Episode Title: "Somebody That I Used to Know"
Writer: Mark Hudis
Director: Stephen Moyer
I've been waylaid by a nasty virus this week, but I didn't want to let "True Blood" pass without comment.
As much as Alan Ball has said that Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) and Sookie Stackhouse ( Anna Paquin) are soul mates, the Vampire Authority storyline is setting up Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) to be the unlikely hero for the season, Prior to the last two episodes, I suspected that Bill and Sookie were being primed for a reconciliation after their tearful farewell following their last meeting. Instead, Bill is moving to the dark side and Eric is the only vampire who seems to realize just how destructive the Authority's new direction really is.
Granted, Eric only saw this with the help of a vision (or delusion) of his late mentor, Godric (Allan Hyde). And there was something humorous about Eric's attempt to convince his vampire sister, Nora (Lucy Griffiths), that his vision of Godric was more real than their shared hallucination of Lilith (Jessica Clark). It's clear that Eric holds a deep and possibly even romantic love for Nora, even though he verbally lashed out at Nora for her betrayal in the previous episode. Here, Eric finds himself getting too aggressive with Nora and he pulls back with remorse and gentleness. But neither approach sways Nora from her actions.
More alarmingly, Bill is also embracing the Sanguinista movement at the behest of Salome (Valentina Cervi). She even manages to convince Bill to feed on a helpless woman who pleads for her life even after Bill remembers the way that he refused to turn his daughter into a vampire in order to spare her from death. If Bill is just playing along with Salome's agenda to bide for time, then he's not doing a good job. Because his suggestion about shutting down all of the True Blood factories may be even more effective than the Authority's new plans to wipe out the mainstreamers.
I'm still not sure if Salome is ultimately the puppet master or if someone else is pulling her strings as well. Russell Edgington (Denis O'Hare) has had very little to do since his murder of the Guardian and I don't buy his "forgiveness" of Bill and Eric. At some point, there has to be an epic Eric versus Russell battle to settle that score. Or Bill and Eric versus Russell, if Bill is able to pull himself back from the brink.
Meanwhile in Sookieville, the fearie light show at the Stackhouse residence is quickly shut down by Jason (Ryan Kwanten), who convinces Sookie to keep her abilities and use them to help find their parents' killer. Much like an actual vampire, the faerie scenes tend to suck a lot of the life out of this series. After another needless visit to the faerie nightclub, Sookie and her brother are escorted to the place where their parents were murdered by a vampire. Sookie even learns the identity of the vampire and it's… someone that we've never met before. I would have loved it if the vampire had been Bill, Eric or even Russell. But no, it's just some dude named Warlow, who later appears to Sookie as she's getting out the shower thanks to their new mental link. Without the connection to main vampire plot, Warlow's upcoming appearance and introduction seems superfluous.
Speaking of superfluous, let's briefly check in on Terry (Todd Lowe) and Arlene (Carrie Preston), my least favorite characters in my least favorite storyline of the year. If you're up to date, you know full well that Terry and his old war buddy, Patrick (Scott Foley) are on the run from a smoke/fire monster for their heinous actions in Iraq. This week, Lafayette Reynolds (Nelsan Ellis) gets pulled into their madness during a fairly effective seance sequence. Lafayette was pretty hilarious when he went through the motions and pretended to be channeling the dead Iraqi woman's spirit… and Lafayette's alarm when the spirit actually showed up made the scene work. But I still want that storyline to go away.
Lafayette had one of the episode's best emotional moments when Jesus (Kevin Alejandro) appeared beside him in the car… not that it made up for the Don Bartolo subplot that went nowhere. Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) and Hoyt (Jim Parrack) had the other standout scene in which she confessed to no longer loving him. But there were a few moments where it seemed like Parrack couldn't decide whether to play Hoyt as faking his allegiance to the hate group that captured Jessica, or if Hoyt really considered pulling the trigger on his ex-girlfriend. I would have preferred Hoyt to have fully embraced his hate just to give him somewhere to go. Now that Hoyt has spared Jessica and rejected her thanks and friendship, there's not a lot left for him to do. Hoyt's character no longer has any direction.
Sam Trammell pulled double duty in this episode as Sam Merlotte and his girlfriend, Luna (Janina Gavankar); after she shifted into Sam's form accidentally. I had forgotten that Luna could do that, but she did mention that ability back in the fourth season before Sam's brother, Tommy picked up the skill. Trammell's take on Luna's voice and mannerisms wasn't quite as amusing as his Tommy impression, but it was still fun to watch him play off himself. Sheriff Andy Bellefleur (Chris Bauer) also had a great comedic moment when he voiced his frustrations about the two Sams and the entire supernatural community of Bon Temps.
The use of the hate group continues "True Blood's" attempts to use vampire and human relations as a metaphor for the civil rights struggle of minorities and homosexuals. But that metaphor falls apart for a simple reason: none of those real world groups are remorseless murderers who could rise up and overtake the world at a moment's notice. In "True Blood," humanity has genuine reasons to fear the vampires and other supernatural creatures in their midst. Obviously, random murders by the hate group isn't the right or just way to address that. But their hatred is not entirely unjustified.
It's almost too much of a coincidence that an armed sect of humanity is gaining prominence just as the vampires are preparing to stake their dominion over the world. Somebody wants this war to happen sooner rather than later, so it's possibly that Salome or someone else has been guiding these events to make this come to fruition.
This episode was written by Mark Hudis, who will be the new showrunner of "True Blood" starting next season, So whether you liked it or not, this may be a preview of the way things will be done next season. There are still enough interesting threads in the main Authority storyline for me, but the rest of it is a work in progress.