Whoever gave the True Blood writers some V or whatever it was to suddenly make this season pretty darn brilliant, praise your light. There was surely no title more apt for an episode than this week, where in all of the story lines (though still fractured) some serious shit went down. Few dramas hit their stride as late as a fifth season, but True Blood has come into its own – finally – this year. Yes there have been missteps along the way, but for the most part this mere 50 minutes of television (followed by a “let’s discuss what the heck is going on in Bon Temps right now” video) felt longer and denser than seemed possible. Hit the jump for details on the latest weirdness, and why Hoyt needs to go back home to his mama.
Shall I begin with the decapitated head or the pile of corpses? “But which pile?” you ask. “The one set on fire that created an Ifrit, or the pile being consumed by rats?” (#JustAnotherThursday) Let’s get the rats and Russell out of the way. It’s a story that starts with Sookie, whose character has experienced a renaissance of redemption this season. Instead of falling into her usual role of Lust Object in Perpetual Danger, Sookie was vomiting on shoes and truth telling. “As you learn from any horror movie, you do not split up to go search the big scary hospital,” she says to the group, taking charge. “I have a terrible headache and have to pee something fierce, so I’d just as soon get this over with.” And so it went – after a medley of uncomfortable scenes involving dead humans or humans in peril, we finally see Russell, no longer looking like Lord Voldemort, resting peacefully in filth. But never underestimate a 3000 year old vampire! According to the previews for next week, Russell is only getting started on his reign of terror.
But chaos rules elsewhere, as a rogue band of killers target shifters and other magical creatures. It actually adds a nice bit of depth to have human foes for once – humans are so often forgotten in the show unless they are serving as food, and while the actions of this gang can in no way be condoned, showing people attempting to serve vigilante justice just as the Sanguists are saying “we toldja so” is a nice touch (unless the gang are werewolves? Hmm …).
And rounding out our Magical Creature Count to a nice even 10, we are introduced to the Ifrit. Terry’s story this season has felt unnecessary at best, acting more as a time-waster (and who has time to waste in Bon Temps right now??) than anything moving the narrative forward. Undoubtedly, as this Ifrit curse follows him and terrorizes him, his story will end up merging with the others. I hope. The Ifrit is pretty terrifying, but at the same time, it was born from a curse put on the men for something they did that was even more horrific.
On to happier things, Tara seems to finally be finding a more powerful place for herself, which is something I know many fans hoped for but never believed the writers would allow to happen. It was a lovely scene between her and Jessica becoming friends (and about ten minutes later, enemies, as Tara fed on Hoyt who looked like he just left a Cure show), and also a nice touch of world-building to discuss vampirism in the terms of those who are new to it. The struggles, the uncertainties, the impulses — these are all things that are forgotten when, as Jessica notes, we are in the presence of “old” vampires.
Speaking of old vampires, could the Authority not be of more interest? Their presence is becoming a drag, which is a shame and waste of Chris Meloni’s charm and abilities (having just rewatched Wet Hot American Summer, I wish Meloni would do more comedic roles. It would have been nice for Roman to have been more charismatic than dogmatic, but I suppose we already have a flamboyantly charming vampire in Russell).
As mentioned in the beginning, this episode was all about pulling on one’s shit-kicking boots and getting ready for some action. And this is one season where the outcomes of said action are not so readily guessed, and certainly leave us wanting more. The gore, “incest,” scattering of characters, uncontrollable fire, decapitated heads, subversive scheming, massacres and nudity are making it confusing where Game of Thrones ended and this season of True Blood began. That’s not necessarily a compliment to the former series, but it definitely is for the latter.
Next Week: Jessica and Hoyt rekindle some sparks, the Ifrit comes a-hauntin’, the fairies return and the vigilante gang gets gets even more violent. Oh yeah, and Russell-fucking-Edgington, Vampire King of Mississippi is back y’all!
Musings and Miscellanea:
— So what of Jesús’ head? I love that Lafayette’s mother just speaks to him like it’s any normal day (again, #JustAnotherThursday), and can understand his bound-up murmurings. I was not down for La getting possessed by yet another demon, but this trajectory intrigues me. Also, if any porcelain figures started yelling at me I would definitely smash the crap out of them as well. Not here for that.
— I want to apologize to HBO for calling them out on the non-naked Alcide sex scene that I thought they cut away from last week. Indeed, we got to see Joe M with his shirt of this week, praise Lilith.
— “They’re all fairies! Like Tinkerball!” – Jason
— The brief Andy-Arlene scene was great, and I loved how Andy later shut Jason down about their time with the fairies and waking up naked with a dismissive “no more of that homo talk!!”
— “If I had wanted to dress like a drag queen I might as well have raided Lafayette’s closet” – Tara to Pam, not appreciating her fashion choices.
— The Authority did have good advice though for anyone up against a radical opposition: “Control the message, and don’t underestimate the fanatics.”