Episode Title: "Gone, Gone, Gone"
Writer: Alexander Woo
Director: Scott Winant
Previously on "True Blood":
At her home, Sookie Stackhouse ( Anna Paquin) nervously eats Chinese takeout while watching TV reports about the True Blood factory bombings. Unexpectedly, the local coroner, Mike Spencer (John Billingsley) shows up on her doorstep about the body… hers. As Mike attacks Sookie, she manages to grab her chopsticks and stake him. In the Authority headquarters, vampire tech girl Molly (Tina Majorino) is marched before Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), Salome (Valentina Cervi) and the rest to answer for her attempted escape with Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard).
Molly gets in a few verbal shots at them and their crazy devotion for Lilith (Jessica Clark) before she is killed by an iStake of her own design. Elsewhere, Russell Edgington (Denis O'Hare) and his new lover, Steve Newlin (Michael McMillian) have a romantic dance together after slaughtering a frat house. Back to Sookie, Andy Bellefleur (Chris Bauer) arrives to clean up Mike's body and he bonds with Sookie while sharing Mike's perversions. At Fangtasia, Pam (Kristin Bauer) and Tara (Rutina Wesley) are incredulous when the new Sheriff of Area 5, Elijah (Keram Malicki-Sanchez) tells them that they are required to sire more vampires or else everything Pam owns (including Tara) goes to Elijah.
At Authority headquarters, Eric rejects Bill's attempts to convert him to Lilith's teachings, but he forces Eric to drink her blood before Nora (Lucy Griffiths) also partakes of the blood to join her brother in a religious experience. To their surprise, their mutual maker, Godric (Allan Hyde) appears to them and chastises Lilith as a Godless God. Eric and Nora are shocked again when the vision of Lilith reappears and destroys Godric in front of them. At Merlotte's Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten) and Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) are summoned to meet with Hoyt (Jim Parrack).
Instead of receiving Hoyt's forgiveness for their sins against him, he tells Jessica to glamour him into forgetting both of them so he can start his new life in Alaska free of angst and heartbreak. Although reluctant, Jessica complies. After later catching up with his sister, Jason is clearly disheartened by Hoyt's actions. But Jason proves that he has some police skills when he finds the hidden compartment in the floor under Sookie's bed with a mysterious document written in an unknown language. However, their initial attempt to get it translated by a University professor proves to be fruitless.
At his home, Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) pretends to be a reporter to get face time with Newlin, who kidnapped Emma (Chloe Noelle), the daughter of his lover, Luna (Janina Gavankar). As Luna starts to despair about getting her daughter back, they learn that Newlin is scheduled to make an appearance on a TV debate show. So, they sneak into the studio and look for Emma while Newlin makes an anti-vampire congressman look foolish. When they see that Newlin didn't bring Emma with him, they turn into mice and hide in his bag.
Soon after, Jessica is escorted to the Authority, where she is greeted warmly by Bill. However, Jessica is put off by Bill's newfound religious beliefs even as he hands her a vampire bible to read. On the road, Jason pulls over Hoyt and tries to get him to stay in town. But Hoyt is too happy to go and he doesn't remember Jason, who reluctantly lets him drive off before he cries in front of his sister. In the Authority headquarters, Eric is brought before them alongside Nora as he embraces Lilith's teachings and asks for Russell's forgiveness.
Back at Fangtasia, Tara tells Elijah that she accidentally drained Ginger. Elijah realizes that it's a ruse shortly before Ginger stabs him and Tara decapitates him, much to Pam's shock. At the Authority headquarters, Russell grows bored with the religious agenda and reveals that faerie blood allows vampires to daywalk; which Bill and Eric reluctantly confirm. However, Salome has no interest in pursuing this, leading Russell to lash out at all of them and renounce his ties to the Authority before angrily departing.
At the faerie night club, Claude (Giles Matthey) and Claudette (Camilla Luddington) attempt to help Sookie and Jason decipher the document with little success. Only with the help of Maurella (Kristina Anapau) do they learn that the document is a contract that essentially promises Sookie to Warlow, the vampire that killed her parents.
Is it a coincidence that the best episode of "True Blood" this season was the first without either Terry (Todd Lowe) or Arelene (Carrie Preston)? I think not.
But the real reason this episode shined was because it had a heart underneath all of the occasionally ridiculous moments. Hoyt's farewell scene with Jessica and Jason was really well done. The creative team apparently realized that Hoyt didn't have any more room to develop in the show and they wrote him out as well as they could. They also avoided the easy way out of Hoyt forgiving Jason and Jessica; which made for some good emotional turmoil throughout. Deborah Ann Woll and Ryan Kwanten both had some great performances as they dealt with their characters' grief. Jim Parrack also got a chance to give Hoyt his backbone again, especially when standing up to his mother.
In another highlight, Russell Edgington finally stepped up as one of the major villains again. For the most part, Russell had seemed somewhat neutered by simply being among the Authority instead of raising hell against them. If Russell is truly off the leash again, then there are some fun times ahead. I also love that when Russell got angry, his accent suddenly reappeared. Denis O'Hare owns that role.
However, the real villain of "True Blood" season 5 may turn out to be Bill Compton himself. His devotion to Lilith doesn't appear to be an act; which may make him even more dangerous than Russell in the long run. This was supposed to be Salome's coup, but more and more it seems like Bill is the one calling the shots. It's not clear if Eric has truly been converted, but Jessica definitely hasn't succumbed yet… and she may be the last voice of reason among the vampires.
Despite Godric's bloody exit, his reappearance in this episode to both Eric and Nora suggested that he's at least as real as the vision of Lilith. And his words before his apparent destruction seem to indicate that Eric and Nora's battle against Lilith must be fought from within.
Sookie's story is a little less entertaining, especially since the contract with Warlow may simply be a set up for next season. On the other hand, Sookie and Jason still play off of each other well and the cold opening with Sookie and Mike was effective. The writers even brought up Mike's perversions earlier this season; which made for a good callback.
I was only half joking when I said that Arlene and Todd's absence made this episode better. Without placing any focus on them or the werewolves, this episode felt more streamlined and coherent than any other episode this season. "True Blood" has an abundance of interesting characters who deserve more attention. Maybe now that some of those meaningless side stories are over, the rest of the season can finally take off.