Wow, I so did not like this episode. In fact, this may be the worst episode of True Blood to grace my screen. In fact, I found “It Hurts Me Too” to be downright misogynistic. There are four women in “It Hurts Me Too” who are preyed on, and one of them, we’re supposed to be cheering on her destruction. Overall, it left a really bad taste in my mouth, and I left my couch disgusted and not looking forward to the next episode (in two weeks due to the holiday).
The only redeeming scene from this week’s True Blood was Pam and Yvette fucking on Eric’s desk. Hot.
Okay, actually, there was one more scene: the one where Sookie throws Eggs a funeral. Finally, Sookie’s having some compassion for someone else’s problems. I’d much rather see Tara heal her wounds and her friendship with Sookie than boning Franklin Mott. I’m pretty sure his penis is dead like him, not magically healing. I’m glad to see Sookie and Tara rebuilding their friendship, because Sookie needs a female friends and who knows if True Blood will be on the air long enough to introduce Amelia.
Now onto the misogynistic bullshit… (Sookie, Tara, Jessica, Lorena)
Both True Blood and Charlaine Harris’ books are ambiguous on just how good or bad vampires truly are. Especially since they can drink synthetic blood instead of from humans. Vampires certainly air on the side of “dangerous” with a touch of “inhuman” and “their cultural customs are different from humanity’s.”
“It Hurts Me Too” had two very bad vampires: Franklin Mott and Lorena. Now in the books, both characters are pretty much irredeemable, and that’s okay because the books are told completely from Sookie’s point-of-view. We don’t know how Tara feels about Franklin or Bill feels about Lorena because Sookie’s telling us the story. Harris doesn’t play her as the unreliable narrator, but you can see how her strong point-of-view colors the story. Of course, Lorena’s downright evil because Sookie’s jealous and because of what Lorena did to Bill, her love. She also does a really bad thing to Sookie later in what will be this season, and I assume Alan Ball will keep that plot point. Franklin’s story’s similar in that Sookie’s told to keep away from him, sees him glamoring Tara, and because of what happens after Franklin and Tara split up.
Likewise, Alan Ball makes both Franklin and Lorena very bad vampires. And both their stories rely heavily on misogyny, but in opposite ways.
Franklin terrorizes both Jessica and Tara. While he does so in different ways to each of them, he does it in the same way: in a “you’re a little girl, and you’re going to give me what I want, and no one is coming to save you” way.
With Jessica, Franklin intimidates her and her inexperience. He pushes his way into her home, since Bill, the man of the house, is gone. He drops the head of the man she killed on the floor as blackmail. He knows he can’t glamor her, but he can scare her. (Of course, he did a crap job at hiding the body, which Hoyt finds in a ditch.) Franklin can threaten her. Not that Jessica has a wealth of knowledge about Bill. Heck, she doesn’t even know basic vampire rules; does anyone think Bill’s sharing his deepest secrets with her?
Likewise, when Franklin’s first attempt at manipulating Tara by sex fails, he resorts to knocking down her door. Like Jessica, Tara doesn’t know all the rules of vampires. Particularly the one where vampires can glamor humans into doing their bidding. And when Tara starts smack talking Franklin and not letting him into her home, he does just that. Interestingly enough, Tara has many expositions about how she hated “being a fucking zombie” which Franklin has basically put her back in the mode of. Plus, I found it rather implied that Franklin wanted more than just information from Tara and would rape her, while she’s under his thrall.
I don’t need Ball and company using sexual and/or sexist violence against women in order to prove just how bad and nasty Franklin is. I could forgive Jessica’s plot — because it does show more about how she’s an ill-trained vampire — if Tara’s plot wasn’t a fallback for the shorthand of “he’s evil and she’s the victim fodder.” Tara looses all her agency. Again.
Likewise, to trail a bit away from our evil vampires, we have an evil werewolf. We know he’s evil because he kidnapped Bill and because both Eric and Alcide say so. (Though Eric is pretty evil himself and Alcide is new.) Oh, yeah, the guy’s also a Nazi werewolf, and Goodwin knows, Nazis are also shorthand for evil. But wait, if you weren’t convinced these werewolves were evil, one of them tries to rape Sookie. Thankfully, Alcide rushes in to save her when she screams.
