Okay, let’s just get this much straight: this article is gonna be highly spoileriffic if you haven’t watched the season premiere yet. And let’s get something else straight: I love True Blood, but I have to say I loved it a LOT more before I read Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse books. I also have something sad to admit: I believe this show has jumped the shark. I think I’d still think so even if I hadn’t read the books. That said, I can’t say I was completely disappointed with this episode– Kristen Bauer Van Straten’s Pam never disappoints me– but I can safely say I was underwhelmed.
So Eric and Bill killed Nan Flanagan and now they are on the run from the Authority with the help of Eric’s long-lost “sister” Nora. As a highly vocal member of Team Eric, I feel at this point that the show is jacking me around. As nice as it was to see some Skarsgard skin, after last season I am not willing to see Eric getting down and dirty with anybody who isn’t Sookie, especially a not-particularly-interesting character that just pops in from nowhere like a fan-fiction Mary Sue. And that brings me to what is really bothering me about True Blood right now: it’s starting to play like a VERY bad fanfic of the original books. We have poorly-drawn original character inserts with insufficient back story, major characters acting out of character– sometimes from one scene to the next (ahem, Jessica? what’s up with you stringing poor stupid Jason along like that?), the return of long-gone and unmissed dead folks (gay vamp Steve Newlin, anyone?)… oh, I could go on and on. We’re getting into My Immortal territory here. It’s that bad.
Anyway, it turns out that Nora is basically putting Bill and Eric in the vampire version of the Witness Protection Program. After banging Eric in a storage container(!) she presents them with new identities, but it appears that the Authority has caught them anyway. Meanwhile, back at the Stackhouse ranch, Sookie persuades Pam to turn the dying Tara into a vampire as a last ditch effort to save her life (as we remember from last season, she took Debbie Pelt’s bullet, meant for Sookie, before Sookie turned the tables and wasted Debbie). Later, Sookie almost spills the beans about Dead Debbie to Alcide, but is saved from herself by Lafayette. Elsewhere in Bon Temps, Sam is taken captive by the werewolf pack. Alcide shows up to take responsibility and it looks like he’s going to be the new packmaster, but of course there is dissension in the ranks. At the end of the episode, Tara turns into a vampire and immediately turns on Sookie.
I felt like this episode was all over the place, without really establishing much in regards to a major plot. Where is Russell Edgington? What happened to Jesus’s corpse? What’s up with Terry’s military buddy? Why does Andy even have a storyline anymore? Yeeesh. I’m not loving the “Bill and Eric on the run” plot– I don’t know why I’m reminded of the old Looney Tunes cartoon in which Sylvester and a random dog are handcuffed together– and there’s a LOT of character defilement going on with Eric. I love the books and while I realize that True Blood is a separate, “loosely-based” entity, I’m not on board with Eric firing off a “F— Sookie” and Bill still being presented as a viable love interest for our heroine. Of course, this ep was not about Sookie’s romantic entanglements, but the groundwork being laid is tres obvious.
Sadly, I have to say I’m even bored with Sam. Sam has always been the noblest character in the Sookieverse, the one who can always be counted on to do the right thing, and I love that about him, but it makes him a little predictable, and he has about as much chemistry with Luna as, well, two things that have no chemistry. It pains me to say it; I mean, I just adore his (cute, perky) shifter butt, but it is what it is.
The show has become a big meandering mess. It could do with some pruning. There are just too many tangential plotlines without a cohesive story. I don’t care about any of the Bellfleurs at the moment, we could start there– I don’t want to know about Andy’s love life, I’m not too interested in Terry’s Deep Dark Secrets, and Arlene just yammers about nothing. Next, drop Reverend Newlin and Nora back into the graves they crawled out of, break up Sam and Luna, hook up Jason and Jessica already, and get things in FOCUS, for heaven’s sake.
On a more pleased note… Pam was just awesome, and I like Alcide better all the time.