LadyGhosts of TV Past

True Blood Retro: Episode 1.4, “Escape From Dragon House”

Um, I read. You’re not the first vain-ass, body-conscious ex-jock to overdo the V and wind up with an acute case of priapism!

So where were we? When last we spoke of the events of season 1, Bill was hosting a vampire orgy at his house, Lafayette was conning Jason into a little on-camera dance off, and Sookie discovered the murdered body of her co-worker and sometimes paramour of her brother, Dawn. This episode picks up right where the last left off, mid-Sookie screaming. Jason shows up suddenly behind her, shocked as only a box of hair can be. No, Dawn is not all right, Jason. That is not what all right looks like.

Given that two of Jason’s bedfriends have turned up dead in as many days, it’s no surprise that Jason is hauled off to the station to answer a few questions. Unfortunately he’s carrying a vial of the illegal V and despite Lafayette warning him to moderate his intake, Jason tosses the whole thing back like a champ, right in the back of the squad car.

This, like many things Jason does, is a bad idea.

We find out that Sam owns a lot of rental property in Bon Temps in addition to the bar. Rene and Arlene live in one of Sam’s places near Dawn’s house, so they’re waiting outside when Sam shows up to let the police into Dawn’s storage unit. Hoyt is there too, but more importantly, so is Hoyt’s mama.

It doesn’t take long for the V to kick in. A tiny drop of V was all Jason needed to deal with his performance issues; a whole vial is raising some sort of legendary erection in his pants. Given that he’s being questioned for a murder, this is”¦ inconvenient. Before he can embarrass himself too much ““ aw, who am I kidding? We will never see the limit on Jason’s embarrassment threshold. Anyway, before things get too out of hand, Tara shows up at the station, raising the kind of hell she can raise, claiming that Jason had spent the night with her and demanding his release. Andy and Bud are powerless in the face of Hurricane Tara. She sweeps out of the station with “her” man.

Unaware of what’s going on down at the police station, Sookie and Gran confer on how to best help Jason.  Gran suggests that Sookie put her talents to good use and listen in around the bar for clues. People in the show are far more aware of Sookie’s actual talent than those in the books and they’re not shy about bringing it up. I can’t believe that someone, like Jason, hasn’t suggested that she spy on people in town before. As it goes, Sookie didn’t really need to listen in on a bunch of stranger’s thoughts when Arlene is willing to drop a huge clue in the middle of a heartless rant about how Dawn inconvenienced her shift by getting murdered. Dawn (and Maudette) spent a lot of time up at that vampire bar.

Jason puts in an appearance at Merlotte’s to talk to Lafayette ““ oh, and to brush off Sookie’s concerns that he might actually be the murder-didly-erder. But he really needs to talk to Lafayette. Right now. He limps into the kitchen and based on this exchange alone, I would like to petition HBO for a Lafayette-Jason spin off. They can solve crimes while traveling around in a VW van with a large dog.

Lafayette: Ain’t no antidote to V, boyfriend.
Jason: When my grandpa was alive, he had gout. And he said just the weight of a sheet on his big toe was too much to bear. So help me God, that’s exactly what this feels like.
Lafayette: Maybe you should try rubbin’ one out.
Jason: Were you listenin’ to me? I got gout of the dick!


Jason soothes the savage beast.

Later, Tara finds Jason in the walk in freezer with his pants down around his thighs and a frozen steak on his genitals. The jokes write themselves.


Because she is blinded by the crush she’s had on Jason since they were both about 10 years old, Tara is somehow willing to take Jason into the ER to deal with his problem. And then sit there with him and that blue sheet draped over his dick. And then to hold his hand while he has his eggplant-like penis drained of blood. Ain’t no one gonna be the same after that.

In an admirable Nancy Drew effort, Sookie convinces Bill to escort her to the “vampire bar in Shreveport” so she can spy on people’s thoughts and/or ask around about Dawn and Maudette.

Bill: Fangtasia.
Sookie: Fang-tasia?
Bill: You have to remember that most vampires are very old. Puns used to be the highest form of humor.

I don’t care if Sookie wanted to go there to file her taxes and read aloud from the collected works of Ayn Rand. Because once we get to Fangtasia, we get to Eric* and Pam, and a little bit of Eric and Pam makes everything better.

Pam and Eric.



Fangtasia obviously caters to the World of Darkness, Anne Rice, Underworld, early NiN demographic ““ in my many years playing WoD games online, I can’t tell you how many times I came across characters who were dressed like Pam and this random henchwoman here, like, all the time. Need to get some coffee? Put on the rubber dress. Returning books to the library? Demonia platform boots and dred falls and a rubber dress. I get that all the cool kids have moved onto the Vampire Diaries and Twilight and whatever, but the joke, of course, is that people from Bon Temps think this is what vampires look like. I said in the first episode recap that preconceptions and appearances are important to this story ““ it hasn’t gotten any less true.

