Boot And Rally, Indeed: The Racialicious Roundtable For True Blood 5.5

This season finally takes a turn for the interesting, with better characterization, the return of Russell Edgington, Sookie continuing her newfound journey into an actual heroine, and Tara now vamping with the best. Tami, Joe, and Alea join me to discuss.

Tami: So, do we think episode writer, Angela Robinson, helped get the stink of privilege out of this season of True Blood? According Television Without Pity recapper, Jacob Clifton, she’s a lesbian, black writer, which he believes helps things.

Joe: I can see that. In watching this episode… I don’t know I just noticed I enjoyed it more than the last ones? It was hard to pinpoint why; I don’t think I can tell when other black gay people are involved in things (that would be a great power, lol) but I think it has more to do with the quality of the writing. I hope she writes more episodes.

Latoya: Maybe it was the sign of someone finally taking this season seriously. Those scenes shot against the Authoritarian speech were damn near poetic. And this was the first episode in the season that prompted me to rewind multiple times to rewatch scenes. Clearly Angela Robinson and Michael Lehmann have a chemistry that needs to continue. Beautifully executed. But let’s actually watch the show…

Pina Colada Time is Over
Joe: Ugh, what a Days of Our Lives move, picking someone up like that. This whole scene reminds me of college. Good times.

Alea: This Al-Sookie make-out scene is making me want to wretch.

Latoya: Apparently, it caused the same reaction in Sook.

Laffy Is Tired Of Being A Supernatural Puppet
Joe: Ooh, Laffy shows us more soap-opera stuff. Self exposition. Very daytime…at least until the whole brujo thing and religious figure massacre. Unless any of you have seen Passions.

Alea: That angel is totally playing the world’s smallest violin for Lafayette. I wish I could connect a voice to a figurine. Like, how does the shit that Santo Niño’s talking differ from what Buddha’s saying?

Joe: Lafayette is saying out loud what all of us have been saying: Give him a break! Although if the writers realize how crappy Tara and L’s hands are, I doubt it’ll eer get much better.

Latoya: Honestly, I would much rather watch Lala work out his problems for about 30 mins than any of the other plots they switched to. Watching him assert how he was a good person makes me think that theme is going to return.

Terry Gets Closer To The Truth
Alea: Sergeant Felicity has been giving me bad vibes since last season. I think Terry’s going to have to defeat him by the end of the season in order to conquer whatever’s haunting him.

Latoya: Word.

Joe: Oh, we were right about the Jinn thing. They’re being hunted by an Ifrit. My other guess was that all those people they shot were subjects of Daenerys Targaryen. And Noel Crane, in a world where vampires are shown to exist, why would you not believe something else could? I never understand characters in supernatural shows who say stuff like “That’s not possible!” while they’re riding on a broom in an enchanted forest.

Tara’s Transformation
Alea: Holy eff. Tara’s clothes, hair, and make-up are so damn fly.

Latoya: Oh hell on wheels. Can we pause for a second and just note that Rutina just killed it every which way from Sunday? She got the swag sauce, she drippin’ swagu! Thank God for Tumblr because there is a gif and a clear pic.

Joe: I think after this scene that Pam is a what I like to call a debutante racist. It seems to me that in her former life, she would never burn a cross because that would be unseemly, but dropping casual slurs is fine with her. Jessica Lange played a similar character with that type of sensibility in the first season of American Horror Story. It’s kind of like her thought process is “Well that’s what you are, so what’s wrong with calling you that?”

The problem comes because up until now, Pam was a supporting character, so now that she’s a major one this season, you get it from her a lot more often (like every episode) and it either is really a big part of her character, or the writers have only one thing in their bag of tricks for her.

Tami: And see, I think it really matters that the writers choose to put this junk in Pam’s mouth. I am not opposed to a writer using racist language to illustrate who a character is, but it needs to be clear that at least this aspect of the character’s personality is a bad thing. I think that was clear with Lange’s character on American Horror Story. But here, Pam has always been positioned as smart, capable, and a fan favorite. What does it mean that she constantly drops race- and gender-based slurs? And that no other characters challenges them? And that there are few fully-drawn characters of color to mitigate her slurs?

