If Scooby-Doo has taught me anything, it’s how to execute the mystery formula. A crime’s committed, some meddlers start sleuthing, some seemingly isolated clues are found, there’s a musical number, and then those seemingly disconnected clues add up to an intelligible culprit, the groundskeeper. Joking aside, good mysteries keep you guessing until the end, when the reveal puts the proper context on all those clues you’ve been puzzling over. Sadly, True Blood is no Scooby-Doo. We’ve been wondering whodunit since episode one, but there really haven’t been any clues to speak of. We can be fairly certain that some human is targeting fangbangers, beyond that, nothing. I bring this up now because this episode made a point of highlighting just how weird/creepy some of the folks at Merlotte’s are. Gasp, one of them could be the killer! Because they’re… weird/creepy. If this turns out to be the case then I’ll be sorely disappointed, it’s the worst sort of laziness. Perhaps I’m wrong. There could’ve been all sorts of clues I’ve missed that will all make perfect sense by season’s end. Two episodes to go and I’m not holding my breath.
Creepy townsfolk aside, this episode was split between the awful and the good. The awful parts: Sookie’s really pissed that Sam never told her he was a shape shifter because, you know, they were so close? She bitches about it for most of the episode until Sam saves her from a near miss with the killer. Naturally, he does the smart thing and comforts her rather than actually going after the guy hiding in his kitchen. Tara continues waste screen time as she has an exorcism and then learns it was all BS. Upset, she drives drunk and then crashes her car to avoid some naked woman on the road. Is it too much to hope that she’s dead?
On to the good: Amy’s emerging as True Blood’s most/only interesting character. Her claims that having a negligible carbon footprint makes her a better person than Eddie was a little over the top, but for the most part her “tree-hugging cancels out kidnapping” logic is fascinating. Her claim to the interesting throne is solidified when she stakes Eddie (a response to Jason insisting he be let go), the only other character I really enjoyed watching. Elsewhere, the show does a really good job building its mythology. Sam’s exposition about shifters and werewolves would’ve been better if it had been shown rather than told, but it’s nice to get the suggestion that there’s a much bigger world out there than we’ve seen so far. Finally, Bill’s tribunal does an excellent job exploring vampire society. Their standard of justice is, by any definition, evil. Bill’s punishment for killing Longshadow is turning a young woman into a vampire. It’s as much about teaching Bill a lesson as it is about replacing the “life” he took. Humans are cattle, not worthy of his protection and he must demonstrate his commitment to a vampire way of life. Again, that way of life is shown to be completely incompatible with our own and the “vampires have rights” ethos now seems to be complete bogus.
Requisite Buffy Comparison: Isn’t it odd that everything True Blood does right has to do with the mythology and what it does wrong has to do the characters and their relationships. Great scifi/fantasy (Buffy) is really “about” the characters involved, with the mythology serving as a backdrop. Popcorn scifi/fantasy puts the mythology front and centre, which can be fun, but not much more than that. True Blood fails in both categories. Its characters are mostly dead weight, but it insists on devoting its time to them. This show needs to play to its strengths and aspire to be empty entertainment.
Farewell Eddie, we hardly knew ye.