By Damon Martin – Editor/Lead Writer
Follow on Twitter @DamonMartin
Where did it all go so wrong?
True Blood has always pushed the envelope with the believable, even in a world filled with vampires, werewolves and demigods dressed up as Michelle Forbes (even though she will always be the girl from the Seinfeld episode about the big salad to me). The last couple of seasons of this once great show really have failed to live up to expectation, and while there are still small signs of life, True Blood is really on life support right now.
From introducing a vampire hierarchy known as The Authority to Bill Compton drinking the original vampire Lillith’s blood thus becoming her in some weird way, the show just keeps veering in all kinds of new directions as if the writers are somehow throwing darts a board and just saying ‘hey let’s go with this idea’.
The buildup thus far this season has centered around the greatest threat to the vampire community ever—a human governor with power enough to put them all in serious danger. Arliss Howard (Cowboy from Full Metal Jacket) has been the one bright spot in an otherwise awful season, but even he couldn’t be saved from the weird sacrifices the True Blood writing team made with this latest episode.
Let’s start with how last week’s episode ended—
Sookie is Saved
Well no shocker here but Sookie survives her drowning attempt via her father (who was possessing Lafayette at the time) when Bill senses that she is in danger and allows Warlow to go and save her. Just as Warlow stops Sookie from being drowned, he’s summoned back by his maker (Billith) and his pull is mighty strong. With blood spurting up from his mouth, Warlow is compelled to leave and return to his master, but Sookie has an alternative. She zaps them both into a fairy wonderland where he will be safe.
There she starts to understand Warlow’s motivations as a vamp-fairy and why he’s been waiting for her for an awfully long time (remember he was created somewhere around 3500 B.C.). She then offers up her neck to feed him since she knows he’s starving before going on a very odd diatribe about how she’s a danger whore. Sookie then proceeds to strip naked (not that it’s a bad thing cause Anna Paquin is mind numbingly beautiful) and has sex with Warlow while he’s tied to a tree (hands were bound to make sure he wouldn’t hurt Sookie if he got hungry). It had to be one of the oddest sequences in the history of True Blood and it felt like the directors were just trying to find an excuse to get Anna Paquin naked (again not a bad thing but at least in the past it was a natural progression of the storyline). This go round, however, was just forced and really had no actual point.
The Big Payback
At the end of last week’s episode I predicted (incorrectly mind you) that Eric would be forced to kill Pam in the gladiator ring where they were forced to face each other at the charge of Governor Burrell. Well, happily Pam is fine and so is Eric because they turned the tables and killed the onlooking guards instead and never harmed a hair on each other.
Since the Governor didn’t get the show he wanted he decides to torture Eric in a different way. In rolls his sister Nora, strapped to a table, where she is injected with a new disease called “Hepatitis V”, which is a strain that will completely kill a vampire after a few hours. Nora is given a needle full of the toxic liquid and rolled over in front of Eric’s cage where he will presumably watch his sister die a slow, agonizing death.
Luckily for Eric, Willa is able to turn the tables on her guard and breaks free before she in turn sets Eric loose as well. Dressed up as a guard, Eric discovers the True Blood factory (remember that from the debut?) where the governor is filling the bottles with synthetic blood and a dose of Hepatitis V as well. The plan is obviously to eradicate the entire vampire population with this new batch of True Blood.
Somebody Had to Die
All season long the makers and actors of True Blood have been teasing a major death to a longstanding cast member and it finally happened this week.
Poor tortured Terry Bellefleur (who was saddled with possibly the dumbest storyline over the last couple of seasons) finally met his demise on Sunday night’s episode. A couple of episodes back, Terry hired an old marine buddy to shoot him dead at some point without his knowledge as payback for his part in the slaughter of innocent civilians overseas as well as his former commanding officer Patrick. The marine promised to do the deed, but Terry would never see it coming.
Well, it stands to reason this week Terry finally takes a turn for the better when Arlene realizes that there’s an easy way to make her husband forget all about the awful things he did while in the military—just have a vampire glamour it all away. So, with the help a soccer dad coaching gay vampire, Terry soon forgets all about the military, his time as a marine, and the horrible atrocities he inflicted during those years.
Just when it seems like all is right with Terry’s world, an assassin’s bullet rings out and catches him right in the throat. It’s kind of a tragic passing because Terry was a funny character that had been on the show for several years, but his arc passed long ago. At this point it was almost a mercy killing because without this happening, Terry could have wound up with zero scenes for the rest of this show’s run.
Bill Exacts Revenge But Where Does This All Go From Here?
Bill’s visions about all of the vampires he knows burning alive are still invading his every thought, and it haunts him even more this episode when he realizes that his daughter Jessica has now been captured by the vampire hating masses led by Governor Burrell. Bill goes into a coma to speak to Lillith again, receiving very little in the way of answers, before waking up and realizing he has to take immediate action.
So he drinks the rest of Warlow’s blood that he was using to try and synthesize, and walks out into the daylight to exact his revenge. He quickly travels to the governor’s mansion where he kills all of the guards before literally ripping Burrell’s head from his shoulders.
Now maybe this would have been a great way to end the threat at the season’s conclusion, but to do it this early really does make all the build up about Burrell being this huge threat a waste. This shows once again that the makers of True Blood really have lost sight on compelling storytelling, and decided to do a season finale in the sixth episode of the year. Maybe the bigger threat is the poisoned True Blood from earlier in the episode, but the killing of Governor Burrell (while inevitable) was for lack of a better word stupid given the time when it happened in the season.
There were a few other plots that opened up this episode including Jason’s entry into the vampire task force where he once again bumped up against old bed mate Sarah Newlin, before being forced to (almost) watch Jessica have sex with another vampire as part of the group’s scientific research.
Sam decides to give Emma back to her grandmother after all this work to get her back, but makes her promise that she won’t be a part of any wolf pack. Alcide finally catches up to Sam and Nicole after this happens, but opts to let them live so long as they flee the area and aren’t seen again. Another anticlimactic ending to an otherwise dull storyline.
True Blood returns next week with just a few more episodes to go in the season. My honest assessment of this show is that next year will be the final one for this vampire drama. There’s not much left they can do and nowhere they can really go at this point. They’ve explored virtually every avenue possible and destroyed a few others with this colossally bad writing and plot production.
For about 3 and a half seasons, True Blood really was one of the best shows on television, but these last two years are ruining an otherwise great show. Maybe there’s a chance at redemption, but the better bet is pulling the head off this beast before it gets any worse.