'True Blood' Serves Up Sex & Independent Women 'In The Evening'

I know it's impossible, because Sunday's "In The Evening" and the past few episodes of True Blood were written long before we got our eyes on them, but I almost feel like the powers that be heard our incessant whining and changed course. First, we demanded at least one character to root for during Season 6. Second, we insisted that Sookie just give in, mac on the hot vampire-faerie guy, and give the series a much needed dose of sex. (Sex is the series' life blood, after all.) Apparently, the writers were just saving it all for Episode 7, because they just delivered extreme doses of sex and, more importantly, some serious lady power.

This may or may not call for a few Beyoncé lyrics.

All My Single Ladies, Put Your Hands Up

Yes, this episode included a few much-needed doses of the horizontal (and sometimes vertical, shower-soaked) mambo: Jessica and James, Nicole and Sam, the naked aftermath of Sookie and Warlow, and almost Pam and her wholly unappealing LAVTF psychiatrist. Still, that's not enough to keep us satisfied. We like our vampire TV with a little smut, but don't forget that we have brains, True Blood.

Luckily, the HBO staple is respecting our bodies and our brains this week, as each of these hook-ups comes with a significant dose of female strength and autonomy.

Sookie's is a tad more obvious: She wakes from her sexual stupor alongside Warlow (can we go back to calling him Ben, please?) and immediately, a friendly debate ensues. Warlow, occupying what pop culture would likely have us believe is a "female" role in a post-coital conversation, assumes that because he and Sookie had such passionate, unbridled (not to mention, glowing and sparkly) faerie sex, that they're a couple — and betrothed one at that. Luckily, Sookie has retained some independence and scoffs at his childish assumption: sex in the 21st century is far more casual, and just because a woman fully enjoys a sexual endeavor, it doesn't mean she's hooked for life. Don't hate me for thinking the phrase, "You go, girl."

Next comes Jessica, who's decided she doesn't want Jason to save her from the LAVTF because she doesn't deserve it. She's breaking down the notion of traditional chivalry, which commands that a woman deserves to be rescued from her tower simply because she is a woman. Of course, while she knows that she's not deserving of Jason as her knight in shining armor, she does know that she needs to be the master of her final hours in prison before the LAVTF starts killing off vamps with Hepatitis V.

Rather than letting Jason rescue her, she requests an audience with James, the vampire who refused to have sex with her for observation last week, and Jason stands outside while Jess takes control of her situation and her sexuality. She wants to know what it's like to have sex with a vampire and she wants to feed off of James' inherent goodness — a quality that has restored her faith in the vampire race. It's a moment of complete autonomy for Jess, and something we haven't seen from her since she made the decision to leave Hoyt.

Last, and sort of least, Nicole ends her time with Sam with one final decision. Though she folds quickly to Sam's command that she call her mom and flee while he returns to Bon Temps alone, she follows her own sexual desires before he leaves and hops into his shower for a little goodbye sex. Of course, this was probably just throwing True Blood viewers a bone since this season has been rather light on the sex thus far, but we'll give Nicole a little credit — even if she is completely obnoxious.

All The Women Who Are Independent, Throw Your Hands Up At Me

Hey girl, True Blood knows you've got a brain too. That's why three of True Blood's lady-centric subplots were so satisfying this week. And no, not because they started or finished with a little hanky panky.

In the most significant of the three plots, Sarah (the wonderful Anna Camp) is on her game. We're not rooting for her, but you've got to admit the way she's shifted from the woman gaining power in her lingerie and seducing Jason to assuage her hurt feelings to a power-hungry leader who simply commands a room with authority and impeccable logic is pretty admirable. This week, after weeping briefly at the sight of Truman's severed head, Sarah already has a plan in motion. She demands that the Governor's team tell the press that Truman is governing from a secret location while she and the team actually run the world (girls). (I warned you about the Beyoncé lyrics, didn't I?) Of course, she also gets a nice little jab in at Jason when she cuts his wrist and throws him, not to a pack of male vampires who'll just eat him and move on, but to a pack of female vampires, creating a power battle among the imprisoned women (20 bucks the sexy vampire in charge will win this one).

I won't root for Sarah because she's delusional about this whole God-vs.-Vampires nonsense, but you have to admit, she knows how to get what she wants — without stripping down to her skivvies.

Of course, Pam isn't above that. She goes into her usual therapy session with Dr. Sweaty McPervert and plays on his every weakness, divulging her horniness and telling him she knows humans just want to have sex with people who will "tear into them." Her steamy chatter does the trick and suddenly she's straddling him and dry-humping him. Now, I'm sure this is part of Pam's plan to take care of herself, as she told Willa she would do, but I'm not exactly sure what the endgame here is. Does she think Dr. Perv is just going to let her walk out the front gates?

Finally, we have the dearly departed Nora. True Blood hasn't quite known what to do with this extension of Eric's history. Her personality has shifted from vixen to scared door mouse to devoted scholar, but it never really seemed like we knew anything about Nora. In her final hours as Hep V takes over her body, she's sent off right. It's a simple explanation of who she was, but we'll take it. Eric recounts the story of how his King (mostly likely King Charles II because this little vignette takes place in a plague-ridden England) asked him to retrieve one of his many mistresses, Nora, from a plague-ravaged village where she had gone to help the poor.

The King (who was also Dawson Leery's lecherous director and boss on Dawson's Creek once upon a time) complains that Nora is rebellious, but that only intrigues Eric more. When Nora, who of course contracted the plague while helping the poor, tells Eric she won't return to the King and says "My death will be my own," Eric is immediately charmed by her courage and independence. It's this independence that convinces Eric to ask Godric to "heal" her and make her a vampire so she can have a full life. It's a sweet way to send off a character who's basically been drafted to be whoever the plot needed her to be, and perfect way to bring us back to Eric's side. He's not ready to avenge Nora's death because he's the man and she was a helpless woman; he's avenging the spirit of someone he respected for her spirit and self-sufficiency. (He did rescue her from the LAVTF, but if we're being fair, she could barely walk.)

True Blood isn't completely out of the dog house (give Lafayette a real story before we have to start a petition or something), but it's clearly got some method to its madness. Giving us a taste of our favorite lady characters' inner Sasha Fierce is certainly one way to work its way back into our good graces.

Images: HBO (2)