True Blood review – 5×09: ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’

Courtesy of HBO

Boy…is that ever a long episode of True Blood? Oh sure, the run time is no longer than usual, but it sure feels long. Thankfully several of the series’ more frustrating stories are wrapped up, which means the remaining S5 episodes should be able to focus on the meaty stuff.

Let’s bitch it out…Because so much of tonight’s episode focused on stories I haven’t much enjoyed, that was a loooong 44 minutes. At least we are finally free of Terry (Todd Lowe) and Patrick’s (Scott Foley) Ifrit storyline. Much like Chris Meloni’s departure in 5×06 ‘Hopeless’, the death of Patrick has been a foregone conclusion since Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) did his Whoopi Goldberg/Ghost act last week and announced either Patrick or Terry had to go. There was no suspense or drama to be mined here; it is simply a matter of when and how Patrick dies (in Merlotte’s, with a gun) so once that’s dealt with, we can now finally put this terrible storyline to bed.

Also drawing to a conclusion is the hate crimes spree orchestrated by the Dragon, aka Sweetie (Jennifer Hasty), and former Sheriff Bud Dearborne (William Sanderson). Turns out the Obama-mask redneck crew were taking their orders from them and – perhaps we ought to have seen this coming considering the calibre of lieutenants they recruited – Sweetie and Bud were peeved for nothing but the dumbest of slights: Sweetie was rejected by a shifter and Dearborne allows himself to be bossed around by her because they have hot-tub sex (Bud also suggests that his sexless marriage and ass cancer are contributing factors to his bigotry).  These irrationally inept arguments , including Sweetie’s suggestion that these events are building to a supernatural WW4 (?) fought on American soil, simply reinforces how stupid these backwater hicks really are.

The perversion of the former Sheriff continues the S5 theme of perversion of institutional power. It’s a weird little idea that permeates in both the Authority, as well as the wolf pack, storylines. It even shows up in Andy’s (Chris Bauer) fear that he’s the worst Sheriff in Bon Temps history after he and Jason beat up prisoner Joe Bob (Ted Welch). Thus far this season, we’ve yet to see a figure of authority that hasn’t been misled, corrupted or tarnished in some capacity. At the same time, the show has consistently reinforced the value of “family”, an idea that has only gained prominence and validity over the last nine episodes (although they are hardly new to the series, or genre television for that matter). The reappearance tonight of Gran guiding Anna Paquin’s Sookie to answers, off-hand shout-outs like Lafayette’s text from his cousin, Kristin Bauer’s possessive mothering of Rutina Wesley’s Tara, and Alexander Skarsgard’s concern with saving both Lucy Griffiths’ Nora, as well as Stephen Moyer’s Bill). Apparently when the supernatural sh*t hits the fan in Bon Temps, you turn away from the elected officials and towards your loved ones to shield, or even rescue you, from tough times.

Courtesy of HBO

And so with three episodes remaining in the season, we’ve left at a crossroads. With several lacklustre storylines dealt with, we can now concentrate on those we’ve spent nine episodes building up: 1) the hunt for the vampire that killed Sookie’s parents, even as her Faerie powers weaken and 2) the repercussions of the religious fanaticism of the Authority, who this week attack three TrueBlood bottling plants (Texas, Japan and Kuwait).

Despite my reservations on the whole Authority storyline, which has been mishandled, boring and static for much of the season, I still find myself invested, particularly with regard to the question of Bill’s allegiance. Tonight it is seemingly confirmed when he betrays Eric to align himself with Valentina Cervi’s Salome. I still think there’s wiggle room here, though.

Consider this theory concocted by reader SirBeegus: is it possible that the Lilith blood is not actually Lilith’s (Jessica Clark) at all, but rather Salome’s? Revisit the scene when Bill sleeps with Salome and imagines Sookie in her place (likely in response to Eric’s previous comment about Bill’s feelings for her as little more than food). After Sookie replaces Salome, Bill feeds on her, at which time she morphs into Lilith and then back to Salome. Bill then examines his fingers, which are covered in Salome’s blood. The obvious interpretation is that he can now use her blood to fool the sensors and escape the compound with Eric and Tina Majorino’s Molly.

Less obvious, but more compelling, is that Bill realizes that Salome’s blood is the same as the blood that gave him visions of Lilith in 5×07 ‘In The Beginning’. We know that vampire blood produces a connection between the sucker and suckee (for lack of a better term) and causes hallucinations in humans. Is it possible that Salome’s blood can somehow affect vampires to produce the same hallucinogenic results? If Bill realizes this, his alignment with Salome may simply be a ruse to ensure they do not succeed.

Now I may be completely misreading the scene. Either way, however, I don’t think that Bill – who Eric correctly identifies as the biggest mainstreamer – has really become a religious convert. Therefore I am holding out that he’s pulling a long-con on Salome in order to take down the Authority. Prove me wrong, Bill Compton, prove me wrong!

Other Observations:

  • Did anyone else think of Hannibal when the Obama-mask crew planned to let pigs eat Sookie and Hoyt (Jim Parrack)? Anyone? Bueller?
  • The action is truly heating up at Fangtasia, which is the storyline most affected by the TrueBlood factory bombings. Not only have the Chancellors lifted the ban on the public feeding of humans, but Eric has been replaced by new character Elijah (Keram Malicki-Sánchez) as Sheriff of Area 5. Elijah and Pam are clearly going to have an awkward relationship moving forward, while the hording and/or consuming of TrueBlood is only just beginning.
  • Luna (Janina Gavankar) lives! Yeah…I don’t care either
  • Russell (Denis O’Hare) gives lover Steve Newlin (Michael McMillian) a gift to compensate for Steve’s lack of childhood pets: wolfcub Emma! Grandma Martha (Dale Dickey) naturally freaks out, but does nothing (just as she’s done all season). I guess this will give Luna something new to yell and cuss about (Side Note: seriously why does she swear ALL the time? Get this beyotch a bar of soap, stat!)
  • Finally, poor Alcide (Joe Mangianello) appears to have inherited the “Sam Merlotte” storyline from S3 where you seek out your loser family. In this case it’s Alcide’s drunken, gambling-addicted “lone wolf” father, played with weary resignation by Robert Patrick (aka Terminator 2‘s T-1000). I like Patrick, but we do not need another new storyline, nor we do we need more effed up absent parents. I’m already dreading this one, folks

Best Lines:

  • Russell (before snacking on a nekkid man strapped to the Authority boardroom table): ‘Should we say Grace?’
  • Lafayette (trying to establish contact with Warlow): “Creepy spirit thingy, why you in Sookie’s bathroom?”
  • Lafayette (reprimanding the cacophony of spirits): “I ain’t gmail for dead bitches”
  • Pam (to Tara): “Just because we drank a bitch together does not make us Oprah and Gayle”; Tara (in response): “Suck me, vampire Barbie”
  • Lafayette (after Gran provides a vague clue): “Dead folk – why you gotta be so cryptic? It ain’t cute”
  • Sookie (after surviving Dearborne’s pig farm attack): “I’ll be fine once I wash the pigs out of my hair”

And with that we’re into the last three episodes of the season. Clearly the madness over limited supplies of TrueBlood will intensify, but how far do you think it will go? What’s the story with the new Sheriff in town? Are you satisfied that we’ve closed off several plotlines, or are you concerned about the lackluster new wolf-related ones? Talk 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

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