If last week’s fifth season premiere of ‘True Blood’ turned out to be surprisingly better than expected (considering that the series usually has such lousy premieres and finales), the season’s second episode is… I don’t know… just kind of boring. There’s nothing that I can specifically call out as wrong with it, but I had a lot of trouble engaging with much in the episode.
I think that’s because, at this point, episodes of the show are less about compelling characters that you want to spend time with, and more about rattling off plot points to justify keeping all of the actors on screen for their contractually mandated number of minutes.
Take the storyline with Terry and his old Marine Corps buddy Patrick (Scott Foley). What’s the point of this? Who cares about this? It doesn’t seem to have much connection to anything else going on in the show, and isn’t particularly interesting. Its only purpose is to give Terry and Arlene something to do so that we’ll remember they’re still in the cast.
Likewise, Jason tries once again to patch things up with Hoyt, and Hoyt once again rebuffs him. We’re only two episodes into the season, and I already feel like this dead horse has been beaten enough. Hoyt has absolutely nothing else to do on the show anymore except act like a petulant jerk to Jason. Just write him out already.
Alcide is in trouble with the wolf pack over killing Marcus. I like Alcide well enough, but c’mon. Marcus is dead. That storyline is over. We don’t need more time with it. In this episode, Alcide tells Marcus’ mother Martha that he doesn’t give a damn about their laws or rituals. He refuses to take over as their new packmaster. In the last episode, didn’t Martha try to get rid of Marcus? Now she wants him to be their leader? Did I miss something in between? Alcide tells them that he wants nothing to do with them, and walks away. That seems to be a regular trait for Alcide. He’s always walking away from something, only to get sucked back in later.
Reverend Newlin has gone public with his new vampire status. He claims that he’s still a man of faith, but has forsaken his bigoted ways. Basically, he’s vying to be the new spokesperson for vampirism now that Nan Flanagan is out of the picture. Later, he visits Jessica and tries to buy Jason from her.
Feral vampire Tara attacks Sookie and Lafayette, which Pam thinks is hilarious. As Tara’s maker, Pam orders her not to hurt either of them, and then heads back to Fangtasia, leaving Lafayette and Sookie to fend for themselves. They lock Tara indoors, where she proceeds to wreck the house. (How is this place still standing, after the number of times it’s been ransacked?) Eventually, Tara has to sleep during the day. Lafayette contemplates staking her to put her out of her misery, but Sookie (apparently now an idiot) insists that they can still make a life with her, even like this. The next night, Tara, apparently now in control of some of her faculties, simply tells them, “I will never forgive either of you,” and runs off.
The episode title, ‘Authority Always Wins’, is of course a famous song lyric. It also ties in with the other major storyline in the episode, in which Bill and Eric have been captured by the Vampire Authority. They’re both tortured to talk about their alleged ties to the “Sanguinista” sect of vampire fundamentalists, who believe in a literal interpretation of the Vampire Bible, which claims that God created vampires in his own image, and that humans are nothing but food for vampires. This stands in opposition to the Authority’s mandate that vampires mainstream into human society.
Here, we’re introduced to new characters Salome (Italian actress Valentina Cervi), Dieter (Christopher Heyerdahl from ‘Hell on Wheels’) and Roman (Christopher Meloni). Roman, the leader of the Authority, seems like he’s going to be the season’s big villain. The episode makes an attempt to play him up as a colorful psychopath, but I’m not feeling it. Too many years on ‘Law & Order: SVU’ have colored my view of Meloni.
Roman threatens to put both Bill and Eric to the true death, until Bill informs him that Russell Edgington is still alive, and offers to trade their own lives in exchange for hunting Russell down and cleaning up this mess for the Authority. In a final teaser scene, we see Russell, a complete mess, attempting to recover from his injuries.
So, yeah, this episode just didn’t do much for me. Has ‘True Blood’ simply lost its spark? Will the rest of the season recapture my attention? I hope so.