TV recappers — myself included — have been forgetting to ask a very basic question about the episodes we watch week to week: was it entertaining? It’s an especially important question with a show like True Blood, because there’s not going to be much there when it comes to style, acting, or general logic. The show has always incorporated humor and, occasionally, some great characters moments, and it’s why viewers keep coming back even after seasons that, disastrously, focused more on plot points than character development. Something Season Six seems to be doing really well is returning the focus back to Bon Temps and not introducing too many new characters and creatures, instead pulling from the huge cast well they already have in place. Hit the jump for more on why “You’re not God, Bill, you’re just an asshole.”
Though it dragged in a few places, “You’re No Good” might be one of the best True Blood episodes in a long time, especially because it was just a building block. I’ve had high hopes for this season of the show, (even though the showrunner who replaced Alan Ball left halfway through the season), because Alan Ball had a very specific — and occasionally controversial, within the fandom — vision for the series. The question of whether that would continue after he left was one worth exploring, even while so many fans said they were giving up on the show altogether.
But “You’re No Good” rewarded long-time fans with some in-jokes from the past, such as the return of Sarah Newlin and the commentary about the Fellowship of the Sun, the reappearance of Ginger (without a scream!), saying farewell to Fangtasia, and a return to Fort Bellefleur. The show has also gotten back to tempering the drama with humor, like in the werewolf scenes when Rikki tells Martha she must speak to the Sheriff, and casually mentions that she now has emphysema (it wasn’t even what she said that was funny, it was the way she said it, and how it broke all of the dramatic tension). Later, when the wolf pack went after that annoying group of pacifists from L.A., Alcide’s father just rolled his eyes with a “damnit …” before shifting and trying to stop the carnage. These are by no means watershed moments, nor are they particularly clever or important, but they are necessary in a show that has started to take itself too seriously. We’re working with a low bar, people.
One of the things book fans have made mention of for years is how, in the book series, Bill is a real asshole. The Bill-Sookie love connection is a short one, and not the end game, and apparently in the novels Bill spirals into the power-hungry creature that’s finally coming into his own this year. Without Ball, who adored Sookie and Bill together (and to be fair, they are the only couple who have any real chemistry), Bill is finally completing his turn into a fully conniving and petulant character. Him bursting into flames when he met the sun was hilarious, not sad, because his self-importance has reached its apex. Sookie has also finally gotten the message herself, not inviting Bill in and then not allowing him to synthesize her blood.
This season is going to heavily be about fairies, that’s obvious, but unlike last year, that thankfully doesn’t seem to include wasting time at the fairy Moulin Rouge. There’s actual backstory regarding the Stackhouses, Niall the fairy godfather, Warlow and a fae army. Like the humans, the fae are finally ready to fight back, and Sookie is finally being taught how to control her powers. The mythology is also fleshed out through Andy’s children, who now have Bill to fear. The idea of synthesizing fae blood is a legitimately good one, Jason’s headaches are a legitimate mystery, and Warlow appears to be a legitimate villain. So does that mean True Blood is almost starting to feel like a legitimately decent show again?
These are early days, but in response to the question of entertainment and simply liking an hour of TV, “You’re No Good” was just pretty darn good.
Musings and Miscellanea:
– Andy and Holly gave me life in this episode. Andy numbering the fae tweens was hilarious, and Holly’s return was a nice moment for Andy (who played it nicely with the “I only do this with male deputies” joke, followed by the Fort Bellefleur sweetness). I also like how Andy always calls Bill “Vampire Bill,” and that we were reminded Andy, Terry and Bill are actually all related. These are the kinds of things that remind me of how good True Blood can be.
– Tara still has nothing to do, but at least now her character is kind of funny with a number of mumbling comments about how Pam should stand up to Eric.
– “It’s savage shit like that that makes humans hate us” – Tara, former vampire hater.
– The entire Willa storyline makes me think of how a vampire fiction fan would legitimately react to having Eric Northman capture them in their flowing nighty.
– It was a little sad to see Fangtasia go, even though it hasn’t meant much for the last few years. Speaking of goodbyes, Claude returning just to die off too was awfully cruel for the ladies.
– It’s good to see Sookie and Jason getting so much time together.
– I keep forgetting that werewolves are still “underground.” The wolves eating up most of the members of the peace and love league (whatever they’re called) should provide for an interesting twist, though I’m still not convinced they are on the up and up.
– Welcome back, Sarah Newlin!
– “Warlow is the proverbial shit hitting the fan” – Niall.
– Is anyone else mentally confusing Warlow with Wario?
– I liked Sookie’s explanation about why she can’t be afraid all of the time: because she’s in danger all of the time. Nice meta moment.
– “Didn’t you wonder why I was acting all crazy and more racist than usual?” – Jason.
– Is it significant that Sookie can sense Ben in her head in a lovey-dovey way or in a “this dude is not who/what he seems” way?
– “I is in, but what’s the motherfucking plan, boyfriend?” – LaFayette, who we have not seen enough of this year. “Erase!”
– Sam is more interesting as an owl than a human.