On the Couch with Bill Compton

October 6th, 2011

Stephen Moyer’s ‘The Caller’ – a Teahead Review

Joanna ‘Teahead’ Bogusławska is a published writer, college instructor and lecturer living in Gdynia, Poland.

“The Caller” is a 2011 thriller starring Stephen Moyer (John Guidi) and Rachelle Lefevre (Mary Kee). The plot revolves around a young woman who wants to start a new life and is being stalked by a mysterious woman calling her from … the 1970s. What is more, she is also tormented by her psychopathic ex-husband who doesn’t care about any restraining orders and intrudes and terrorizes her regularly.

“The Caller” is a decent mixture of thriller and horror genres. The real problems, such as a stalking husband, are intertwined with the more supernatural plot of a transfixed timeline. The whole action takes place within only few days and during such short period of time Mary has to face terrifying and life-threatening situations. While watching the movie I couldn’t help but wonder what is more horrifying – the unknown but distant danger appearing at the other end of a phone line, or the touchable and familiar, but bitterly known, danger of a sadistic husband who does not want to let Mary go. It is really hard to decide.

stephen moyer in the caller

The gloomy atmosphere of the film is intensified by quite hostile weather conditions in the area (the main characters often face heavy rains and a lot of the action takes place in the evening or a at night) and the whole movie seems murky, not only in the sense of atmosphere but also in the sense of a technique of making it. There are hardly any warm or optimistic colors, things are mostly dark and severe. It all builds a really nice thriller background, the viewer knows from the very first minutes the story told in the movie would not be light hearted.

I must admit I liked Mary’s character. She seemed very nicely cold-blooded during the entire movie. Of course she had her moments of doubt and despair, but it was a true pleasure watching her handling the insane situation she had suddenly found herself in. It turned out on many occasions she was a good psychologist while she was taking control during her conversations with Rose, and she had had enough of courage to seek legal help and divorce her psycho husband Steven. She was brave enough to start a new life on her own, something many women would have been too terrorized to even consider. I liked the fact that she was a strong character and was not afraid to seek for solutions and help.

Please read the rest of our review of “The Caller” by clicking the “Review” button on our Filmography page.

September 10th, 2011

On the Couch With Bill Compton: ‘Soul of Fire’

Joanna ‘Teahead’ Bogusławska is a published writer, college instructor and lecturer living in Gdynia, Poland.

Four vampires in their combat mode are getting ready to blow up the Moon Goddess Emporium and kill Marnie and her followers inside. This is the beginning of the 11th episode of True Blood’s season four. My analysis last week focused on Bill becoming a king. He no longer is a puppet, controlled by Nan and The Authority, he just made his first, totally independent and most probably unpopular decision to finish the Marnie problem once and for all. He is totally determined to set the Moon Goddess on fire, not caring about any possible casualties. And, in fact, the casualties might not be the best word, as Marnie/Antonia’s partners are in fact her soldiers, since they made the decision to stay with their leader and accompany her into this battle, they are bound to face the consequences of their decision. And the vampires are not to let them go this time. Unless among them there’s Sookie …

This episode is one of the very few in this fourth season where the viewers might observe Bill in so many drastically different situations, expressing drastically different emotions. What a treat to have Bill finally in the total center of the action. There’s everything on his face; anger, fury, shock, disappointment, terror, misery and, finally, relief. Where to start?

When Jason appears and tells Bill and the other vampires that his sister is inside the building that the vampires were about to set on fire, after first wave of frustration and anger, Bill and Eric assess the situation and decide to call off their revenge plan in order to keep Sookie safe. First the decision is based on the fact that neither of them want to jeopardize her health and well-being, but when Jason shows them the force field surround Moon Goddess, it becomes clear they won’t attack the witch because they simply have no idea how to pass the sun-energy shield. Bill is mad, Eric is furious and Pam and Jessica are simply disappointed. All of them want blood, all of them want death and suddenly two major obstacles stand in their way. Bill is enraged, but his anger amplifies when Marnie sends her two possessed vampire sheriffs to eliminate her enemies at the gate. The king and Eric kill the vampires swiftly and Bill, who is now infuriated, calls out Antonia to come out and face them duly. One can imagine how frustrating it is for him not to see his enemy, to face a foe that is so powerful but elusive, so dangerous and invisible, a foe that makes the powerful vampires feel weak and powerless. How long can one take it?

