Law & Order Comes To Bon Temps: The Racialicious Roundtable For True Blood S5, E2

Christopher Meloni (center) as Roman. All screencaps by Joseph Lamour. Courtesy: HBO.

This week on True Blood, it was time to Respect His Authoritah! After weeks of hype, Christopher Meloni made his debut on the show as Roman, the head of what looks to be one of the season’s major players, the Vampire Authority. Meanwhile, the show’s former Big Bad, Russell, is back on the loose–or on the mend, at least. And Bill and Eric continue to do their Starsky & Hutch routine. But will it hold up–and will the Authority hold up before Alan Ball’s all said and done? Our intrepid Roundtable–Tami Winfrey Harris, Kendra James, Joseph Lamour and Alea Adigweme–are on the case!

Tami: Curse True Blood for getting that old John Mellencamp song stuck in my head!

Kendra: Pam has an actual job to get to. Therefore, Pam is officially my favorite character.

Alea: Pam is absolutely my favorite. “I am [doing something]. I’m laughing.” So wry and no bullshit, though it was interesting to see her smile falter when Tara started eating Sookie.

Joe: It looks like Tara is reacting to Pam’s order a little like a pet who doesn’t quite understand what is being said. She’s still staying in the house–and not eating Sookie anymore, but the way she reacts to words (and well, anything) doesn’t bode well for her previous personality coming back in my opinion.

Kendra: No, I think the guesses from last week are right. We’re headed towards a violent Bubba/Drusilla hybrid.

Alea: I’m actually kind of excited about that. Tara might just get to have a little range along with her revenge?

Kendra: But how much range can she get when she’s sharing plot time with Crazed Soldier Platoon, Little Red Riding Vamp, The Forest Cannibals, The Vampire Evangelists, and everything else they’re apparently going to squeeze into 60 minutes of television every week?

Valentina Cervi as Salome.

Joe: Ahh, Salome makes her appearance. Shall we give a historical backstory, or does everyone know about her and John the Baptist?

Kendra: This place looks and sounds like something out of Men In Black right now, to the galaxy wallpaper on the office computer.

Alea: But much, much more chic, Kendra. I couldn’t see vampires handling all that white decor.

Joe: I know this is spiritual tradition and stuff, but those chewing noises are two for two in grossing me the heck out.

Alea: Alcide has never been one for playing politics, but his refusal to eat will definitely come back to, um, bite him.

Kendra: Luna waited until the confrontation with Alcide was over to take Sam out of there? I would have said thanks for the distraction and ran my behind out of there while no one was looking.

Alea: You know?

Todd Lowe & Carrie Preston (l-r) as Terry and Arlene.

Joe: I read a review somewhere that the first four episodes are Terry and Arlene-heavy. Not that I don’t love them, but this type of platoon-gone-bad or platoon-made-a-grim-mistake storyline is becoming an overused trope. Maybe I watch too much NCIS.

Kendra: To be fair, CBS does have the market cornered on that particular plot twist.

Alea: I agree. I didn’t think we’d see the dude from Felicity again this season. I don’t quite remember why I thought initially that he was a ghost or a figment of Terry’s imagination.

Tami: Co-sign, Joe. It’s so tired a plot that there is no mystery. Who’s with me that Terry’s good guy ex-Army buddy is going to turn out to be not such a good guy?

Also, I dig Terry and Arlene as side characters, but really, this storyline is as welcome as angry Creole mama ghost last season. I’m also gonna need the showrunners to pick a personality for Terry. Is he the sweet, simpleton who said, “I’m a nurturer. I found a baby armadillo by the side of the road and I nursed it. Now, it sleeps under my bed. It’s name is Felix.” The man scarred by war who recoils from violence and didn’t even get mad when his (possessed) co-worker kidnapped his baby. Or, is he the rage machine who tosses his girlfriend across the room when startled?

Nelsan Ellis & Anna Pacquin (l-r) as Lafayette and Sookie.

Joe: Lafayette continues to be the best at side eyes and silent comedy. He can be funny with the flip of a collar. Literally.

Joe: Tara could be suffering from phantom pains because the last human thing she felt was a buckshot lobotomy.

Rutina Wesley as Tara. Courtesy TrueBloodWikia.

