In “Fire in the Hole,” True Blood made clear that in addition to seeing old faces and spending nostalgic time with the main characters, it also plans to kill off a bunch of people. This house cleaning should have been done years ago — the show added villains just to kill them off each season, but meanwhile, also expanded its arsenal of supernaturals to unwieldy proportions. It’s not that the sprucing is a bad idea, it’s just poorly timed. Now, it just feels like a way to create some drama in a season that is ping-ponging around too much to create any depth on its own. Will it turn out that the entire series is just LaFayette’s drug-induced dream? It would make more sense. Hit the jump for why “we can’t be biting, fucking and sucking in the moonlight.”
The final season of True Blood doesn’t seem to know whether it’s coming or going. Some characters are bound by their pasts: Eric (and by proxy, Pam) and Bill got extended interludes regarding their past, and neither provided much in the way of interest (though Bill’s was sweet, and more Pam is always a joy. And while the reappearance of Nan Flanagan and Sarah Newlin are nice little Easter eggs for fans to remember and reminisce over, turning Sarah into a full-blown plot point though seems unnecessary). For everyone else, there’s nowhere to go but forward, brushing aside anything that’s inconvenient to think about.
It seems the trick to enjoying, or at least getting through, this final season is to follow that last point closely. Pay attention instead to Alcide running with his shirt off, one of the most blessed images from the show. Oh wait! … He’s killed off quickly and unceremoniously, without almost anything to do this year except run after Sookie and love her more than she loves him (par for the course). (Must … not … think ….)
Alcide’s death opened even wider the already obvious door that is the reunion of Sookie and Bill as lovers. She might have given him a little bit of a hard time in the car, but it was weak — who did she run to when in danger? Who did she hatch a dangerous plan with? Who did she sit in the moonlight and talk about Six Flags with? William Compton, of course. Forget Alcide, forget anyone who might be good for her; this show was created and sustained by Sookie and Bill’s love, and plot be damned, the show will surely end with it, too.
On the positive side, the show has kept to its promise to stay in Bon Temps and keep things local. The local idiots have all of the guns and none of the sense, and a lot of free time to sit on one road and jump out at whatever supernaturals decide to travel down it (all of them, apparently). Having one of them kill Alcide also made sense within the narrative of the town terrors actually having an effect — they aren’t just threatening to do something, they’re actually doing it. There are real consequences, and humans and supernaturals are as far apart and as hostile towards each other as they ever have been.
The trip to Saint Alice last week also set the stage for a discussion of children and futures in “Fire in the Hole.” Jason wants them, Sookie doesn’t (yet, at least), Sam misses his, and even the vampires discussed progeny (Pam mourned for Tara, while Eric taught Pam about loyalty in the flashback). Bill, too, thinks of his human children fondly and with sadness, while Andy is still doing everything he can to protect the one he still has.
Even that narrative thread though wasn’t enough to pull together some of the more disparate plots of the episode, though, including LaFayette and James’ drug-induced bonding time, as well as Holly and Arlene’s attempts at survival at the hands of the rogue Hep V vamps. The reappearance of the Japanese corporation who created the True Blood drink is another question mark to a question no one begged.
At its best, True Blood is campy fun. But this season has been hard to embrace, despite some great moments (mostly from the second episode, with its creepy trip to Saint Alice, and the reemergence and relevance of Sookie’s powers), because it has been almost nothing but chaos. If the show is going to keep killing off major characters on a weekly basis, then it should spend more time with them before they go, and not so much on characters like Lettie Mae. As enjoyable as the Reverend Daniels is, and as soothing as his story time may be, this is the time to focus on legacy characters, and True Blood‘s own legacy. You know: “honor and dignity and an iron-forged cock.”
Episode Rating: C+
Musings and Miscellanea:
— The surprise of Sarah Newlin in the cold open was all we needed of her character, thanks.
— “I’ve lost my taste for oysters, Pam” – Eric, until he finds out Sarah Newlin is still alive.
— “I’m sick of waiting. Come on, y’all! I taste like sunshine and flowers, and I’m right fucking here!” – Sookie, losing her mind after about an hour, and going straight into cutting her arm.
— Stephen Moyer should not be shoot from below, apparently.
— The exchange between Reverend Daniels and Willa was sweet, but snooze! The same is true for all of the interactions with James. He just brings the energy down. Yes, these are character-building moments, but with the wrong characters! (Except for LaFayette).
— Whoever is in charge of photoshopping for the show needs to take a course on it. The pictures the Stackhouse’s home, especially any of their grandmother spliced in with baby Sookie and Jason, are laughably bad.
— One day, a really bored person will draw a map of Bon Temps and the two streets the town apparently has, mapping what routes characters take places. There is no sense of orientation or space or anything on the show when it comes to where people are, where they’re going, or how they get there.
— R.I.P. Maxine Fortenberry and her baggy high-water pants. It was an epic death, but at the hands of such an irritating character, it also lacked some kind of satisfaction.
— R.I.P., Alcide. Your studliness will never be rivaled.