Episode 5.10 Writer: Alexander Woo Director: Scott Winnant
THE ONE WHERE Eric experiences rapture (possibly), Bill sends for Jessica, Sookie learns that she’s part of a Fae deal, Hoyt says no thanks for the memories and Russell goes rogue once more.
VERDICT Even if the rest of this episode had been completely bobbins, I probably still would have given it four stars just for the scene in which Hoyt begs Jessica to glamour him to erase his memories of her and Jason. Maybe the Crying Olympic Games have reduced my blubbing threshold but I found the scene one of the most genuinely affecting pieces of drama I’ve seen in a long time. Shot and acted with remarkable restraint and simplicity, it’s a scene that you don’t see coming, and yet makes total, heartrending sense. “Please take this hurt away from me so I can go on and have my life,” implores Hoyt, and you’ve never felt so much empathy for the big lug. It’s True Blood at its best. What’s most shocking is that you can say that about a scene that doesn’t involve sex or blood.
But there’s plenty of blood elsewhere in an episode that’s far from bobbins. It starts with the opening scene, in which Sookie memorably stakes newly-turned sleazy coroner Dr Phlox with a pair of chopsticks. (She tries to shoot him first, and not with wooden bullets it would seem, which seems a bit dim for a character who’s been dealing with vampires for five seasons, but hey ho). The Authority’s tech girl also gets staked very spectacularly; the FX of her body exploding into a bloodbath are among the best OTT gore the show has ever produced.
Later we get Tara beheading that dreary new sheriff with a sword after he threatens to take Fangtasia away from Pam. Pam looks both horrified and proud at the same time. The audience just goes, “Blimey, who’d have thought making Tara a vampire would turn out this good?” We demand a Pam and Tara spin-off series!
Russell finally goes rogue, and though it’s a shame he doesn’t kill Salome, we’re treated to some prime rants. His growing infatuation with Reverend Newlin doesn’t ring quite true; Steve seems a little wet for Russell, but you have to wonder if he’s actually just manipulating the guy for his own ends.
It’s still not clear what Bill is up to, and by now this should be irritating, yet it isn’t. The more you want him to show a little chink in his veneer to prove he hasn’t actually become a religious fruit loop, the more he seems to prove otherwise. If he does have an Authority-tumbling plan, he’s pretty ruthless in carrying it out: letting them kill Molly is harsh in the extreme.
In amongst all this, Sookie’s quest to discover who killed her parents struggles to make an impact. It’s not a bad or dull plotline, exactly, it just feel like it’s in second gear, and the revelation that Sookie has been promised to the killer in some kind of ancient pact makes for a less than gripping cliffhanger. But, hey, as we said last week, it’s good to have episodes in which Sookie isn’t endlessly pining after a supernatural-lover-of-the-week, though she should be ashamed that Jason outsmarted her in the detection stakes (come on, you must have worked out the secret was under the floorboard when ghost gran first gave Sookie the message two weeks ago).
GEOGRAPHY Rather aptly there’s a Tru-Blood factory in Romania; Transylvania is a part of Romania. This must have been a publicity stunt by Tru-Blood Inc, surely?
COMEDY MUSIC There’s another embarrassingly cheesy bit of comedy music when Luna and Sam turn into mice – it sound like something out of a Tom & Jerry cartoon.
BEST PAM MOMENT “We procreate because we want to, not because some dickhead dipped in afterbirth told us to.”
BEST LINES: Jason: “Hey, what are you doing here without your guards?” Jessica: “What guards? Bill stopped paying them so they split.” Jason: “That sucks.” Jessica: “Not really for them. They were beginning to look kinda tasty.”
True Blood season 5 will air in the UK on FX in the autumn.