The startling truth about the Hep-V attackers is revealed as Bon Temps begins its slow descent into madness.
Let’s bitch it out…
Going into the final season of True Blood, ten episodes didn’t seem like a great deal of time to wrap up our time with the characters we’ve come to love (and some we haven’t). Having made it through roughly 20% of the season, I’ve become more comfortable with the idea as the plot continues to unravel surprisingly slowly.
‘I Found You’ works when it focuses on Sookie (Anna Paquin) and the away party investigating the origin of the HEP-V attacks. Because it’s daytime, the majority of the episode focuses on non-vampire characters, which offers a bit of breathing room to reconnect with characters like Jason (Ryan Kwanten) and Sam (Sam Trammell). Watching the group wander around St. Alice, with its eerily quiet, deserted streets and desperate graffiti, a certain atmosphere returns to True Blood that has been conspicuously absent for quite some time. More often than not the show is gratuitous and over-the-top, but it isn’t scary or foreboding. Even though it’s pretty clear what happened to the citizens of St. Alice, as the Bon Temps crew wanders around, there’s a looming threat that feels imminent, as though they are in danger the entire time they’re there. In reality, though, that feeling is really foreshadowing events still to come: St. Alice is a glimpse of the future that awaits Bon Temps unless the marauding band of Hep-V infected vamps are stopped. The alternative is to end up in a Bon Temps equivalent of that mass grave (which, despite its obviousness, remains an uncomfortable and horrifying image that evokes any number of real life massacres).
Of course, the St. Alice scenes are presented in stark contrast to the those that are playing out at the same time back home. Vince (Brett Rickaby) and his awful crew of vigilantes descends upon the cleaning crew of Bellefleurs and in the space of a few minutes manage to turn the humans into a mindless, panicked mob (Side Note: I still don’t buy that people would be incensed over Sam’s shapeshifter status considering everything else that they’ve seen in the last few years). There are some pretty clear similarities between the Hep-V vamps and the human mob – which suggests not only battle lines being drawn, but also a dangerous escalation towards violence and panic that may yet doom the town to a fate similar to St. Alice. I only wish that either group were more enjoyable to watch as we’re now dedicating significant screentime between two groups of new characters, neither of which are charismatic, entertaining or memorable (I continue to find Vince and his idiot followers particularly insufferable).
Oh well. At least Maxine Fortenberry (Dale Raoul) remains a delightfully inappropriate hoot.
- I’m just going to say it: the entire storyline featuring Arlene (Carrie Preston) and Holly’s (Lauren Bowles) attempts to convince their kids’ former school teacher (now an infected vampire) to release them is a complete waste of time. So much time is spent on their efforts that the disappointing outcome (clearly an attempt to subvert our expectations of their early escape) is aggravating, but not in an entertaining way.
- Lettie May (Adina Porter) learns from Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) that V is tied to her hallucinations / visions of Tara (Rutina Wesley). Her manipulation of Willa (Amelia Rose Blaire) is therefore pretty obvious – even Willa seems to realize it when she initially protests. Nevertheless Lettie May gets what she wants and sees Tara as a Christ figure with a snake who speaks in foreign tongues. I’ll admit I didn’t expend much energy trying to decipher this; I just kinda took it as a warning to Lettie May to stop meddling with addictive substances, but I’m open to other interpretations (Tara as martyr? Tara as apocalypse forecaster?)
- Because of the hysterical mob, Adilyn (Bailey Noble) and Jessica’s (Deborah Ann Woll) storyline becomes slightly more interesting…but not much. It still feels like a non-starter, like where can this possibly go that it won’t be resolved next episode?
- I really, really liked the moment that Sookie opens up the dead girl’s diary and reads entries that could have been taken from her own early True Blood days. This is a clever way to cement the connection between Sookie and Bon Temps / this girl and St. Alice. It also helpfully reasserts that everyone blaming Sookie for what has happened is BS since other people were having the exact same experience elsewhere. Unfortunately the writers completely ruin it by forcibly inserting a (new) flashback that literally dramatizes the idea. It’s as though they don’t trust the audience to make the connection so they spell it out in a simple, insulting fashion. Very annoying.
- In her final scene, Sookie sends Alcide (Joe Manganiello) to bed and then sneaks off to see Bill (Stephen Moyer). If we didn’t have an idea of who Sookie would end up with before, clearly we do now.
- While I think Manganiello’s acting leaves a lot to be desired on this series, I did appreciate his scene with Sookie on the ride home. He reassures Sookie that her infatuation with Bill is the same as anyone’s first crush – the only difference is that Bill just so happened to be a vampire. This is a supportive, emotionally mature response, which proves that Alcide is a) boring and b) the best guy for Sookie to end up with. Clearly this suggests that he will die and/or end up alone.
- Finally, after appearing in the opening
teasedream sequence (which plays like really bad fanfiction, but surely delighted all of us gay viewers), Eric (Alexander Skarsgaard) finally returns. Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) discovers him in Alsace, but in a cruel move, it’s revealed that he’s infected with Hep-V. Guess we’ll see at least one notable death before the end of the series, unless the search for a cure will occupy the latter half of the season.
- Mrs. Fortenberry (after Vince declares Sam is a shapeshifter): “And all this time I was blaming the Nyquil”
- Tanya Wright’s Kenya (when the mob references their 1st amendment rights): “Don’t try that hillbilly NRA shit on me.”
- Chris Bauer’s Andy (after the group deduces the attack timeline in St. Alice): “If Jason’s pizza forensics are to be trusted.”
We’re now almost a quarter done the final season: what are your impressions? Did you enjoy the trip to St. Alice with our regulars? Which new group is more annoying: the Hep-V vamps or Vince and his vigilantes? Will Jessica and Andy make a good crime-fighting force? Was there any excuse for that opening scene other than throwing gay audiences a bone? And what do you think of Eric’s positive results? Sound off below.
True Blood airs Sundays at 9pm EST on HBO. Next week: somebody gets shot, somebody gets called Harry Potter and Sookie continues to play the martyr.