A pretty stellar episode this week, guys. We said goodbye to a character that’s been around since day one which was pretty tearful one way or the other depending on how you feel about narrative euthanasia. Everyone was reminded why Tara ain’t nothin’ to fuck with. And even though the Stackhouse whodunit mystery plot that Sookie adopted from Jason dragged its feet like Batman getting the one-handed Bane choke-out (oh my god, spoilers, SPOILERS), everyone else was either being better than they have all season in the background or mercifully absent and the episode worked all the better for it. But despite there being a scene in which one hallucination turned the other inside out, the most pressing discussion of “Gone” is nonetheless reflected in that old Shakespearean adage, “Tis better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.”
Hoyt is apparently unaware of this quote or at least not a big fan of it. It’s difficult to know how to feel about Hoyt’s departure. On the one hand, the scene at Merlotte’s between him, Jessica, and Jason was truly moving and carried genuine emotional weight thanks in no small part not only to Deborah Ann Woll’s gut-wrenchingly moving performance, but also to the history between Hoyt and Jessica. Their relationship was everything Bill and Sookie’s was not: adorable, sweet, endearing, but most of all, authentic. Whereas Bill and Sookie were the traditional yet dysfunctional old male vampire seduces the young and naïve female, Jessica and Hoyt served as a loose foil to Bon Temps’ supernatural power couple, a very young yet nonetheless powerful female vampire and a slightly older mama’s boy, each experiencing their first true loves. While Sookie was perpetually caught in some tired love triangle drama wherein it seemed she couldn’t not make poor decisions, we watched Jessica and Hoyt bring to life those same feelings of euphoric elation we all felt throughout our first loves. But like all first loves, theirs’ couldn’t last and the series did justice to the steady decline of their romance just as they did the dizzying highs of their starry-eyed ascension.
Then for reasons that are still, and I suspect will always be, unclear, Hoyt went from touting his revulsion for all things vampire during the day while reveling in his heartbreak by trolling vampire bars in mascara at night to suddenly joining a hate group and pointing a gun at Jessica’s head. This. Was. Awful. It was also overkill. Clearly the writers did not know what to do with Hoyt while Jessica partied it up with college kids and dressed as Little Red Riding Hood for Jason. The writers apparently anticipated a lot of animosity towards Jessica for sowing her wild oats and thought it’d be justified to turn everyone’s favorite good guy into a hateful, depressed mess. They were wrong.
So what do you do when you’ve destroyed your fans’ favorite relationship and ruined a character forever? You essentially give him amnesia glamor him and basically hit the writing equivalent of the reset button, an exceedingly cheap and lazy way to resolve a seemingly unresolvable arc. Lack of ingenuity aside, we’ve all been heartbroken, but if you want to explore the pros and cons of forgetting painful experiences as opposed to dealing with them like an adult, you watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; you don’t effectively erase a character from a show’s history. Hoyt, you will be missed. Good luck in Alaska. My hope is that next season we follow you and Josh Hartnett pull a 30 Days of Night.
Whereas Hoyt was a fan favorite whose departure was arguably weak, Tara, a character who is widely despised by many (though I’m not one of them) definitely silenced the haters in “Gone” by taking the initiative without Pam and decapitating with a goddamn sword the terrible, watered down Davey Havoc circa 2002, Elijah, showing just how immensely strong she really is. After a kind of rocky start I’ve been mostly enjoying Tara’s rebirth as a vampire but this scene clinches it. At this point I’m just sorry we had to wait this long to see Tara become a vampire. Think about it; she’s always been too strong willed to remain human. She’s been destined as an outsider since day one to transcend her mortal coil and exert her true strength and it looks like this is finally beginning to crystalize. After Pam started to get all pouty and told Tara the two of them would just run away from their problems, a not totally unreasonable thing to suggest, I was nonetheless disappointed despite thinking the Pam and Tara Road Trip 2013 might be fun. But the Tara had to go all awesome and badass. The only concern I have with this plot, which is not nearly as bad as the Ifrit plot or even the Obamas, is that it’s still very much a secondary story. Like Alcide’s wolf pack drama (I think about Zach Galifianakis in The Hangover every time I write that), the adventures of Tara and Pam are still just on the periphery of the season’s main arc.
