"I ain't worried. I've never been so not worried. This is what normal people do, Sam. They fall in love. They make each other laugh, and they move in together. They raise kids. They fight over money. They get old and fat together, and it's normal. And it's happening to me."
I have nothing to add to that. Either you understand how intense that is, or you don't. But you will. (And meanwhile, say hello to Todd Lowe's new career high. That was fucking genius work.) Sam tells him he deserves happiness and normalcy, and Arlene comes out having barfed the day away, and she acts all weird, and sends Terry in with some stuff -- having done nothing to prepare for his arrival, because of the barfing -- and Sam commiserates and congratulates, and she cutely calls herself "a hurtin' gator," which causes Sam -- caught in a sort of emotional/guilt crossfire -- to offer Joe Lee a job as his on-site handyman. Which, to be fair, is a tradition of pedophile alcoholics that goes all the way back to the invention of rent, back in Shakespeare's spoon-stealing heyday. Arlene -- who, I think, has never looked lovelier or more loveable -- is very into that idea, and Melinda is steely-eyed grateful, and then it's time to take Tommy to Merlotte's for the workday. Joe Lee tries for once to be sweet, but Sam watches him in slow-mo for a second and the music is like, "By the pricking of my thumb, shit is never going to stop getting weirder and grosser with that dude."
While Tara risks Talbot's eternal wrath by gnawing at her restraints, Sookie is painting her toenails in a werewolf's guest bedroom and listening in on his werewolf thoughts -- as one does. When he says he's going out to do errands, what he's really doing is meeting with the packmaster Col. Flood, so he can take this whole Edgington mess and make it personal and fuck everything up for everybody. (I see Sookie is rubbing off on him!) Of course she wants to go along, and there's a funny moment where he realizes her non-sequiturs are coming from reading his mind, and he stomps out an aggrieved little Goddamn it! It's cute, which is funny if you think about what that would actually be like, but also has come to define some of the best qualities of their quirky little relationship.
Like, Alcide points out that she is not allowed to involve herself with Were business, due to pack laws going back to the beginning of time, and she's like, "I am psychic, therefore I can keep secrets. Explain that to your wolf god." She then threatens to just go ahead and dig it out of his head anyway, which is unsporting to say the least but good leverage because she knows he'll cave. He explains about packmasters, how they are the alpha and they make the decisions because, as he says, "Most Weres don't have much sense. You saw: They're all teeth and fight and sex," and anyway, Sookie is coming along. Alcide promises that she is not, but then Sookie reminds him that Debbie is going to come eat her skin and flesh the second he leaves her alone anyway, which is what actually wins the argument. "Work with me, Alcide. It gets easier."
Anybody else I would clench my fists, but the tiny way she pats him on his great big right pectoral -- like she feels sorry for him and his inability to bow to her wishes, resulting in mass destruction until he gets in line, not that she isn't sympathetic -- makes it feel funny, and earned, instead of annoying and winky. The Tracy Flick/Head Cheerleader/Steel Magnolia thing she's got going was always there, but the chemistry of it has really changed this year and I love it. Which I know I've said all season, but this episode is so wonderful throughout that I think it's really clear here what they're going for, and I couldn't be happier.
Growing up of southern stock you see/learn a lot of this butter-wouldn't-melt willfulness, this Lyla Garrity way of getting it done while still being sexy and frangible and blameless, that I find immensely comforting, because it's technically still within the bounds of etiquette but mostly because it's one of very few strategies for TCB -- from a position of arguable weakness -- that don't rely on Mean Girl cruelty or Drag Queen nastiness, or really anything alienating, which means you can keep playing that role forever, whenever you need to. Like, you would never treat another woman, or an equal, the way she treats these powerless southern men: "I had to be mean to make you listen!" only works if you define your terms. Raising your voice or asserting yourself (as a woman or gay man) are "mean," alienating and threatening, whereas this is merely providing the boy with an opportunity to make life easier for himself. It's a fine pink line, but if you live there you can move mountains. Even mountains made of wolf muscle.
After a very, very long montage of Jason playing with paperclips and generally being adorable and bored, Jason had had it. "I can't work a desk no more, Andy. It's sucking the life out of me!" He's covered in fingerprinting stuff, all over his face and shirt and looking like the insane ADD toddler he is, but he's willing to work a cold case, a special assignment or anything that involves doing and not sitting: "I need some fucking thing to do right fucking now or I'll blow up like a M80 and take this whole place with me!" Comparisons to W aside -- which I don't really find compelling at all, simply because the similarities between Jason and our former president are the good things about both, and the actual bad W things (dynastic privilege, mindless capitalist cronyism) aren't at issue -- I have sympathy for this moment in Jason's life, because he is a time bomb. He wants to be a superhero cop because A) He is still trying to figure out manhood and B) He killed a guy. It's not about boredom or shortcuts, it's about atonement and actualization. Where he will never actually get, because of the boredom and shortcuts, but he can see from here, which makes him itchier.
Tara, still trailing tie-backs and shoeless in her high-necked, gathered-sleeve nightgown, pulls a Scarlett O'Hara, running off across the grounds of the Compound. The wolves, who don't sleep like the vampires do, obviously, give chase. Coot drops her with a sickening, back-bending jump, and then shifts back to his beautiful self, howling to the others. Oh, Tara. It was a good plan but not a great one.
Lafayette has, of course, taken to Tommy like a new puppy, which is what he is. Pairing any character with Lafayette, even for a single scene, is pretty much giving that character a pass, because extratextually Lafayette is our favorite but also because in-story, Lafayette is a cagey motherfucker with good instincts about people. And then there's some innocence we need to buy back for Tommy, so he can play a teenage boy in the Jessica stuff, which means putting him into the younger-brother role with Lafayette sort of draws a line under the sexualized hints that may or may not exist with Joe Lee. Lafayette's sex-free affection for Tommy in this scene -- where he tries to teach him to smoke cigarillos -- not only does the work of placing him in the Merlotte's milieu, but makes it easier to swallow Sam's own big-brother conversion -- forgiving attempted murder and robbery -- that actually powers this storyline. It's small and cute and all, but actually it's doing a lot of narrative heavy lifting, in context.
Tommy hates the smokes, and Lafayette grins and calls him a pussy -- which is male bonding from a non-hateful place, which is the thing that was missing when he tried to do t