True Blood is doing a very good job capitalizing on momentum in the back half of this season. Last week’s episode was one of the best the show has done in quite a while, and tonight’s episode kept the storytelling ball rolling in a great way.
The best thing that’s happened in these last few episodes is the convergence of several storylines that, throughout the first half of the season, seemed content to be adrift in their own separate universes. But tonight, Sookie’s search for her parents’ killer, Sam and Luna’s attack, Hoyt’s dalliance with the supernatural hate group, and Jason and Andy’s, well, existence came together to finally feel like a plot worthy enough to take 20 minutes of our time each week. The pieces come together in vintage True Blood fashion, with Sookie unknowingly walking into a bad situation and everyone else having to save her. This time, she gets a tip from Gran (through Lafayette, who only appears to briefly entertain and then rightly and somewhat sadly compare himself to Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost) that former Sherriff Bud Dearborn was the one who found her parents’ bodies. When she goes to question him, however, Bud’s psycho lover clocks Sookie on the head and decides to feed her to the pigs, along with the already-captive Hoyt. Luckily for the both of them, Andy and Jason finally decide to get a brain and realize Bud has something to with the supernatural hate group. They burst in, along with a pig-disguised Sam, and save the day.
Although all of this was entertaining, it also took on an extremely uncomfortable tone tonight as well. Before, the group using Obama masks felt like a nod to the numerous movies about criminals that did the same. But by revealing the group’s desire to emulate the Klan—even going so far to call their leader Dragon—well, those are just waters True Blood shouldn’t be diving into. Not because there isn’t potential for something to be said there; there is, in the right hands. It’s because True Blood has absolutely no idea how to say a damn thing (nor the desire to, really). Terry’s story of soldier abuses in Iraq is the same way: True Blood has this weird notion that mentioning things is the same as commenting on them, and it’s just completely false. A hate group that emulates the Klan but wears the first African-American President’s face while committing their crimes is something that cannot simply be thrown out there without comment, even on a show that’s mostly trivial fun like this one.
The other big doings tonight were with the Authority, more specifically how Eric and Bill are adjusting to the Authority’s new direction. The plan to bomb Tru-Blood factories is full steam ahead, and the repercussions are already being felt in places like Fangtasia. Eric has no desire to remain affiliated with them and tries to orchestrate an escape (with the help of Vampire Mac, who continues to be outstanding) by stealing Nora and convincing Bill to leave with them. Bill is presented as being conflicted about what he wants, but either the writing or Stephen Moyer’s acting fails the storyline a bit, because it’s almost impossible to tell anything through his face or actions throughout the episode. This serves the twist at the end when he sides with Salome, but doesn’t do much for helping us understand where he is coming from as a character. It’s obvious he “saw” Lilith while having sex with Salome. The question is still this: Is Lilith real, or is Salome somehow manipulating everyone?
In perhaps the best news of the episode, Terry’s endless ifrit storyline appears to be done for good. Patrick orchestrates a meeting between the two by kidnapping Arlene and luring Terry to Merlotte’s, but before he can kill Terry once and for all, Arlene intervenes, leading to a huge physical fight between the two. In the end, Terry does what Arlene and the suddenly-appearing spirit of Zifira urge him to do: Kill Patrick. Satisfied, Zifira calls the ifrit to take Patrick’s body away. This is a story that could have been told in two episodes that stretched out for eight, so it was a relief to finally see it go. Can Arlene and Terry go back to being comedic relief in Merlotte’s now, please?
The momentum in the second half of this season is great, but tonight's episode seemed to wrap up a significant number of season-long storylines. It looks like the vampire civil war is finally about to take center stage. Hey, it only took eight episodes!
- We meet Alcide’s father for the first time, and he is a degenerate gambler played by Robert Patrick. Poor Alcide is so unnecessary.
- I don’t know who this new vampire taking Eric’s place as Sheriff is, but he looks like Paul Reubens (sans goatee) in Buffy The Vampire Slayer (the movie). Not scary.
- So we are allowed to have male full-frontal nudity in a violent death scene but not a sex scene. Noted, HBO.
- Russell using his real voice when threatening the new pack master was great. Taking Emma was greater. The greatest would be if he and Steve Newlin became an item.
- www.keepamericahuman.com: not a real website.
- Pam: “Just because we drank a bitch together does not make us Oprah and Gayle.”
- Andy: “No, the President of the United States is not actually in Renard Parish shooting and kidnapping people.”