So for services rendered, Russell -- still just covered in stripper blood -- will be making a payment into Franklin's trust account -- not cash, because I don't know if you noticed this but Franklin has a little thing with impulse control. Like, last time Russell gave him a lump sum he went to Biloxi and killed a bunch of old ladies for hogging the slots. Also, why is Franklin dragging "another" girl around? He's a sloppy mess and Russell always cleans up his abductee/gambling murder messes. Franklin, hinting at awesomeness to come: "She's such a fucking disaster! We could be twins!"
It somehow makes it easier to bear the constant million burdens of Tara when they just come out and admit that she is crazier than everybody else put together. Like she gets to own it. Remember when she put on her prom dress that time, and wrecked shop on every single person in the show, and it only took her like five minutes? That was incandescent. "Franklin, you're a huge freak, but I like your work." The vibe with Russell is like Franklin is his personal Mark Ruffalo and what are you going to do?
The truth is that William Thomas Compton is a huge liar, because why did Franklin find a dossier on innocent Sookie Stackhouse that also included her family tree? "Sophie Anne's overstated perfume is all over this," he says, which of all the bonehead things Bill constantly does that's the one that bugged me the most. But I guess if Sookie Stackhouse is just a concept to you at this point you wouldn't realize that the entire universe revolves around her. Wait until Russell meets her! She'll probably spit in his face and stomp on his foot and then ask him for a favor or to perform her wedding ceremony with Bill and he'll be like, "I liked you better as a concept."
Anyway, it was unsatisfying that Sookie shot that werewolf that was trying to kidnap her -- back when the plan was to let Lorena kill her in front of Bill, or at least the threat of same -- but Franklin, who should not be allowed to look down on anybody, looks down on werewolves. Russell muses that he should send Franklin back to Bon Temps for her, but Franklin smiles impossibly wide, so wide that in the blackness of his crazy mouth you can see one million laughing faces of Franklin and so on, because Sookie is: Already in Jackson, the place not the person. Russell giggles and for one moment goes completely wonderful, as he sometimes does.
Lorena follows Bill to his room, once again making an ass of herself about how he's playing "hard to get" -- like, doesn't a threesome with a gay antiques dealer/head of a Nazi werewolf cult mean anything anymore? -- and Bill, who is stressed from the day's events and now this whole separate drama of Tara, explains that not even Russell respects her, and she is a dumb bitch, and Russell said so, and you have no friends, and your feet smell, whatever Bill Compton insults he can make up on the fly: "You played yourself into a corner, you tiresome cow." He minces into his room and slams the door gingerly and Lorena actually finds it in her crazy sad heart to think for one moment that possibly things are not going great.
(It was at this point that everyone in the room -- except my friend Liz, who takes Bill and Sookie very seriously -- finally admitted that we sort of love Lorena, and in fact always secretly have. It was therapeutic in a way, like that MTV show where they lock the children in the gym and make them admit secrets until they all start crying and somewhere in New York you can feel Tina Fey becoming more powerful and radiant from the power of their introspection and mutual respeito.)
Alcide is driving like Jehu, apparently having not wolfed out after all during the big gay werewolf orgy, and Sookie is still trying to piece together what was obviously happening all around her. She is not putting it together. Alcide tries to explain, but he is not interested in her condescending non-were privilege and finally she screams at him: "IF YOU DON'T SLOW DOWN YOU'RE GONNA KILL US AND I AM NOT GONNA DIE BECAUSE OF YOUR SHITTY GIRLFRIEND AND A MISSISSIPPI POTHOLE!" Alcide slams it to a stop, and Sookie -- genteel as hell and still in her "disguise," which makes it even funnier -- says the best thing she has ever said, which just encapsulates how much I love her this year: "...I had to be mean, to make you listen. I'm sorry."