Sookie’s dressed all in white lace signifying her innocence while going to a biker werewolf bar. At least in the books, Alcide gives her fashion advice for blending in. And while I would never blame her dress, I do blame the costume people for also using short-cuts to display Sookie’s purity and innocence compared to the black leather-clad biker werewolves and Alcide’s red logger flannel.
Then we have our second evil vampire, Lorena. In the books, Lorena is perhaps the only vampire never shown in a good light, and it makes sense because Sookie’s telling the story. Even in the human world, most people would rather not hang out with their current sweetie’s exes. Lorena’s a bitch. There are enough women on True Blood to make that okay. I’m even okay with Bill throwing a lantern at her to kill her. An evil male character would get the same. With that, we got funny screencaps, and Talbot fussing over the use of an antique tapestry to put the fire out. And who didn’t love the King of Mississippi lecturing Bill, once again, on his table manners.
However, we get that sex scene. If you watched the episode, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Vampires and rough sex. I’m on board with that. Lorena certainly asked and was a willing participant. Plus, she was being just as rough with Bill as he was her. Then he starts to twist her neck. I expected Bill to pop off Lorena’s head. I expected the scene to be about the evil within Bill as well as an end to Lorena.
However, instead Bill twisted Lorena’s head all the way around so she was looking at the wall instead of him. I’m sorry, but even with super strength and super healing that isn’t something you get over and keep having sex through. Even the most stalwart vampire will pass out from excruciating pain. Plus, the scene reminded me entirely too much of when Chief Tyrol choked Tory to death on Battlestar Galactica and the audience cheered him on. You were supposed to cheer Bill on. Bill the good vampire, Lorena the bad one. Lorena’s the whore that Bill cannot look at while fucking. That’s some sick stuff right there.
Lorena’s a bitch, but even she doesn’t deserve that. She doesn’t deserve such a gendered violence. Additionally, she doesn’t deserve it just to show Bill’s emo manpire pain. Which is clearly what we’re supposed to see when the focus goes from her twisted neck to Bill screaming at his own inner psychopath. Excuse me while I go throw up.
True Blood isn’t without problems, but this is the first time I’ve really been sickened by it.
0 Replies to “Reviews True Blood 3×03 “It Hurts Me Too””
Yes. This is exactly all my problems with this episode. And an ongoing problem with what Ball does with women in general.
I couldn’t figure out what I was more angry about: how offensive the writing was or how lazy the writing was.
(Of course, he did a crap job at hiding the body, which Hoyt finds in a ditch.)
I actually thought this was on purpose. Well, maybe not Hoyt finding it, but it not being very well hidden.
This review is really spot on, though. The bit about Sookie’s wardrobe really gets to me, too, because Sookie has already gone through a similar problem in season one with her outfit at the vamp bar. At this point, she has some idea of what will and won’t blend in supernatural bars. For the costumers to continue to use her clothing as a shortcut for how she’s so pure and innocent compared to the others just perpetuates the idea that people can say, well, she dressed like that, she asked for it. God.
But wait, if you weren’t convinced these werewolves were evil, one of them tries to rape Sookie.
Well of course! No one’s evil until they rape someone. And rape is the only kind of evil women really ever fear. I mean, just being killed, psh. What woman is smart enough to fear that? It has to be rape.
@Carla — Yes, it’s very likely the body wasn’t buried well. Franklin’s probably been a vampire long enough to know how to hid a body, unlike Jessica.
Yeah, the wardrobe folks are really setting up with people to say, “Gee, Sookie deserves it due to her outfit.” I’m a little surprised considering how much the wardrobe people pay attention to the books. The books were she doesn’t dress in all white after her fist time at a supernatural bar. Fail.
Fear of death has never stopped a woman from being slutty and dressing like she deserves to be raped. /sarcasm