The most unforgivable sin this week's episode of True Blood commits (in an episode concerned, no less with sins and heresy) is to cut away from the Authority after its opening. In fact, I would have been delighted to hang with Salome, Nora, Bill, Russell, and Eric (and the other three) for the bulk of this episode just to see where their strange, bloody trip takes them (beyond hassling terrified cabbies on the streets of New Orleans).
But let me back up, because obviously, this episode is about more than our favorite group of vampires joining in an unexpected communion, I guess you could call it. Yep, we've got more fairy business (why won't it stop), Lafayette in a pickle, Tara on a pole, and Terry on the run.
****Beware of spoilers after the jump****
I mentioned at the top how this episode is, to certain extent concerned with the idea of sin and that's a little inaccurate. More than anything, "In The Beginning" is really concerned with heresy or heretical thought/action. Curiously one of the most thematically tight episodes of True Blood this season, we've got Tara's abusive, alcoholic mother disowning her for becoming a vampire, Lafayette being tortured because Jesus betrayed his family and pass his power on, Alcide attempting to wrest control of his pack from the V-swigging J.D. (who happens to be trying to whip his followers into an apocalyptic fervor), and if I can strain to wrap this last story in, Hoyt joining a hate group of rejecting human-vampire coexistence (there's a lot of that going around).
As ever, there's still the fairy nonsense to deal with: Jason is determined (as he was last week) to find the murderer of his and Sookie's parents. I sure wish this plot would play out further than Jason vowing to find the real killer (although we did get a terrifically brutal turn in his relationship with Jessica). And our series heroine learns that her fairy power battery has a limited amount of juice, and that if she uses it all up, she'll be "normal." Why, in a world where there are still plenty of vampires and miscellaneous supernatural beings that want her dead she would get rid of her advantage, who knows. Plus, it feels like a real weird misreading of the first part of this season where everyone comes down on Sookie not for being a freak, but simply because she survives at the expense of those around her. Her stressing about being different feels like first or maybe second season stuff and ultimately like a narrative dead end.
Hoyt's sudden turn towards a hate group would grate if the scenes featuring the hapless band of supernatural killers weren't so gleefully silly. Actual line from one of the Obama mask wearing murderers: "That's the thing people don't get about hate groups: they're about love!" While seeding the group (who follows a mysterious leader they simply call "The Dragon") with one black guy is supposed to give them a sense of wider appeal, the optics of it just seem ridiculous if you scratch at it too much.
The Pam/Tara relationship grows a bit this episode as the former provides some slight comfort to the latter as Tara's mom visits Fangtasia simply to say that she doesn't want her daughter in her life. I'm still not sure Tara-as-vampire is a story that I'm particularly excited about (especially Tara-as-vampire-stripper), but her interactions with Pam are some of the more genuinely affecting bits of the show right now.
Then there's what's left of the Authority, heading out to the French Quarter of New Orleans (I think) after tripping on Lilith's blood. Early than I hoped, the show is pulling the trigger on Lilith as something concrete and something to be worried about by our cast. From the looks of it, the vampire ruling council's efforts to bridge humanity and vampires is pretty much out the window. It's kind of struck me as weird that the origins of the vial of blood in the Authority HQ was ever in doubt (given that vampires seem to have a nose for this kind of thing. But now we know what it does and it's clearly a problem.
I live you with this thought about "In the Beginning" to tide you over to next week: mind-controlling halitosis will be the death of us all.
True Blood airs Sunday nights at 9 on HBO.