Alcide explains that when Debbie wasn't drinking or cheating, they were a good couple. She'd play horseshoes with his dad (hopefully not for money!) and help his mom plant tomatoes and stuff. Sookie points out, by way of contrast, that tonight it was less about horseshoes and tomatoes and more about getting naked and branded under a giant wolf-skin at a cult meeting for neo-Nazi werewolves on drugs. Alcide sees the difference there, but does not remark upon it. Wait, did somebody say Bill? Nope, that's just the sound of another Sookie Stackhose Segue: "So, it's boring talking about your life. I think we both know that. I have noted a distinct lack of Bill in this story. Tell me more about Russell Edgington."
Turns out Alcide did know that Russell was a vampire, but not that he's the King. I wonder if the Weres even know about that ridiculous system, where you're the King or Queen of like five other people. Bureaucracy, social order, etiquette, these are not things Weres are into. They have Packs, which is in some way much more rigid and doesn't allow for nearly as much bitchy behavior. No pun intended. So of course immediately Sookie's like, "Um, so take me to this vampire Russell so that I can act ridiculous and get myself murdered. Duh."
Eric charms his way through the many gay levels of security at the Compound and finally is received by old Talbot, who devours him with his whole gayface in about one second. Nobody seems to know that Eric is the Sheriff of Louisiana Area V, which again: This is what happens when you have a whole royal system that only a few other people know. They're like the Society for Creative Anachronism or whatever, that put on the costumes and rule their made-up duchies and whatnot: "I'm the King of Wyoming, and my three subjects are very loyal. One of them is a lesbian horse-trainer and the other two have a casino. We made t-shirts."
Talbot, "royal consort," offers to "facilitate," and then rudely does so by yelling up the stairs for Russell, I guess to impress upon Eric a "we're cool" thing, because he also snits at the bodyguards to let him go, like the three of them are all equals and so formality is cast aside, or something. Or maybe he's just actually that trashy and pretending to be cool, except he's a fairly old vampire so I don't know why that would be true. The actor and character of Talbot are either so terribly subtle that they both seem shitty and offensive, or else it's just actually that way.
Eric, pushing through with his Pam-centric plan of portraying Bill as a missing V dealer from his Area, manages to play Talbot and Russell pretty well with his good manners and hotness. He's there to hunt Russell's territory, and asking permission for that is very charming -- not to mention classy, considering nobody told Sophie-Anne they were sending Op Werewolf and Freakout Franklin into her territory -- but especially since they're just patronizing him basically because he's adorable. Of course, they immediately produce Bill, pointing out that he is five times too dorky to ever sell drugs of any kind. Bill's like, "You cast aspersions on mah dorkiness!" and then Russell explains how hardcore Bill sold everybody out, that he knows it's Sophie-Anne that's selling the blood and that Bill has turned his back on her and her Queendom. Which means, Eric notes dreamily, that he's also given up Sookie.
"A King in front of them, a Queen behind them, and they're talking about a human girl!" Russell chuckles, stroking Talbot's hand fondly. "Men." (More of that, less of Talbot fussing with linens, please.) Eric comes clean about the blood dealing, but points out that the Magister still wants Bill, or he'll kill Pam tomorrow. Talbot gasps and twinkles about losing your children and it's dumb, and then Russell spits on the idea of the Madge: "Nasty little... Anachronistic toad! A ridiculous remnant of the Middle Ages!" Russell's V For Vendetta/Rousseauist Social Contract side comes through about how the only power he has over them is what they give him -- magisters should be afraid of their vampires -- and that if Eric would like to stay there tonight (today) -- and of course get his giant Nordic knob polished by Talbot, which Eric already thinks is fucking hilarious -- probably they can cook up a real bizarre and unlikely scheme about that in time to save Pam. Then Eric toasts Bill in this hilarious mean way like, "I just got here five minutes ago, and Mom and Dad already like me more than you." Bill is like, "It is mah tragedy."
Sookie wakes up to a fight between Debbie and Alcide that I think is meant to explain or functionally obfuscate what happens at the end of the episode, which is that Coot is able to invite vampires into Alcide's house despite not living there. Although honestly,