Clearly, True Blood had a plan all along. We should have trusted that the series would wrap up a few of its extraneous storylines eventually, it just took a hell of a long time to get there. And sure, some of those storylines - ahem, Terry and the Ifrit - came out of absolutely nowhere just so Scott Foley could have a guest star role, we’re not going to dwell on the series past mistakes. The point is, that at least for the final three episodes of the season, True Blood is actually poised to do this thing right.
After sewing up Lafayette’s Brujo storyline and Terry’s smoke monster mess, the series is finally ready to give Hoyt the ol’ boot to Alaska. (Sweet baby Jesus, don’t let the cameras follow him there.) He even conveniently had Jess glamor him so he wouldn’t remember her or Jason. Of course, this opens up a world of hurt for both Jess and Jason, but it’s clear they’ve got plenty going on in their own lives to keep them nice and busy.
Jason is helping Sookie, who’s now permanently buddied up with her brother after the coroner fed on her and met an untimely death with a chopstick in funniest and best opening scene of the whole season. Watching Sookie get frustrated (and occasionally drunk) this season has been one of the best character changes in the show. We can’t watch her be Miss Bon Temps for years on end. Angry Sookie is good Sookie.
And angry Sookie is on the trail of her parents’ vampire killer, Warlow. After coming up empty in Bud Dearborn’s files, Jason does for Sookie what every mystery TV show or movie should have taught her: take her dead Gran’s advice very literally. Jason discovers an ancient scroll under the floorboards of Gran’s bed, because obviously “look under the bed” did not refer to the piles of old report cars in shoeboxes, Sookie.
The problem is, the scroll is written in some hieroglyphic language, and the scholar Sookie and Jason consult says it doesn’t look like any human language he’s ever seen. Of course, they take it to Claude, who reads it, but says it doesn’t make any sense. They need an older fairy to try and make sense of it, so they call in a very pregnant Mirella (the fairy who had sex with Andy in the woods, and judging from the Holly-Andy starry-eyed lovers scene, that’s going to be a problem soon). She uses fairy light to read the scroll and determine that Sookie’s ancestors promised the first Stackhouse fairy - which just happens to be Sookie - to Warlow. What’s worse, Sookie now has to worry about the entire vampire population being intoxicated by her blood too. And Russell has finally severed ties with the Authority because he’s desperate to find her, breed her, and uncover the secret of her blood. Basically, this is a really horrible moment for Bill and Eric to be high on Lilith.
Next: Eric goes Dark Side and Pam brings back her mad/happy face.Unfortunately, Bill really does seem to be buying into this whole vampire Bible nonsense (sorry, holdouts, it’s not looking so good). He brings Jessica to the Authority headquarters and instructs her to study the vampire Bible - which is exactly what she was escaping after leaving her mortal life behind. What’s worse, is that he’s trying to bring Eric to this dark side. He and Nora force Eric to drink Lilith’s blood while Nora takes a few drops like a hungry little puppy. Together, they see a vision of Godric, who tells them they have to fight the fight right before Lilith appears and kills Godric. It seems that Nora has come to Eric’s side, and perhaps she has. Our only indication is Eric’s hokey “acceptance” of the Lilith way and his induction back into Bill and Salome’s little council.
And while Eric’s true allegiance is at the forefront of our minds, we do have to deal with Russell. He’s kind of a giant, undefeatable ancient vampire. No biggie. He is frustrated by the focus on scripture in this fun new ripper cult he’s joined. He wants to spend his time hunting down fairies so vampires don’t have to be governed by the sun. Luckily, Sookie happens to be implicated in this whole discussion, so while we’re not sure of the political workings inside Eric’s brain, we do know that he (and Bill for that matter) still hold their regard for Sookie above all of this political and theological nonsense. Which is giant relief and simultaneous pain, because if they care so much why are they just sitting there? Oh, because if they up and leave to save a human, Salome might have them turned into red goo like they did to Molly at the beginning of the episode? I guess that’s a pretty good reason.
