True Blood has been a lot of things in the past few seasons: some good, some bad, and some painfully mediocre. Throughout this, what it rarely managed to be was at all emotionally affecting. That all changed tonight with the surprisingly tender farewell to Hoyt, a character so misused this season his departure should feel like nothing but sweet relief, who managed to go out not only with style but with a melancholy grace the show would do well to aspire to more often.
Yes, Hoyt is gone off to Alaska to start a new life working for a drilling crew in the type of conveniently occurring opportunity that only seems to happen when a television character has severely overstayed his welcome. His exit from the show is remarkable in two ways: First, it is amazing that True Blood finally had the guts to jettison a character that no longer served a purpose, and second, it is impressive that the show did it with such finesse. For all of the grumbling about Hoyt’s character trajectory this season, his history with both Jessica and Jason made for an emotional goodbye, especially when he made the decision to have Jessica glamour his memories of them away for good. Deborah Ann Woll was remarkable in her goodbye to him, proving the show doesn’t use her enough. And Ryan Kwanten got to show some rarely-seen range when he broke down after realizing that Hoyt did, indeed, not remember their lifetime of friendship. It was a sad, bitter farewell, illustrating how there’s more to lose in this world than just your life. Vampires are rotting the soul of this world by simply existing, one Hoyt at a time.
Not content to stealthily ruin lives, however, the new Authority is still actively ruining them by escalating the inevitable war between humans and vampires. Their mission now includes actively creating new vampires (there’s a quota!) and spreading a campaign of misinformation to the public, with Steve Newlin as their face to the world. While humans are flat-out hunting vamps, even drawing weapons against them in public places like Merlotte’s, Bill is still attempting to turn Eric to Lilith’s side in order to save him from true death. Bill forces him to get high on Lilith’s (supposed) blood once again, and this time, he sees Lilith defeat Godric and is convinced following Lilith’s teachings is the right way. This storyline has long been flirting with drawing parallels to the fundamentalist Christian movement and made the strongest statement to that effect tonight, pushing the rhetoric of saving souls to the forefront of what the group is trying to do, and pushing the study of its scriptures. There is so much more room for the show to make these statements more compelling, however. I do wish it had the courage to make them.
But while the group's movement is getting stronger, internally it just became a bit weaker. Russell—who always seemed to be more interested in the killing or mayhem of the movement rather than the religion of it all—decides he wants to take it a step further and make strides to allow vampires to walk in the sun, perhaps by synthesizing fairy blood the way Tru-Blood is made. This is no surprise, as Russell always had a taste for the sunlight and a need for grandeur. It was doubtful anyone could keep him contained for long. When Salome disagrees, Russell storms off in a blaze of theatrics and violence, declaring that he will have the sun and separating from them for what seems like forever. Sookie might have more to worry about now than just apparitions in her mirror, as she is the obvious choice for him to feed from.
Speaking of Warlow, Jason finally proves he has a few detective skills by figuring out Gran wasn’t leading Sookie to the box under her bed; she was literally leading her to a spot in the floorboards under the bed, where they find an old scroll. Their fae brethren translate it and discover it’s a contract their Stackhouse ancestor signed, promising the first-born Stackhouse of fairy origin to someone named Warlow. It’s unclear who Warlow is and why he’s been away for so long, but now that he knows Sookie exists it seems like he’s coming to collect what’s contractually his.
Finally, in what was probably the most fun little runner of the week, Sam and Luna decide to go after Emma by chasing Steve Newlin, and turn themselves into tiny, cute little mice to do so. There’s something immensely silly and satisfying about Sam’s stories when he has to shift back and forth from ridiculous animals to his naked form and act like everything is completely normal. It was a nice counterpoint to the more serious stories of the night, especially because it featured two people being entirely competent for once. Now that they’re firmly ensconced in the Authority compound, things are bound to get more interesting.
Overall, this episode continued what’s becoming a fairly strong run to the end of the season. If only we can somehow forget a lot of what happened in the first half, this might end up being the strongest season the show has had in several years.
- Vampire Mac is dead, felled by her own invention. At least Steve Newlin’s reaction to her death was entertaining.
- Also entertaining: bloody Russell and Steve, dancing to “Teenage Dream” and discussing their future while surrounded by dead bodies. Never change, boys.
- Sookie killed a vampire with chopsticks. Because takeout chopsticks are strong enough to puncture skin, muscle, and bone.
- Tara killing that awful new sheriff Elijah was perhaps the best thing the character has ever done. Vampire Tara kicks ass.
- Jason: “Well, it was the only box marked 'vampire attacks question mark.'”
- Russell: “Are we seriously sitting here discussing education reform?”
- Tara: “I don’t know nothing about birthing no baby vampires.”