Just when I thought True Blood was beyond any chance of enjoyment, it once again shows signs of being watchable. Is this an indication of the actual quality of the episode or my own falling expectations? I think the latter is almost certain, as I’ve given up trying to enjoy this series as a whole, not just from episode to episode, but even from scene to scene. Every effort to appreciate plot or character has resulted in frustration and annoyance as the series flits from one moment to the next, never bothering with pesky things like integration or development. Drama, at its most basic level, might be described as “characters doing things” and True Blood certainly has that. Where it fails so utterly is communicating who those characters are and why they do the things they do. It’s like a child recounting their favorite movie, “And then this happened, and then that… and then… and then.” Piecing together the narrative is an exercise in futility, best to just enjoy those cool moments and ignore the vacuum surrounding them.
Tonight’s diamond in the void was definitely Stephen Root’s performance. He’s Eddie, the blood bag Jason and Amy kidnapped last week. I’ve always enjoyed Root’s comedy, but his turn here as a sad, lonely vampire at the mercy of two addicts was outstanding. His look of pain and horror as Amy and Jason have V-fueled sex in front of him was awesome, as was his advice to Jason that she’s actually crazy and more dangerous than a he could ever be. The notion that Amy’s brand of freedom means freedom from moral concerns is certainly tantalizing, but I’ll make it a point not to anticipate any sort of payoff and just enjoy Eddie’s presence. He’s generated more sympathy and interest in two episodes than Bill’s managed all season. It’s a shame that Amy’s probably gonna kill him.
Elsewhere, Bill stakes Longshadow before he can kill Sookie and we’re treated to the most visceral effect we’ve seen since the first episode. Longshadow completely dissolves into blood, showering our resident psychic, nice Carrie reference. Bill is, naturally, in trouble for killing another vampire but, also naturally, refuses Eric’s offer of trading Sookie in exchange for getting off the hook. He’s called away for a tribunal, but not before promising to always stay with Sookie and protect her. Oh no, another hurdle for their relationship, yawn. Bill calls on Sam to protect Sookie while he’s gone, and they finally stop being coy about Sam being a dog and we get the non-surprise of him awaking in naked human form at the foot of her bed.
Ok, so the Tara subplot actually is progressing in a who she is and why sense, but this character’s just so gratingly awful that I elected not the mention it above.
Requisite Buffy Comparison: The bloodbath may be the first thing True Blood’s actually done better. On Buffy, “dusting” the vampires was a convenient way to avoid too much fallout from her slaying. Here, the reality of a vampire’s death is undeniably real. And yet, why do I suspect this consequence will be as much of a non-issue in future episodes.
Killing Sookie’s cat does nothing to advance the fang-banger killer storyline. It’s merely another isolated bit of gruesomeness that gives her an unnecessary new reason to be sad/bitchy.
Nine down, three to go