From damnation without anyone to do the damning and without any explanation of what damnation otherwise entails, we move on to my second pet peeve of
the night: "religions" that actually get instant results. Do they still even count as religions? Marnie describes Wicca as a religion, but in practice
it seems like mental karate rather than the standard be-good-or-be-punished-sometime behavior-regulating religions we're more accustomed to. As such,
it is showing its adherents better results than the more standard religions in town. There seems to be little hope for Christianity; after all, if the
Catholic Church was riddled with vampire priests, vampires can hardly be susceptible to anything coming from that direction. Based on the ineffectual
exorcism performed at Arlene's house, it doesn't seem like Christianity has much effect against ghosts and demons, either.
In a vague attempt to figure out if True Blood had some sort of established hierarchy of spiritual belief, I tried to work out a
sort of rock-paper-scissors version of the supernatural:
1.) Christians vs Vampires/Demons → Vampires/Demons win
2.) Wiccans vs Vampires → Wiccans win
3) Christians vs Wiccans—Fooled you! Those priests are vampires. Invalidated on a technicality, but it seems like the vampires and the Wiccans both
lose pretty heavily on that fight. Unclear what the results are for any actual Christians involved in this particular scuffle.
So that wasn't very helpful.
As a next step in getting this religious-weaponry confusion sorted out, I decided to look at strategies—at how, precisely, people are
weaponizing their religion. The thought of using necromancy to control the already-walking dead is very clever, though you might think pulling off
mass-revenge on that scale once would get it out of your system, especially if you died doing it—for starters, there'd be no system left in which to
even maintain the revenge-itch. But, apparently, you would be wrong. The trick with both religions mainly seems to be having someone at the other end
of the line who feels like answering the call, and the Wiccans found one; unfortunately for them, she has her own motives for answering. It looks like
Arlene was perfectly right to worry about attracting God's notice by praying for Mikey's exorcism—Marnie thought she was praying to a mother
goddess, and she's unleashed something that seems quite a bit less nurturing than mother goddesses are typically represented to be.
My favorite damnation moment of the episode was a relief in that only one religion was involved, and that it was completely ineffective aside from
creating a quick and easy framework to express guilt. Tommy kills his parents in a fight (one of his more likable moments—he's been such a useless
twit the rest of the time) and then spends a few guilty minutes babbling about the commandments and going to hell. Sam talks him down by assuring him
that all's fair in love and war, mainly war—and in any case, Sam has killed two people as well, and he's doing fine. This brother bonding moment, or
possibly the trick of luring gators with marshmallows, seems to calm Tommy down for the time being. (Incidentally, I feared the gator-marshmallow
connection was too good to be true, so I googled it—Stephen Colbert himself assures us that gators do, in fact, love
marshmallows.) A nice little moment that redeems the episode from some of its more convoluted damnation debates.