True Blood review – 5×06: ‘Hopeless’

Courtesy of HBO

‘Hopeless’ brings the current season of True Blood to its halfway point and it’s time to re-evaluate how we’re feeling about S5. Sample question: where the eff is this season going?!

Let’s bitch it out…Back when the fifth season debuted, the first two episodes were a bit of a mixed bag: lotsa characters, lotsa plotlines and no real concrete direction. It was clear that the Authority would play a big part, although with multiple episodes under our belt, they seem less important than I initially anticipated (unless something dramatic occurs in the next few episodes such as the appearance of Lilith that ends up dominating the remainder of the season).

We knew for sure that Russell Edgington (Denis O’Hare) would return and he has, although ‘Hopeless’ marks the first time that he’s actually up and around. As for the rest of the True Blood crew, Terry (Todd Lowe) has clearly drawn the short straw with his Iraq war penance story, which continues to drag the series down with no clear resolution in sight. The transformation of Tara (Rutina Wesley) into a vampire has been shifted to the backburner in the last few weeks now that Pam (Kristin Bauer) has finished crying over Eric (Alexander Skargard) and she’s officially taken over Fangtasia. And it feels as though Sookie (Anna Paquin), Jason (Ryan Kwanten) and Alcide (Joe Mangianello) have barely begun to do anything.

Courtesy of HBO

So…it’s basically another season of True Blood. I’d be remiss to suggest that the series is anything other than a hot mess when it comes to balancing its characters and storylines; one of the reasons I’ve found it so enjoyable these last few years is that it’s anambitious hot mess. The show is so eager and desperate to cram as much excess into every season and episode it lacks focus or a clear vision. Sometimes this is acceptable, especially when there’s a jaw-dropper of a cliffhanger or a holy sh*t moment. Even a great character can have a huge impact in muddied waters. The problem is that S5 hasn’t had any of these: it’s missing these things that have made the series so palatable in the past. The result is that it’s it’s suicide plunge over the cliffs of narrative cohesion even more obvious than usual.

Consider our new characters: Nora (Lucy Griffiths) was an early stand-out, but she’s spent the better part of the season trapped in a cell. Salome (Valentina Cervi) had the makings of a Lorena (Mariana Klaveno) – a batshit crazy vixen unafraid to get her claws dirty – but Salome has been neutered in submission to Roman (Chris Meloni), who has spent the better part of six episodes speechifying and pontificating the values of vamp/human co-habitation. Alas, none of these actors have been allowed to do much because True Blood wants to give Sam (Sam Trammell) his own storyline, and Andy (Chris Bauer) his own and even Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) her own. Instead of forcing situations wherein these actors had to interact (think of Marnie’s assault against the vampires last season which brought virtually every actor into a tight circumference around the magic shop) we have virtually everyone off doing their own thing.

Looking forward, there’s some hope for the future. With Roman’s not-so-shocking death (that blue polo was an obvious kiss of death), the loyalty of the Authority Council members should come into question, and the identity of Russell’s female accomplice should be revealed soon. For True Blood fans, this is all par for the course. For those with only a passing fancy in the supernatural antics of Bon Temps, I can’t imagine they’ll hang on much longer unless things begin to come together.

Other Observations:

  • Dammit! Luna (Janina Gavankar) is still alive?! Crap on a stick…
  • What is going on with Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis)? He’s a fan favourite and he’s relegated to chasing his dead boyfriend’s head around town? Is it really that hard to find something for this awesome character to do? How about a bonding camping trip between him, Tara, and Jessica?
  • The Obama mask gang returns to gun down vamps outside of Fangtasia, pulling Hoyt (Jim Parrack) into their web. Not quite the direction I thought this was headed, and I’m unsure whether we should be intrigued or not
  • On the flip side, things I am excited for: More faerie Claude (Giles Matthey)! This guy totally runs away with the show with sassy one-liners about Sookie’s child sized head and running away from Faerie Queen Mabb because she made them “dress like Disney characters” (apparently he hasn’t looked in the mirror since joining the Burlesque/Moulin Rouge Faerie club?)

Yeah, that’s about it for this week. What are your thoughts as we hit the half-way point of the season? Are you excited for any of the supporting characters’ storylines: Tara/Jess, Andy, Terry, Lafayette? Are you as upset as I am that Luna is still kicking around? And what happens now that Edgington is on the loose and Roman’s dead? Hash it out below.

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

3 thoughts on “True Blood review – 5×06: ‘Hopeless’

  1. As usual, I enjoy watching the show. I think most of the actors do as well as can be expected with what they get. However . . .

    1. SOMEONE MUST DIE: I’m all for keeping people employed, but Luna should have died. Note to self: A big hole in a shifter’s gut is but a flesh wound.

    2. REEL IN THE STORYLINES: Please! Surely the werewolf pack story will weave into the vampire story which has something to do with the faeries which . . . well I don’t know what to say about Terry and Lafayette. Other than MORE LAFAYETTE, always.

    We do have quite a little cliffhanger, though. Don’t know how Bill and Eric are getting out of this one. I’m sure, however, that everyone in that room has at least 2.5 allegiances for contingencies.

    That’s all, but I am enjoying Sookie’s blasé acceptance of her lot this season. She’s gotten some good one-liners!