jason faces down king bill

Sookie being kept in Moon Goddess turned out to be a blessing for vampires, because not knowing about the force field meant they would die at the very first round fire. Of course if complicates their situation unbearably but saves, or at least prolongs, their un-dead existence. Vampires’ anger is drastically cooled down when Marnie finally shows and offers a treat – Eric and Bill killing each other in exchange for Sookie’s life and freedom. Such an ultimatum changes the already critical situation drastically. Bill, who a few hours earlier was determined to eliminate Antonia at all costs, loses his steam and agrees to Marnie’s conditions almost immediately. Bill the king is now hidden deeply among the layers of his emotions and Bill the lover shines through. He is ready to give up his life without hesitation to save the woman he loves.

There are couple of things that puzzled me when watching that scene. As dramatic, and romantic, as it was there are certain things I cannot entirely understand. First of all, Sookie wasn’t exactly in danger. Neither Eric nor Bill had scented her fear until that time, and the only time that Sookie was truly endangered was when her two vampire lovers accompanied by their progeny were getting ready to blow up Marnie’s shop and kill everyone inside it. Secondly, it seems gullible of Bill to make any deal with the witch since she had already proven herself to be untrustworthy. The only thing that makes me believe there was a deeper sense in all this unbelievable dramatic situation was reasonable was vampires’ weapon was intended to kill humans, so neither Bill nor Eric wouldn’t really die after shooting themselves. But the biggest emotional baggage that this situation carries is the fact that Bill did not hesitate for a second to die for Sookie, for the promise of her safety. He preferred trusting Marnie and lay his existence and fate in her hands than to risk Sookie’s life. Once again he showed that he values her much more than himself, and isn’t that the biggest proof of one’s love?

bill readies to shoot marnie

Sookie was once again locked in Moon Goddess and the vampires were still unable to reach Marnie, because of Pam’s intervention. The situation was becoming more and more dramatic due to Marnie/Antonia’s spells pulling the vampires towards the force field. Sookie’s intervention saves them, but nobody is entirely safe until Jesus’ spell breaks the witch’s magic. The sun-energy wall disappears and Bill and Eric immediately run to Moon Goddess to execute Marnie.

Bill confesses his unconditional love to Sookie once again, is ready to die for her again, but at the very end he clearly doesn’t want to talk to her. Vampire politics, i.e. he had more important things on his mind at that particular moment? Does he still want to pretend his love for her is gone so she could be safe? Or perhaps he feels hurt she now loves Eric? Will we ever find out what was crossing his head at that moment?

Screen caps from Lady Manson

September 2nd, 2011

On the Couch With Bill Compton: ‘Burning Down the House’

Joanna ‘Teahead’ Bogusławska is a published writer, college instructor and lecturer living in Gdynia, Poland.

The episode opens with the Shreveport Tolerance Festival being shredded to pieces by Marnie and the vampires who she had overpowered. Eric tosses Bill from left to right, and the king is both terrified and disoriented. Obviously he’s no match for a 1,000 year-old opponent. He is saved because of Sookie’s intervention, but, sadly, Bill is only among a few unharmed survivors of the mayhem. There are wounded or dead people everywhere and it is obvious that the Festival turned out to be an image disaster. There is one more thing that happened; Nan witnessed Sookie’s powers, which may only lead to more trouble for Ms. Stackhouse, and, naturally, for Bill.

At Bill’s house we can see Nan and Bill talking about what just happened, but this time it’s an entirely different Bill. This is a king who cannot care less about what Nan says. His kind is in danger and being politically correct is no longer an option for him. This is exactly the difference between the way Nan and Bill see his function. Nan wants to have a likable, elegant and outspoken vampire, but who is a puppet, a marionette that would do anything that she and the Authority wish for a particular moment. Bill’s opinion on being a king varies greatly. It looks like at the beginning he succumbed to the representative role but that was before vampires were facing what is probably one of biggest threat to their species in hundreds of years. At this moment, Bill couldn’t care less about Nan’s political agenda, nor about the Authority’s wishes. He states clearly he won’t rest until Antonia is defeated, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. What is more, he is holding Nan in the check when he states she can be easily blamed for the Festival massacre because she never listened to Bill’s warnings and because of her all vampires may face the true death.

on the couch with bill compton

Bill’s firmness is even more visible when he confronts Sookie. The king wants to burn Antonia and gets ready to attack her at the Moon Goddess Emporium and has no will to rethink his plan just because Tara and some other people are trapped there. At this point it is certain Bill is no longer interested in compromising on anything. Not pleased Authority? Casualties? Too bad. He is the king, he won’t allow his people die even if it means Sookie’s unhappy and the Authority furious. Nan should have checked her candidate for a king of Louisiana more thoroughly, clearly she was gullible thinking Bill would only sit in his office and take orders.

