So much has happened thus far in “True Blood’s” fifth season that already in Episode Five, “Let’s Boot and Rally,” we were treated to the kind of rally-the-vamps closing message and montage generally seen in penultimate episodes. No one has time to waste here, and most everyone is finding ways to fight back against whoever or whatever is holding them back, from fundamentalists to social mores to smoke monsters. Even as some plot lines unfold slower than others, the overall pacing of the season has made it so far one of the more enjoyable to watch. Smaller fights are building into one overall battle over the role of supernaturals in the world, and no matter which side one is on, it’s time to boot and rally.
Sookie, in truth, isn’t so much fighting back as giving in. There’s no use resisting Bill and Eric when they come calling for her to help them locate Russell. The peach schnapps may have helped her envision the vampires and Alcide as barking dogs, but her circumstances have her resigned to her fate. She’s in too deep to back out now, but the relatively carefree way in which she’s handling things is a nice change from her usual damsel in distress. And she’s right: her microwave fingers are the only things aside from the sun that have power over Russell, who thankfully has passed his bloody, rather Orc-like stage of recuperation. She’s needed to help bring him down.
Tara is starting to relax, too. The more Vampire 101 schooling, complete with an undead version of “It gets better” delivered by Jessica, she receives, the more this new life for her makes sense. Tara had been boxed into a corner so tightly by the writers, the only way to give her relief was to either kill her or turn her to a vampire. She has a better chance at happiness now that she can literally rip out people’s throats. Jessica stepping in to play girlfriend to the newbie only makes her more endearing. Their shared giggles concerning their powers is the kind of behavior we aren’t used to seeing in our fictional monsters, but it works well and plays against the smugness the older vamps exude. Too bad the sisterly feelings waned a bit as soon as Tara took up Hoyt’s offer for a little biting in the bathroom.
Tensions abounded in all relationships: Bill and Eric arguing over Nora’s potential complicity with the Sanguinistas and the release of Russell; Pam ready to choke the bitch out of Tara for misbehaving in Fangtasia; Luna trying to hide Emma’s wolf nature from Sam who, now that Tara is undead, has taken the mantle of being the show’s Most Abused Breather. How many times has he been stabbed or otherwise wounded? He’ll survive this attack from supe-haters, but Luna may not be so lucky. Sam may soon be simultaneously trying to play parent to a wolf cub, hiding her from the pack and hunting down the shooters.
The crime scene of Sam’s murdered friends, combined with Hadley’s announcement that vampires killed Jason and Sookie’s parents and the subsequent related images that haunt him, have Jason contemplating just how messed up the supernatural world is. Vampires have only been “out of the coffin” for a few years, but they and other supes have been covering up murders and other crimes for centuries. “Vampires — they’ve been getting away with this s**t forever,” he tells Andy, spelling out one of the major themes for the night and perhaps the season. It’s time for people to pay for their sins. Terry and Patrick sure are. The fires they each have experienced were brought about by an Ifrit, a giant, supernatural, winged creature of fire an Iraqi woman invoked as a curse to the soldiers for the deadly firefight. It’s a toss-up whether that is better or worse than having a vampire against you, although in Eller’s case, he’s dead no matter what.
Sookie may have joked about having a 3,000-year-old vampire wanting to suck her blood — “Must be Thursday!” — but this battle is real. Just as she, Eric, Bill and members of the Authority have reason to want Russell gone, he’s operating on the same determination mixed with vengeance over the death of his beloved, Talbot. Similarly, just as Roman and his followers are seeking ways to reclaim the vampire discussion in the world as mainstreamers, “to extend the promise of Lilith and her bountiful mercy to all humanity and live as equals,” humans such as Jason are wondering if it wouldn’t be better to reclaim the world for non-supernaturals. The question Roman presents to Authority members, “Are we willing to share this world?,” goes both ways. So does his rallying cry: “We will not stand by while zealots hijack the righteousness of our cause. We will fight, and let the night cleanse us of our sins and lead us to victory.” Game on.
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Sarah Carlson is a TV Critic for Pajiba. She lives in San Antonio.