Punishment or Community Service?

Sorry it’s been delayed, I got caught up in gawping at the drama this week. And no, I’m not moving from Fanfic.net, just like I didn’t last time. But I do love to observe drama on the internet.

Okay, so as promised, I think I’ve figured out a way that when they get rid of Bill’s domino – a.k.a. the Freyda thing – they’ll be able to stop Felipe from punishing Eric.It seems to me that with the final book, CH is either giving more hints, or I’m so used to this stuff now, I can speculate much earlier. I think it’s that CH is giving hints and tying things up, rather than opening new storylines. But it should be noted with all of my speculation that I may not be right. I could be completely wrong. I have a patchy track record.

I’m going to deal first with what Felipe was actually doing too – because it sets the stage. We didn’t get to see much of him, and most of it will be future speculation fodder. Eric and Sookie handled it just right, but Sookie doesn’t quite get the implications:

That these visitors were from Las Vegas and yet felt it necessary to
misbehave in Shreveport…well, it didn’t speak well for them.

Deadlocked, p. 66

It’s okay though – because Sookie has professed a profound dislike for politics. She didn’t do too shabbily. The point is not that Felipe’s out of control, it’s that Felipe’s trying to be as offensive as possible so Eric, Pam or Sookie would get pissed off, and he’d have a reason to punish them in absence of punishing them for Victor’s death. He can’t yet prove they were involved with Victor’s death, so he’s trying to find a way around it. From mentioning Kym Rowe to Sookie to see if that gets her to fly off the handle, to gouging the hell out of Eric’s coffee table (Bastard) Felipe was being as big a dick as possible to put them off their game.

This is how CH’s vampires all work – they wear capes or nerd outfits, they lull people into a false sense of security. They lay on the side of the road looking injured. They pose as an unassuming guy and try to burn down your house at night while you’re sleeping. That’s how they passed among humans for so many years. You can tell they’re good at it – look at all the readers who discount a couple of thousand year old killing machines because they’re small and quiet – ie. Sophie Anne and Andre. Think about how much fanfic is all about how if Sookie just fronted up to Sophie Anne, it would have been totally cool to make some contract where Sookie wins all and Sophie Anne tried a complex scheme when a phone call with a job offer would have sufficed for the metric shit ton of money to rain down on a poor woman in Northern Louisiana. Even readers are lulled into thinking they’re straightforward guys, all on the surface, no agenda.

Acting like a yahoo in Shreveport serves two purposes – Felipe can come and piss Eric off in his own home, and bring some jerks with him to piss Eric off, have his own wife dance on Eric’s coffee table, and Eric can’t say boo about it, or it’s five years in some vats of saltwater – or whatever Felipe uses in place of Sophie Anne’s favourite tortures. The second purpose is to hide any concern from Freyda – who is also in Shreveport. If Felipe scrambled and solved the problem, then Freyda would see his weakness. What he’s presenting to her is a carefree King not at all concerned with anything much, rather than a King who is extremely thin on the ground. So don’t be fooled by the yahoo act – because that’s exactly what it is – an act.

It should also be noted that Felipe must have an informer in Area Five. Sookie actually asks this question – or rather asks the specific question that’s to be noted:

“Was this the same kind of accident you had when you killed
Lorena? Or Sigebert? Or the Were woman?”
Wow, how’d he know about Debbie? Or maybe he meant Sandra?
And his list is by no means complete.

Deadlocked, p. 81

Who killed Lorena is common knowledge among the vampires – to the point that Russell mentioned it at Rhodes as if it were no particular problem. Since vampires gossip, and Sookie had no problems telling Judith as well, then this is something most likely known by a select few. And Felipe was there for Sigebert’s death. The killing of the Pelt sisters is limited by who knows directly – and that’s not many people. Which is great for narrowing shit down. The people who know about Debbie are Eric, Sookie, Rasul, Quinn and Alcide. The people who know about Sandra are Sookie, Jannalynn and Sam. That’s people with definite information, not just gossip.

