This was a big episode for the fifth season of True Blood. Not only did the two worst plots finally come to a close, but those remaining are finally coming together well. And in classic True Blood fashion there were just as many awesome moments as there were truly cringe worthy ones.
The episode opened and closed with its star plot, that of The Authority’s quick descent from sociopathic vampires pretending to care about equality to sociopathic vampires really not caring about equality and in actuality proactively striving for total supremacy (hence the subtle title). Yes, it looks as though at least three of the five major TruBlood factories, Houston, Texas, Kuwait, and Japan, are all well on their way to becoming piles of rubble, as are everyone’s hopes that Bill is just pretending to be the captain of the “SS Praise Lilith”.
It was so wonderful to see Tina Majorino (whose character, Molly, I too will only acknowledge as Vampire Mac) getting back into the crafty, tech savvy schemer role she fit so well on Veronica Mars. Ever since the whole, “Let’s trip and have a blood orgy!” party started, I was curious as to why even that scarred face baby eater and Steve Newlan were included (not that I’m complaining about that – Russell ‘n Steve 4ever), but Vampire Mac wasn’t; well now we know why – so she can try (and fail thanks to Bill) to escape The Authority’s clutches with Eric, the only sane vampire left in the world.
Steven Moyer’s performance in this episode was either brilliant or profoundly lacking, I can’t decide which, for not conveying what side Bill believes he’s actually serving. If his bloody sexy-time hallucination is any indicator, Bill’s allegiance does lie with the Sanguinistas. I know last week I said I wished Bill would just commit to being evil instead of playing all wishy washy until the dramatic conclusion, but this doesn’t seem to fit well. After Eric confronted Bill with the hilarious sarcasm with which the best parts of True Blood just ooze (I’ll get to Lafayette soon), I thought the invocation of Sookie would be enough to serve as the proverbial slap to Bill’s face. After all, as Eric says to Bill, “You’re more of a mainstreamer than I’ll ever be.” Yet the self-described “lost” Bill’s vision of his former faerie lover turning into that of the viscera soaked Lilith appeared to genuinely elate the character. Hopefully these last three episodes will do a better job of convincing us of Bill’s new identity. Maybe it’ll even last beyond the next woman with whom he has sex.
The consequences of the global TruBlood shortage were demonstrated at Fangtasia where in addition to some fangtastic (couldn’t help myself) moments between Tara and Pam (“Just because we drank a bitch together does not make us Oprah and Gayle,”), we were also introduced to the new vampire sheriff of area 5, Eric’s former position, who definitely looks like one of the vampire kids from that episode of South Park where the goth kids burn down the Hot Topic. Although I naturally hate this character for tossing Pam on the ground (c’mon, her crimped hair isn’t that awful), I’m glad to see him as not only did his presence signify Eric’s rejection from The Authority, but also a very pissed off Pam whose wrath I cannot wait to see exercised. Also, the vampire monarchs lifting the ban on publicly feeding on humans? Nah, I’m sure that’s not a huge sign for big trouble. The Pam and Tara plot had begun to drag and I’m thinking this will keep it from growing entirely stale, kind of like a narrative Zip-lock bag.
Speaking of things rotting into putrid piles of puss, “Everybody” scored big twice by finally closing out the ifrit and hate group stories, finally. Both these plots skewered the only two decent human men in Bon Temps and each did so while attempting genuine social satire but only succeeding in insulting those I’m assuming the writers meant to defend.
Revealing the awkward evil doll/baby Michael/slave ghost plot from last season as an equally awkward dip into the circumstances of Terry’s PTSD has been a big giant misstep since day one. Slapping a supernatural element on this very real issue was a bad move to begin with but now it appears that True Blood wishes to end this travesty with the conclusion that “Blood paid for blood,” is a nice tagline for war. At least Arlene and Terry are back together, though I’m sure we’ll have to hear about the emotional ramifications of Terry shooting his former commander in the head. Hopefully it’ll be less painful than learning what an ifrit is.
Then there’s the anti-supe hate group who has apparently earned the nickname “Obamas”, which I thought was in bad taste even before the audience was explicitly told the group was modeling itself after the Ku Klux Klan. Just as the sheriff’s deputy with the unfortunate awesome southern drawl said when it’s asked why the hate group members wear Obama masks, “It’s supposed to be patriotic or ironic or somethin’.” Even the writers themselves admit they had no real idea what a hate group wearing Obama masks meant, but they knew it would be at least approximate to making some kind of political statement, right?
So I know you all were praying hard that Maxine Fortenberry was going to turn out to be the hate group leader (personally I thought it’d be the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld – get it? “Supe” Nazi? Ehh, you kids these days…), but instead it turned out to be the Louisiana line dancing champion and mistress of former Sheriff Bud Dearborne, Sweetie DesArts. Terrible name, right? Doesn’t matter, after Sookie went to Dearborne for answers about her parents’ murder, she’s subsequently knocked out, tied up with Hoyt (if he doesn’t survive I’m going to lose my shit), and thrown to some hungry hungry hippos hogs before being saved by Sam and the Sheriff’s Department whom promptly shut that shit show down as Luna beat the hell out of the hate group’s mammoth matriarch and as we all know, once you punch racism in the face a bunch of times, it stays down. For as hastily wrapped up and vapid as this plot turned out to be, it’s almost been worth it to have brought together so many disparate characters. Plus Andy learned he’s not the worst sheriff ever and we all got to hear him say, “Pigs?!” again and that was just such a wonderful throwback to season two that I’m all right with it.
Even the werewolves of Shreveport have been wrangled into the fold. It was great seeing Russell and Talbot Steve Newlin sharing a moment on their way to the wolf meeting to rally the canine troops for what’s shaping up to be a three episode focus on the vampire uprising about to take place. Even better was hearing Russell using his original accent when reminding JD what a tool he is. Also, Emma, Luna’s wolf daughter whose appearances these last few episodes have been relegated to a perpetual state of cute wolf because I suppose cute wolf puppies are less expensive to have around set than children, has now been given to Steve Newlan as a pet. I was really looking forward to seeing the Odd Couple reboot starring Russell and Steve but now I’m pretty sure Sam, Luna, Alcide, and maybe even Martha are going to utterly annihilate the good reverend.
The only character to not benefit from this recent narrative efficiency boost is Alcide whom the audience watched drive home to Jackson, Mississippi with his tail between his legs and have a flashback which contrasted Alcide’s communal roots with his current perpetual lone wolf status. I loved how in the flashback Alcide’s dad totally breaks down why werewolves suck. I suppose this could serve as Alcide’s gradual farewell from the True Blood stage but as that would make too much sense and I suspect the HBO offices would be mobbed by angry fans afraid to never see a shirtless Alcide again, I’m guessing this is supposed to be set up for when Alcide returns to save the Shreveport pack (and maybe – the world?) from vampire apocalypse (quick, would that make a better bad movie title or bad band name?).
Like Jason’s battle with sex addiction, were-panthers, and faerie temporal shifts, it looks like maybe Lafayette has been relegated to a more supportive background role. It’s a shame how the ratio of Lafayette’s screen time to his snarkiness has been so off balance, but if I have to pick between the two, Lafayette charging Sookie $100 to tell ghosts that they “ain’t cute” takes the prize.
As mentioned, it looks as though these last few episodes of the season are going to hopefully benefit from some rare singular focus. If they can live up to all the hype that’s been generated all season long, it’ll be worth it.