers her mortal life back in 1905. In a brothel, young Pam comes across the body of a woman brutally killed by her client. Back in the present at Luna's home, she tends to Sam's wounds and puts her daughter, Emma (Chloe Noelle) to bed before Martha shows up and asks to see her granddaughter. After chasing Martha off, Luna is incensed when Sam tries to strike a conciliatory note with Emma's paternal side of the family.
So, Luna starts a verbal fight with Sam and kicks him out of her house. Meanwhile, Sookie and Lafayette finally get Tara in chains and they manage to drag her to the basement so she won't be killed by the sunrise. In the morning, Andy Bellefleur (Chris Bauer) confesses to Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten) that he slept with Holly Cleary (Lauren Bowles) and he asks for advice before they come across the abandoned car of the late Debbie Pelt. Some time later, Sookie visits an anti-vampire store to buy a silver mist defense system to help protect her from the revived Russell Edgington (Denis O'Hare) and possibly from Tara as well.
When Sookie comes home, she finds Lafayette about to stake Tara out of shame for turning her into what she hated the most. Sookie talks Lafayette down and assures him that Tara will learn to live with being a vampire. In her dream, Pam returns to 1905 and remembers her first meeting with Eric after he saved her from a ripper-like killer. Eric and Pam seem drawn to each other before he speeds away and she wakes up in the present day once more. Back at the Vampire Authority headquarters, Dieter Braun (Christopher Heyerdahl) harshly interrogates Bill while Salome does the same to Eric. However, neither Bill nor Eric betray the other or give in to the torture.
At Bill's mansion, Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) throws another party with college kids when Rev. Steve Newlin (Michael McMillian) shows up and tries to buy the rights to pursue Jason for himself. Jessica toys with Newlin and throws him out, but he taunts her with the knowledge that her maker, Bill is no longer a King. Across town, Jason visits Maxine Fortenberry (Dale Raoul) and finds her son, Hoyt (Jim Parrack) staying with her. Jason pleads with Hoyt to move out from his mother's house and even offers Hoyt the chance to move into his old place while Jason stays with Sookie. But Hoyt refuses and he tells Jason that their friendship is over. Maxine outwardly scolds Jason for hurting her son, but she whispers a thank you for breaking up Hoyt and Jessica.
At Luna's home, strange noises attract her to Emma's bedroom, where she finds that her daughter has transformed into a wolf pup. During the night, Tara emerges from Sookie's basement and she tells her former best friend and her cousin that she will never forgive them for having Pam turn her. But before Sookie can warn her, Tara leaves the house and she is sprayed with the silver mist; which leaves her in a great deal of pain before she runs away into the night. At the Authority's headquarters, Bill, Eric and Nora are brought before Roman (Christopher Meloni), the leader of the Authority and his chancellors, Salome, Kibwe (Peter Mensah), Rosalyn Harris (Carolyn Hennesey) and Alexander Drew (Jacob Hopkins); with Dieter present as well.
Roman lays out the serious mistakes that Bill and Eric have made regarding their efforts to achieve co-existence with humans. Roman even accuses them of being part of the breakaway Sanguinista movement, but both Eric and Bill deny it. Some of the Authority members seem sympathetic towards Bill and Eric, but Roman and the majority sentence them to the true death. Before that can be carried out, Bill reveals that Russell is alive and that he has been freed from his concrete prison. Over the howls of the chancellors, Bill offers himself and Eric up as bait to eliminate Russell before he can cause further damage to human and vampire affairs.
Bill also acknowledges that he is likely to die either way. Elsewhere, Russell lies alone in bed as he slowly recovers from his injuries while dead and dismembered bodies lie nearby.
While "True Blood" sometimes has a tendency to get sidetracked from its main plotlines, Jason's scenes this week were unexpectedly hilarious and they did a lot to advance his character. Sure, Jason occasionally reverts back to his "King of the Idiots" persona, but he actually seemed like a competent police officer during his scenes with Andy. And it was genuinely funny when Jason congratulated Andy as if his tryst with Crystal was the first time that he had sex. Of course, Jason's words of advice were more about convincing himself that he's okay with his non-relationship with Jessica.
Part of what's happening with Jason is that he's being forced to deal with the fact that he's been a bad person and a terrible friend. When a random teenager shows up to punch you for sleeping with his mom and Maxine Fortenberry is happy with you, that should be a hell of a wake up call. And to his credit, Jason seems to actually realize this as he tries to change. But will this actually lead to lasting character growth for Jason? Probably not. Even at his best, Jason tends to revert to type. Jason's subplot with Steve Newlin already seems to be at a dead end. Are we really going to have to spend another ten episodes watching Steve stalk Jason? The lone moment of interest during Steve's televised interview is that he's out as a vampire but he's afraid of revealing himself as a gay man.
"Authority Always Wins" seems to be one of the few episodes of this series that remembers that Sookie has telepathy and it was put to good use here. Sookie's visit to the anti-vampire store was fun, especially when we heard the clerk's half-baked plan to seduce her. However, Tara's story is proceeding at a strange and sometimes glacial pace. Tara's transition from feral vampire to bitter ex-friend was pretty jarring and I'm fairly certain that Tara getting "silver-misted" wasn't originally intended to be a comical moment. Pam's story is a little more promising as her past with Eric may explain why she's so emotionally dependent upon him. I've never gotten a romantic vibe from Pam and Eric, but she seems to feel so strongly about him that his absence literally haunts her thoughts.
The primary story of Bill and Eric with the Authority still seems to have the most potential at the moment. Christopher Meloni was a little over-the-top as Roman, but that's the kind of role that needs to be larger than life. I'd almost like to see Bill and Eric team up with Russell to take out the Authority, but that doesn't seem to be very likely. The glimpse of Russell at the end was tantalizing, but left unanswered is the identity of the vampire or vampires who helped Russell escape. And we do know that it a vampire was involved because Alcide's men were glamoured. But besides Bill, Eric and Pam, who even knew that Russell was still alive?
Regarding the werewolf storyline, I'd like to see more of Alcide's past so we can understand why he dislikes his fellow werewolves so much. There's possibly some self-hatred in there for Alcide as well. The turn with Emma was cute, but I didn't buy the fight between Luna and Sam… especially after he was nearly killed just to protect both of them from the wraith of Marcus' pack. As for Arlene (Carrie Preston) and Terry Bellefleur (Todd Lowe), I'm just going to pretend that they don't exist for the rest of the season unless something interesting or profoundly stupid happens during their storyline.
The fifth season of "True Blood" doesn't feel like it has fully kicked in yet, but "Authority Always Wins" seems like a step in the right direction.