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‘True Blood’ 5.12 Recap: “Us or Them”

‘True Blood’ brought its fifth season to a close this past Sunday, a fact that most fans probably approached with some trepidation. Unfortunately, the show has a history of botching its premieres and finales. As I recall, however, the fourth season finale wasn’t so bad, and neither was the current season’s premiere. Perhaps this is just a case of lowered expectations, but an upgrade from “awful” to “not so bad” is an improvement I’ll gladly take.

With that said, the series still has issues with the notion of story structure. For example, whose brilliant idea was it to kill off the show’s single most entertaining character right at the start of the episode? That’s the sort of thing you need to lead up to. As last we saw him, Russell Edgington was poised to slaughter Sookie and all the annoying fairies. I didn’t really expect that to happen, but I kind of hoped that it would anyway. As the fairies ineffectually fight back (Sookie’s fairy juice mojo seems to be running dry at this point), Russell just gets stronger and stronger – until Eric rushes in and stakes him from behind. “Well fuck,” Russell says just before exploding into goo. “That felt even better than I thought it would,” Eric exclaims. Personally, I think I’m with Russell on this one.

Eric needs Sookie to come back with him to Authority HQ to talk some sense into Bill. He believes that she’s the only one who can still get through to him. They also collect Jason, who has been seeing visions of his dead parents since accidentally getting zapped by Coco the Elder Fairy. (Turns out that his and Sookie’s parents were raging anti-vampire bigots.) At this point, Jason just wants to kill every vampire he sees. He’ll make an exception for Eric and Nora… for now, mainly because he needs them to get into Authority HQ, where he can kill lots more vampires.

As this little group stages a raid on the Authority compound, Bill tricks Salome into drinking what she believes is the rest of Lilith’s blood. What she really drinks is blood laced with silver (which presents a major continuity problem that I’ll get into shortly.*) Once she’s incapacitated, Bill explains that Lilith had been testing all of those she “chose,” like a contest to see which was strongest. He then stakes Salome to finish her off and claim his victory.

When Sookie and Eric arrive, Bill won’t listen to them. He turns all “Talking Killer” for a few minutes until finally drinking the last of Lilith’s blood and… huh… He just explodes into goo. That’s a weird end to… Oh shit, then Bill rises up from the pool of blood like Lilith in the visions. He’s naked, seems feral, and bares some huge saber-toothed fangs. Eric and Sookie wisely decide to get the fuck out of there. End season.

*About that continuity problem: Earlier in the episode, Alcide’s girlfriend Rikki OD’ed after being forced to drink V by J.D. the evil packmaster. Alcide’s father is able to detox the girl by making her drink colloidal silver. This causes the V in her system to force its way out of her body to get away from the silver. (In other words, she sweats blood.) So, this establishes that the vampire blood itself will react against silver. Bill shouldn’t be able to lace the flask of Lilith’s blood with silver. The blood should automatically separate from the silver. The only explanation I can think of for this is that Bill must have swapped out the vampire blood in the flask for either human blood or Tru-Blood. Yet if that were the case, I’d expect Salome to be able to smell the difference immediately before drinking it.

Other Stuff That Happens
  • Sam hatches a plan to rescue Luna’s daughter Emma. While he buzzes around the compound as a fly, Luna will shift into the form of Newlin and go to claim the wolf pup to take her for a walk. She’s interrupted in the midst of escape by Chancellor Rosalyn, who needs Newlin to do a TV interview to refute the story about how he and Russell slaughtered a fraternity house. Luna shifts back into her real form live on the air and announces to the world that the Authority is evil. Rosalyn knocks over the camera and poises to attack, upon which Sam the fly zips right into her mouth and then, once inside her, shifts back into his full-sized self. Rosalyn’s gruesome explosion is one of the coolest vampire deaths the show has had.
  • In order to fight J.D., Alcide finally relents and agrees to juice up on V. (His father has a stash of higher quality blood that should give Alcide an edge.) So, Alcide charges in, beats the hell out of J.D., snaps his neck, and claims leadership of the pack. He promptly announces that they all need to clean up their acts and become better wolves. This seems awfully hypocritical coming from a guy still flying high on supernatural steroids.
  • Andy comes clean to Holly about Maurella. Almost immediately, Maurella goes into labor and spits out a litter of four fairy daughters. (The act of childbirth seems to be an orgasmic experience for fairies.) Maurella then thanks Andy kindly, leaves the babies in his care, and heads out on her way. Holly is not pleased.
  • Jessica tells Jason that she loves him. Jason coldly responds that although he’s glad she’s not dead, he can never love a vampire. Ouch.
  • Upon being released from their prison cells, Tara and Pam start making out. Sookie: “Oh, OK.” Jess: “I knew it!” Both reactions are priceless.

In the final analysis, episode ‘Save Yourself’ does an efficient job of wrapping up the season’s storylines without too much abject disappointment, leaves off with a decent cliffhanger, and even gets in a few decent character moments. As I mentioned in a previous post, I also find Bill more interesting as a villain than as lovesick for Sookie.

On the other hand, I’m disappointed to see Russell go, I’ve had more than enough of the fairy bullshit, and I don’t entirely buy into Jason’s sudden dark turn. Still, I think this finale is good enough to justify yet another season of the show.

1 comment

  1. Matt

    I kind of got the impression that the visions Jason were having weren’t exactly authentic representations of his parents. It was just a little too over the top, though the guy playing the dad did a great job of being Jason-esque. You could be right, though.

    My reaction to Russell biting it (harhar) was similar to Sookie’s reaction to Pam and Tara.

    This was the first season I didn’t HATE Tara…so I guess that’s progress. Whenever she’d get all upset about her boyfriend in season 2, I’d just crack up. There’s no way you can cry and moan, “Eegggsss….” and it not be funny.

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