It’s possible of course that Felipe is referencing information from two spies. But I’m thinking it’s one particular spy – because Felipe refers to a sole were woman Sookie’s killed. And I don’t think anyone would tell Felipe gossip about who they heard killed one of the Pelt sisters. Gossip is relatively useless and often rather fucking wrong:

my man needs a telepath…hear she’s fucking Quinn…
hear she’s fucking the queen and Baby Boy Andre…

All Together Dead,
p. 208

These are the thoughts of the vampire’s humans at Sophie Anne’s Rhodes trial – half of it is right, half of it is dead wrong. When confronting someone and trying to trip them up – and threaten them as Felipe is trying to do – then you go with definite information and not gossip. After all, Felipe is effectively threatening Sookie’s life:

“I’m just trying to decide how much of a thorn you are in my side now!”
Deadlocked, p. 82

Once Sookie is divorced, Felipe is weighing up his course of action…or rather inferring to Sookie that she better tow the line or she could wind up dead. Don’t think this meaning is lost on Eric – but as I said, leaving will only protect Eric. As of now, Sookie is untouchable. As of the moment of her divorce, with Felipe there to release his Sheriff from his vow (as Clancy was released from his by Eric) then Sookie is officially dead meat.

Now, it’s not my supposition that Felipe does intend to kill her – he’s just going to use the “You are dangerous” line to get Sookie to comply. At this point in time, she’s a rogue agent able to do as she feels – but once Eric’s protection is gone, then that’s it – she’s no longer untouchable under vampire rules. And it serves the excellent double purpose of threatening Eric with death by inferring if he stays, Felipe will kill him and then kill his now touchable widow. After all – according to Eric, all this wife business was born only because Felipe wanted her in Las Vegas. Now Eric’s finally been fucked over by his maker, Felipe’s not going to let that chance go again. He’ll have his telepath in his casinos, and she’ll comply if she doesn’t want to pay for all the deaths she’s caused.

And of course, that’s where else Felipe sheds further light on who is the spy – in the fact that he picked up Colton. Yes – one could surmise that those there at Eric’s house the night Felipe arrived would have participated in Victor’s murder – Bill, Mustapha, Pam, Sookie and Eric. That’s easy. But taking Colton? Oh – that’s someone recounting definite information. Sookie and Eric were extremely careful about contacting Colton. I doubt it was Colton himself – being distraught over the death of his girlfriend doesn’t mean he’d confess to his co-workers. Sookie hasn’t told India that she murdered anyone, right? And we know that Colton didn’t have much to tell relatively soon afterwards:

“Colton was grieving so hard over Audrina that I wiped his memory of her death.
So he doesn’t remember all of what happened that night, by any means.”

Deadlocked, p. 235

and Bill has squared away Immanuel too:

“Two members of the crew are actually vampires. I put Immanuel
under the care of one of them. He’ll be guarded.”

Deadlocked, p. 236

See what I mean about Eric dropping the ball in a major way. He’s lucky he’s a good boss with self-interested underlings, or this could have all gone so, so badly. This is indicative of what a damn hard time Eric is having – that he’s losing the plot on so many fundamental things. But he has Bill.

So if the humans are silenced, and we know the core people are silenced, then we have to look around for who could have known – for sure – that Colton was there that night to abduct him to put the frighteners on everyone else. My money is on someone who can’t apparently keep their mouth shut:

“Is it true, Sookie? Palomino told Roy that Eric’s
engaged to a vampire from Oklahoma?”

Deadlocked, p. 256

Palomino telling this information to the Weres? Oh, so not good. I did consider that it had been deliberate, but then a deliberate person would go straight to Felipe with information – not tell the Weres, who look for political advantage and acquiring a telepath for their own. Alcide has tried to sleep with Sookie to bring her into the pack – and as I spoke about before, Palomino is dating the Were in order to scalp information – but she’s being a craptacular spy.

And of course, there’s a big old enemy waiting in The Hair of the Dog bar for anything that will screw Sookie up – a Were woman who knows all about the other Were woman Sookie killed. My money on the informer? It’s Jannalynn. For a start, she’s one of the few people who could know about all of the things Felipe can’t find out. She’s the snoopy one, and it looks like she had an informer herself inside the Trifecta:

I saw a half-remembered face among the grim horde, and after I passed
I recalled that she was one of the Long Tooth pack. She didn’t let on by
a twitch or a smile that she knew who I was.

Deadlocked, p. 238

After all – how did the pack of rapists and murderers sent by Jannalynn know to try to pick up Sookie at the Trifecta? I haven’t read the bit where Sookie let them install GPS tracking. And CH mentioned this were woman for a reason. It’s my thinking that working in conjunction with Felipe, Jannalynn just made sure to get as many bites in as possible. After all, her end goal is to get rid of Sookie out of Sam’s life and take over the Pack. It’s all so much smoother when the local vampires are backing your moves, and Sookie is their property. If Felipe or the rapists misuse her along the way, no big diff to Jannalynn.