What is really interesting in this episode is Eric’s and Bill’s co-operation. Eric has gotten his memory back and apparently the two gentlemen have decided to put their Sookie-based aversion aside and unite to take Antonia down. Seeing their partnership is truly priceless, because this is the very first situation in all four seasons that Eric and Bill work together for the same reasons. In season two they were both in Dallas, but their effort to search for Godric was based on entirely different agendas. They were also interested in getting rid of Russell for various reasons. This time, they are working fang-in-fang to put Antonia down and save the vampires in their area and perhaps in the entire world.

This is no longer Bill and Eric, but a sheriff and a king fulfilling their duties to serve and protect their species. It finally shows the maturity of the two characters who, despite their obvious antipathy to each other can work together. What is more, Eric supports Bill verbally when they, Nan, Jessica, and Pam are silvered up in the king’s prison. All vampires agree with Bill and when the night falls they all go to Moon Goddess to resolve their problem once and for all. This is the very first time that Bill gains full authority, because apart from Jessica, Eric, and Pam who had always ignored him and the position he’s been given, stand beside their king and unite with him in the fight against the necromancer. Let the battle begin.

August 27th, 2011

On the Couch With Bill Compton: ‘Let’s Get Out of Here’

Joanna ‘Teahead’ Bogusławska is a published writer, college instructor and lecturer living in Gdynia, Poland.

The episode starts very dramatically. We see Alcide running towards the Stackhouse home carrying deadly wounded Sookie. Only a few seconds later Bill catches up and intercepts Alcide, grabbing Sookie from him. Before Alcide appears in the house, the king is already trying to feed Sookie his blood, hoping it would heal her, hoping it’s not too late. To say that Bill is concerned is not even remotely close; he is petrified and is afraid of the worst, that he would lose Sookie for good. She is unconscious, she doesn’t show any sign of life, her pulse is almost impossible to feel. At this point Bill is starting to blame himself for ever letting her fight the witches on his side. The old, protective Bill shines through his king-armor and he seems to be on the edge of panic. It’s not the wound that scares him the most, it’s the fact he might not be able to bring Sookie back to life. He forgets that Sookie’s safety is no longer his agenda, he is horrified she might not make it this time.

bill saves sookie; sookie pisses off alcide

His reaction proves he has never stopped loving nor caring for her, that her security is his priority number one and it has only been dormant under the political skin he is now wearing. The truth about Bill shines vividly and it says that there is nobody as important to him as Sookie and he will renounce all the power and splendor he has only for a promise of her safety. The opening scene shows also that Bill identifies himself with Sookie’s security. She was shot, wounded in a completely human kind of way, nothing supernatural. It was not Maryanne, it wasn’t a vampire attack, however Bill informs Alcide he has no idea what to do in case Sookie doesn’t start drinking his blood. He doesn’t think about calling an ambulance, about taking her to hospital. Of course nothing would heal her faster than his blood, but what to do in case she doesn’t drink it? We, the viewers, know that Sookie might not do too well in a hospital due to the lack of blood type, but does Bill know it? No. But he has no other idea how to help her, because not for a second does he think that her safety is not his responsibility. He’s the one to protect her and to save her. Great responsibility, especially since Sookie likes to stay in trouble.

