A war is brewing on “True Blood,” with humans and supernaturals out to eradicate each other, and it’s hard to tell whether it’s the side acting out of hate (the former) or religious delusion (the latter) that is the dumbest. The behavior is all too familiar, unfortunately; Eric’s off-handed comment to Bill of “We better get back to slaughtering people in the name of God” is a statement that has been made quite seriously by countless men. The examination of people acting out against what they don’t understand isn’t new, and that doesn’t necessarily make it bad, but does it make it interesting? The fanaticism of the vampires in Season Five, now at full-throttle in Episode 9, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” feels engineered solely to counterbalance the human hate group storyline. As if we weren’t onto the writers and their beliefs about closed-mindedness — the terrorists here aren’t hiding behind Obama masks for nothing. No, the drama here isn’t half as clever as Lafayette’s best zinger, and the season has suffered for having so weak a focal point.
Most frustrating is having Bill go turncoat. The vampires’ collective hallucination of Lilith in all her bloody glory made an impression on him, but finding a healthy way to explore his newfound religious fervor apparently wasn’t in the cards. Unless Bill is playing a game no one can detect, betraying Eric and engineering the bombing of Tru Blood factories is a low blow and one that won’t be forgiven lightly, if ever. Way to ruin the buddy comedy. Real or not, Eric sees the Lilith drama as a drag and wants out, but he’s just as trapped in Authority headquarters as we are. He also doesn’t have a throne to return to — his is being occupied by the new Area Five sheriff. We at least discovered the identity of the “Dragon” — Sweetie, an unhappy square-dancing champion who recruited Bud Dearborne and others (including those with “dumb*ss white trash names starting with J”) to hunt and kill the supernatural. “They may look like us, talk like us, but they are not like us,” Sweetie reminds Bud, not long before her point is proven when Luna chases her down in wolf form and then beats her silly in human form. Bud wasn’t as lucky, shot after yelling “Humans rule!,” and Hoyt served as pig food for far too long before someone thought to shoo them away. Sookie fared the best; all she had to do was wash pig out of her hair.
Her bathroom, however, is where Warlo stopped by to visit last week, and even Lafayette hamming it up with spirits couldn’t get him to come back. Adele, at least, sent a message to her granddaughter on where to find answers about her parents’ death, and Bud confirmed to her that a vampire likely was the culprit. (And then Sweetie knocked her out with a skillet.) Where all this is headed is unclear, if not to at least give Sookie even greater pause at defending or even dealing with vampires. Sookie may soon start sounding like Arlene, although Arlene’s warning to Patrick — Don’t move, motherfu**er, or I will blow your fu**in’ brains out! — is worth mimicking. Patrick’s kidnapping of her was as poorly planned as his character plotline, although Terry calmly killing him with the blessing of Zaafira, the Iraqi woman he murdered, was troubling. It is one of several moments that force readers to reconsider characters and their motives; no one is “good” or “bad.” Andy and Jason’s beating of Joe Bob in the prison is a prime example. He may be loathsome, but their behavior was far from heroic. Terry is right: “Survival brings out the ugly in all of us.”
Things will get even uglier when Luna learns Russell took Emma away from Martha as punishment for her not drinking his blood. One can only hope Steve doesn’t prey on the little girl. Luna and Sam make a nice crime-fighting duo, though, just as Sookie and Lafayette paired well for talking to the dead. Not often on TV do you hear lines such as these: “Creepy spirit thing: Why you in Sookie’s bathroom?” and “Other than getting possessed by a Mexican demon, how you been?” “True Blood” has maintained some of its silliness throughout the years, which generally works. But something about this season feels off. Alan Ball and crew are telling us the stakes are high, but we don’t feel it. Is the “Obamas” thread really finished? Everything feels anticlimactic, and with only three episodes left, the series has precious little time to get back up to the speed it built in the first half of the season.
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Sarah Carlson is a TV Critic at Pajiba. She lives in San Antonio and tries not to spike her ginger ale with Oxi.