True Blood review – 5×05: ‘Let’s Boot N’Rally’

Courtesy of HBO

True Blood hits saturation point as the number of stories outweighs its ability to do them all justice. So who suffers the most?

Let’s bitch it out…It feels like we’ve come full circle back to the S5 premiere as ‘Let’s Boot N’Rally’ dishes up roughly three dozen storylines, very few of which intersect. The result is an episode that feels as bloated and unappetizing as hard-core party revelers after the 4th of July. There are, however, bright moments, which are relatively easy to break down:

1) Tara (Rutina Wesley): Can I just take a moment to gloat at the Tara-haters? I know that she’s never been a barrel of laughs or the life of the party, but to me, Tara has always played an integral role on the show. She’s Sookie’s (Anna Paquin) best friend, the grounding figure in all of the supernatural weirdness and often a martyred figure as a result (if bad sh*t is gonna happen to someone, you might as well bet on Tara).

So what a delight it is to see the writers take Tara out of her comfort zone now that she’s a vampire. The scene between her and Deborah Ann Woll’s Jessica is the delight of the night as the young vamps bond over their insatiable appetites, debate the healthiness of their desires and the depths to which the mean elder folk like Pam (Kristin Bauer) and Bill (Stephen Moyer) don’t get them. To see them agree on potential BFF status and then immediately come to blows when Tara nearly kills new Fang-banger Hoyt (Jim Parrack) absolutely works for me. Also, let’s talk Hoyt’s outfit: Rejected Joker costume from original Batman (1989) movie?

2) The Asylum crew: After puking on Alcide’s (Joe Manganiello) shoes, Sookie agrees to help Bill and Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) track down Russell Edgington (Dennis O’Hare). Admittedly ‘Sober’ Sookie is less fun than last week’s ‘Drunk Sookie’, but there’s plenty of atmosphere and jumps when this rag-tag group reaches the Hancock Hospital. Who – or what – attacks Alcide immediately before the credits? It’s a great cliffhanger that makes me want to immediately watch next week’s episode.

Courtesy of HBO

That leaves pretty much all of the other plotlines either underdeveloped or simply unwelcome. Falling into the former category is Nelsan Ellis’ Lafayette turning brujo, smashing figurines and seeing dead lover Jesus’ (Kevin Alejandro) head with lips sown shut. The latter category includes Terry’s (Todd Lowe) Generation Kill-meets-Supernatural storyline which now features a fire demon named Ifrit (Ummm…okay?). I’ll also throw in everything concerning  The Authority since it’s clear that Chris Meloni’s stint as Roman is turning into a huge dud (Speechify! Bow before vial of blood! Sanction UV torture of prisoners! Rinse, lather, repeat!). There’s simply no forward momentum on this plot and each time we turn back to Roman or Salome (Valentina Cervi) it feels like the show comes to a screeching halt. P.S. Anyone wanna bet the mysterious Authority woman who rescued Edgington is Salome?


Other Observations:

  • Oh hey, Ruby Jean (Alfre Woodward) good to see you again – for a single line. Okay, well obviously we’ll get more of you next week, but seriously? One frickin’ line?!
  • Oh hey, Luna (Janina Gavankar) good to see you again – oh, you’re dead. Okay, well thanks for coming back. Great seeing you and hopefully you stay dead. Side Note: Were those Obama masks the shooters were wearing? Offensive!
  • No big showy Pam scenes this week (although bonus points for her off-the-hook puffed and curled hair). I’m sure the Tara-haters loved seeing Pam smack some b*tch sense into Tara, because – seriously – who eats on the job? Admittedly Tara was always a terrible bartender, so Pam should have known better than to put her – a hungry newborn vamp to boot – around willing victims
  • Jason (Ryan Kwanten) is now seeing hallucinations of his dead parents with grisly vampire-related neck wounds. I’m just as into seeing an adult in pajamas with feet as the next guy, but this “parents killed by vamps” storyline already feels misguided and off-track. Let’s hook Sookie into this or something because Jason feels untethered from the rest of the show
  • So Andy (Chris Bauer) only just now realized that he has something good going with Holly and doesn’t want to risk mucking it up with hot Faeries? Way to clue in after the cheating there, Andy. Seriously – this guy is MENSA-level genius
  • Finally, why does pre-recuperation Rusell Edgington look like Harry Potter‘s Voldemort? I keep waiting to hear him curse out a boy wizard or shout “Avada Kedavra!”

Best Lines:

  • Terry (as he’s being tied to a chair in a sketchy fallout bunker): “I’m thinking this was a maybe not-so-good idea” Ya think, Captain Obvious?
  • Tara (commenting on her new trashy vamp look): “If I wanted to look like a drag queen, I would have raided Lafayette’s closet” I kinda like her “tarted-up” look
  • Sookie (upon Bill and Eric’s suggestion that they split up): “”I’ve seen enough horror movies to know you don’t split up when you’re in a big, scary asylum and there’s a killer on the loose.”
  • Eric (responding to Doug’s statement that he’s never been to NY): “New York city smells like pee and the people are rude.” Okay, but how do you really feel?