Steve Newlin, on the other hand, is well-deserving of a stake through the heart at this point. As cute (and completely disturbing) as it was to see Russell and Newlin dance to Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” … in a pile of dead bodies, Newlin is more grating than he was when he was leading the Fellowship of the Sun. And his smile was enough to make me squirm at that point in the series. Newlin not only squeals with joy when he witnesses the True Death (Molly’s) for the first time, he also treats Emma, the werewolf, like she’s an actual dog. It’s demoralizing and not even close to being funny. He’s just an awful little boy - but we knew that when he tried to buy Jason from Jessica at the beginning of the season.
Luckily for little Emma, Sam and Luna manage to sneak into the Authority by chasing Newlin to his media appearance in New Orleans with Sam’s magically appearing airline miles. (Isn’t this supposed to be fantasy? Shouldn’t these two shifters have turned into bald eagles and flown themselves to Nola?) When they reach Newlin’s dressing room, they turn into mice and sneak into his bag so they can find Emma wherever Newlin is living these days. Unfortunately for them, Newlin is living at the Authority headquarters these days, so even though their clever plan will lead them to Emma, their ability to escape without being killed is pretty lacking.
And speaking of lacking, Pam’s business has practically come to a halt with the vampire attack rate going through the roof and the lack of Tru Blood supply. Humans are hiding, and vamps certainly aren’t saddling up to buy martinis. Still, Elijah - the new sheriff who looks suspiciously like the dreadlock-laden kid from Glee if he were a bigger fan of ‘80s glam rock - demands payment, saying that the “rates” have gone up. After he hands them each and insulting 20 bucks, he also demands that their Area creates 30 new vampires by the end of the month on pain of Pam losing everything, including her progeny.
Finally, Tara decides to take matters into her own hands - it just might also cost her and Pam a whole lot more than the vampy Fangtasia property. She lures the Judas Priest worshipper - I mean, really, why else would he dress like that? - into the bar so she can behead him. Pam, using her mad/happy face again, is intrigued by Tara’s gumption. Pam had decided they’d just give up Fangtasia and live “in the wind” which honestly, in the political, bloodlusty environment they’re facing sounds a lot less like a Bob Dylan song and a lot more like trouble. Luckily, Tara’s stunt determines that the pair is going to stand their ground against the Authority - it just might not be as simple as tricking a sheriff into his True Death when the big guns get there.
Next: Cleaner plot be damned, we still have a million questions for True Blood...See? Aren’t things already simpler? Wasn’t this week’s plot so much easier to understand? Aren’t you happy that we actually had the time to witness Jessica and Jason get truly emotional over losing their best friend to the glamoring he demanded? These questions are easy to answer: Yes, all around.
There are a few other questions this episode left us with that aren’t so easy to answer. Like:
Why the hell are Bill and Eric just standing there while Russell basically declares he’s going after Sookie?
Why don’t they sense her fear and pain any more? They were never able to turn off their feelings so easily?
Seriously, how stupid are Sam and Luna? Did they really think they could get into the Authority and get out successfully?
Where is Alcide? And more importantly, is his shirt there too?
Is Mirella going to have a baby Andy? And why, oh why, would we want more confused policemen on this show?
Did Bill really say that the Authority’s main chamber dates back to the Byzantine era? Why? How? Would the ancient vampires really have migrated over to whatever North America was then so they could build an underground chamber in Louisiana?* Why would anything have been built there? Wouldn’t it have been built somewhere, oh I don’t know, the empire the time period was named after actually existed? Or is this, perhaps, one of those Japanese garden situations, in which some member of the Vampire Authority paid someone a lot of money to dismantle a chamber in Italy and have it perfectly reassembled Stateside?
*Sub-question: Why is the center of all vampire culture located outside of New Orleans? And why do all the huge debates about vampires take place on New Orleans television? Isn’t this supposed to be an international issue?
Alright. So True Blood hasn’t managed to solve all of its problems. But at least it’s got the most cumbersome ones out of the way. And, the series is managing to offer up a serious shake-up in a dynamic that even up until last season was all about who Sookie was going to agree to have sex with that week. It’s fun getting beyond the over-played love triangle - but at the same time, it’s nice to see the glimmers of recognition and concern on Bill and Eric’s faces so we know it’s still somewhat there.
Did this week’s episode get you excited for the final two? Are you happy that True Blood got rid of the extra side plots? Do you think they’ll just come up with more ridiculousness to convolute the plot again?
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler.