“Are we vampires or school marms?,” Russell Edgington asks his comrades toward the end of “Gone, Gone, Gone,” the 10th episode in “True Blood’s” fifth season. Good question. Not that the vampires are behaving like squares; there’s plenty draining of humans going around. But the endless talk of religion — praise Lilith! — is a drag on him and viewers alike. Jessica’s response to Bill’s babbling about his favorite blood-soaked goddess also was on target: “This is feeling a lot like the Bible study my parents made me do.” The tiresome fanaticism plot surely has many a fan squirming. If we wanted to hear this kind of talk, we’d pick a conservative church service to attend, or something. That it is being portrayed negatively to make a larger point doesn’t make it entertaining. Molly’s line — “You are destroying the world based on a book that is thousands of years old. You call that evolved?! That’s the opposite of evolved!” — was as subtle as something you’d hear on “The Newsroom.” Why take a fun vampire story and make it sanctimonious? The season started so well, with great momentum coming off Season Four’s cliffhanger, but the deeper the writers have delved into the Sanguinista madness, the less interesting the show has become. We’re trudging toward the finale, not sprinting.
The chaos ensuing thanks to the bombing of the TruBlood factories at least makes for a nice dynamic. Here is what the world would look like if vampires came out of the closet without the promise of synthetic blood to calm fears. Everyone is armed, and most everyone is out for themselves. Some have each other’s backs — Sam and Lafayette send Merlotte’s patrons packing for thinking of threatening Jessica — but tensions are high. Vampires aren’t just feeding more frequently on humans, they’re turning them, as Mike the coroner made clear when he stopped by Sookie’s house to suck on her toes. Pam and Tara, however, are keeping cooler heads. Pam wasn’t about to give in to the new procreation mandate to help make 30 baby vamps by year’s end and was prepared to set out with Tara like an undead Thelma and Louise. (“We procreate because we want to, not because some d**khead dipped in afterbirth told us to.”) Thankfully Tara, with the help of a screaming Ginger, took back control by taking the head of the new sheriff, Elijah.
Those already trapped by the Authority aren’t so lucky. Molly — another short-lived and wasted guest spot, this time for Tina Majorino — met the true death not long after admonishing Salome, Bill and crew for their beliefs. Eric, though, was saved thanks to Nora’s decision to take him with her on another blood-induced trip to see Lilith. Godric appeared in their shared vision, only to be killed by Lilith in an act that further convinced Nora of Lilith’s power and just may have brought Eric into the fold as well. Bill already appears to believe what he’s saying, which makes the conclusion of this storyline fairly unpredictable. Will Bill and Eric go back to their heathen ways, forgetting this religious talk once/if the Sanguinstas are defeated? Or is this development here to stay? Please, Lilith, let it leave with the season.
Hoyt was ready to forget his heartache as he prepared to leave Bon Temps for Alaska. “I want you gone — out of my head,” he told Jessica. “I want to lay down, go to sleep, close my eyes and not dream about you ever again.” She gave him his wish in a tender goodbye, glamouring away most of his memories of her and Jason, but the manner of his exit only makes Hoyt weaker, not stronger. She should have made him watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Jason was understandably hurt by Hoyt’s rejection, even as Sookie tried to soothe him. They are all each other really has right now, aside from their many fairy cousins. Unfortunately, someone else has a claim on Sookie. Her ancestor, John William Stackhouse, promised his first fae-bearing heir (that would be Sookie) to Warlow, the killer of her parents. Warlow likely won’t be the only vampire after Sookie, either, now that Russell has it in his head to hunt fairies and synthesize their blood. He wants to walk in the sun again, and he even promised as much to his new beau, Steve, as they slow-danced after slaughtering a slew of fraternity brothers (they were in the mood for Greek). Now that Sookie has tried to extinguish her powers, she may not have enough microwave fingers left to ward off Russell.
A fairy showdown would seem lame if not for the Lilith plot we’ve been forcefed this season. Perhaps a little fae magic — and we can’t forget Sam and Luna’s impending showdown with Steve and Russell to get Emma back — is in order to liven things up. The supernatural war will never be over in this world, but here’s hoping the religious one gets benched.
Sarah Carlson is a TV Critic for Pajiba. She lives in San Antonio and will probably start calling her favorite redheaded friend a Cheeto-headed tramp.