Tami:Riddle me this: When Jessica was turned, she retained her basic human personality (bratty American teen). So, why is Tara emitting ghostly screeches and perching on the kitchen cabinets like a macaque?

Alea: Because she’s black?

Joe: LOL.

Kendra: Assuming it’s because she was missing half her skull when she was turned? Have we seen anyone that damaged turned before? (And because, well…they could.)

Joe: Man, Tara. All the screaming and breaking stuff. PTSV. V is for Vamp.

Alea: It’s the most absurd temper tantrum ever.

Alexander Skarsgård & Kristin Bauer (l-r) as Eric and Pam.

Joe: This Pam flashback provides an interesting backstory for her character. Especially the caring about others thing. That’s new–or old.

Alea: I can see why her current persona is, on the surface, not really centered in showing concern for others. She probably saw a number of women assaulted or killed before she was turned. Her fashion sense predates her death, though she wore a lot less make-up when she was alive. Seeing her mouth without red lipstick was so jarring.

Alea: The UV light is a brilliant torture technique. I wonder what other methods of enhanced interrogation we’ll see this episode.

Joe: I like how Luna, and Alcide to a lesser extent, react as if one of us in the real world were in this “pack rules” situation. Like, if someone was like, “Well, you have to eat this dead body, it’s tradition.” one would react, logically…I hope.

Joe: I bet she’s on the ceiling. Look up, Laffy. Lordy. Well, this scene will explain why Tara hates Sookie and Lafayette all season.

Alea: Like she needs another reason to hate Sookie. I think the fact that they had Pam turn her will be enough.

Joe: And they find Debbie’s car. I wonder how long before they find that tooth under Sookie’s fridge.

Alea: I’m so effing thrilled that Andy turned over that vile of V to Jason. And good on Jason for giving him kudos.

Kendra: They are really going to ride this Megachurch-preacher-turns-out-to-be-gay metaphor hard with Newlin this season, aren’t they? They were never all that subtle before, but we’re pushing it now.

Alea: [Insert quip about TB riding the metaphor as hard as Newlin wants to ride Jason.]

Joe: The fact that Sookie said something about Jessica becoming normal over time doesn’t bode well for Tara ever becoming normal. Tragic foreshadowing.

Joe: Eric might just be the source of all romantic vampire stories.

Alea: Eric is the source of all of my current romantic vampire fanta-stories.

Alexander Skarsgård as Eric.

Tami: Imma need a gif of Eric in top hat and tails licking blood from his fingers.

Joe: It’ll be all over the internet soon enough.

Alea: White tie is so sexy.

Kendra: Was anyone else under the impression that Pam was FAR older than 1905?

Joe: I thought they mentioned how she was turned in the book on air. She was from Victorian London in them. She was also 19. I guess they went in a different direction.

Alea: Also, her Southern accent was pretty much absent.

Joe: Was the casting notice for this interrogator “Must be as Christoph Waltz-like as possible”?

Kendra: I’m sorry, “The Vampire Bible”? That just sounds ridiculous. Also slightly odd continuity-wise, in five seasons, this is the first we’re hearing of it.

Alea: The lack of continuity smacks of lazy writing, but Bill’s overreliance on henleys is almost more grating than the late addition of this “Original Testament.” Lilith, Salome … maybe this season will just work its way through all of problematic women in the Bible.

Alea: Silver electrolyte IVs. Dastardly!

Tami: No way Eric would be Bill’s sidekick in this buddy-cop situation the show is cultivating. Eric is too badass. Bill is too…Bill.

So … apparently the inspiration for this season’s plotline? Rick Santorum.

Joe: Is Mr. Ball insinuating Santorum’s homophobia might mean something? Insert joke about sweater vests here.

Joe: Holy crap, Tara speaks! That was unexpected.

Joe: Christopher Meloni! I automatically hear the Law and Order clonk-clonk when I see him.

Alea: Dude, Meloni will always be one-half of my favorite “romance” from Oz. Before he was Stabler, he was Keller the hot sociopath.

Tami: Maybe Eric and Bill will be rescued by Sam Waterston and his righteous eyebrows!

Joe: Well Russell isn’t looking too fresh these days.

Tami: It pains me to say that I’m not getting the same joy from True Blood as I have in the past. This episode had me clock-watching–and not in the good Season Three way. Several die-hard fans have shared the same feeling with me. What is it?

Joe: In the last seasons, there was definitely a string tying all the plots together, it just seems like Alan Ball is getting in all of his plot ideas as showrunner before he leaves.

Kendra: Well, first of all, that episode was over 55 minutes long–five minutes longer than usual, and you could feel it. Unfortunately the list of plots I absolutely do not care about continues to grow. Terry and Arlene, Jason and Hoyt, even Jessica at this point, and Sam and Luna (don’t shows know that focusing on kid plots is like a kiss of death? Leave it for the fanfiction.) Also, as much as I enjoy looking at Alcide? Debbie’s dead, he doesn’t want to be pack leader, he and Sookie aren’t together, and he doesn’t even live in the same state. Why is he on the show?

Alea: Cosign. I’m hoping that coming episodes will focus more on The Authority vs. the Sanguinistas — which means Team Beric vs. Russell—and Tara learning to be a vampire. Those are the storylines that make TB more than fan fiction or crap from CBS. The writers really need to streamline this show instead of adding more nonsense and leaving plots unresolved or resolved poorly at the end of the season.

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Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

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  • Oscar_M

    I was so disappointed with the turn the Pam-Eric story took. I was hoping Pam would fight off her assailant, since she’s always been so badass in the past. I also hate the threat of sexual violence as a way to create a male hero. Eric has never been gallant before. Why is he doing it now? Also, one of the things I’ve liked best about Pam’s relationship with Eric was that it wasn’t sexual. Pam’s always been shown to be gay, and their relationship was one of the nonsexual maker-makee relationships on the show. So much disappointment.

  • Bob Gordon

    If he makes a habit of coining phrases like “buckshot lobotomy,”  I’m going to have to spend some time with Joseph Lamour’s blog.

  • Bob Gordon

    If he makes a habit of coining phrases like “buckshot lobotomy,”  I’m going to have to spend some time with Joseph Lamour’s blog.

  • Anonymous

    The fact that no one has mentioned Christopher Meloni being on the show may mean seeing his shelf booty… ::files nails::

    • Anonymous

      You aren’t lying that this comment still has me about the fall out!!

      I hope you get your wish b/c it has been all kinds of flat backs up until now…

      • Anonymous

        I know folks should appreciate Mr Meloni’s fine acting skills and whatnot, but c’mon now! Let’s not pretend that his naked posterior wouldn’t shut down Eric’s smediumness for days. For. Days.

  • Kat

    Wait? No mention of that ADORABLE fluffy baby wolf pup in pjs?

    I found the torture scenes very hard to watch. Especially given the Iraq subplot in other parts of the Bon Temps universe.

    Any guesses on what happened to Jesus?

    @ Tami: I remembered Jessica’s transformation completely differently. Jessica changed from the extremely demure and shy abused daughter of a Christian fundamentalist family to a sex positive self-confident woman, sometimes via bratty teenagers. But I don’t remember her being bratty at all before she was turned.


  • Space Crip

    I think the show is using Terry and Arlene poorly. Right now, they’re the only humans not caught up in supernatural bullshit on an intimate level which makes them the perfect characters to give the human perspective on how supernatural drama affects the average Bon Temps citizen. (I’ll admit though that there’s something inherently problematic about a white heterosexual couple being placed as the average humans within the show’s narrative.) The evil platoon storyline is pointless and a time waster.

  • Elle

    Agreed.All these subplots must stop or become streamlined.

    The minute Arlene got pregnant and tried to kill the baby because of its “evilness” from his father, I was like damn another stupid plot. They need to chill out with showing Arlene and Terry all the time. Quite frankly, they bore the heck out of me. (well really its Arlene that bores me. I love me some Terry)
    Same for Jessica. She is super hot, but it doesn’t mean she’s interesting to watch at all.

    I’m interested in seeing Tara run into Sam though.
    Their relationship isn’t healthy but I’d like to see it become so.
    Also I caught word that Tara wont be turned into a “Bubba.” (Yay for hope)

    Lastly, even though I hate sookie and everything about her, i don’t want her investigated for Debbie’s murder.
    She should’ve just called the police regardless of the fact that she “wanted” to kill her.