EPISODE 508 – THIS BILL DOESN’T RESEMBLE SOMEONE THAT I USED TO KNOW!
OK, how do I recap Bill’s scenes tonight? What an extraordinary episode! I am so blown away, I hardly know how to begin. But try I must! Bill’s first scene opens with the fanged gang exiting the elevator in the Authority HQ, still under the influence of their “Lilith-V” trip, wearing their Mardi-Gras beads, faces and hands dripping with blood, ecstatic, mesmerized, and awe-struck by the colors and shapes around them. They’re engaging in silly, uninhibited behavior – typical for people “tripping.” Eric is the last off the elevator. He’s coming down. He’s watching everyone, still somewhat confused, starting to regain his senses. He asks Bill, “what the hell just happened?” Bill, eyes glazed over, responds in his dreamy, drifty state of mind: “We saw her. She appeared to us. We saw Lilith. We were in the presence of God.” Eric answers, “We were as high as fucking kites.”
The next scene finds all the vampires lounging on Authority sofas, recalling the night’s experiences, especially Lilith’s presence. Nora says that this is obviously a sign, telling them they are on the right path. Russell is beside himself with ecstacy, declaring, “I am born again!” Nigel’s thrilled that he got to eat a child (gag!). After Salome directs Steve Newlin to have the guards procure some humans (including a baby for Nigel – yuck!), Eric has had enough. Starting to go, he asks Bill, “are you coming?” Bill looks at him, and turning away, gives his attention to the group. It’s obvious Bill isn’t going anywhere. Salome is smiling. She likes this!
For me, the scene that follows is the most difficult to watch, and one I am still struggling to accept. Bill arrives in Salome’s room, where there’s a young woman tied to the bed. She’s a captive, crying out, “don’t do this!” Salome invites Bill to join her in a midnight snack. Bill, noticeably disturbed, declines. Salome will have none of it. She challenges him, asking if he thought their foray into the NOLA nightclub was an anomoly – if he thought they would now go back to Trueblood. Bill admits he didn’t. Salome urges him to feed on the captive woman, who is pleading for her life, explaining she has a four-month-old daughter. Bill is now struggling with himself, he snaps at Salome, “I will not be bullied! Understand this. I have fathered children!” Salome, becoming impatient, queries “If you really loved your children, why didn’t you make them vampire, keeping them with you forever?”
In a lush, amber-tinted flashback, we see Bill visiting his daughter, Sarah, on her deathbed. Sarah, sick and frail, gazes at her father, who is standing at the foot of her bed. He is dashing – beautiful silk cravat at his neck, tailored suit, walking stick. His dark hair and smooth skin belie his actual age. Sarah is incredulous of her father’s youthful appearance. Bill tries to explain his state of being, avoiding the taboo word “vampire.” He tells her he’s been made privy to a secret of remaining young. Sarah begs him to avail her of the secret, and restore her youth. “Please, please, I don’t want to die!” Bill tells her, “immortality is a curse!” Sarah is desperate, and continues to beg him. Bill must pull himself away forcefully, leaving his daughter to die. He is bereft.
We are back in Salome’s boudoir. Salome is admonishing Bill that to refuse God’s gift is blasphemy. Bill’s struggle is written on his face. He moves hesitatingly toward the woman. We see him fighting within himself. His vampire nature and his nobility are at odds. Finally, he sits next to her, he pauses, and then…in a flash, fangs bared, he plunges them into her neck! Salome is very pleased. She utters a prayer of gratitude. End of scene.
I am stunned. How did this happen? How did Bill, a vampire who has championed mainstreaming for so long, who independently chose not to kill his victims, but glamour them with instructions for B 12 and iron supplements, make this turn so suddenly, and so completely? Has he blindly accepted a philosophy that’s diametrically opposed to his professed convictions? Does Lilith’s vision truly hold such power? Is he just posing as a sympathizer to this vision, making it appear he is a bona fide convert in order to devise a plan that will bring them down? Is that wishful thinking on my part? Mark Hudis, writer of this episode, remarks on “Inside the Episode” that he thought it was interesting to have Bill, who has been so good overall, make a dark turn. Interesting? Okay, perhaps it is. But I am committed to the Bill Compton I have known – as human, a loving father and husband, a farmer, soldier; a mainstreaming vampire, King of Louisiana, philanthropist of BonTemps, devoted protector of Sookie Stackhouse. I will be waiting to see him again.
In the last scene with Bill in this episode we see the members of the “new” Authority gather around their conference table, Bill and Eric included. The order of business, as outlined by Nora, is a discussion of how they should eliminate the mainstreaming faction from the vampire population. There are a few choices suggested, none of which are strategically viable. Then, quietly but decisively, Bill utters the word, “TrueBlood.” The discussion stops. Everyone listens. He describes how taking out the factories – “there are only five”- will make the drink unavailable, necessitating vampires drink from humans. Exclamations of praise ensue. Eric gives Bill a sideways glance, whispering, “what are you doing?” to which Bill replies matter-of-factly, “evolving.” OMG! End of episode.
What is going to happen to Bill Compton? Will he become the old Eric Northman, now that Eric seems to be melding into dead Godric? Will he become the poster boy for the Sanguinistas? How will he explain this to Jessica? Will he continue to protect Sookie?
Hey, Lilith, I want my Bill back!
Post script: This episode was so expertly directed, I need to give kudos to Stephen Moyer. The scenes were so well paced. They were edited precisely. The acting, especially by Stephen himself and Sam Trammell, was just superb! It went so seamlessly that I was surprised when it ended. I wanted more! What a great debut by Stephen!