When we come back to Sookie’s living room, she is already awake and her first question after regaining her consciousness is “Where’s Eric?” Bill is not even surprised. He informs her calmly his people are searching for him and is about to leave her house, when Sookie thanks him for the blood. Bill smiles and assures her she can count on him. Sookie’s gesture was very important for him, one can tell he wasn’t expecting any kind word, especially after her immediate concern for Eric. Her appreciation looked like a single, but immensely important glimpse of light in this very gloomy and dark night.

bill faces nan

The nice feeling must have been really short since Bill has to face Nan the moment he enters his home. It is obvious those two tolerate each other only for sake of vampire politics. Nan is a calculating and cold woman who doesn’t see anything else apart from her own agenda. It’s not that she doesn’t like disobedience, the problem with Nan is that she doesn’t like to even listen to other people. She is unlikable and arrogant, and her stubbornness does not allow her to take Bill’s warnings into consideration. This is not a person that Bill could ever be friends with because Nan is in fact one of the most ruthless vampires that Bill needs to deal with. It is obvious her arrogance that’s going to be punished, because arrogance doesn’t let people be careful and distracts them. The king tries to tell her the witches are waiting for this moment, but his warnings make Nan only angry and aggressive. She is not a partner for Bill. She doesn’t want to be. She’s the one who thrives in reminding him he is only a political figure without any real power. One can tell Bill can hardly stand her, but is forced to follow her commands.

bill speaks at tolerance rally

The final scene with Tolerance Festival celebration proves once again that Bill is an exquisite politician. His speech is wonderful and, let’s face it, he’s got the point. Everything he says is true, but the fact that there are hardly any vampires during the meeting shows that Nan doesn’t trust her own kind and it all makes the Festival a farce and purely political. Looks like vampires that Nan represents do not care about integration or tolerance. The big question is: What do they care about? What do they want? What is Nan’s real agenda? And how will Bill get out from under the control the Authority has imposed on him?

August 19th, 2011

On the Couch with Bill Compton – Double Edition

Joanna ‘Teahead’ Bogus?awska is a published writer, college instructor and lecturer living in Gdynia, Poland.

Episode 407, “Cold Grey Light of Dawn” and Episode 408, “Spellbound”

The last two episodes of True Blood have brought us a bit of the old, and a bit of the new Bill (Stephen Moyer). I think his majesty’s leather jacket is somehow becoming symbolic in the series. In season one Bill was wearing it when he was facing the tribunal, which was a turning point to his storyline not only for the rest of the debut season, but for all next ones as well. It was the leather jacket that he was wearing when he was facing Maryanne in season two’s finale episodes; it was again that leather jacket that Bill was wearing when he came to rescue Sookie from Debbie Pelt and the werewolves she brought with her to kill Sookie, and when he confronted Russell; and in season four we see the comeback of the jacket when Bill decides to move from being defensive to taking action against the witches. Apparently, the leather jacket means Bill no longer takes ‘no’ for an answer and that nice and diplomatic Mr. Compton steps back and allows the action Bill to take over. It also means something else. It means Bill is no longer focused on Sookie (temporarily at least). He has no time to mourn for her, because here he is, a king, responsible for his subjects and while he constantly has Sookie in the back of his head, no doubt about it, he is focused on rescuing his people from an upcoming massacre.

In episodes seven and eight we finally see the vampire-witch plot becoming vividly the main story for this season. I must admit, at least for me, it wasn’t so obvious until those two episodes. The witches are becoming tremendously dangerous for vampires and it’s time for Bill to take action. And he does.

bill arrives at sookies with silver chains

After getting familiar with the resurrected Antonia, Bill realizes that peaceful resolutions to vampires’ problems might no longer be possible to achieve. It is worth it to underline that Bill immediately knew who Antonia was, he was surprised to hear her statement, but the name seemed absolutely familiar.

This scene made me recall a scene from two episodes back in which one of the sheriffs gathered at Bill’s house to discuss the witch situation, was attacked by other vampires present for being ignorant of their own history. Bill obviously did his homework, and this is not the first time he is aware and familiar of the history on his own. He knew about the fairy mythology, he was the first person on Bon Temps who was able to figure out who or what Maryanne probably was, and he must have been aware of Antonia’s story, even though it’s been 400 years since the massacre she caused. I might over analyze the clothing matter, but when Bill changed his damaged and stained shirt, he appeared to be far more determined and focused wearing a sweater. It might be a hint that Bill feels far more comfortable as a regular vampire than a king surrounded by guards and obliged to present himself in suits and ties. Bill has loyalty and responsibility running through his veins as his natural feature, even without duties imposed on him by the authority, he would never abandon his kind and would fight against their enemies. Being unofficial made him more at ease and allowed him to think more clearly with one particular aim at mind.

