True Blood recap: Respect My Authority

Christopher Meloni makes his debut and does a lot of sexy shouting
Ep. 02 | Aired Jun 17, 2012

LET'S MAKE A DEAL Roman (Christopher Meloni) agreed to let Bill and Eric live -- for now.

John P. Johnson/HBO

Another slow burn has been the introduction of Christopher Meloni's character Roman, Guardian of the Authority. Eric, Bill, and Nora were taken to the Authority's headquarters in New Orleans, which felt a bit like the Ministry of Magic, only once you visit reception you're sent to silver cells. I'm loving the solidarity between Bill and Eric. Bill tried to get Eric and Nora released, which resulted in them all (plus the newborn-eating vampire also behind bars) being exposed to UV lighting. That's an effective way to stop a prison riot, should there ever be one.

Eventually, Bill and Eric were interrogated separately with the aid of liquid silver IVs -- Eric by the curvy chancellor Salome (Valentina Cervi) and Bill by the shrink-like chancellor Dieter Braun (Christopher Heyerdahl). The Authority wants to know why Nora, also a chancellor, was willing to commit treason, which is punishable by the true death, to help them escape. Bill and Eric were each told the other had sold him out and cut a deal -- but they've no doubt sat through enough TV procedurals in their lifetimes to see through that trick. They also both knew they had one card to play -- Russell. They knew he was still alive and a threat to the Guardian's mainstreaming agenda.

As we learned through the interrogations and by finally meeting Roman, the Authority's top priority remains the peaceful coexistence between vampires and humans. There are, however, fundamentalist vampires who believe in a literal translation of the vampire bible -- the Original Testament that predates the Old or New -- which says that before God created Adam and Eve, he created Lilith. (I'm picturing a young Bebe Neuwirth, and I bet I'm not far off.) Like God, Lilith was a vampire, and Adam and Eve, like all humans, were created with the sole purpose of being food. The Authority believes Nora is one of these fundamentalists who considers emotional alliances between vampires and humans blasphemy, so perhaps Bill and Eric are as well, as that's why she was freeing them. After all, the Authority rightfully assumes they killed Nan Flanagan.

Roman made his entrance presiding over a meeting of his chancellors to decide Bill and Eric's fates. In addition to noting the bottles of Tru Blood on the table where glasses of water would normally be, how many of us yelled "Barb!" as we realized Cougar Town's Carolyn Hennesy was one of the chancellors and thought of The Anointed One from Buffy the Vampire Slayer when we saw another was a child? Roman used his blood to represent Lilith's and gave the chancellors each a drop or two while chanting about Lilith being "the First, the Last, the Eternal." To me, that whole communion event seemed like something the fundamentalists would do, not the Authority, but we got to see Meloni pop and retract his fangs for the first time, so let's go with it.

Roman told Bill and Eric that Nan used to call them F--- Up One and F--- Up Two, and even though she wasn't a prize, she was still Authority and they'd killed her. Bill assured him he was not a fundamentalist against the Authority and its mainstreaming movement, and Eric said he was trying to stay away from politics and religion. Roman, who said the mainstreaming agenda was vital if only because humans still outnumber vampires 1,000 to 1, was unconvinced and unamused. He was about to pronounce sentence and stake them when Bill piped up offering a deal -- their lives for Russell Edgington's. Nan had assured the Authority and TV viewers that Russell was dead, so Bill and Eric had to explain (vaguely) why they didn't kill him when they had the chance. It was, Bill said, because after all that Russell had done, they thought the true death was too good for him.

Perpetually shouting Roman didn't like that answer -- they disobeyed the Authority for their own selfish reasons -- and he was about to stake Bill when Eric lied and said he was the one who'd killed Nan. (Technically, Eric took out her guards, then Bill staked her. I love this male bonding!!) Roman wanted to stake Bill "so f---ing bad" but he didn't. He's thinking of the greater good. Bill had said the only thing Russell wants more than destroying the mainstreaming agenda is to see him and Eric dead. (Again, they had to explain that vaguely -- it's because Russell pissed Eric off, then Eric pissed Russell off, Eric said.) Bill and Eric can therefore be used as bait, and Russell can be killed before he causes another PR disaster. Bill said he fully expects to meet the true death either way, but this offer is to save Sookie prove his and Eric's loyalty to Roman's cause.

I'm ready for Russell to return. We got a shot of him in a dark cellar littered with body parts, wheezing in a hospital bed and still looking all kinds of hideous. How many more episodes until he's healed and causing trouble? Who's nursing him back to health? We still don't know. Also, I'm ready for Roman to get naked. His shirt and tie seemed extra tight, just to torture us. I know he's supposed to be all business, but a vamp that powerful must also make time for pleasure.

NEXT: Alcide isn't hungry, and Jason isn't for sale

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