So Bill takes Sookie on a not-date to Fangtasia, where Sookie with her pretty blonde hair and her sweet little sundress stands out from the black-clad vampires and the hicks who come to gawk at them. Eric, our brooding Viking, dramatically lit and posed on a black freaking throne, zeroes in on her like the hunter he is. Yes, he had Dawn, he tells Sookie but not Maudette, who he thought was pathetic. Before too much can come of this exchange, Sookie overhears an undercover police officer thinking about the raid his comrades are about to conduct on the bar, looking for illicit vampire feeding. Sookie warns everyone just in time ““ Bill, Eric, Pam and Sookie high tail it out of there. Her parlor trick certainly caught Eric’s attention. She’ll come back to Fangtasia, he lets her know.

On their way home, a cop pulls Bill and Sookie over. Bill flashes some more of his true nature, threatening the cop and glamoring him into letting them go. It’s a brief flash of brutality. Sookie doesn’t miss it:

Now, you listen to me, officer. I do not take kindly to you shining your light in the eyes of my female companion. And as I have more than 100 years on you, I do not take kindly to you calling me “son.” So the next time you pull somebody over on suspicion of bein’ a vampire, you better pray to God that you’re wrong. Because that vampire may not be as kind to you as I’m about to be. I’m not gonna kill you. But I am gonna keep your gun. Does that sound fair?

As a special treat at the end of the episode, we get to see Sam break into Dawn’s house and roll around on her bloody bed, sniffing her sheets. Yes, it is as creepy as it sounds.

* I promise you, readers of the Internet, that we will have a Spike-Eric fake Internet boyfriend face-off, vampire edition. You may make preliminary arguments in the comments.

By [E] Slay Belle

Slay Belle is an editor and the new writer mentor here at Persephone Magazine, where she writes about pop culture, Buffy, and her extreme love of Lifetime movies. She is also the editor of You can follow her on Twitter, @SlayBelle or email her at

She is awfully fond of unicorns and zombies, and will usually respond to any conversational volley that includes those topics.

17 replies on “True Blood Retro: Episode 1.4, “Escape From Dragon House””

Well now that I’ve read the books (Thanks to you, I wound up reading all of them since the last TB post), I feel like I have a better handle on Eric’s character. I still like Spike more. I like him because he’s an honest character who is totally fake. Like “He’s a phony, but he’s a real phony.” He has a fake accent, dyed hair, pretend-bad attitude all so he can hide a gentler true nature. Of course he’s emotional, when something happens to him he acts out with violence and fake bad-guy talk, all so he doesn’t wind up crying in the corner and writing poetry. He’s a character who needed 200 years to grow up and you see how that benefited him. He has moments of wisdom and actually helps Buffy and loves her. Eric I have no idea. The deadpan thing is funny, but even in the books I’m like…how can Sookie go out with this guy.

And ugh – everyone lied to me about the books! *SPOILER ALERT STOP READING IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THEM YET* Sookie is a constant damsel in distress. She helps herself out of more danger than in the show, I guess. But still. Oh and the book where that thing happens to Crystal!? I wanted to fucking strangle Sookie. Yea, she cheated. But she’s not fucking worthless. She did not DESERVE what happened to her and I got the feeling that the books wanted you to think that. I like the Sookie character but sometimes her holier-than-thou attitude pisses me off. She’s had plenty of sex by now, with whoever she wanted, but she acts like when other women do it that’s bad or something.

“I don’t care if Sookie wanted to go there to file her taxes and read aloud from the collected works of Ayn Rand. Because once we get to Fangtasia, we get to Eric* and Pam,”

LOL, it’s so true! I want a spin-off series with them. I hope we get to see Pam’s backstory in the show.

Can I ask a question about the effects of vampire blood in the series? How come just a few drops send you into Deee-Lite Dewdrop Mushroom Trip Land for hours on end, but drinking it to cure wounds – drinking a LOT more than just a few drops – doesn’t seem to do anything to you except cure your malady and make you look a little younger for a while?

Well, I can only theorize, but here goes: if you’re injured, the vampire blood is being used up — its accelerating the healing process, so the more you drink is proportional to how badly injured you are. I think it’s fairly obvious that Sookie was going to die without Bill’s blood in the second episode. She looks like she’s suffering from internal injuries — she’s spitting up blood and it looks like she’s bleeding from the ears as well. So she drinks a lot of blood, but its instantly converted in her system.

If you’re perfectly healthy, the blood isn’t being utilized when you consume it, so it sits in your system and acts like a psychotropic. So you hallucinate, get horny, etc. I’ll wager that if you took a couple of drops of V, you probably feel just fantastic — no headaches, no itchy eyes, no tired muscles, all those kind of every day aches and pains people are able to accept as part of living.