When he announces his plan to avoid the resurrection spell, he freely decides to warn vampires living in Eric’s area five and to inform them about the need to silver up during the day. He knows this means confronting Sookie and the her new lover but Eric is his subject, and Bill, despite his aversion to the amnesiac Viking, and also in order to spare Sookie pain of losing another person she is involved with, he knocks on Sookie’s doors. He sadly, but without a trace of surprise, scans the mess in the living room, which must have been caused in one way only, and proceeds to explain to Eric and Sookie that Eric needs to be silvered during the day and Sookie needs to make sure he doesn’t go out into the sun. Bill is pretty cold when talking to them, but there is no way to blame him for that. He was probably stirred inside, but his pride as well as conviction that Sookie needs to decide on her own who she wants to be with, allow him to stay cool and get them familiar with his plan. He shows no emotions, it’s obvious he’s there only to fulfill his duty as a king. When his work is done, he goes back home to Jessica so that they could face the spell together.

It’s very interesting that the emotional weight in Bill’s case is transferred from his drama with Sookie to his parent-child relationship with Jessica. It’s no longer only a father-daughter relationship. While watching Bill and Jessica’s conversation while waiting for the spell to start, it is getting obvious that Jessica saves her maker from being totally lonely. The fact he lost Sookie, his new position which certainly gains him more enemies than friends, his fear for his subjects and problems that seem to grow endlessly, it all makes Bill the loneliest character in this season of True Blood. It is only his progeny that he can hug, that he can freely talk to, he doesn’t have to remember about etiquette nor expectations while being around her. He can open up, share his thoughts, feelings and fears with her and she understands him and, as we learned at the beginning of this season, Jessica defends him and is loyal to him. It’s wonderful to see how much they’ve grown with each other, it’s obvious that Pam and Eric, despite being together for more than a century have never reached that level of intimacy and devotion and closeness. It also shows that Bill, despite problems and reservation, has become a wise mentor who made sure Jessica has never lost her humanity. Bill tells Jessica he’s sorry for causing her pain, but the truth is it’s because of him being her maker, that Jessica was able to experience a beautiful relationship which helped her pass the transition from being a teenager into being a woman, it’s because of him being her maker that she was able to make human friends and hang out with Hoyt and Jason. Pam was taught how to rip throats open and kill in the split of a second in the name of vampire bloodlust and freedom. Jessica worries she will hurt Hoyt when she breaks up with him and feels remorse that her vampire nature makes her search for other relationships in life. That is why Jessica releasing herself from silver chains and walking towards the sun is an unimaginable drama for Bill as he is watching his progeny, the only person that he has left in his lonely and sad king’s life going towards the doors in a suicidal possession.

bill compton in leather jacket

My ... Bill

The first time we see Bill in episode eight is when he is sure Jessica burned when she walked out into the sunlight. His relief and gratitude when he sees Jason bringing Jessica back to him is beyond words.

Because Maxine witnessed her neighbor burning in the sun, soon there is media interest in a surprising vampire suicide and soon Bill is needed in his official capacity. He spreads his message about depressed vampires seeking acceptance and moves back to his car where he contacts Marnie and proposes a non-aggression pact. He manages to convince her to negotiate and the two settle to meet in Bon Temps cemetery. It needs to be underlined that Bill is an absolute master of diplomacy. The pitch of his voice, his very careful choice of words, humble and yet firm, it all makes Antonia willing to see him. Such occasion calls for the leather jacket, after all the time of struggle is coming, none of the parties have any doubts about it.

Before Bill goes out to see the witch, he is surprised by a visit from Eric and Sookie who proclaim their loyalty to him and want to fight with him against Antonia. Bill’s initial, and the most natural reaction, is to warn Sookie and talk her out of it, but he is soon reminded it’s her choice now and they all appear at the cemetery. Bill is once again cool, focused and determined to seek a peaceful resolution of the problem, but very soon the situation gets out of hand. Bill saves Tara’s life and vaguely explains to her that she ought to know why he saved her from Pam. It’s a mystery if he decided to help her because of Tara’s friendship with Sookie or because he felt guilty about not helping her at Russell’s. Or both. It seems that Bill is in full control of what’s going on, despite the fact there’s a battle going on in the fog. And then there’s a shot …

August 4th, 2011

On the Couch with Bill Compton: ‘I Wish I Was the Moon’

Joanna ‘Teahead’ Bogus?awska is a published writer, college instructor and lecturer living in Gdynia, Poland. Look for her analyses of Bill Compton on our True Blood Filmography page under “On the Couch.”

