TV Review: TRUE BLOOD 5.5 “Let’s Boot and Rally”

The band is back together again, and True Blood is all the better for it.

The band is back together again, and True Blood is all the better for it. Sookie, Bill and Eric are reunited and creeping around spooky blood-splattered warehouses together, with a grunting Alcide in tow, and a gooey-looking Russell Edgington finally woke up from his oh-so-gross death slumber. It wasn’t hard to appreciate the unifying elements, swift pace and forward momentum this episode had to offer, especially after four slow-moving hours featuring almost every character moving in different directions. ‘Let’s Boot and Rally’ wasn’t exactly a glorious return to form for True Blood, but it sure was a hoot.

Things kicked off hot and heavy with Sookie and Alcide about to consummate their broody and boozy lust in Sookie’s bedroom. But, as we all know, God hates werewolves! Alcide never really had a chance to live out his dream of making love to a drunk and clearly desperate Sookie. The show played things sexy for a minute before killing the mood with Sookie’s repurposed Peach Schnapps landing all over Alcide’s shoes (Yep, God truly despises the furries, and he never misses a chance to smite them). Queue Bill and Eric, who popped in to drag Sookie back into their crazy monster world and crack wise about Alcide’s perpetual bad luck. (“Alcide, you sure know how to treat a lady.”)

Sookie had a well-timed clarity burp before jumping back on Bill and Eric’s horror train. As most genre show main characters tend to do around the fifth season, Sookie realized that her life was nothing more than an impossibly insane supernatural soap opera with no end in sight. “This is it. It’s not gonna change. We say goodbye and the next thing, you guys are back in my house and a 3,000-year-old vampire wants to suck my blood. Must be Thursday,” she said, accepting her fate with a heavy dose of Stackhouse sass. Sook agreed to join the boys on their hunt for the big bad Russell. And they found him!

Russell’s big return wasn’t as dazzling as I’d hoped it would be. He was looking pretty sick and pasty and ancient, kinda like Gary Oldman in the first half of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. But his confidence was high and his respect for all those around him was still non-existent, which made me smile. Russell may not be in top physical form, but he still feels like a significant threat (More threatening than Roman, anyway). But we didn’t get to see Russell do much here, since he showed up at episode’s end. But next week’s ep is sure to kick off with a howl, as it looked/sounded like Russell’s wolf pack was there to back him up.

It looked like Vampire Tara was finally gonna find some much needed backup in Jessica, who witnessed Pam bitch-smack Tara behind the bar at Fangtasia. Tara and Jessica’s girly gabfest about what it’s like to be a vampire was one of the best scenes of the episode. Scenes like these – with characters discussing the essence of vampirism and how creatures of the night relate to humans – are intriguing, and they help bring the more interesting themes of the show back in to focus. True Blood, for the most part, is supposed to be about the strange and slippery relationship between vampires and humans. In the past, the show has explored this theme on an intimate level with Sookie and her relationships with Bill and Eric, and other relationships, like Jessica and Hoyt’s romance. But this year, the show is attempting to expand its focus and explore the human-vampire relationship on a global level with the introduction of The Vampire Authority.

Sadly, this mostly adds up to a bunch of new characters in high positions jousting for power and the right to define the terms of the global relationship between vampires and humans. Sexy Salome aside, Roman and the Vampire Authority aren’t the most compelling creatures of the night. Their actions and the outcome of the coming fight between the mainstreamers and the Sanguinistas (and maybe a Vampire god named Lilith) will no doubt have a huge effect on the world of True Blood, but I’d rather see the show explore these themes on a more intimate level with characters we already know and love (well, characters we kinda like, anyway).

The episodes’ final moments reached for epic, and while the show didn’t exactly get there, the cuts between the different characters (Terry freaking out, Jessica and Tara battling in the bathroom, Jason crying over his parent’s grave) layered over Roman’s speech was quite effective. For the first time this season, it felt like the show had weight, and that maybe the season was building to something truly interesting and big that would rock all of the characters' worlds. Here’s hoping True Blood delivers on that promise. Other characters:

  • Lafayette: And speaking of curses, the curse of Season Four lives on in Lafayette’s arc. There was some funny, freaky business going on here (Virgin Mary and Buddha statues taunting our man, severed appearing on end tables), and I couldn’t take my eyes off Nelsan Ellis during his breakdown scene. But this story feels tacked on and like it only exists to give Lafayette something to do.
  • Jason and His Junk: Last week, Jason learned that vampires may have been responsible for his parents’ death, and this week he was haunted by visions that seemed to confirm this. Jason also seemed sickened by the idea that vampires have been killing humans and getting away with it for centuries. We’ve already seen Jason go on an anti-Vampire crusade before, but it looks like he’s about to repeat himself. But he’s on his own this time, and this time (*cough*) it’s personal. This all feels like set-up for a sixth season arc, since it feels like Jason and Sookie should be dealing with the truth of their parents’ demise together. Still, I’m intrigued to follow Jason down this dark path, but mostly because Ryan Kwanten is so fun and watchable.
  • Terry and Scott Foley: Nothing interesting going on here, just a couple of guys tormented by a fire demon because a woman they killed put a curse on them. I love Terry, but there’s nothing new or compelling about this monster curse story. At least it’s not witches, I guess.
  • Steve Newlin: My favorite newborn Vamp was absent for another episode. Listen, show, bring this guy back and stick him in every Vampire Authority scene from now on. Lord knows we need something to distract us during Roman’s dull staff meetings.

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