So Jannalynn passes on all the information she has on Sookie, and that’s the spy for Area Five. She hears from Palomino (or even Rubio or Parker – the other part of the Minden nest) that Colton, Sookie, Eric, Mustapha and such were at Fangtasia, she passes that to Felipe too. No wonder she was so damn happy to confess to but half the crime when Alcide had her at the judgement. She’s screwed Sookie in the arse quite a bit – and if she’d lived, she would have done it some more. Giving all the juicy gossip she can get to Felipe, who will use it to sweep Sookie away from the Area. I don’t think Jannalynn cared what happened to Sookie, as long as she was away.

Alcide had her send a letter and phone the police – but since Eric was never charged, the only real problem that solves is that he probably won’t be. Eric has a good enough lawyer – of that I have no doubt – to get charges thrown out in light of a confession from a disappeared woman. But then all of this doesn’t need a criminal prosecution to cause trouble for Eric:

In the wake of Kym Rowe’s murder, anti-vamp sentiment was escalating.
Someone had thrown a bucket of white paint across the facade of Fangtasia.

Deadlocked, p. 214

Eric wasn’t charged, and still, it’s nicely inferred in the press, and his club is targeted. Yes – his lawyer might get him off the charges thanks to reasonable doubt, but Eric’s still nicely fucked over by this whole escapade. He might have disappeared straight after Jannalynn’s death, but that’s merely because getting the police off his back is just part of this problem that won’t end just because police can’t charge him. They haven’t charged him yet, and he’s still getting shit for it – and he had an alibi – his faithfully lying wife who said he was with her. One phone call to say he’s innocent doesn’t substantially change the cliffhanger CH almost always has. Might I also point out, Eric has a habit of taking off at the ends of all the books. Stop twisting said undies in twisty bits, you Henny Pennies.

So Jannalynn’s confession hasn’t changed his situation substantially. The police will probably always raid him if there’s a hint of trouble – after all, that’s what they did the night Sookie and Eric met. Not being charged didn’t stop the vandalism. I’m not surprised Eric flew away – he’s still essentially in the same mess he was, it’s just not going to get any worse. Which is good for him, because Eric might break if he’s put under more pressure. As I pointed out here – it’s Summer in Louisiana right now – he has eight and a half hours of awake time tops, as well as all the extra shit he’s dealing with, combined with not knowing what the hell to do. I doubt Eric can take any more – he needs to come to an epiphany, and that’s only done by piling on the pressure – just not too much, eh?

But that’s where I think the advantage will come in for Eric. As it stands at the moment, if Eric gets rid of Freyda, he still has to face up to punishment by Felipe. Now, as I’ve mentioned before,Felipe is not going to cut Eric a sweetheart deal. Bill laid it all out for you – in Politics 101 here:

The king’s going to have to do something to Eric. Felipe really can’t afford to be
perceived as ignoring Victor’s death.

“He doesn’t want to lose the loyalty of the vampires who serve him,” Bill said.
Deadlocked, p. 193

I get a wry smile on my face at the sheer political naivete of some of the people in this fandom. I have read all kinds of stuff about how various vampires aren’t really that scary, and Sookie isn’t smart enough. Well behold those who are political dunces now, with their idea that Felipe would reward Eric with the state – yeah, sure, you know how to do it better than Sookie, amirite? Lol – they’d fuck up in a matter of days due to terminal case of stupidity. I mean Felipe is so unscary he’s got Eric over a barrel, and Appius so pointless that he’s got Eric fucking his life up. Eric is worried and angsting for no good reason apparently.

Really – not all villains conveniently overt…but now I know why Alan Ball’s villains are so hammy and clumsy and downright ineffective. People are stupid, so in order to be seen as dangerous, you have to have some three thousand year old bloodsucker who for all of his statements about destroying the world, killed about as many people as Bill did in the same season. And said villain has to shout his intentions from the nearest rooftop and readers easily believe him to be dangerous because he says so – despite his relatively easy defeat. Felipe is not that sort of villain. He’s the sort that doesn’t telegraph his moves like a wanker, and give people a heads up to prepare. Sigh – the lack of imagination and not seeing where implicit threat leads to. I do hope none of these readers get involved with the mob, or I’ll be looking at a crime scene photo of their bodies before the month is out.

But at the moment, Eric is frozen and hasn’t made his decision yet. No one is going to give him time to think, and that’s where Eric could really use a day-walking lateral thinker on his side…I wonder if he has one? Of course he does – but he’s not telling her stuff at all. And he’s not telling her because he hasn’t made his mind up which way to leap yet. No point in enlisting the chick who masterminded killing Victor, saving you from Rhodes, solved the question of why Hallow offered a bounty of $40,000 and figured out how to get Bill out of the Mississippi compound. She might solve it, and leave you without options to pick and choose. Keep that one on the downlow until you make up your mind.  Of course, you could go with the fangirl choice and believe Eric is a drooling idiot who hasn’t figured out Sookie is a valuable asset who as some smart vampire once said “thinks outside the box” and has the memory of a goldfish, as he hasn’t figured out that his wife could help him if he really wanted help.

