While True Blood is still largely chaotic, splintered and at times just plain random, there were a few things in “The Sun” that portend well for this season. In the past, the show has piled on to the supernatural creature count every season, to the point where it’s hard to believe anyone is just human anymore. Witches, maenads, ghosts and werepanthers dominated former seasons and then disappeared. This time though, the show is actually reaching back into its own mythology, and seems to be focusing on just a few supernaturals (vampires, fairies, werewolves and shifters). It also seems prepped to do some proper build-up of a season’s villain that will hopefully end up having more of an effect than say, Russell Edgington, who for all of his bluster was snuffed out pretty quickly and without much meaningful aftermath last year. Warlow, on the other hand, could be a different story. Hit the jump for more on, “they can fly?”
One of the major issues with True Blood’s fifth season was how big it got. Vampire gods and the oldest vampires to walk the earth? Where do you go after that? What originally made True Blood a little more interesting than a run-of-the-mill monster show was its connection to Bon Temps, and its suggestion that only in the backwoods in Louisiana could such things exist. Instead, there doesn’t seem to be a corner of earth unaffected, yet Louisiana still (inexplicably) remains the hub. This season has started pairing things down and making them local again though in some ways at least, making the God issue part of someone who always has had a God complex (Bill), and specifically focusing back on Sookie and her key role in all of this.
What seems promising about this season is how “The Sun” started bringing back things from early seasons. Warlow, who killed Sookie’s parents, is back because Sookie was promised to him by an ancestor in an ancient pact. Sookie’s fairy godmother Claudine apparently helped banish Warlow into another dimension for a time, but now he’s returning, and with the help of Jason’s fairy godfather (even though Jason does not posses fae powers), the Stackhouses prepare for an apocalyptic battle of their own.
But as Grandpa Niall explains to Sookie, using her fairy supernova will leave her fae no longer, which seems unlikely to really play out. That’s an issue with True Blood — the “big battles” are reduced to one-episode bloodbaths where almost no main characters are killed, and then there’s a new villain with the new season and a host of new characters in this already overpopulated world. The war between vampires and humans that Eric predicts and welcomes and Bill prepares for doesn’t really generate much interest either, because if either side really won it would be contrary to everything the show is about.
Speaking of new characters, there were a few introduced this week: Ben, Sookie’s likely new love interest (even though she rebuffed him at first, stating rightly that her taking walks with handsome strangers never ends well), and Nicole, who, along with her L.A. friends stalk Sam and take pictures of the altercation between him and Alcide and some of the shifting. Is Nicole really on Sam’s side, or not? Does anyone particularly care?
Can’t some of the established characters start taking up a torch like Nicole’s? (much like Jason did when he joined up with Steve Newlin’s cult).
Those of you who said last week that the governor might prove interesting were right. The glamour-blocking contacts and the specialized silver bullets were nice touches, as was the realization that “the humans are fighting back.” The battles between the supernaturals have their own interest, but the focus on any regular humans (like Arlene, Terry, Andy, etc) has largely been for comic relief, which makes it interesting to see how that might effect alliances moving forward.
The Bellfleurs did their duty this week to make us laugh, but still currently have no connection to the other plots (though it seems assured that Andy’s halfling kids will play into Sookie’s story). The resurrection of the exceptionally forgettably Patrick story via his wife appearing in Bon Temps was something that should never have been prodded at again, but True Blood rarely seems to know when to rein anything in. The perfect metaphor in this episode for True Blood as a series was when fugue-state Bill pulled the blood prostitute Veronica back into his clutches with his mind. It was creepy and horrifying and a great moment … ruined by the campy mouth-to-mouth blood transfer and unfortunate effects, then sweetened by Jessica’s response, but soured with the half-baked mythology.
True Blood still draws us in though with that camp and fun and character moments, even if overall the show has never made much sense. Still, for all of its faults, there were still those glimmers of hope in “The Sun” that seem worth sticking around for.
Episode Rating: B-
Musings and Miscellanea:
— The gothic romance setup of Eric floating outside of the Governor’s daughter’s window with the flowing whiteness all around was a nice touch.
— Jason is back to being a highlight with his goofy way of phrasing things and his puppy-like attachment to Grandpa Niall.
— “He’s like Boba Fett!” – Jason
— Jessica’s prayer “to Bill” was a little much.
— It was a nice trick to have the old man in the car with Jason not be Warlow. True Blood is rarely surprising these days, and playing on the expectation of obviousness we’ve come to expect was a nice touch.
— I like that Arlene actually called Sookie up to remind her she still works at Merlotte’s.
— More LaFayette and Emma would have been nice.
— People love snatching Emma on this show.
— Lilith only employs bloody female handlers? I call foul! Definitely not a balance of male parts to female parts this week.
— “Life really is a shit sandwich sometimes” – Arlene.