Those fucking hobos are cooking hotdogs in a firepit when Sam and Tommy come back to them. Sam tells them the following: "Now, here's what's gonna happen. I'm gonna give you a place to stay for now 'til you get back on your feet." Specifically, though, Tommy can't do anymore stealing and Joe Lee can't do any more drinking. Melinda still acts like all of this is a surprise to her and that she is ever so embarrassed about it, "it" being her life. Joe Lee makes a joke, but Tommy seems pretty sincere about trying. Sam is, of course, touched, because way to go right for his weakest spot: The idea that people can change, even shapeshifters.
Talbot is so grossed out by Franklin, when they arrive at the Jackson compound, that it almost makes me wish the character weren't erased from all history. And you must admit, standing among all those pretty things and bodyguards, Franklin looks quite a mess. He tells them to wait in the foyer -- Russell is, remember, "celebrating" -- but asks whether "this," meaning Tara, is a hostess gift. "It's skinny," he whines, and takes off. Tara is still shivering, but Franklin has that same sort of horrible ease, willing to wait. I bet there's nothing quite so trashy-feeling as being stuck in some sumptuous gay vampire foyer with a dead bouquet strapped to your hands. Especially after a long day of sitting on the toilet.
One of the guys nearly recognizes Sookie in her Leather Ho outfit, so she goes from politely declining his offer of shots to a fabulous "FUCK YEAH" and then downing several. They all cheer her on, and she makes some biker bitch faces and it's all fun for like one whole second, but then Debbie -- looking TORE UP FROM THE FLOOR UP -- immediately jumps up her ass for actually being pretty, which is like unheard of for werewolf biker bitches. Alcide, who is every bit as stupid and crazy as Sookie is, when the situation calls for it, immediately blows their whole cover and jumps up to Debbie and claim Sookie for his own. Next time you're waiting in the car, Herveaux. I'll crack a window.
Russell's car, where we learn that celebrating means in this case doing a three-way on some poor stripper with Lorena and Bill. Lorena is so into this, of course, and Bill's back "procuring," but I have no real idea what Russell's get is, here. They have blood at home, and they're going to fuck up the upholstery. Is it just about making Bill prove how far he's willing to go, both as a procurer and as an eater of people? Yeah, that must be it: What is the furthest thing from Sookie you can think of? Lorena in the bedroom and a stripper on the dinner table. He's crossing lines he didn't even know he has. And you know meanwhile Lorena's like, "This is just like old times!" She really is unsophisticated.
Oh, wait. There's the whole other Russell thing about to happen, we just don't know it's around the corner yet: Lou Pine's is very close to this strip club, so he can run off to do his whole Jesus thing with the Weres and still have a vampire alibi of sorts. I wonder what the strip club will be called? "Pole Position," perhaps. "Camp Save-A-Ho." Those are all very subtle. Or, if it's a vampire-friendly establishment, "Deady Issues."
"Goner Rita's." Well, the Magister is not buying any of Pam's protestations, much less Eric's on her behalf. "Oh, you've got the wrong man! My dog ate my homework! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil!" (How, how is Željko Ivanek so hot? I have been trying to figure this out for ninety-five years, which is coincidentally how long he's been alive.) In addition to his many other accessories, he's got a silver-tipped cane that hurts as good as it looks. Lots of torture, Pam's incredibly hot body getting all kinds of fucked with, and then it just comes down to this choice, which is not a choice: Is Eric going to admit to desecrating the blood -- huge no-no for the Magister and Authority -- or working against, making treachery for, his regent? The two worst things!
Especially since this is all about the Queen, to whom he is loyal for some reason. Anyway, Pam is just howling a blue streak and it's very hard on old Eric -- in addition, of course, to being hard on Pam -- and she finally screams, "It was Bill Compton!" One look at Eric, and he's in: "He's gone missing. You've seen yourself how easily he betrays our kind for personal gain. I believe he is behind this, and I am gathering evidence to bring him to you." Eric shoos the Madge, but he's not going out without a bit more awesome: "They say the loss of a child is the deepest of despair. Two days, Mr. Northman, or she dies." Two days, that's what. Like an episode and a half.
Debbie is so not interested in Alcide's whole white knight act, especially considering what a strong junkie biker lady she is, but Alcide is more concerned with how she looks like Death's wrung-out sweatrag. She assures him she's never been happier, and he says that when this madness passes she's going to be up shit creek because the old crew, the real pack, won't have her once she's branded. "I don't need your pussy pack! And I was fucking Coot when I was still with you!" (Every time they fucked, she was making a fool of him. Which isn't as bad as the fact that every time they fucked, he was making a fool of himself.)
Debbie assures Alcide that "this skank" isn't making her jealous, and Sookie as the skank in question points out that, Debbie being ranking Queen of the state of Skank, this is hardly an insult. Debbie lunges, because this is after all her party they're at, and Sookie gives her one of those awesome Sookie speeches: "Alcide came here -- despite every good reason in the world not to -- because he believes the woman he fell in love with still lives inside you somewhere. He's willing to risk his life to make sure you hold on to her, even if he doesn't get to."
Alcide wants to talk about maybe getting Debbie fuck on up out of there, but no: Cooter! Debbie tells him not to mess with Alcide, just get to the branding, and they make out a little bit in that biker way, and "something" about the half-chub this gives ol' Cooter flashes him back to sucking on Bill's neck the other night, so now Sookie's not going anywhere. Sookie came here -- despite every good reason in the world not to -- because she believes the first man she ever fell in love with still lives inside him, somewhere, and she's willing to risk everything to hold onto him. Debbie doesn't care about Alcide leaving: In fact, in some twisted Bill way she knows it's the right thing. "He ain't never gonna let us be baby. 'Til he understands I'm with you for good." Howling and hooting, they crowd-surf her to the stage, ripping off her skirt as she goes.
Right on time, Russell heads over to Lou Pine's, leaving Lorena in the car. Even Lorena thinks this might mean an impending whack, or else just that Bill and Russell are going to split dinner without her. Inside the strip club, inevitably, there's some Massive Attack going on and a bunch of nice young ladies. One in particular catches Bill's eye, maybe just her deadness and lack of interest in the life she's living. He gives her a little smile, turns it a little sexy, and thus procures.
Russell Edgington, whom Alcide recognizes as an area antiques dealer, takes the stage with Debbie, and settles a wolf pelt on her shoulders. At his hand, all the wolves bow down in silence. "Now shall you drink the dark wine of our ancestors," he says in German, and they happily Ja their herr. He bites into himself -- Sookie's mystified, Alcide's just pissed at their worship of anybody, especially a fanger -- and bleeds into a tray full of shot glasses.
They look on hungrily; Debbie nearly cries when he tells her she can't have any V tonight, be