Everything that Bill has been through during the sixth episode of the new season, “I Wish I was The Moon,” was extreme. From broken-hearted to vengeful, from vengeful to merciful, from merciful to heart-broken and despairing. He is now a powerful but lonely vampire with a suffering soul and, we can assume, the feeling of frustration poking inside of his undead soul. So far he’s been through a lot but the last episode must have shaken him to the core. Bill, was it worth it to fight for gaining your humanity back? Look what it has caused you; suffering and being heart-broken. A year ago there was a glimpse of light and hope in your life. Now you’re alone with great responsibility that you need to carry on your shoulders and nobody to comfort you on a long, full moon, miserable night …

The first time we see Bill in “I Wish I Was the Moon” is when he storms into Sookie’s house, stirred by Pam’s revelation that Eric’s been hiding there right from the moment he mysteriously disappeared. He bursts in and is completely taken aback by what he sees – his miracle making out with Eric. Between Bill storming into the house and attacking his Area 5 sheriff, there is a slight moment when dozens of emotions and thoughts run through his head. He is shocked, angered, disbelieving, and bitter. He swiftly becomes furious and without a word he attacks Eric and is able, despite the enormous age difference between them, to throw the Viking on the wall and even to hit him. Of course Eric fights back immediately and if it hadn’t been for Sookie’s intervention, Bill wouldn’t stand a chance in this fight. The Viking’s reaction to Sookie’s words flabbergasts the king as it clearly shows Eric is not himself.

bill rushes into sookie's house

My particular favorite scene in this episode was when Bill enters his mansion having captured Eric with panicked and furious Sookie as company. Sookie’s support for Eric is both irritating and confusing for Bill. He’s mad not only because the woman he loves (and he still loves her dearly) had lied to his face, manipulating him and reminding him of the guilt that has been his burden almost since the beginning of their relationship, but she chose Eric, the vampire Bill had been doing anything he could to protect her from, the one she supposedly hated, to be her new lover and romantic interest. It must have hurt not only his heart, but it had to sting his pride and had to have a taste of humiliation.

Sookie betrayed him not in a sense of an affair as such, after all it was her decision to break up with him, but in a sense of loyalty. Bill wouldn’t have felt half the disdain towards her he felt at that particular moment at his mansion if Sookie had slept with anyone else. Anyone else but Eric. It made all of Bill’s effort and struggle to keep her safe look ridiculous. She couldn’t have stabbed his sense of self-confidence more. It doesn’t matter that he’s king, that he’s got power, that he can make decisions that can affect the entire vampire population in Louisiana.

bill pissed off at snookie

Sookie choosing Eric undermined everything he believed he had when he was with her. All the faith he had in her, all the hope she had awakened in him, all of this was shaken the night she rescinded her invitation, but now it simply disappeared, was taken from him in one of the most brutal ways possible. Hence the bitterness and anger while talking to her, hence the cold sight and determination to get her out of his home. Hence the burning need for revenge and settling the score with a very cunning attempt to convince the Authority that Eric Northman ought to meet the true death. Bill knew Eric wasn’t a threat, he knew that Eric needed help, in fact, as both Eric and his progeny had been infected by the witches. Eric could have just stayed in Bill’s jail and wouldn’t caused any danger until the whole crazy situation they all have gotten themselves into was resolved. But Bill’s hurt pride and a desperate need to get even with Eric for all he had done to him personally and to Sookie, for his determination to destroy Bill’s relationship with Sookie … he had to be punished. So, impulsively, but cleverly, Bill decided to get rid of Eric once and for all. After all, it was Bill who said that it is rare when one faces such grand a opportunity …

