Bon Temps continues its descent into anarchy as the human mob causes more damage.
Let’s bitch it out…
It’s the final season of True Blood, so in many ways, all bets are off regarding who is safe and who is on the chopping block. And so it goes that episode three of this seventh season finds Alcide (Joe Manganiello) riddled with bullets, left for dead and naked as a jay bird in the meadows of Bon Temps. I’d eulogize the character, but let’s be honest: Alcide has never been the most interesting character and aside from adding girth to show’s parade of man candy, Manganiello has never been the show’s key asset. As the actor himself explains on Entertainment Weekly, he’s basically a walking, (sometimes) talking barrier to Sookie (Anna Paquin) getting back together with Bill (Stephen Moyer). And so the character had to go…
At least Alcide went out doing what he did best: getting in the way. Thus far this seventh season has spent a fair amount of time establishing the battle lines between vamps and humans, but it’s been surprisingly slow going. ‘Fire In The Hole’ breaks the ennui of the first two episodes (I’m still not counting Tara’s non-death in the premiere as an event because it’s total BS). This episode builds on the developments of last week’s “crazy human mob” storyline in a reasonable fashion, bringing the group – led by despicable character Vince (Brett Rickaby) – into conflict with Sam (Sam Trammell), Alcide and eventually the rest of the main cast who’s out searching for Sookie. Until the big climax, however, things do seem to move at a glacial pace – the sole exception being Violet’s (Karolina Wydra) murder of Maxine Thortenberry (Dale Raoul), which puts an end to any remotely fun characters in the mob camp.
Unfortunately at this point the plot is still spread too thin and we’re still spending too much time with unlikable characters (Vince, Violet, Adina Porter’s Lettie May) for the season to feel cohesive. Collider suggests that ‘Fire In The Hole’ gives characters time to reflect on their history/progeny, but that involves jumping into the past for flashbacks and wasting time in the present with long-winded soliloquies. It’s as though the writers don’t realize that this is the final season; they haven’t accepted that they don’t need to pad things out. I mean, did we really need flashbacks from both Alexander Skarsgard’s Eric and Bill? No!. At this point we shouldn’t be delving into new history – we should be spending time with the characters who made this show great in the first place. Things are still moving in the right direction and winnowing down the cast is helpful, but the pace needs to pick up.
- I’m going to completely contradict myself now and praise (with exclamation marks) the decision to bring Anna Camp’s unhinged Sarah Newlin back into the picture. Newlin was a deranged highlight of last season and I’m psyched to see her back in action! My husband was less psyched, so I guess your excitement may be tempered by your appreciation of the character. (Side Note: it is so in keeping with the character to lose herself in something as ridiculous as tantric yoga).
- For now Sarah is on the run from the corporation that makes TrueBlood (remember she helped contaminate the supply and created the whole Hep-V problem), but her status among the living is the only thing that Pam (Kristin Bauer von Straten) has to keep Eric motivated to live. Let’s hope that the decision to bring Camp back means that the writers intend to give Sarah something more to do than hide in the wine cellar and act as human bait for Eric.
- Pro: Seeing Authority uber-bitch Nan Flanagan (Jessica Tuck) again – and witnessing her meet-cute about shoes with Pam. Con: dedicating what feels like half of the episode to Eric’s 1980s big-wig adventures in La Rhone, porking stupid Art History major Sylvie. Who gives a f*ck?!
- I appreciated a lot of the Sookie/Bill stuff despite not being a fan of the couple. It’s a nice bit of fan service to have Bill admit that while he’s not the same dick who messed up her entire life, he still has to live with it. Of course, with Alcide and that admission out of the way, the road to coupledom for these two has been cleared of two more obstacles. Bring on the smoochies.
- Was stranding Bill in a tree for the episode an homage to Twilight? If so, boo.
- As predicted, James (Nathan Parsons) and Lala (Nelsan Ellis) are falling in love…with the help of illegal substances (Side Note: have we ever heard that vamps can swallow pills? When did that become a thing?). The intimacy between the two feels a little more forced this week, though, as does James’ mention of discord in his relationship with Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) – which is weird since they haven’t shared any scenes this season. Regardless of that complaint, expect the boys to get it on within the next few eps.
- Seriously, can someone please kill Violet? I’ll give her props for helping out in a crisis, but her faux conflict with Jessica over Jason (Ryan Kwantlen) and that whole bit about him being a pussy for wanting kids? Ugh. The character is beyond atrocious. Stake her, already!
- Pam (upon meeting Nan Flannigan): “What size shoes do you wear?”
- Lala (proposing a drugged up night with James): “I’ll do the swallowing” Read into that what you will.
Your turn: does True Blood need to hit the gas pedal? Are you still interested in exploring character backstories this close to the end of the series? Are you excited to see Sarah Newlin again? Who is most unbearable: Violet, Vince or Lettie May? Is there any way that Sookie and Bill don’t end up together? And how long will it take to discover the remaining humans at Fangtasia? Sound off below.
True Blood airs Sundays at 9pm EST on HBO