Something quite surprising is happening on True Blood this season. The show is starting to resemble an engaging, tightly plotted and suspenseful hour of must-watch TV.
This week’s episode, aptly titled “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” mostly ditched the excessive goofiness, desperate “shocking” moments and slow melodrama of recent episodes to deliver a fun, fast-paced and satisfying lead-in to the final three hours of the season.
While a good chunk of this episode was devoted to wrapping up a few of the season’s storylines, “Rule the World” did a nice job of setting up season five’s final arc by dropping the characters in some pretty deep shit. Eric is now a Sanguinista prisoner, Bill is a brainwashed bad guy (or so it appears), and Warlow, the Vampire who apparently killed her parents, is still targeting Sookie. Oh, and the Sanguinistas are succeeding in cutting off the world’s Tru Blood supply, which pretty much means the entire human race is totally fucked. You wanted an epic Vampire vs. Human war? You got it … sort of.
The bloody war is on, as we saw toward the end of the episode at Fangtasia, when the new Vampire sheriff commanded Pam’s customers to grab a human and drink they shit. Vampires are feeding in public now, and the carnage will no doubt spill out onto every street corner by the time next week’s episode rolls around.
The idea of humans trying to fend off a worldwide Vampire feeding frenzy is exciting, but it’s doubtful that True Blood will explore the horrors of such a disturbing and destructive conflict on the level of, say, Battlestar Galactica. This isn’t a show about war or about how a population struggles to survive in the midst of an unstoppable global bloodletting. True Blood is about the slippery and often sexy relationship between humans and Vampires (and other supernatural citizens), and that conflict, no matter how big it gets, has always looked and felt like a southern gothic soap opera.
But that doesn’t mean the show won’t find an interesting and compelling way to play this thing out. Like we saw in this episode, and as we’ve seen in the past, True Blood can really start to shine when the show gains focus. Now that we’re done with Terry’s dull story and with the Hate Group mystery, True Blood can zero in on the meaty conflict that will take us through the season’s final hours.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There’s still a lot to say about this episode, which gave us a preening, hilarious Lala, more flirting between Steve and Russell, and Werewolf Robert Patrick!
It’s good to see Lafayette making peace with his connection to the netherworld. I loved hearing him argue with the ghosties (“I aint Gmail for dead bitches!”). Tortured Lafayette was just no fun, but Swami Lafayette is awesome. He’s exploiting his gift/curse by charging folks for his spiritual services, and yes, he does look way prettier than Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost while working that mojo. Lala helped Sookie discover the truth about what ol’ Sheriff Bud Dearborn knew about her parents’ murder, which led to a surprising reveal: Ol’ Bud was a lead hick in the Bon Temps Hate Group, hilariously dubbed “Obamas,” because they disguise themselves by wearing Obama masks.
The conclusion of the Hate Group mystery seemed rather rushed, especially when you remember the show only introduced the group three or four episodes ago. Still, the hunt for Bud and his big, mean Wizard gal, Sweetie (guest star Jennifer Hasty, looking a lot more imposing here than she does on Bunheads), was a blast to watch. Andy got his confidence back, Jason got to play the bad cop, and Sam got to play the buck-naked hero again. And maybe, just maybe, the whole ordeal has reawakened Jessica’s love for Hoyt.
I’m not exactly itching for Jessica and Hoyt to get back together, but I wouldn’t mind seeing them try. It also seems like Jason and Jessica’s relationship is still strained, and perhaps they’ll never again become as close as they once were.
There’s not much to say about how Terry’s storyline ended. I’m glad he survived and will live to make people feel awkward with his big bleeding heart another day. I would say Scott Foley was wasted in a nothing role, but you know, it’s only Scott Foley, so why bother?
Alcide continues to star in his own Lorenzo Llamas-esque movie of the week. He was sad and beaten after losing the fight to become pack master last week, but I’m sure he’ll get his pride back before the season is over. His wolf pack was feeling the pain of pledging their allegiance to Russell, and it’s gonna take a clear-eyed Wolf like Alcide to save them all from Russell’s craziness. I enjoyed Alcide’s flashback thanks to a cool performance by the always awesome Robert Patrick. I hope Patrick sticks around for a while to help Alcide muster up the cojones to face JD again and save his pack. It’ll be nice to see Alcide and his Pappy work to find redemption together, if that’s what the show is planning on doing here.
And speaking of redemption … What the hell is going on with Bill? It’s true that Bill has never been completely stable. We’ve seen a number or permutations of this character over the years in different storylines and flashbacks and such. So his transformation from a dignified king to a brainwashed wacko is somewhat credible. But it’s hard to buy that True Blood would turn its top Vampire hero into a complete villain. It’s possible that Bill is partly mesmerized by whatever the hell Salome is putting in that blood (That was a nutty sex scene, even for this show) and is partly trying to work a plan to crush the Sanguinistas and restore balance to the world.
But if Bill has gone full-on bad, that means the fate of the human race rests solely on Eric Northman’s shoulders. Now that’s a crazy thought. But as crazy as it sounds, Eric has a strong motivation to stop the Sanguinistas and bring order back to the world – as he promised Godric, he must save and protect his sister, whom he loves more than anyone.
This is True Blood after all. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if passion ends up saving the day.
Next week: Steve and Russell try to house train their cute new lil’ pup. See ya then!