I think the bit they don’t flesh out is the bonding issue. How much V do you need to consume before you feel a connection to the donor? It’s implied that a lot of the V comes from slaughtered vampires, but clearly not all of it does — Lafayette’s source is willing. So do the customers start having sexytime dreams about that sad-sack who is doing the donating? Do they start to seek them out?

I’m sort of bummed out that they didn’t include one of my favorite side affects from blood consumption from the books — Sookie’s hair getting blonder. I guess it’s kind of subtle, but I really liked that.

Cool theory. I like it, and it does tie up the loose ends: V as kind of an all-purpose ameloriation agent. If you have problems, it fixes them; if you don’t have problems, it goes into recreational mind-expando-mode for your psychic ailments and/or pleasure. A modified hierarchy of needs: body, then mind.

I wonder too if the effects are different on Sookie because she’s “special” (to phrase it in a way that doesn’t reveal too much of what we discover in later books/eposides)(I guess we already know she’s special at this point because of her mind-reading, so, carry on, nothing to see here)

Spike versus Eric? O, tough one.

In favor of Spike: his past (what we saw of him). The wigs, the punk style (I’ll never forget the scene in the subway, wasn’t he killing a Slayer?)
In favor of Eric: his companion. Pam, Pam, Pam.

In favor of Spike: love interest. Buffy can handle herself, coming from the dead and all. Sookie is a great screamer. (Although I think book Sookie is a bit cooler than tv Sookie).
In favor of Eric: his sire. Homo-erotic relationships with a tea cup super old vampire? Cool.

I think I should stop procrastinating now. As for the episode: I’m so happy that they kept La Fayette as a regular, instead of *minor spoiler* killing him of *minor spoiler*

Yes, Spike was killing Nikki, Principal Wood’s mother. I also really loved his flashback to the Boxer rebellion and the fight with that Slayer.

I was really bummed when they did not reveal that Goderik was Eric’s lover! I mean, Goderik wasn’t really Eric’s sire in the book, but I thought the book vampire’s casual relationship to homosexual/heterosexual sex was actually quite important. They shed the societal shame over killing other human beings for their sustenance — why would they be squicked over having gay lovers? Its been very curious how the show approaches this subject, given the heavy gay subtext. Everyone is either gay or straight. I can’t think of a single bi-sexual character we’ve been introduced to.

You’re right about bi-sexual. I wanted to name the Queen, but she bypassed men a long time ago. I hope Bill will show his bi-side with a follow up for Sam’s dream, but I’m not putting my money on it.

Hmm. Maybe the stripper? Yvetta? She flirted with Pam (Pam went down on her, on was that another one) and had sex with Eric.

I don’t think we see enough of Yvette to get a read on her — she seems to me more of an opportunist than anything else, based on what she says when she flounces off at the end of last season. Eric seduces what’shisname that he kills, which anyone from the book would read as ‘actual same-sex desire’ but I don’t think is as clear cut just from watching the show.

I had forgotten the Queen had made comments about shagging both sexes (I personally always think of her as a lesbian), but is she it? How odd. In fact, its even morestrange when you consider how Marianne’s powers are developed in the second season. Making mental note to write about that when we get there.

Talbot? That was clearly a trap. A seducing one, but I wouldn’t see it as AB admitting Eric is bi.

I think the Queen made her mind up that she likes women more. She hadn’t had a man since Lincoln (or another president, it will be told in one of the final episodes) but she likes watching men together. So she just likes all of it, just bits more passive.
For all the sex I’m quite surprised that there haven’t showed an orgy up on my screen (yet). A pile of naked vampires and humans would surely be the best way to show that vampires have Different Standards.

I think Pam is revealed to be bisexual at some point, and Eric is pretty familiar with gay sex in season 3 with *spoiler I guess?* Talbot before he kills him, but it is less explicit than in the books.

And if we have a vampire boyfriend contest, I really must insist on including Damon Salvatore, sexy badass from The Vampire Diaries. He’ll lose in the first round, but his inclusion is necessary-he’s gonna be one of the big you wait and see!

Spike: The accent. I know it’s fake, I know he doesn’t do it right all the time, I know The Sarcastic Brit is not exactly a rare trope. But still. It makes his particular brand of vampiro-sarcasm so much more deliciously acrid. That, and the way he kind of coyly raises his eyebrow when he throws sass, like, “I couldn’t care less about the actual issue we’re discussing, because I just go to wherever the chaos is, but I’m gonna argue with you for my own amusement.”

Eric: He deadpans 99% of what he says, which is always hysterical but also has the effect of making my peanut twitter on those one or two occasions when he says something with passion in his voice. His accent has a unique awkward mellifluousness that sounds weird because American audiences don’t have a frame of reference for a “standard” Swedish accent, so it just sounds like he’s trying to gnaw through a pile of words. In a good way.

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