One phone call isn’t going to solve his problems – they’ll just stop those problems from getting worse. And they’re pretty bad already. But I think I’ve worked a way clear for them – at least from Felipe’s punishment. It might also serve to protect Sookie if I’m wrong about Eric being HEA (although I don’t think so) because she’ll have leverage. In the form of one Harp Powell. Someone who lives right in between Bon Temps (Sookie’s work at least) and Shreveport (Eric’s house and work) in Terre Sauvage.

See, in the end, Felipe isn’t going to pull his punches just because he likes Eric or Sookie, and just because he hated Victor. Bill’s got it right. Sookie’s got it right:

All in all, I really couldn’t see any chance at all that Felipe
would agree to let Eric remain in Shreveport.

Deadlocked, p. 291

Once they get around Freyda, they’ve got to get around Felipe – and Harp Powell is their best bet – at least so far. In order to stave off Eric’s punishment – the thing that’s one of the motivations to leave for Oklahoma – has to be neutralised. And Harp is already interested in Eric:

There are reporters and just plain snoopy people who’d pay to know who
visits a vampire. This vampire, Eric whatever, he didn’t want his girlfriend
to catch grief about staying over at his place.
I hadn’t known that.

Deadlocked, p. 140

If Sookie said that she’d been talking to Harp Powell about life among the vampires – how do you think that’s going to read? Particularly if Felipe wants to threaten her and Eric with death or punishment or coercion to go to Vegas? Not so well I’m thinking. Felipe can be the villain – as concerned with a young, pretty blonde vamp’s girl, or he can be the hero, and the anti-vamp sentiments – the FotS the villains. And we know Felipe desperately wants some good press:

“And they’ve bonded mightily with the stupid wrestler – T-Rex. Felipe even talks
of asking him if he wants to be brought over. Felipe thinks he would make a
popular spokesman for the pro-vampire movement.”

Deadlocked, p. 268

Now, it’s sufficient recompense for Eric to ‘pay’ Felipe for Victor’s death with some popular support for pro-vampire stuff – and a book about the prominent vampire business man falling in love with the sweet and pretty telepath would make for powerful pro-vampire literature, and fuck over the FotS. I mean Jesus – have you read fanfic? Look at how popular that sort of crap is. Readers eat it up – that Eric is the noble, yet struggling vampire demi-god, and Sookie the innocent victim who cries a lot and needs her man to help save her from the evil that is the FotS or Felipe.

After all – Sookie has almost been crucified by those people, and involved in the Rhodes bombing, and the crap with Sam’s family, and the abduction in Dallas. On behalf of the vampires, well, they did force her into a marriage, and bribe her to work for them, gave her no choice, they’ve failed to protect her every step of the way because of rank incompetence – and since meeting them, she’s all scarred up. She’ll tell a sad, sad tale that can throw her enemies into a mighty evil light. It can be Felipe, or it can be the FotS – and I’m sure that Sookie will sell it like that. And Sookie – tanned, blonde, blue eyed will be the fucking perfect heroine for all that shit. People will eat it up. And she’s not so opposed to telling her story either:

I felt like talking to someone about how my life looked – as opposed to
how it felt to be inside it, living it. I wanted to justify my decisions.

Deadlocked, p. 167

I don’t think Sookie would actually do that to the vampires – but like Felipe’s threats to kill her, she needs leverage. And she doesn’t have that right now. Once Eric makes some sort of move to absolutely refuse Freyda, or gets rid of her, Sookie can (and would) pull his arse from the fire with Felipe. I can see the formation of it already. And it keeps Eric in the spotlight so he can’t disappear quietly in six months because Felipe decided to have his vengeance. It doesn’t just protect him now – it protects him and Sookie into perpetuity, allowing them to actually have a fashionable HEA.

As I said above – I could be wrong. But there are ways to get out of these problems staring me in the face. I’m sure Sookie will have no problem figuring it out – she saw cutouts of Elvis, and worked out how to lure Victor to Fangtasia; she’s saved their arses heaps of times with better lateral thinking than I can often manage. It’s all ready there for her to see. She’ll see it – she’s smart like that. She can protect Eric when he makes the most obvious choice that’s ever been chosen, and she can protect herself from future attacks as much as possible by selling her story.