It is hard to say if Bill truly was planning to kill Eric. When he stands outside his mansion, waiting for the Viking to be brought to him for an execution, Bill looks at the moon. We need to remember that Bill has struggled immensely to gain his humanity back. At this point, it’s clear he’s cooled off, he starts thinking clearly. Perhaps in his mind a thought started growing that maybe it’s good for Sookie to have a 1000-year-old powerful vampire on her side since Bill is now unable to protect her. It could have been Eric’s sincere and heartfelt speech that made the king change his mind about executing him. It could also have been the genuine desire for Sookie to be happy, and Eric helped him realize that Sookie deserves to be happy with whomever she chooses.

bill staking eric

The moment Bill lifts his hand to thrust a stake into Eric’s chest, this is the moment he is actually letting Sookie go. This is the moment when he decides to let her make her own decisions, that what he feels about them should not matter, that she is moving on just like he’s been trying to for the past year. He let Eric go knowing exactly what will happen the minute he’s gone. Bill realized that killing Eric would not resolve anything with himself and Sookie. She would find a love interest in someone else, and what is the most important, she would never forgive Bill for this execution. And, at least for now, Bill and Sookie have moved on, but there’s no doubt that both of them still have feelings for each other. Let her go, King William, let her realize certain things, let her choose …

Bill on a porch at the end of the episode is a sad thing to see, no doubt, but it’s the moment he comes to terms with everything that has happened. He needed that, he needed a closure and he got it. Sad as he is, but he can finally be peaceful.

bill on his veranda

July 31st, 2011

Analysis: Bill Compton in True Blood Episode “Me and the Devil”

Joanna ‘Teahead’ Bogus?awska is a published writer, college instructor and lecturer living in Gdynia, Poland.

Is it good to be king?

Well, if you ask Bill Compton, he might beg to differ. We just watched another episode of season four and we learn that insanity is a pretty valuable asset on any vampire monarch candidate’s resume, which doesn’t sound too promising, does it? So far we’ve seen King Bill tormented by having his hands tied due to the Authority which seems more to care about him as an official countenance of the AVL than his problems and straits he needs to face as a monarch. And there’s far more of those when one rules Louisiana than one might imagine.

In this episode Bill had some really great moments. He proved himself to be a truly honorable and wise man and it wasn’t until the very last seconds that his emotions took power over him.

The first time we see Bill in “Me And The Devil” is when his great-great-great-great granddaughter comes to visit him. Their recently discovered personal kinship was shocking, but it turns out only Bill felt discouraged enough to break off their sexual relationship. I must admit that up to a point I did understand Portia’s argument. From legal point of view there was nothing wrong with her having sex with Bill, but Bill’s strong negative reaction towards it only proved that he’s a righteous vampire. It did not matter to him if they were generations apart in their kinship bond, he did not care for Portia’s points and legal searches to prove to him they would not be doing anything bad if they sustained the sexual element of their relationship. Bill drew the line very vividly and despite Portia’s insistence, he decided to resign from her legal counseling and glamor her for the sake of their mutual peace of mind to make Portia not to feel any attraction towards him and even to be scared of him.

bill glamors portia

We don’t know when Portia started to be his lawyer, but she must have been his trusted employee since he had decided to cross the line between their professional and private relations. And yet he strongly objected to sustaining their relationship, even if it meant the end of her being his legal adviser. Glamoring her to be afraid of him was a very determined solution to the problem but seemed the only way to make her disappear from his life. On the other hand, Bill could have just told her not to have any feelings for him, yet he wanted to make sure she would stay away from him. Perhaps it was his way of staying away from her? Their sexual tete-a-tete seemed very passionate and intimate, so maybe Bill wanted to be sure he wouldn’t not be tempted into making this mistake again? Or he simply wanted to have fun seeing Portia terrified and screaming whenever being near him? I mean you did see the smirk on his face once the terrier rushed out of his office, right? But then again, since Bill is the face of the AVL and his job is to build a positive image of vampires, wouldn’t it be risky to have a woman having panic attacks whenever she would see him? Bill was definitely desperate to discourage Portia from wanting him, but somehow it felt as if he just did not foresee the possible consequences of this way of handling the situation.

