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.
Even when a show is having a great season, as True Blood is, you get episodes that aren't bad but really don't offer anything other than moving the basic plot along and some necessary explanations. They're the oil change of episodes; necessary but not really memorable. "You're No Good" is definitely in that category.
Eric has kidnapped the daughter of the governor of Louisiana. Plan 1 is to kill her just to be a spiteful bastard, but when she turns out to be full of information about the vampire concentration camps he spares her and decides to use her as a hostage. It's pretty fun for exposing the plans of her father, but Amelia Rose Blaire doesn't really have a lot to work with playing the "Daddy's Girl Drawn to the Bad Boy" thing with all the subtlety of a freshman boob grab. Yes, we get it, you're hot for Alexander Skarsgård. This is not a shocking revelation.
On another front, Bill is still really into the idea that he is the vampire messiah. This leads him to believe that he is now immune to the sun, which gives us the always-hilarious image of a vampire setting himself on fire. I try not to be petty, but there's just something lovely about all that power being used by idiots.
Still, Bill is determined to stop his vision of a vampire Holocaust, and all but kidnaps Sookie hoping to synthesize fae blood for a cure against the sun. She refuses, and even though he is no longer bound by the invitation rule, he leaves after telling her she is dead to him.
God mad and still unable to break free from his feelings for Sookie... that sounds like the exact sentiment from this week's credit tune and the episode's namesake, "You're No Good." The sultry tune about being over and done with an ex-lover has been a hit for half a dozen artists since Clint Ballard first penned it in the '60s, including Betty Everett, The Swinging Blue Jeans and of course Linda Ronstadt, who took the song to No. 1 on the charts.
It wasn't Ronstadt who sang the tune used in Sunday's "It's No Good," though. Instead it was a new Franch band, Plastiscines, who get their name from a lyric in "Lucy and the Sky With Diamonds." Discovered by Kraftwerk producer Maxime Schmitt, the all-girl band has been making great strides in French rock music, where they are part of a movement to further Anglicize the French music scene with English lyrics.
In France, stations are required to play include 40 percent of French-language-only music on the radio, which irks bands like Plastiscines who cut their teeth on American and English rock and roll.
Their "It's No Good" comes from the band's 2009 EP, Barcelona, and it's a hell of a kick in the pants. The verses of the song are hauntingly empty, usually with very minimalist instrumentation under Katty Besnard's voice, until they explode with an almost punk-rock power in the choruses. They eschew the oversung style most girls seem to bring to the classic tune, and use jabs rather than musical roundhouses to make their points.
It's the best way to show the slow rage that seems to be enveloping both Bill and Eric. Neither man ever seems to raise their voice in the course of their battles in the episode despite being under intense stress. There's a calm to them that in no way dilutes their fear or anger that's possible only because of what they have come out on the other side of.
In a way, they were both broken by the rejection of Sookie, and are in a sense living in the consequences of their plots and scars in that regard. It's a dawning realization of who is the bad guy in the scheme of things that makes them dangerous. That song may talk about being over bad love adventure, but no one sings that song unless they're still bleeding. And wounded predators are the most dangerous kind.
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