Latoya: I disagree with that–I think that using racist language to underscore a “bad” character is totally lazy characterization. This is what I was saying with Sons–it took a lot of skill to illuminate the complexities of racism. It’s more than just playing with slurs. It requires context, understanding, and enough imagination to realize that people and institutions can do horrible things without ever vocalizing what they are doing. It also requires the understanding that not all racial issues end up neatly resolved with a comeuppance. True Blood is drawing a very clear line here – Arlene’s country, ignorant bigotry is bad. But Pam’s sexy, urbane racism is quite all right. There’s always a reason to excuse it, isn’t there? And, there are no characters currently wrestling with their own racial demons. Tara has too much else going on–she’s not going to create a moment (like Juice did) where the viewer expects a moment of reconciliation and it doesn’t come. The thinking around racism on True Blood is far too constrained to allow that to happen.

Joe: I love how in thirty seconds, Tara bit someone, threw her over a bar, got threatened by her maker, and everyone in that bar is completely ignoring it like it’s just another bowl of bar nuts.

Oh Wait–Wasn’t Something Happening With Bill And Eric?
Joe: Hilarity: Molly calling Eric and Bill like a Comcast customer-service representative to talk about their imminent deaths. And I have to say it again, sassy Sookie is so much better. Maybe Charlaine Harris had a little chat with Mr. Ball?

Latoya: Right. I’m also shocked–this is the first time watching this show when I started cheering for Sookie. I guess it took a while for the code of supernatural smut fiction to kick in–give a woman some powers, and it magically ups her common sense and problem-solving skills.

Joe: That poor construction worker isn’t going to make it to the end of this episode, is he? And Eric saying that another group of people are rude is kind of a riot.

And…Some Random Thoughts
Joe: Alfre’s back! And her lack of shock at a dismembered head is leading me to believe this medium stuff runs in their family.

Latoya: Word. She was ridiculously cool with waking up to a mulitlated head “mmmmmmmmppph”-ing at her.

Joe: This girl talk has cemented Jessica as the best. Is this the first time we’ve seen Tara just… happy? I’m trying to think of another time and I can’t. LOL.

Latoya: Yeah, until Tara uses that new perspective to sink her fangs into Hoyt. Then it was all over. So much for being girlfriends!

Joe: Sitting by a window when your friends were shot in the head from a distance… not smart.

Latoya: Luna and Sam better not be dead. Now what’s going to happen to the little wolf baby? Is she going to have to relive Sam’s life?

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  • Anonymous

    OK, here are my questions-What was up with the shooters wearing darkened Obama masks?
    Will Pam’s memories of what Eric told her about the relationship between the maker/victim soften her a bit towards Tara? I guess it is a bit, after all she saved Tara from the tanning bed.
    Can I just reiterate how fricking sexy Rutina looks? In the second season when they had her hanging out at Marianne’s in those bright colored bikinis, I was like ‘Wow! How is ANYONE looking past her for Sookie?’
    I’m very curious to see what happens with her this season. Too bad she & Jessica didn’t get a chance to bond.
    Hoyt looks ridiculous.
    I’m tired of seeing Andy’s ass.
    Why is Jesus’ mouth sewn up?

    • Mickey

      My sentiments exactly! I didn’t think that they were Obama masks, but I did notice that the masks resembled the face of a dark-skinned Black male. Really, TB!? I wonder if the men shooting shifters are the werewolves that have a grudge against Sam. And I hope that Luna does not die. I love her!
      I’m glad that the writers are finally making Tara look hot. She did not look too bad last season, but I really like this new look for her. And I believe in next week’s episode, she is caught feeding on Hoyt and she and Jessica fight as a result.

    • Mickey

      My sentiments exactly! I didn’t think that they were Obama masks, but I did notice that the masks resembled the face of a dark-skinned Black male. Really, TB!? I wonder if the men shooting shifters are the werewolves that have a grudge against Sam. And I hope that Luna does not die. I love her!
      I’m glad that the writers are finally making Tara look hot. She did not look too bad last season, but I really like this new look for her. And I believe in next week’s episode, she is caught feeding on Hoyt and she and Jessica fight as a result.