'True Blood': Minor Characters Take Center Stage

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Marnie and Alene's baby, new additions to the cast, are more compelling this week than old favorites like Bill and Sookie

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HBO


Though the main characters were as entertaining and good-looking as ever on True Blood this week, some of the newer characters were up to especially strange antics. Rather than the laughably unhealthy relationships everyone else in the show was dealing with, these new characters were dealing with a different type of possessiveness altogether.

Marnie keeps getting more interesting—she seems to have been more or less a screw-up her whole life, spread across two worlds, and looking for some sort of destiny based on that inability to fit in one place in particular. Maybe if Sookie ever had time to get bored, instead of always being attacked by some creature or another, she'd fall into a similar identity crisis and start experimenting with the hard witchery the way Marnie is doing. In the past few episodes, Marnie came across as an immature and rebellious teenager (complete with self-cutting!) who'd never quite grown up, and I feared she would maintain this one-dimensional line of irritating obtuseness to her death. With some persuasion, however, she seems to regain common sense, starts poring through various texts to solve her little vampire death threat problem, and her frustrated up-close-and-personal call to the "spirits, for the THOUSANDTH TIME" is a pleasant reversal from her earlier obsequiousness towards the spirit world. It gives her some refreshing complexity.

It's not yet clear if Marnie did have some sort of destiny to get these strange Buffy-style flashbacks, or if she just got the notice of some wandering ghoul (or goddess) by seeking their attention so very loudly. Is the Spanish massacre that the vampires keep mentioning related to the inquisition that burned the witch in Marnie's vision? And does this ghoul or goddess sporadically possessing Marnie have some special grudge against vampires, or is it a more general vindictiveness?

We're looking at possession from a far creepier place with Arlene's baby. The past few episodes were leading towards the idea that the hostile spirit was all in Arlene's head, but it's hard to ignore the (literal) writing on the wall. It could be argued we didn't actually SEE the baby write it. But the only other one close enough was the fright doll (though I don't think we can rule that evil-looking thing out as a suspect). It's fun to watch Marnie speaking in tongues and reflecting flames in her eyes, but the gurgling infant with the red marker "not your baby" made me want to crawl under my couch and just hide there for a while—especially with that filthy doll sitting up next to him. If the baby OR doll is possessed, is it by Rene's spirit? Or just a really bad attitude, spiritually speaking? Either way, what does it want? And when will it go away?

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Clarissa Matthews contributes to TheAtlantic.com, mostly in the form of product management. She is a graduate of Swarthmore College and Columbia University's Publishing Institute and lives in Washington, D.C.

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