Oh True Blood. You are the little girl with the little curl in the center of your forehead. When you are good, you are Pam telling me about all the things sex can be, and when you are bad, you are the assassination, both literal and figurative, of your best characters. The show’s producers have talked a lot about how this season features a much-needed condensation of storylines, and a return to the show’s roots. And it certainly has shaved off some of the excess, but the action now feels like a runaway freight train, speeding up at all the wrong moments and rarely giving the viewer a sense of context or scenery. And yes, I will be totally placated if they just get Pam and Tara in the same room.
With that in mind, let us return to Vamp Camp, where time is running out to save the imprisoned vampires from the contaminated Tru Blood. Eric sneaks out with the rapidly dying Nora, leaving Willa to warn Pam and the rest of the family. (There is also a really funny continuity error in which Eric kills a guard, who even in death, manages to hang on to his vampire-detector, until the next scene when I guess everyone realized that dead people can’t do that.) Anyway, in his desperation, Eric goes to the one person he thinks can save his sister: Bilith. Nora says she would actually rather die than suck on Bill’s neck, which is understandable. Eric can’t let go, though, and tries to find a way around her stated wishes.
With Eric gone, Willa makes her way to Pam’s cell, where she warns her of the poisoned Tru Blood. Pam tells her only to share this knowledge with Tara and Jessica, so the LAVTF doesn’t know they’re onto them. And then Pam compliments Willa for using a severed arm to get through fingerprint ID checkpoints. So obviously Willa is going to die, since a compliment from Pam must represent the high point of any creature’s existence.
When Sarah Newlin arrives at the governor’s mansion, she finds his disembodied head, which she gently kisses and vows to avenge. And her fanatical commitment to “The Cause”–which she has no idea is her own narcissism–is a sight to behold, like the love child of Joseph Stalin and a Sunday school teacher. Comedy this dark isn’t an easy sell, but Anna Camp was made for it. I’m so glad they brought her back for this season. In the next scene we learn what Sarah Newlin has been doing in the past couple years, which is catching up on Breaking Bad and taking notes on becoming a ruthless motherfucker. She orders her allies to destroy Truman’s body in a vat of acid, leaving her free to kill all the vampires before anyone knows her late boyfriend is dead.
Back in the light-bathed realm of Instagram, Sookie and Warlow are basking in gratuitous nudity. A lot of other writers took Sookie to task for sleeping with another dead guy with control issues, but that seems a little slut-shamey to me. She wasn’t being naive or self-deluded, she was just being horny. The only problem I had with it was that she kept her shoes on, which is incorrect. So when Warlow suggests they get to work planning their wedding, she immediately slams on the brakes. She’s in the middle of an awfully good tirade about how she is no man’s property, when she hears the sound of Arlene crying in the regular, non-blurry world. She immediately crosses over to help her, leaving Warlow to write up a prenup, probably. And Arlene’s mourning for Terry is so perfect: lost and incoherent like a compass unable to find north. Sookie takes her by the arm and leads her to break the news to Arlene’s kids. While she does probably the hardest thing a parent can do, which inexplicably occurs off-camera, Sookie and Lafayette check out Terry’s mysterious safe deposit box. Inside is a decidedly unmysterious life insurance policy, which confirms that Terry’s death was indeed a suicide. And I actually love that this storyline is being grounded in the mundane, as opposed to the supernatural. It keeps it honest.
OPPOSITE OF HONEST is Jessica’s story this week. What happens is, Jason gets Jessica alone to tell her that he loves her and is going to rescue her as soon as he can. And Jessica responds by requesting that Jason fetch Abercrombie James so she can fuck him. And I get that Jessica is in a place of extreme self-loathing after the fairy massacre, and doesn’t know what to do with Jason’s love right now. And I get that Abercrombie James looks like a young, blonde Johnny Depp, but this right here is some bullshit. “Character assassination” is a term we TV recappers love because it is sufficiently dramatic to express the hurt and betrayal we feel when a writer stretches our credulity too far. That’s what is happening here, and it’s all just so we can see a little more sex. Jason and Jessica are forced to perform narrative contortionism just to fulfill our alleged need to see hollow sex with new people, which is just not a need I really have. No matter her hurt or fear or confusion, Jessica Hamby would never be so cruel as to make Jason guard the door while she screws a stranger. Just, no.
My mood is not improved when Nicole comforts Sam with some shower sex before he returns to Bon Temps. I’m unsure which demographic all these butts are supposed to appeal to, but it ain’t mine. After they dry off, Nicole and her mama try to leave but are apprehended by the werewolves. It seems Alcide’s powers as packmaster only work when he is making wrong decisions. Eager to fill that void is Rikki, who is still hot even when she’s being evil.
Back in Bon Temps, everyone is busy mourning Terry when Bill day-walks in to pay his respects. Just kidding, he’s there to tell Sookie to deliver Warlow to him, to prevent his vision of the sun room coming true. And most unfortunately, he’s probably right. We can still hold out hope that they both die, though.
And now for the best part of the episode, which concerns the unparalleled wiles of Pamela Swynford de Beaufort. She reclines on her therapist’s couch and starts in to talking about appetite and desire while she strokes her breasts like…well, like they belong to Tara. And holy god, if you want your eyes to cross and your mouth to hang open like a cartoon dog, watch this scene. She’s doing it to seduce the shrink, obviously, so she can get out of solitary confinement and save the day. Still, seeing her mount this pathetic little man does not make me a very happy lesbian.
Elsewhere in camp, Sarah Newlin’s attire has gone full Palin and her behavior is equally extreme. Since she no longer needs to play nice for the governor, she throws Jason in with the female vampires. Just as they are about to devour him, the hot, mean-looking one claims him as her own.
Finally this week, Eric says goodbye to Nora. There is an extended flashback in which we learn the story of Nora’s mortal life, and why Eric loved her. And I’m sorry, but you cannot make me care about a character two minutes before killing her. That’s not how emotional investment works, and throwing money at an elaborate set and costumes and Eric’s ridiculous wig can’t change that. Nora has always been a small character, and though the makeup and effects during her death scene are that tricky combination of tragic and gross, her death is a small death. The good part, the best part is when Eric, weeping, says “But I promised you forever.” And Nora gently reminds him that she never asked for forever. She just wanted a good life, and that she has had. It is the first moment in which I felt like I understood Nora, and it came too late.
What did you think about this week’s episode?