Well, that was certainly an episode of television. True Blood does this at least a few times each season, these strange little boring sojourns into the mundane details, necessary to move the stories along but not really all that compelling to watch. Not good, not bad, just… there. Existing. This is weird because the episode was packed with what should be all manner of crazy supernatural goings-on: Fairy teleportation! Vampires bursting into flames! Werewolves shifting and growling and stuff! Secret government-run vampire internment camps! All, strangely, wallpaper.
If I have to give True Blood credit for one thing this season so far, though, it’s that most of the stories actually fit together into what looks to become a more cohesive whole as the season progresses (at least in an askew, Picasso portrait sort of way). There might even be a theme! By emphasizing the human/vampire conflict, the fuzzy edges of everyone’s stories have sharpened just enough to coalesce in a way that simply hasn’t been possible for at least two seasons, and while everyone is dealing with the conflict in their own way, it at least feels like a common thread.
This thread is strongest in Eric’s plot, whose crusade against the Governor continues this week as his plan to kill Burrell’s daughter turns into a plan to kidnap her when she offers up information about a secret vampire prison where the government of Louisiana is performing experiments on its prisoners. (And who’s in that prison? Steve Newlin! And who works there? Newlin’s wife! It will be fun to see him squirm.) You see, the Governor hates vampires because his wife cheated on him with a vampire, because True Blood doesn’t understand complicated character motivation. The Governor’s daughter then spends the rest of the hour attempting to get in Eric’s pants, as you do, as Pam and Tara spend that same time wanting to kill her. Pam and Tara are probably right about her being a liability, but Eric is the romantic hero of the show, so he will get his way.
Meanwhile, Bill’s plot takes a more interesting turn into dovetailing with Eric’s as his visions—which are obviously future images of everyone at one of Burrell’s vampire camps—have convinced him he’s Lilith’s immortal prophet. He attempts to test this theory by meeting the sun, convinced he won’t burn, but he still bursts into flames. But Bill, good old Bill still has a plan to save them all: Use some of Sookie’s flame-resistant blood to synthesize a whole new version of TruBlood, this time one that will let vampires walk in the sun. It’s actually a brilliant idea, but there’s only one problem: Sookie is scared as hell of Bill and his new “Godly” visage only serves to scare her more when he approaches her with his idea. When she refuses, he declares her dead to him forever and figures out a new way to get what he needs: Andy’s new fairy quadruplets. That the show found a way to fold those four annoyances into the main story of the season is downright impressive.
Oh yeah, and Jessica goes to the creator of TruBlood undercover to force him to carry out their plan, and she’s wearing a naughty schoolgirl getup. I’m sure that is relevant to many of your interests.
When Sookie isn’t getting scary visits from Bill the Immortal Prophet, she’s working on her light bomb and dealing with Warlow’s impending visit. Yes, even though we saw him arrive last week, he still hasn’t presented himself, instead lurking in the background like a plot device waiting for his exact scripted moment to strike. He’s already hit the fairy field brothel, killing everyone inside except for Ben, who was still wandering around looking for it when he struck. (How long was Ben wandering around? How does time work on this show?) Niall brings Ben back to Sookie’s house and they have a few very strange interactions that don’t really track with their friendly parting last week. Ben is different than other Halflings Sookie has met in the past, in that she can feel when he’s inside her head. What is your deal, Ben? And are you allergic to buttons?
Also thematically tying in with the vampire/human conflict—and finally feeling like it belongs, even if it’s still pretty dull—are Sam’s attempts to get Emma back from Alcide’s pack, using a visit from Nicole and her group of supernatural advocates as a distraction to grab Emma and run. It’s entirely unclear where Nicole’s story is going, but it’s definitely clear that she and her friends are absolutely in over their heads when it comes with dealing with supernatural creatures. She only even makes it out of their confrontation alive because Alcide saves her. Her ideas about how the pack “coming out” will help acceptance come more quickly is fine and dandy, but it’s like everyone on this show forgets one big thing: It’s pretty hard to make people accept things that have the ability to kill them.
That’s actually kind of the fun of this whole season’s theme. Vampires are supernatural creatures that kill people! Logically, we should be rooting for Burrell to defeat every single vampire he can, in any horrible way he can. But in the topsy turvy morality of True Blood, these creatures are our touchstones and heroes, and Burrell is the sniveling, evil shadow lurking over their shoulder. But that moral relativity is why this show works at all. Who wants to root for boring humans when there are sexy vampires to love instead?
- Pam and Eric's quiet recognition of what they're losing by leaving Fangtasia behind was subtle and nice.
- What’s going on with Jason? Is his increasing weakness a residual effect of getting hit with that fairy whammy last season?
- Nora is looking for Warlow, too, which makes me think Sookie’s story might fold in with everyone else’s eventually. I look forward to that day.
- Niall’s teleporting is awfully cheesy for a show that should have a much higher budget than those effects.
- Rutger Hauer’s performance is kind of strange here, like a doddering old exasperated granddad, and I love it.
- “You didn’t wonder why I was acting crazy and more racist than usual?” Oh, Jason.