Speaking of, we’re apparently in “Night 3” of the TruBlood shortage crisis on TBBN – which can’t possibly stand for True Blood Broadcast News, can it? – and Bill seems to be full-on fanatic evil genius. He’s got the evil conspiracy, evil henchmen, and even the evil sneer. Even still, I get the feeling this may be part of some long con. I have no reason to think this. All empirical evidence points to Bill being exactly what he appears: killing Vampire Mac with her own iStake, uttering “Praise Lilith” to himself in an empty room (as he watched Eric and Nora trip from a separate surveillance room which makes no sense to me as it’s not like a video camera is going to pick up their hallucinations – I thought this was where we were going to see Lilith as actually present as opposed to just a hallucination but no), pushing his newfound faith on Jessica whom, thank Lilith, is among Vampire Mac as the smartest characters on this show, perhaps in the history of its entire mythology. And now somehow Eric’s been magically convinced of this faith because he had a bad trip on the same stuff he’s overcome in the past? None of it is adding up in my mind and I’m blaming the show on this one. Going back and forth with characters so that you can ultimately reveal the truth in the finale is not how you build suspense and pull off a twist – it’s how you piss off audiences whose intelligences the writers have clearly underestimated.
A few episodes back I questioned why Russell was playing along with The Authority as he’s clearly not the type of character to join any kind of collective, certainly not a delusional religious one. It looks like the show decided to answer my question in “Gone” by having Russell whip out his awesome old school accent and toss around Salome and threaten Eric before bouncing to “have the sun.” Not that I want Eric to die, but I can’t think of a reason why Russell hasn’t killed him. Seeing Mr. Edgington finally break off from The Authority is exciting though as his plan to synthesize Sookie’s faerie blood is even more devious than Bill’s plan to destroy the TruBlood factories of the world. I wonder whether Bill will embrace Russell’s logical next step or side with Salome and stay in the dark where they belong. Who am I kidding? We all know Bill will follow the woman in his life, like always.
Russell was awesome being a badass, but he was also fantastic being a sweetheart slow dancing with his new beau among a slew of slaughtered frat boys (“feel like Greek,” hilarious). Steve Newlin is just as smitten with this new romance but seeing these two be cute makes me think one or both of them will meet the true death before the season’s end. That would put a real damper on that spin-off I’m hoping for.
Considering the dynamic duo of Sam and Luna who demonstrate how awesome the shifters of True Blood can really be, I’m thinking Steve Newlin will be the first to go.
Also, seeing Sam and Lafayette pull their guns on the unruly humans in Merlotte’s was also a nice reminder of how kick ass the characters on this show can be. Snarky Sam and Lafayette deserve a spin-off as well. I’ve decided.
I also loved how Jason, the thickest character on True Blood was giving Sookie the, “Are you brain damaged?” look for not conducting a more thorough search for the clue about Warlow that their grandmother gave her. Long story short, they find a parchment written in faerie which turns out to be a contract in which Sookie and Jason’s great great grandfather (or something) signed away the life of his first female faerie descendent, Sookie, for reasons. I say, “Long story short,” because this was actually a short story long in the actual episode. The whole thing felt like a boring build up to a predictable and lame reveal. True Blood doesn’t seem to have quite the same handle on telling Sookie stories the way it did in season one, but at least they’re trying again. Plus it was nice to learn that 500 year old faeries can still become pregnant. I wonder if we’ll learn more about Marilla. Personally I wish Wesley Windham-Price was there instead but what can you do?
By the way, see what happens when you leave unnecessary characters out of an episode? It rocks. We saw nothing of Terry and Arlene or Alcide and minimal involvement from Lafayette, who still of course made the absolute most out of those appearances. Dear True Blood, do you see how you don’t have to include every single character in every single episode? Do you see?
Only two episodes left, kids. I’m feeling pretty cautiously optimistic about them. I’m hoping this Warlow faerie stuff and wolf pack drama can match the hype of a pissed off Russell and out of control Authority, but we’ll see. Maybe it’ll set up season six to go in some exciting new places instead of rehashing the same dynamics over and over, making characters we love do stupid things. I want this season finale to be everything the last season finale tried and failed – shake things up with lasting consequences that change the face of the show from here on out. Five years is a long time, let’s see something new, eh?