Good news you guys, True Blood is totally in on the joke, this week at least. There was an unusual density of self-aware wtfery from characters and performers alike, plus the whole episode is called “Hopeless”. If TB is trolling here, then fair play, we all agreed to hop on board this fruity trainwreck, let’s keep on truckin. Good things this week: Lafayette, Eric/Alcide, RUSSELL; bad: Tara, werewolves, fairies, Iraq, oh my.
Basically the only threads worth following involve vampires, who have hit a critical mass of This Is Stupid with the introduction of Russell Edgington (huzzah), who spends the entire episode explosively decrying all the most egregiously dumb parts of the Authority world, most notably the Vampire Bible. More later.
The scene with the VampireBlood!Werewolf fight was genuinely pretty cool, and the writers at least had the decency to clear up exactly why Eric didn’t just gooify Russell there and then: because the Authority want him alive. So they can execute him. *cough*. Yeah the Authority is like a black hole of meaningful motivation. But the Machiavelli-For-Chumps shenanigans take a total back seat for Russell’s boundless quotability.
Moments like this are what makes the True Blood universe turn. We’re in an odd little moment where we know just enough about all our favourite characters that (with Jason and Pam as notable exceptions) exploring their emotional lives isn’t a great return on investment. What we do get is interesting new aspects to their personalities, like Sookie’s stoic pessimism:
Or Eric’s odd sense of humour, in this case pulling Eat Shit faces around Delightful Tina Majorino:
Anyway, the point is the guys on the TB team in this episode at least have figured out how to get the very best out of the talent, and it’s great viewing if you’ve stuck with it this long. Eric is having a whale of a time, and gives Russell a run for his money in the Race to be Giffed Hardest by Tumblr.
Of course, what the fandom was really looking forward to in this episode was the ultimate showdown between Chris Meloni’s butt and Russell Edgington, and honestly, it felt more than a little rushed. Russell is interrogated off screen in the most weaksauce fashion imaginable, then lightly silvered in the Authority Council/Multi-Function Room in preparation for the True Death. Meh. I really don’t get the motivation here. What were they interrogating him about? Is he even connected to the Sanguinistas (ugh)? If not, why did Salome/Nora dig him up? What intelligence were they hoping to glean from someone who was dug up after two years in a hole about three days ago? Why didn’t they chain him up like an expensive bike considering he’s 3000 years old? Why did they try to kill him with an iPhone app? When he attacked Roman, why did no one try to help him despite looking kind of upset about it? Is there some kind of plot hole monster running around?
Anyway, we don’t actually see Roman die, just bust out some really dodgy face-melty cgi, so he’s probably fine. If Luna and Sam can survive multiple bullet wounds (FFS) this guy will just walk it off. Because his polo shirt is actually made of Vampire Kevlar or some shit. Anyway, Roman is far too cool to be chumpkilled so expect him to make a full recovery.
Elsewhere, the other plotline that needs at least 10x more screentime is Lafayette and Ruby Jean’s supernatural investigation agency. Alfre Woodard is having a whale of a time with her lines, and their relationship is horribly fraught but oddly moving. Anyway, Ruby knows all about Jesus’ severed head and some guy called Don Bartolo who I have happily forgotten about.
So in short, replace all the Iraq stuff with emotionally sound Lafayette and you’ve got a much better show.
The rest of the thing is kinda meh. I have no one to care about on the werewolf side of town, particularly as Joe Mangianello is so much more effective as the goofy comedy relief. No one cares about that completely unconnected to anything wolf pack and we certainly don’t need another willowy/ersatz-sassy model-turned-actor as a romantic foil. GOD.
Ditto the fairie club. Right now their only purpose is to provide Jason with lines like ‘give me back my sister you fairy fuckers’ and show off the budget they had for an entire set full of Disney Burlesque performers where they couldn’t get the sound to work properly and nothing of plot import occurs. Claude is Claudine’s brother, Jason is doing detective work on his and Sookie’s parent’s Vampire Death via the scientific means of Dreaming. Though for True Blood that’s actually on the sound logic end of the derp scale.
- More Pam. Remember Pam? We got like three whole episode’s worth of her and loved it and then you thought Tara/Jessica was a much more promising emotional seam? Stop that please.
- Also, please hurry up and kill Hoyt. I hate to see him like this. Jessica, prepare the gif please.
- Luna needs to go. Though Sam and Andy as a crimebusting duo is good fun, even if it is a bit ropey hearing a white actor deliver lines about hate crime. Sometimes I wonder if Chris Bauer thinks back to being on the second season of The Wire when he delivers lines like this:
- Gotta give credit to the guy who said ‘fuck it, let’s just call it a smoke monster’.
- Also the guy who had the gunstore redneck watching Hillbilly Handfishin’.
- Terrible Nora: still Terrible, now imbued with prophetic power. smh.
So in reality this was a bit of a set-up episode, and considering the plot holes it took to get us here, I’m not filled with total confidence in their capacity for storytelling. Still, a few shrewd decisions about which characters are essentially dead weight and this could yet be a hellacious season finale. Maybe.