First things first: Tara is a vampire. And a terrifying one at that. Sookie and Lafayette made the decision after Tara saved Sookie from Debbie Pelt's rage. That rage was in the form of a shotgun shell that ended up taking half of Tara's head with it. Pam, searching for the still angry Eric (Pam launched a rocket at the magic shop Sookie was being held hostage last season...an unforgivable offense, according to Eric), appeared in the nick of time. Lafayette asked Pam to turn Tara and Pam agreed, but only if Sookie used her "magic hands or fairy snatch" to help ease the tension between Pam and Eric. The best line of 5.1 was from Pam, who donned Sookie's pale yellow sweat suit to go to ground with the newly turned Tara:
"I'm wearing a Walmart sweat suit for y'all, if that doesn't say team spirit, I don't know what does."
Meanwhile, Bill and Eric are captured by The Authority after killing Nan Flanagan last season. The two antagonists turn cowboy adventurers with all the loyalty of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid...or Thelma and Louise. Oh, and Eric has sex with his sister. His vampire-sister, that is. The now threesome only temporarily elude The Authority, as you can see in the picture insert. But don't worry, Bill doesn't get staked. Unfortunately.
Hoyt and Jason are still on the outs because of Jessica. It's sad, but sadder still is the bad turn Hoyt takes in 5.0. Future episodes will tell the tale, but much like women who have gone through a sexual trauma, Hoyt gains some rather unhealthy self-hatred. Let's just say, Hoyt experiments with his own version of the smoky eye look. *cough, cough*
Sam Merlotte (played well by my philosophical pal, Sam Trammell) is taken by the Mississippi pack and tortured to uncover where Marcus' body lay buried. Apparently, the Ole Miss pack enjoys entrails with their funerals. Yum. But the introduction of newcomer, Dale Dickey as Martha Bozeman (no, not the Congressional candidate), is a real treat. She plays the part of a hardcore were-mom of the previous packmaster with realistic scope. And then, she tears out her son's innards. Again, scope.
Another new edition to 5.0 is supernatural-actor extraordinaire, Christopher Heyerdale as Deiter Braun (no, not the German Grand Prix racer), a Chancellor within The Authority. He captures the polite yet psychotic rage of a Nazi SS officer with perfect pitch--the clarity of a man who has been playing villainous vampires (like Marcus in the Twilight film franchise) and other supernatural serial killers since 1993. One of my favorite roles by Heyerdahl is that of John Druitt from SyFy's Sanctuary (yes, THAT John Druitt, the one suspected of being Jack the Ripper). As Braun, he's clearly sympathetic to Nora, Eric's vampire-sister and a former Authority Chancellor herself. With Russell Edgington on his way to better health, the 6' 4" Heyerdahl will certainly be a large part of that intertwining plot as 5.0 continues to evolve.
The inconsequential debate about Emma, Marcus Bozeman's daughter and the daughter of Sam Merlotte's love interest, Luna, is revealed: She's not a shifter...she's a were-pup. For the moment, anyway.
And of course, we see in 5.1 and 5.2 more of Eric and Pam's past. Pam was a madame in old San Fancisco who met Eric on the street, after he saved her from a would-be rapist/murderer with all the flair we expect from Eric Northman. Or should I say, Ike Applebaum.... ;)
The Authority brings lots of fresh faces, including that of Valentina Cervi, an Italian actress who plays, Salome, King Herod's daughter...but you didn't hear that from me. Those in the know might have also recognized that the "vampyr" prayer was said in a dialect of Hebrew, referring to Lillith as the first vampire...hmmm, I wonder where the True Blood writers got that idea??? Wizard World and Comic Con audiences who have seen my vampire talks in the last year might have an inkling or two.
Salome's True Blood character and her relationship to King Herod is no coincidence. King Herod is known in history as having expanded the Second Temple in Jerusalem (destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE), as well as heinous acts of brutality as described in the New Testament (though Herod died 4 years before Christ's birth, making the New Testament assertion he sent out soldiers to kill all the boy-babies under age two in Nazareth an historic inaccuracy).
Herod was a converted Jew and his kingship was backed by the force of the Roman Army. Born 74 years before Christ, Herod the Great ruled Jerusalem for 37 years. His stronghold is known as Masada, the fortress that protected a group of Jewish people known as the Sicarri, as well as many Jerusalem residents, as Rome fell upon them, destroying the city of Jerusalem and the Second Temple. Judas Iscariot, from the New Testament, is an anglocized version of the Hebrew phrase "Yehudot Ish-keryot," or, "Jews of the township." The instance is similar to the mistranslation of Barabas as the name of a thief called out by the Jewish crowd to Ponchos Pilot, when in fact, the Hebrew phrase, "bar abbas" means "son of our father"--the very phrase Jesus often used in reference to himself.
So, it's only appropriate that the Vampire Bible be written in a variation of Hebrew, and, that Herod's daughter, Salome, is part of The Authority, the group who subcribes to it. The other important footnote about the connection between vampires and the Jewish people was revealed in a 2011 study out of Brandeis University, connecting the legend of vampirism to the rampant anti-Semitism that began with Constantine's anti-Jewish legislation after his conversion to Christianity about 300 years after the death of Christ. Constantine was the first Roman Emperor to become a Christian.
The TRUE BLOOD writers responsible for 5.0 have certainly done their ancient homework. This promises to be a very interesting season...at least until August 26th. But the good news is that 6.0, though not yet official, is all-but. Truebies can count on seeing their favorite TB characters in 2013, as well as some new faces. Two I'd like to see added to the cast are that of James Marsters and Sam Witwer. If you think so, too, be sure to let writer Raelle Tucker know! She is taking over for Alan Ball, who steps down from his True Blood writer's box in 2012 to pursue other projects for HBO.
And, if you happened to catch Salome's necklace, and the similar shaped pins worn by the other Chancellors of The Authority, you are actually seeing a stylized version of one of the symbols associated with Lillith--no, not a bat--but an owl, a form of "night bird or creature," as Lillith herself is portrayed in the Mishnah, beginning around 600 CE. Though one of the earliest references to Lillith can be found in the Dead Sea Scrolls...and I got to translate that myself earlier this month! The Dead Sea Scrolls were written 100 years before the birth of Christ.
So stay tuned, Truebies, fangers, bangers, weres, and supes!!! More dirty details to come on 5.0...though sadly, we have to wait until AFTER the third episode airs.