True Blood is still biting off more than it can chew, plot and character-wise. This episode was packed with more eye-roll-worthy WTF-ery, but it also offered a few nicely executed and memorable moments that worked quite well, mostly thanks to some fine performances from a pair of fan favorites. Let’s get to the good stuff first.
The show did a nice job of building up to that tender and heartbreaking moment between Pan and Eric. We’ve been exploring Pam and Eric’s deep relationship over the past three episodes, and the flashbacks helped make their vampire breakup scene resonate a lot more than it would have otherwise. Alexander Skarsgård and Kristin Bauer van Straten were great here, in the breakup scene and the tense scene that came before it; making these moments feel small and real despite all the chaos and insanity going on around them.
And there was chaos and insanity aplenty in this episode. Sookie Stackhouse has used up all her good will with everyone (including me and you, I’m sure) except for ol’ Alcide, who is still carrying that torch. The fool. After the demon that possessed Lafayette possessed Sookie’s gremlin (or something), Sookie got home, got plastered and asked Alcide to join the party. Despite the emotional ringer he’s been through over the last few days, which is mostly all Sookie’s fault, Alcide couldn’t help but snuggle up with Sookie after sipping a few disgusting drinks. It’s good to see Alcide doing something other than arguing with the idiot wolf pack, but there’s no way his hookup with Sookie is going to end well for anyone – viewers included. It’s no fun watching the poor, honorable wolf get punished over and over again, and it seems like that’s all that’s gonna happen here. Sad.
Luckily, the show has moved away from Sookie’s shadow, for the most part, this season. Everyone, especially Tara and Lafayette, seems to be acknowledging that Sookie is the “Angel of Death” who is always the center of everyone’s problems. It’s always all about Sookie, and anyone who jumps in to help her usually ends up getting hurt, dead or undead. True Blood is going through something of a transition here, with characters forcing themselves to stay away from the show’s main character and move on to their own strange adventures. For Bill and Eric, that means leaving Sookie and their progeny behind to either find and kill Russell Edgington or take on the corrupt Vampire Authority. For Tara, that means following Pam, who seems to have finally accepted the responsibility that comes with being someone’s maker.
Another great scene involved Pam ordering Tara to feed on a delicious-looking club rat. It was nice to see Tara resist at first. I take this as the show telling us that our Tara is still alive, but she’s different now, and she can’t deny the bloody cravings that come with being a vampire. This scene was an example of True Blood at its best – it was bloody good, gruesome fun, and it made me wince and laugh all at the same time.
I laughed more while watching Andy and Jason take a tour of the silly and flamboyant Fairy burlesque club. Only on True Blood would a group of “refugee” Fairies decide to hide from vampires by creating a secret burlesque club that pleasures local hick lawmakers and other high rolling clientele. Jason got some info about his parents' death (and a job offer!) from his Fairy cousin. Andy met his dream Fairy again, but a pair of beefcake Fairy bouncers kicked him and Jason out of the club before he could truly reconnect with her.
There still isn’t a lot to love about the Vampire politics plot. Roman is devolving into an iron-fisted dictator as the show goes on, which is odd, since his agenda is supposed to be mainstreaming vampire culture into society. All of this mainstreaming vs. fundamentalist insanity seems to be building up to the return of the mythical Lilith, the first vampire. Some vampires worship her, and some vampires think of her as a myth. Even those in the forward thinking Authority, like Salome, seem to cling to the old ways of the Vampire bible, which means allegiances will truly be tested once this ideological war kicks off in earnest. But this has so far only amounted to a few dull torture sequences and scenes of people bickering, and sometimes exploding, over a conference table.
I enjoyed the Terry flashback, even though it felt so out of place. But at least we’re getting some context for why Terry has been acting so odd (well, odder than usual) lately, and why he’s hit the road looking for an old army buddy with Scott Foley. The Iraq scenes were well executed, and they helped to remind us that Terry is a gentle and tortured soul. He’s someone who demands our sympathy, and I have no trouble rooting for the guy.
So what did you think, friendly viewers? Which storylines are you enjoying, and which ones are you skipping or fast-forwarding through? Let’s hear it. And until next week, happy fang banging!