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 7: "Hitting the Ground"
When things have already gone too far, the only choice is to go much, much further.
Through the course of this episode, Sookie (Anna Paquin) and Tara (Rutina Wesley) escape from vampires and werewolves by brutally murdering their captors, rescue Vampire Bill (Stephen Moyer) and drive off triumphantly into the sunrise to a brave and happy new world where there is no language but love and no farts, only daffodils.
Or maybe everyone is beaten and covered in blood, thoroughly traumatized by the associated rapes, tortures and betrayal they've gone through in the last 24 hours. Maybe the tearful reunion between Bill and Sookie turns into a feeding frenzy when he awakens with her locked in the back of a moving truck and his more monstrous instincts take over in an attempt to heal the injuries he has sustained.
That's the theme of this week's episode. Our beloved characters continuously walk through fire for those they care about, often making extremely ambiguous moral choices along the way to save who and what they can. No matter what your intentions, ultimately the bill you ring up in your deeds comes due.
It's not so much a question of karma, as a question of compound interest, and in Bon Temps, where spiritual journeys tend to me more vertical than horizontal, rather than interest being compounded by the week or month, it's tabulated by the distance you spiritually fall.
Both science and religion teach us that no matter how long the fall, you hit something eventually, and so we turn to one of rock's most famous fallen angels, PJ Harvey. If you like it dark and you like it weird, you like PJ Harvey. Gothtopia has always been fond of the bluesy little minx singing about drowning her newborn baby, especially her world with Nick Cave on Murder Ballads.
The title of Sunday's episode comes from her song of the same name, which appears on Gordon Gano of Violent Femmes fame's first solo album. Each song on the album was recorded by a different artist, with personnel like Ms. Harvey, They Might Be Giants, Lou Reed and Frank Black.
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Gordon Gano & PJ Harvey, "Hitting the Ground"
The end result is more Femmes than Harvey, but has enough oddball lyrics and punk-rock energy to give it plenty of spice. Ultimately, the track's message serves as a fitting summary of this week's episode as it sheds light on the increasingly shattered mindset of a person caught up in the free-fall of a life out of control.
What do you sing about when your parachute fails to open?
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.