With its eighth episode, True Blood reaches the 2/3 mark for the season. Unlike last season, however, the vamp drama shows no signs of coalescing its many, many storylines into something cohesive as we continue to balance roughly a gillion plots and characters.
Let’s bitch it out…Although last week nearly everyone was touched upon, the pace was slower and the scenes felt more meaningful. This week, we get some fairly significant forward momentum on a number of fronts, but this only serves to reinforce how garbaggio (my made-up Italian term for crap) several of them truly are. Let’s get these out of the way first:
- Anything Terry (Todd Lowe) and Patrick (Scott Foley). This week the two attend a seance with Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis). Things progress in a Ghost-like fashion (pretend medium experiences become real) and everything boils down to this: one of them must kill the other in order to break the curse. Since Foley is only a guest star and Lowe is the father of three kids and a series regular, I think it’s pretty safe to bet on Terry. Let’s finish this up and move on, shall we?
- Anything to do with the Authority. Don’t get me wrong: I would pay good money to watch the amazing gay adventures of Russell Edgington (Denis O’Hare) and former Rev. Steve Newlin (Michael McMillian) to act out James Bond fantasies and get massages from Asian men with British accents, but that – sadly – is not this show. Instead we’re stuck with more religion vs politics mash-ups as Nora (Lucy Griffiths) and Salome (Valentina Cervi) try to devise plans to wipe out the mainstreamers. Booooooring. Only Bill’s (Stephen Moyer) suggestion that they destroy TrueBlood bottling plants, thereby forcing vampires to feed on humans, carries any kind of interest. But on the whole I. Just. Don’t Care…so even Bill’s suggestion is unlikely to rescue this meandering plotline
- Anything Alcide (Joe Maganiello). Early in the season I thought the whole pack master challenge would be a nice contrast to the vampire Authority storyline and if you care to dig, it still is (consider the difference in locations: vampires have mansions and reflection ponds; wolves have barns and hay). Overall, however, the fact that pack master JD (Louis Herthum) is a V-addict – and a D-bag – seems like another throw-away in a rash of “who gives a f*ck” storylines this season. What happened to this upcoming apocalypse JD’s vampire warned him of last episode? Let’s hear more about that. Until then, I care not whether Bon Temps’ track stars make it out of the woods without becoming sacrificial lambs for a wolf pack leader initiation ritual. (Side Note: Just typing that kinda makes me want to hurt myself)
Alright, enough of the bad. What’s decent to interesting?
- Anything Pam (Kristin Bauer) and Tara (Rutina Wesley) continues to be highly entertaining, even if it feels completely removed from anything else happening on the show. Watching the two b*tchiest vampires on the show give a racist high society beyotch from Tara’s past a dressing down is like a dream come true. And Bauer should be forced to describe Wesley’s “gorgeous cocoa mouth” each episode, because that’s both so wrong and so right! Again, let’s give these two a spin-off – say an S&M-themed half-hour called Fangtasia Nights – and watch the ancillary profits roll in.
- I imagine people hope that Sookie’s (Anna Paquin) new vampire makes good on his threat to come after her. Although I’ve enjoyed the journey she’s taken with the Faeries, I’m sure that there are many who don’t give a lick about the psychic bond she’s made with the vamp who killed her parents. Some are speculating that Warlow (was that the name Sookie’s Faerie godmother, Claudine, yelled?) looks like Rusell, but I maintain that this is a new big bad. Either way, dude showing up in a puff of steam in your bathroom is probably not a good sign, though it’s nice of him to give Sook a head’s up that he’s en route
- In addition to acting as medium for Terry, Lafayette gets some nice closure with Jesus (Kevin Alejandro). I’m not sure this brief scene justifies that whole trip down south, but at least the show remembered to let the sassy fry-cook grieve and process his lover’s death. Side Note: nobody can toss around a cuss like Lafayette. His profanity at Holly (Lauren Bowles) and Arlene’s (Carrie Preston) ambush outside his car is a thing of small joy
- I honestly have no idea what to do with Sam’s (Sam Trammell) storyline. Can I admit I was thankful that Luna (Janina Gavankar) looked like Sam for most of the hour, thereby allowing Trammell to play off himself in an amusing fashion? Am I an a-hole if I say that I still want her to die because she’s a huge bore? And am I a pervert for continually expecting Sam to kiss Luna-as-Sam and wondering if that made it some kind of incest?
- Looks like trouble for Hoyt (Jim Parrack) after he allows Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) to go free instead of killing her like the moonshine rednecks demanded. He may yet get a reprieve, but it seems likely that the person driving the car will in fact shoot him. Also on the line: is it possible that Hoyt’s mother is the one with the poor diet and perfume in the house where Jess was held? Does that mean she’s dead, or could she be the mysterious Dragon we heard the bigots discussing at the start of last week?
- It seems like there is far more profanity than usual tossed around in 5×08. Anyone count the f-bombs because they seemed really excessive
- Finally…the episode title: a reference to Goyte’s chart-topping song, or just a convenient title name?
- Steve (riding on Russell’s lap): “Ride the pony”
- Andy (to moonshine redneck nurse): “Dipshits like you grow in bunches” & “My taser’s going to kiss your nuts”
- Jess (after killing Reggie, the fake fangbanger): “There’s your milkshake”
- Sookie (in Claudine’s british accent): “She said “Leave the girl alone” and then blasted him”
- Tracy (after discovering Tara is a vampire): “Well now you’re a member of two minorities”
- Pam (clarifying her position on Tracy after Tara expresses confusion): “My mad face and my happy face are the same”
And with this we cross over in the final episodes of season 5. What say you, True Blood, fans: was this episode a step-up or step-down from last week’s? Do you care a lick about any of those first few plotlines, or are you more interested in the ones I’ve listed as “decent to interesting”? Did you buy Bill’s crossing over into the darkside or do you think (like me) that it’s a ruse to eliminate Salome? And would you pay Lafayette $300 to call you a hooker and jingle his medium bracelets at you? Sound off below!
True Blood airs Sundays at 9pm EST on HBO