It’s celebration time on True Blood as the survivors recover from the events of the first half of the season.
Let’s bitch it out…
After the resolution of the majority of the conflicts in last week’s episode, my interest was piqued to see what lay ahead for True Blood. It makes sense that the series spends ‘Lost Cause’ in rebuilding mode, offering some downtime for the citizens of Bon Temps to collect themselves, mourn their dead and ponder their futures. There’s also a lot of relationship building in this episode, as we see both the end and the beginning of several relationships.
‘Lost Cause’ is a low-key offering: everyone relevant gathers at Sookie’s (Anna Paquin) house for an impromptu party/wake for Alcide, Tara and the other people who lost their lives in the last four episodes. We spend the majority of the episode’s run-time in this single location, which allows for a more connected, almost intimate feel after spreading the characters thin for so many seasons. It was almost shocking to see everyone gather in the kitchen to toast Alcide and Tara – traditionally these kinds of “all cast” scenes only occur in fleeting glimpses during season finales.
If this mid-way point offers us anything, it’s an idea of where the remaining episodes will take us. Despite the absence of a concrete villain, it is clear that the final five episodes will not be conflict-free. Things get rolling when James (Nathan Parsons) tires of Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) withholding affection and seeks it out in the willing arms of Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis). This enables her reunion with Jason (Ryan Kwanten) – finally – after his attempts to console her leads to some sexy-time. And naturally vengeful, mistrustful Violet (Karolina Wydra) overhears them boinking, promising all kinds of nasty business to come. It’s good stuff; many of these events are ones that we’ve been eagerly anticipating and further suggests a righting of the ship after the disastrous pairings that plagued last season during the internment camp stretch of episodes.
Sookie, meanwhile, has an interesting arc as she tries to negotiate her complicated emotions following Alcide’s death. It’s challenging to get a read on her grief – not only because we saw so little of the couple together (their entire relationship happened off-screen during the time jump) and also because we know that she’s not actually that broken-hearted over Alcide. The mopey, sad-sack Sookie that starts the hour is thankfully shoved aside courtesy of some sage advice from Arlene (Carrie Preston) and a whole lot of tequila, leading to a surprisingly energetic and entertaining Sook who smiles at strangers and even tries to lift the spirits of Bill (Stephen Moyer). Let’s keep this version of the character around because holy hell is she a step up from the protagonist we dealt with in the first few episodes back.
If any one aspect of the episode suffers, it’s the recurring use of flashbacks to take us back into Bill’s history. While I appreciate that his memories of family and sacrifice on the cusp of the Civil War are vital for understanding his maudlin reaction to the events of the party – and foreshadow the cliffhanger reveal that he, too, is infected with Hep V – let’s be honest: no one cares about his history. Each time we skirt into the past, I can restrain myself from audibly groaning.
Flashbacks notwithstanding, it’s Bill’s infection that all of the sudden makes the character very interesting as we barrel towards True Blood‘s end. We are now more than half-way through the season and every sign up until now flat-out indicated we were headed for a happy ending for Sookie and Bill. Now that we know he’s facing the true death, it calls into question whether Sookie has any romantic future. Suddenly the series finale could hypothetically find everyone’s favourite telepathic debbie-downer alone. Either that or finding the cure for Hep V will dominate the remaining five episodes, which I think has to be the direction the writers are going to opt for.
- The other dominant storyline follows Eric (Alexander Skarsgård) and Pam (Kristin Bauer von Straten) as they hunt down Sarah Newlin (Anna Camp). After taking care of some loose ends (releasing Amelia Rose Blaire’s Willa; giving Tara Buck’s Ginger an opportunity to deliver her trademark scream), the pair head to Dallas where they run into the reformed Buddhist trying to sweet-talk her mother into protecting her. I love that Sarah would ask for help from Laura Bush (almost as much as I love her mother’s demure pink outfit), so it’s a bit disappointing that we don’t spend a little more time exploring Sarah’s family history. Instead things immediately veer into crazytown as the Yakuza arrive and begin killing everyone.
- Side Note: which outfit made you laugh more – Pam’s horrendous “Republicunt” dress or Eric’s J.R. Ewing inspired get-up?
- I won’t lie: I literally shouted “woot” after Lafayette delivers his scathing rebuttal about being as worthy of love as all of the white heterosexuals. It’s as though the writers finally got the memo that Lafayette is awesome and deserves his own happy ending.
- No offense to Adina Porter, who is doing what she can with a character like Lettie May, but ugh. Go away!
- Finally, kudos to Chris Bauer and Lauren Bowles for making me tear up during Andy’s unconventional marriage proposal to Holly. Neither of these two are my favourites, but his roundabout proposal and her overly eager response are delightful.
- Pam (to Willa, after Eric releases her): “Like being kicked in the cootch by a wallaby”
- Pam (when Sarah’s sister, Amber, suggests that she’s not certain about Pam): “Yeah, I really like her.”
- Pam (surveying her party dress): “Oh. My. God. I’m a Republicunt”
- Lafayette (to Jessica, after telling her off over James): “If you don’t love him, let him go and I’ll take over from here.”
- Sarah (to her mother): “I’m not a monster. I’m a Buddhist.”
Your turn: did you enjoy a more relationship-heavy episode or were you jonesing for more action? Did you enjoy Bill’s flashbacks? Is it actually possible that Bill and Eric will die? Did you cheer during Lafayette’s speech to Jessica? Are you happy she and Jason are seemingly back together? And what do you hope happens next with Eric, Pam and Sarah Newlin? Sound off below.
True Blood airs Sundays at 9pm EST on HBO. *Please note that coverage for TB may be interrupted for the next two weeks as cinephilactic is moving internationally*