Very soon after resolving the Portia problem, another problem, impersonated by Pam, steps into Bill’s threshold. It’s with a mixture of anger, amazement and true pity, that Bill learns that Pam decided to handle the Eric situation by herself and, just as her maker, she messed with the wrong people. It is great to see Bill really feeling sorry for Pam. It’s obvious he’s shocked and disoriented when he sees her
face. Her disobedience is immediately forgotten when he sees what is happening to Pam’s skin. He even tries to relieve the tension by making a light-hearted remark about putting on some make-up, but he knows the situation is serious.

bill reprimands pam for disobeying an order

Now he has his two subjects possibly attacked by witches; a 1000-year-old sheriff who’s been missing ever since Bill sent him a on a mission to explain to the coven’s members that they ought not to mess with dead, and Pam who is losing some pieces of her own face around his office while asking him for permission to get the w(b)itch who had done this to her. Bill replies he cannot let her do this since his hands are tied by the Authority. It’s getting more and more obvious why Russell hated the Authority so much. It looks like being a king is not much more than being a representative of the Authority’s will. Bill’s had problems with the way reigning truly looks like since the beginning. He’s frustrated the Authority does not want to listen about the witches, instead he is being reminded by Nan that there are no retired kings, i.e. do as we say or you meet the true death. He clearly wasn’t at ease with signing a death sentence on a vampire caught feeding on human, and now he can’t let Pam take care of matters because the Authority clearly does not wish any vampire-human violence. It’s really interesting to see how much the Authority forbids the vampires from living according to their nature in the name of peaceful mainstreaming among humans. Is it so worth it to get so easily rid of the representatives of their own kind? Apparently people have no idea how valuable humanity really is.

Pam’s problem pushes Bill to act. We see Marnie captured and put into prison in Bill’s mansion. Bill questions her via an intercom. Having two vampires in trouble he knows he cannot mess with her. That said his approach is totally different than Eric’s and Pam’s. Bill talks to her, tries to make Marnie feel comfortable and calm. He doesn’t demand answers, he doesn’t intimidate her, nor threaten to bite her neck off if she doesn’t provide them with answers about Eric and Pam. What is more, he shows a total understanding that what Marnie did was a self-protection action, that Eric attacked her even though he did not have any obvious and direct reason to violate her and her group of followers.

bill glamors marnie

Bill has proven himself to be a really good psychologist with a great understanding of human emotions and reasons behind them. And guess what, Marnie starts talking to him, explaining to him why she cast the spells and that she had no idea how to reverse them. Bill goes to her directly to glamor her to make sure she wasn’t lying, but he does that only to prove to Pam that Marnie was telling the truth. Bill himself had already known that, he knows humans only too well not to see them lie. Doesn’t he?

The last time we get to see Bill in “Me and the Devil” is during a meeting in his living room with four Louisiana sheriffs. They are discussing the witch situation and Pam is listening to them. We get to know a bit of a vampire history and Bill gives a wonderful glimpse of his power when he chokes one of the sheriffs who made a disrespectful comment about the problem with the witches. What a grip! What speed! You messed with a wrong person, my friend! I am your king, we’re all in trouble, it’s not a time nor place for jokes! I loved it as Bill finally showed he’s not one of them anymore, he’s beyond them, and although such methods of gaining respect do not seem to appeal him, he finally lost his patience. Yes, Bill is getting worried and truly dismayed by the witches, especially now that he’s lost a sheriff, probably the oldest vampire in his territory who might have proven to be the exact weapon and support the vampires in the area would need to face the powerful necromancers.

And here is when irritated Pam has a slip of the tongue. She admits what happened to Eric and that only infuriates Bill as it means that since she knows what’d happened to him, she must also know where he is. Confronted with Bill’s anger, she silently admits that Eric lives at Sookie’s. In a split second there are about 100 emotions on Bill’s face. Shock, disbelief, feeling of betrayal. Sookie has been harboring Eric in her home for days and she lied to him, intentionally and coldly staking his emotions through and using his sense of guilt to cover the vampire who sold her out to Russell, tricked her into drinking his blood and tortured Lafayette, the vampire she’d rather get cancer than get close to.

bill confronts pam

Bill clearly had no idea Eric was at Sookie’s. If he had he would never let her stay alone with Eric and Bill’s inner directive to protect Sookie against any danger would have never allowed him to succumb to her emotional blackmail. If he’d known Eric was there Bill would’ve entered the house and had Eric handcuffed. He decided not to search her home because he trusted her and because he still feels guilty for what he had done to her. A double betrayal. Pam lied to him, Sookie lied to him. And the Authority doesn’t allow him to do anything. Or does it? Bill storms out of his house …

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