And I’m back!
Yes, I have returned to my usual crow perch to review another weekly dose of True Blood. Thanks to anyone concerned about my absence—which entirely revolved around a wonderfully maddening time at San Diego Comic-Con last week—and a special thanks to Tony Sokol for doing a terrific job by filling in for me during that bit of Eric-Pam madcap fun.
Of course, the big takeaway of last week, as well as tonight, is Bill Compton. Four long years after Sookie banished Bill from her bed and life in the tearjerker season three finale, he has finally sunk his teeth back into the comely faerie. Undoubtedly, no one is surprised that this was True Blood’s endgame, and as forced as it has been…I kind think they pulled it off.
I am not going to excuse Sookie for completely turning her grief for Alcide over for Bill in the matter of three days, because this show’s protagonist is so fickle (remember when she hate-banged Warlow last year?) that I have quit trying to read her actual motivations. However, her being pulled back into Bill’s orbit as he is dying, particularly after her last beau headed out for the great beyond, is convincing enough motivation for her to return to the vampire she shared the most chemistry with. Indeed, the shot last week of Sookie and Jessica waiting for Mr. Compton to return was the most heartbreaking image True Blood has featured since we lost Terry Bellefleur. And I’m well aware that many characters have dispersed since then.
Thus, it is with some disappointment that we do not spend much time on these characters accepting Bill’s supposedly unavoidable death. For a show that veers dangerously close toward the (soap) operatic, this is a great scenario to let these characters go at it and air out all those seasons of built up frustration and non-communication. Alas, it is incredibly glossed over beyond Sookie promising to help Bill and then tucking Jessica in to sleep next to her maker.
It is a sweet moment to be sure, but it is one that I wish Jessica realized for herself. In fact, I have said several times in the past that one of the most undervalued commodities in the True Blood writing room is the Bill and Jessica relationship. One built on obvious affection and pride, it could be as fascinating as the Eric and Pam one. It definitely served the series well in seasons one through three when it was held on equal value with Northman and his child. Alas, the show, as per usual, pushes the importance of this maker and progeny relationship aside in favor of Bill and Sookie. Thus, Jessica is ultimately wasted—waiting in the wings for a storyline that nobody should care that much about.
Speaking of which, what is the deal with Violet? Honestly, it feels like she is a conflict creator that has wedged her way into the series simply by happenstance. Some accidentally careless plotting last year meant to be a throwaway punch line in Jason’s story inexplicably became a narrative albatross by season’s end.
In the seventh and final season, she serves little purpose other than expediting Jason and Jessica’s reconciliation and creating more drama between two other characters that have zero audience investment. I’ll freely admit to chuckling when Violet turned around to Adilyn and said, “For what it’s worth, when I was your age, I used to fuck my brother too. A lot.” Clearly vying for some Game of Thrones level incest (didn’t we already have Eric and Nora on this show?), it is an amusement, but surely not worth precious minutes being spent on her nefarious scheming to sexually abuse the teenage children of Holly and Andy.
On the upside of this filler is that Andy and Holly have remarkably become a couple to really root for. The lake scene, while saccharine, nevertheless actually sold that Andy Bellefleur is ready to leave Bon Temps behind him. Certainly more than Sam Merlotte appears to be. The show will likely have Sam leave his only home by the end of the series, but it is a problem when he has more chemistry with Arlene than Nicole. And Arlene also had a surprisingly sweet episode when the show addressed an issue I was positive it would ignore: she’s Hep-V positive. When she explains that to her new vampire beau, he shows no concern. He just wants to dance with her. There is a sweetness and understatement on display that I don’t associate with True Blood. Then again, they already had their throat and drained it too when Arlene imagined the latest bit of fan service fang-banging.
The single Bon Temps story that had the most intrigue this week, however, probably belonged to Hoyt. One of the few characters that escaped the show alive while still being relatively unscathed from its downward decline, Hoyt is a fan favorite for his basic honesty and good-natured simplicity. It’s like a character of Andy Griffith stumbled into Buffy. And the pain that Jason caused him is so tangible that seeing these two actors share the screen again while one is playing oblivious is far more painful than any neck-puncturing.
So, it’s a bit curious how they are going to play the “Hoyt’s girlfriend” angle, because I thought there seemed to be something going on between her and Jason. The way she returned his stares throughout the episode and insists that he sits next to her for breakfast suggests that Jason might soon find himself in a precarious situation with a best friend that doesn’t realize the déjà vu danger he has entered.
But still, the episode, as with the last several, belongs to Eric and Pam’s increasingly bizarre corporate espionage adventure that has turned Dallas into a seedy underground backyard for Tokyo.
Personally, the Big Oil Yakuza gentleman who is equal parts George W. Bush parody and Quentin Tarantino machete-fodder has been a highlight of the season, especially when he offers Eric and Pam on the ground floor for a multi-billion dollar operation. Could he find another handsome vampire with Hep-V who would do it for a fraction of the money? Sure. But let’s not quibble on logic.
…Well, other than Sarah Newlin’s sister. I have to genuinely question the logic of this entire sequence. Two episodes ago, she despised Sarah Newlin enough that she openly helped Eric and Pam track her down for murder. In last week’s installment, she mocked Sarah over their dead mother and father, nor did she show much concern that the Yakuza were after Sarah. Yet, in this hour, she seems almost willing to die for “Noomi.” This is so jarringly inconsistent and lazy that the only explanation is that the writers wanted this character off the show. I don’t care if Sarah gave her the cure via magic blood; Sarah still engineered a semi-vampire apocalypse in a vague nebulous sense (depending on what the plot needs this week), and she still is responsible for the death of sis’ own vampire lover and maker. A moment’s hesitation of sharing the cure because “she’s my sister” seems as pointless as any episode that featured Sookie and Warlow.
Then again, she is still Sarah Newlin’s sister. And Sarah was showing a special brand of crazy this week. Always one to be in deep, deep denial, Sarah cut herself off from commonsense this week as she imagined the ghosts of Steve Newlin, her Buddhist lover, and Jason haunting her like her like death itself. Seeing Christianity and Buddhism duke it out in Sarah’s uncluttered mind was like witnessing a special hour of spirituality on a Glenn Beck program.
My greatest fear? That Sarah will kill herself next week before she gets to play off Eric and Pam one more time. Please, please, please let these three characters have 20 minutes worth of scenes together next episode before she joins the rest of her family!
Their conjoined storyline is again such a highlight that returning to Bill and Sookie is not dissimilar to an afterthought. Sookie dealing with Bill’s death felt authentic enough by True Blood standards, and hearing their haunting musical ditty as she is running through the graveyard is filled with battalions worth of nostalgia that’s far more potent than any Rutger Hauer cameo. Yet, now that they are together, if only in supposed death, I have to wonder how they’ll keep this storyline spinning for three more episodes?
One thing is for sure: it’s not the last time for them. A vile of “New Blood” has Bill’s name on it. And at the very least, he has provided some new blood of his own to Sookie’s love life after several seasons of lukewarm storytelling. Hopefully, now that the final choice is revealed, Sookie will work on making herself happy too.