Last week, my occasional recap companion, Mini, observed that “Karma” felt emotionally honest. The connections between the characters seemed authentic, the sense of doom and loss rang true, and the painful bits – of which there have been a lot this season – were actually painful. Mini is new to watching True Blood so she doesn’t have the past seasons to rely on to understand what the various connections between the characters are. For her, either the show does its job of making you care about these people in the moment the action is happening on screen, or it doesn’t.
I thought about her observation a number of times while watching this week’s “Maybe the Last Time.” Because everything that worked so well last week, fell absolutely flat this time around. All that emotional honesty evaporated so that the show – which, shall I remind you, has four precious episodes left to wrap up its entire run – tread water in the main plot, and rekindled a long-dead romance.
Friends, I may have yelled things at the screen.
Violet, Adilyn, Wayne
In “Karma,” Violet invited you-cannot-possibly-be-this-stupid teenagers Adilyn and Wayne to bed down in her house instead of boning out in the open woods where, theoretically, roving gangs of Hep-V infected vamps would zero in on Adilyn’s fae blood-scent and murder the hell out of them. Because they were stupid enough to think hanging out in an open tree fort in the middle of the night was a great plan, they obviously agreed to go with her. I mean, I know, she is someone they kinda, sorta know, because she’s that weird woman Jason has been living with, but given that she’s been living with him, why aren’t they suspicious that Violet doesn’t take them back to his house, but instead to some random mansion? If Violet has a fully appointed Dracula’s mansion, including an elaborate sex dungeon full of vintage sex toys, why the hell has she been living in the basement of Jason’s crappy house? Don’t these kids have any sense of self-preservation? Have they been living inside a porno this entire time? I mean, I suppose Adilyn is only seven or eight months old and maybe has the instincts of a fruit fly, but Wayne is a real boy. Do normal adults frequently shelter runaway teenagers and offer them strap ons? I mean, when it’s not an After-school Special?
Violet allows the kids to bone all day in her sex dungeon – and mentions offhandedly that when she was alive, she used to also fuck her brother a ton (I assume this line was thrown in for the hot Game of Thrones demographic) – so that Adilyn doesn’t get upset and alert Jessica to her location prematurely. That is basically the only thing in this entire sequence that makes sense.
I can’t believe that the show is wasting their time with this bullshit subplot. Wait, no, I’m mad they’re wasting my time with it. At least Violet looks exceptionally boss throughout the entire episode
Jason, LaLa, Lettie Mae, Arlene, Sam
Jason has an exceptional amount of screentime this episode, pulling double duty vacuuming his house in his boxers and showing up in Sarah/NewMe’s paranoid fantasies. In typical Jason fashion, his illicit sexcapades with Jessica rate the barest of blips on his radar, his girlfriend disappearing just means he has to clean up the rose petals on his own, and Hoyt’s reappearance in town means there’s a new girlfriend to ogle. It’s depressing to see how unevolved Jason is over the course of seven seasons – he’s still distracted by his dick, still a lunkhead. Weeks ago, the call Jason had to make to Hoyt to tell him about his mother’s death was a moment of real devastation – this was Jason’s lifelong best friend, who he hurt so bad a vampire had to glamour away all memories of their friendship. Hoyt’s impending arrival in Bon Temps had the promise of more of the same, but any sort of significance is unredeemably undercut because Jason spends their time together staring at Hoyt’s new girlfriend, who was obviously cast for her resemblance to Crystal, the werepanther of the breeding/rape storyline from long ago.
Lala and Lettie Mae show up for two seconds to dig up the front yard of Tara’s childhood home.
Sam shows up for about the same amount of time to ask Arlene if he should leave Bon Temps to be with his wife and his unborn daughter, which, come on Sam, makes him look like a giant asshole. Your heavily pregnant wife feels rightly unsafe in a town in which she was just abducted and tortured? MOVE AWAY WITH HER.
For all the emotional dud moments in this mess, Arlene is the one bringing this crapheap home. First, she gives solid and uncharacteristically insightful advice to Sam about moving. And then she has a touching moment with Keith the vampire drummer. Now that they’ve shared blood, they’re connected, and Keith comes to visit at a moment she’s down in the duldrums. Given that Arlene is now Hep-V positive, any sort of sexual relationship is out of the question, which is okay with Keith. He just wants to slow dance with her. It’s a very kind and soft moment.
Meanwhile, we waste a lot of time with Andy and Holly – who, for the record, I really love under normal circumstances – looking for the kids, including an unnecessary trip several hours away to find kids who had left their car at the tree fort. How would they have gotten to Kansas City? WHY IS EVERYONE SO DUMB IN THIS PLOTLINE?
Eric, Pam, Mr. Gus
New character Amber’s time on this earth was short lived. After being cured by Sarah/NewMe’s blood and refusing to give up her sister’s location, she’s staked by Eric in a fit of pique. The closer death is, the worse his control is, and Pam’s devastation when Eric loses it is palpable. These two really are the best parts of the show. I hope they’re besties in real life.
Rescue comes in the form of Mr. Gus, who is eager to capitalize on the new cure by inventing New Blood, which will heal the world and make them some pretty cash. If Eric agrees to be the face of the cure, they’ll split the company, and the Japanese government will track Sarah down. Eric does love both vengeance and money, so it’s an easy agreement.
Sarah/NewMe is hiding at the old Fellowship campground – a place where Eric had been, so maybe he might have thought to look there in better times. She’s having a bit of a mental breakdown. I doubt she has the self-capacity to feel guilty about genocide, but she sure doesn’t want to die, and having Eric and the Yakuza breathing down her neck sets her off into a full on episode. Steve Newlin shows up as the ghost of Christmas past, entreating her to reembrace Christianity before Eric rips her head off her neck.
Look, you guise. I don’t even understand. I get that they’re a married couple with kids in the real world, but Sookie and Bill have zero chemistry as far as I’m concerned. It’s a completely flat relationship, especially when compared to the sizzling chemistry Sookie has with Eric. So when the show recreates the moment from season 1 where Sookie and Bill finally have sex, with Sookie putting on another white dress and running across the cemetery to throw herself at the man her fairy-powered Hep-V is killing, to tell him she’ll be there until the end, and they kiss and make love in front of the fire, all I’m feeling is a general level irritation that this finally happened, even though the show has been building up to this all season.
Just be better than this, True Blood.
Bill’s tour down memory lane continues this week with an action stopping visit with Caroline, Bill’s first wife, where we see their courtship and the birth of their first daughter. I’m feeling that all these flashbacks to Old Timey Bill, in addition to trying to make us sympathetic to him after several years of Total Asshole Bill, might be setting us up for a True Death. He certainly seems to be setting affairs in order.
Two great moments come out of the Bill/Sookie plot this week. One, we get to see Dr. Ludwig, the dwarf doctor to the supernaturals, and learn that Niall, Sookie’s grandfather, is one scary ass dude. And then we get to see Niall, who shows up when Sookie requests some fairy godfathering. Niall takes her on a random walking tour of Bill’s memories, lets her know there’s no magical cure for Hep-V, and oh, by the way, he could have totally stopped Bill getting infected but didn’t, because he thinks Bill is an asshole who doesn’t deserve Sookie. I suppose I can get behind part of that statement.
So, what old characters haven’t made an appearance yet this season? Who wants to place bets on Lorena or Russell showing up in a flashback?