Alan Ball was known for his masterful use of music in Six Feet Under. He's lost none of his touch when it comes to his current HBO series, True Blood - which happens to be set in the Louisiana swamps, not terribly far from Houston.
Season 3, Episode 4: "9 Crimes"
When Gothtopia was just a wee bit of a thing in stylish black diapers, one of the phrases you heard thrown around a lot by the Reagan administration was "gateway drug," the theory that using drugs like marijuana leads directly to heavier drugs like heroin. Whether or not this concept is true is something is for more learned people to debate, but there is an underlying statistic certainty in the theory. Namely, that once you begin to break a moral code, you cannot help but continue to do so.
When we left True Blood two weeks ago, Vampire Bill (Stephen Moyer) had been abducted by the Vampire King of Mississippi, and since then has slowly become more and more involved with the shady dealings of vampire politics. He has broken up with Sookie (Anna Paquin), renounced his allegiance to the queen of Louisiana, had neck-twisty grudge sex with his sire, and procured and drank from victims for the new regime.
Meanwhile, the most interesting work in the episode is being done by Sookie's best friend and housesitter Tara (Rutina Wesley) and her new beau, a vampire named Franklin (James Frain). What started out a simple one-night stand has drawn Tara into a plot against Bill and Sookie, as well as a very unhealthy attraction from the increasingly sadistic vampire; think John Hinckley's love for Jodie Foster.
Franklin is really shaping up to be an interesting character - Gothtopia believes that if HBO had gone through with the Preacher series, this is more or less how Cassidy would have been portrayed.
Each of these characters is more or less making one little, tiny immoral mistake after another. Each action is enmeshing them more and more in a labyrinth of moral ambiguity, and as is so often the case in Bon Temps, the question that the audience is forced to ask itself is, "Where is the line between an error in judgment, and a mortal sin that can never be washed away?"
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Speaking of sin, there's a visit to a strip club! Thank you, HBO. And this strip club has the greatest jukebox since the Double R Diner in Twin Peaks. Forget undressing to "Girls Girls Girls." Here we have an absolutely mouth watering stripper grinding to Massive Attack's "Paradise Circus" from this year's album Heligoland.
Not only is she four-fifths naked, she tells Vampire Bill that love is a scam, it'll all end in tears, and that no one in life gets out alive. That's about as Goth as it gets, and as we know from the Bloodhound Gang, a lap dance is always better when the stripper is crying.
Ah, titties and angst. What a way to end a Sunday.
Be sure to visit the Loving True Blood in Dallas blog, where Jef With One F will be a semi-regular contributor to the podcast this season.