Let’s take a minute to feel sorry for poor old Jason Stackhouse. He’s a repeated victim of abuse, always having strange supernatural entities acting as sexual predators using him against his free will. It seems like there’s some juice for a serious story here, and again when The Reverend Steve (now a vampire) glamours his way into Jason’s house. Blaming his past bad behavior as the (human) head of the church on repressed sexuality, with his emotional confession “I’m a Gay Vampire American”, I suspended the corny delivery in the scene because I thought, “Now here’s a theme I can really sink my teeth into.” Finally, it seemed, the True Blood vampire metaphor was ready to work hard again, taking on the symbolism that drove the show when it first began.
From the beginning, the True Blood vampire was a fantasy representative of all minorities in mainstream culture, and “Vampire Rights” were the overarching theme that tied all the sex and gore together. But somewhere amidst the wiccas and fairy dust and tits and swearing the metaphor was lost, or at least only used in its weakest incarnation. In the case of Reverend Steve, what resonated was his justification of his rash actions, that the repression and prejudice against his true sexuality incited him to violence, a rather pertinent metaphor for societies disenfranchised minorities and “alternative” lifestyles. It’s ostensibly blame shifting, and speaks to our society at large, giving a voice to the argument that wrongs, as committed by individuals, can be contributed to by the way in which that individual is treated culturally and again, seems like a perfect talking point, thematically at least, for True Blood. But like most interesting subtexts, it’s cast aside as quickly as Jessica enters to save the day and have some sex.
Jessica dressed as little red riding hood is a bleedingly obvious motif in itself, and confusingly replaces The Reverend’s struggle with his sexuality and power with her own. A traditionally helpless character, Little Red Riding Hood is the perfect symbol for Jessica, as an eternal virgin, traditionally helpless (like Little Red), but who paradoxically now has not only the physical, royal and intellectual capacity to exert absolute power over men, but also a feirce, compelling sexuality that she seems complete in control of. The reference isn’t all that creative, and it’s disappointing to see two quite interesting trajectories bump into each other so awkwardly and both scuttle off in opposite directions. It does neither justice.
The introduction of Nora is probably the most wildly interesting thing to happen in the episode, and yet that too is struck down by the bluntness of her affair with “brother” Eric. Apparently incest is OK for vampires (I’m assuming they aren’t actually siblings the way humans are siblings, but were both sired by the same master, right?), and not that I’m objecting to watching Eric and Nora “fight like siblings but fuck like vampires”, it does diminish the impact Nora had upon her grisly entry, disemboweling her driver, with the extreme shock value.