And with that, we’re nearly halfway through season five! It seems clear that other wolves attacked Alcide, but does anyone want to bet otherwise? Do you think Salome is a sanguinista? Are you bored by Jason, Sam, Andy, Terry or the Authority plotlines like me? Any Tara-haters coming around? And do you honestly believe Hoyt is really a fangbanger or is this all a ruse? Hit up the comments!

True Blood airs Sundays at 9pm EST on HBO

About cinephilactic

cinephilactic is a university contract instructor in Film Studies. He is an avid TV watcher, particularly science-fiction, fantasy and drama series. His favourite shows currently airing on TV include The Good Wife, Breaking Bad, Justified, Hannibal, Game Of Thrones and a smattering of shows on The CW. He has a tendency to "hate-watch" particular shows and likes to think that his sarcastic voice comes through in his reviews, though sometimes he's just being bitchy

7 thoughts on “True Blood review – 5×05: ‘Let’s Boot N’Rally’

  1. Obama mask – don’t most pop culture criminals wear president masks during their heists and murder sprees? I think I’ve seen it in a half dozen situations.

    Is Sam gonna become a single dad?

    Why didn’t Tara go all “girl cage fighter” on Jessica?

    Is it just me or is the supernatural aspect of the show for flying off the handle? Just because vampires go public, crazy brujo/curses/shifters/werewolf/fairy/werepanther/possession/witchcraft sh*t just suddenly starts happening?

    I have many questions, as you can see…

    • Re: Jessica vs Tara. Unsure why Tara didn’t rock her girlfight skills, but remember that Jessica is “older” and therefore stronger

      The plethora of supes has dramatically increased, but one could argue this is a trope of the genre. Once one creature of the night is let loose, they all come out!

      • In theory, skill wins out over brute strength. But that is a discussion for another day…

        I get that vamps “came out” 2 years earlier and are trying to integrate in society, and all sorts of werewolf attacks could be chalked up to wild coyotes… but curses and witches and fairy and possessions all seem to have been taking place prior to vampire going public. I don’t like this “light switch” form of storytelling. I think for Buffy it worked because she was entering and exploring the realm of supernatural, these are just regular people in a really small town and LOTS of stuff is suddenly happening to them.

  2. I guess I didn’t think they would actually kill someone even though, gasp, I quietly mentioned it last week. Sadly, it was Luna (But she’s so pretty. Damn!). Now I suppose we have to deal with conflict between Sam and that crazy (well, trashy) wolf pack. Maybe Alcide and Sam will get married and give the little orphaned wolf two daddies. They don’t seem to be having any luck with the ladies, that’s for sure.

    Backtracking, “Boot n’Rally,” huh? Well, Sookie never did get drunk at a college party, blow the chunks, then carry on lucidly. Better late than never, I suppose.

    I’m still very curious about the mystery this season, though. Nearly every storyline has a whodunnit factor. Very fun! I loved those “Best Lines,” too.

    Overall, I had a good laugh, but . . .

    1. Jason: Really? Vampire hate. Again? Meh. Maybe this is a red herring. If you’ve read the books, you know what I mean. But I love you, Jason.

    2. Tara and Jessica: Cool! Immediate Gurl Fight? Surely we didn’t need that.

    3. Andy: Ok, so you really are a two-timing lint-licker. And last week I was trying to give you the benefit of the doubt. For shame! (Must be said with a heavy Arlene accent.)

    4. The Authority: “Blah, blah, snore,” as Tara would say. And Salome, please talk to some sistas about your wig choices. I’m waiting for Lilith to surface.

    5. Terry: Maybe I’m being too sensitive, but I really don’t like PTSD mixed up in my popcorn show. Just stay sweet, Terry, and go home and take care of your armadillo.

    6. Lafayette: MORE LAFAYETTE, but hook him into the other plots.

    Oh, yeah. Hoyt: Just look at yourself. Well, bless your heart. (Again, need that southern accent for this one, too.)

  3. I agree that the whole Authority arc is getting tired…Salome’s almost certainly the traitor and Chris Meloni (not matter how hot he looks in a suit:) is being woefully underused. I know folks love to hate Tara, but I think her gurl fight with Jessica and Pam’s trained dog comment after will lead to some explosive moments between the three of them. Me thinks Tara might make her maker meet…well her maker.

    My take:

    • Man, I would be really disappointed if they killed Tara after going to all this effort and redeeming her this season. But there’s a lot of people who seem to think that!

      • Oh, please, pretty please, don’t kill Tara. Sadly, maybe Terry won’t make it out alive, either. I really like that actor.