TV Review: Tonight’s ‘True Blood’, Episode 2.04 ‘Shake and Fingerpop’

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Photo: HBO

I hope all of you liked the last episode of “True Blood” (Scratches) as much as I did, but if you are still skeptical the second season is a winner so far this is the episode that is either going to convince you or you just aren’t on board. “Shake and Fingerpop” may be my favorite episode to date. If you had any doubts as to whom the creature in the woods was you won’t any longer. If you wanted more Jason Stackhouse excellence you get it in spades. And if you wanted the existence of Bill and Sookie to feel more than just the center of the story and finally engage you then look no further.

Episode 4 of the second season begins at the Light of Day Leadership Conference as Jason tells the rest of his bunkmates he’s moving out and just prior to a tough guy speech he removes his clip-on tie in a moment of hillbilly awesomeness, but it’s not the last time he sets everyone straight. Later in the episode he’s having lunch with Luke and another one of the Light of Day followers (sorry, I don’t know his name) and the following conversation takes place:

JASON: I don’t know who Lazarus was, but he sure as hell was not the first vampire. Everybody knows it was Dracula.

LUKE: It’s in the Bible moron. Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead.

JASON: So Jesus made the first vampire? Maybe Jesus was the first vampire. Man, he rose from the dead too, and he told people, “Hey y’all, drink my blood it’ll give you special powers.”

LUKE: Jesus never said that –

THIRD PARTY: The first vampire was Cain. Being a vampire is the mark of Cain. It’s God’s punishment for bringing the first evil into the world by killing his brother.

LUKE: No, the first evil was Eve, for eating the apple. That’s why they call it Eve-il.

JASON: That wasn’t even… That was just skirtin’ the rules. Evil is making the premedicated choice to be a dick.

LUKE: One thing you can count on – God will make sure evil gets punished.

JASON: Yeah? Then explain Europe to me.

And yes, he says “premedicated” and not “premeditated”. I listened to it three times to make sure. It’s classic writing that raises an interesting religious aspect to the conversation all while maintaining the show’s ability to make you laugh. On top of that, this show has found a perfect balance between using hillbilly nature as a comedic device all while never taking it so far it becomes stale or insulting.

The writers realize the absurdity of what is going on in “True Blood” is enough to make for comedic dialogue if approached with sincetiry. The best example I can think of — off the top of my head — is Detective Belflour’s dedication to learning more about the pig he saw at Maryann’s. Every time he brings it up it sounds ridiculous and makes me laugh just by the way he says “pig,” but it is a completely legitimate storyline allowing for the joke to also serve as a storytelling device. Smart stuff.

Beyond that this episode has Bill admitting he is a self-hating vampire to which he tells Sookie, “I am a vampire… I am supposed to be tormented.” Legitimate excuse. Sam and Daphne are getting closer as their skinny dipping session from the end of the last episode continues, but toward the end of the episode Daphne tells Sam she knows what he is… but now just what exactly is Daphne?

However, despite all of this, my favorite moment comes as Bill and Sookie head off with Jessica to Dallas to investigate the disappearance of the vampire Godric. There is a shot of Bill and Sookie in a limo that makes them look like the godfather couple of the vampire underworld as Jessica makes her first attempt to glamour someone. It is such a perfect picture, I can only hope it’s the direction this show ends up taking things in the future.

I don’t want to say much more as I feel I have almost said too much, but this was definitely my favorite episode of the second season so far and I can’t wait to see where they take things from here.