You can feel the weight of season five nearing its end on this episode of True Blood--not quite in a "oh man this is so thrilling I can't wait to find out what happens way," and more of a "oh man, they went with that ending" kind of way. As two storylines reach their conclusion while the Authority plot kind of drifts in and out of the margins, "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" has alternately made this season feel both rushed and thin up to this point. The ifrit plot and the human supremacist thing (and even the murder of Sookie and Jason's parents) feel like sideshows, drawing attention away from the protracted intrigues inside Authority HQ.
Why you want to keep taking us back to barns and pigsties, True Blood writers?
*****Spoilers after the jump.*****
Terry, Arlene, Patrick, and an angry Iraqi fire demon: while I'm gratified by the show not taking the whole "good man with his gun on a bad man" cliche to its typical conclusion, I have to wonder what the shooting will do for Terry's character going forward. Not so much because I feel like the character will suffer some kind of emotional crisis over killing Captain Patrick (that's what I'm calling him now), but because heading into season six, I really hope this doesn't get trotted out as some extended murder investigation. Still, good on Terry for standing up for family and home against a vengeful spirit and a cowardly, disgraced fellow serviceman.
Speaking of Patricks, how many times is Robert Patrick going to make surprise appearances in things, looking all weathered and acting as the voice of wisdom or reason? Well, that's at least part of his appearance here as Alcide's father and former pack master.
The flashback scene and the later one in the trailer have fleshed out why it's been so important for Alcide to be an upstanding, uncompromised pack master since he was introduced back in season three. While it adds to the stack of True Blood's daddy issues, it is nice to see the character get a little more definition, although the struggle for dominance in his new pack drags on and on. Plus, do JD and the other werewolves just hang out in the sweaty barn all day? Because we hardly ever see them anywhere else.
It's actually kind of disappointing that the human supremacist story resolved itself as something of a joke. Given the title of this episode (and the general "this land is our land" theme of the season), I was kind of hoping that this might play out as more of a plausible threat to the werewolves, shifters, vampires, and other supernatural beings of the show as all-out war seems set to break out among the species. The supe-killers couldn't even muster a website that looked made in this decade, much less pose a plausible threat to anyone.
Some blah blah blah about Sookie's parents' murder... I have very little to add here because this episode didn't have much to add either.
Finally, over in the Authority, Eric tries to employ Bill's help to make his escape and do... something--we're not sure what, but it involves being away from Salome and company and Lilith's blood. Based on what we've seen in the last couple of episodes, I've having trouble buying Bill's conversion to the Cult of Lilith, even if it appears to be sincere. We saw one maudlin flashback between Bill and his ailing daughter at sometime around the turn of the last century, and sure he's still a little broken up about his and Sookie's breaking up, but the motivation is still slight.
It would more likely (or at least more interestingly) be Eric, the character we've been told over and over again who professes to believe in nothing who would succumb to the charm's of Lilith. That would give us some kind of intriguing reversal with somewhere to go, given that his character has long been the most morally dubious and possibly the most compelling to watch once he was committed to a cause. We know that Bill is loyal and decent and this plot feels like it's playing for time before he sees the light, possibly cradling his head in the middle of a scene of carnage drawling "oh gawd, what have we done?"
Again, this story just kind of flits around the periphery, and it's gone from being the most exciting element of season five to the one that's steadily losing tension (and has three episodes to turn itself around).
One last thing: I'm kind of touched by the strange new dimensions of the Hoyt-Jessica-Jason triangle now that it's entered another phase. Knowing that he hates her completely yet still saved her life, does Jessica love Hoyt now? And that little moment where she rejected Jason's comfort? This is the kind of thing that could feel like treading new ground, but wisely, the characters keep coming apart in interesting ways and getting reshaped in major and minor ways in between seasons. If this trio could find some kind of detente before this season was out, it would take some terrific writing that didn't just gloss over everything that came before as water under the bridge.
True Blood airs Sunday nights at 9 on HBO.