This World Is Not Enough: The Racialicious Roundtable For True Blood 5.9

This week, I asked Arturo what it was like recapping Heroes near the end. He said in the beginning, all of his friends would head to the bar after the show because they were eager to discuss what had happened. When things spun into a decline, they stopped going to the bar afterward. Considering that I had to browbeat the Roundtable into putting in comments for this week, I think adding a bar to the mix might improve everyone’s mood. This week, Joe, Carly, Alea, and Tami try to hold on for the last few eps.

Will Russell Edgington Please Report For Duty?
Latoya: Please tell me Russell is up to an EPIC betrayal. Because I am about to start changing the damn channel or painting my toes or something.
Carly: He has to be. There is just nothing about him that equals “follower.” And I may be wrong, but isn’t he the only one comparable to Salome age-wise?
Alea: I believe so. I’m still utterly baffled by why she thought freeing Russell was a good idea, but the look she gave him and Steve after the latter’s attempt to say grace makes me think that she’s beginning to see the ideological chasm between them. Love the pantsuit, though.

Gratuitous Aside, #1
 


Alea: Tina Majorino. Siiigh. Such a freaking dreamboat.
Joe: I hope, after this is all over, she isn’t a pile of goo and somehow becomes the leader of the authority. I could really get behind a technorati vamp president.

Lala The Fly Medium
Latoya: Wow, an actual normal conversation between Sookie and Lafayette. Like actual people.
Alea: But she only asked him over there because she needed help.
Carly: Thank you, Ghost reference!
Joe: His mirror vogueing was the highlight of my Sunday.


Alea: It was blue steel times magnum to the infinity plus one power, and those eyelashes are fierce. Werrrrk.
Latoya: You know, Lafayette’s control of his power is awfully specific to plot needs…
Tami: He has become, literally, a magical Negro. At least he’s trying to get paid.
Carly: I do appreciate them leaving out apparitions and sound effects for when he hears people. I feel like that would just make it silly. OK, even sillier.
Joe: Save for that very Harry-Potter-type-ghost-thing last week.
Alea: “Gmail for dead bitches”–I wonder just how many dead people are in that room besides Gran.

O Hai, Kenya!
Alea: I very much appreciate the real talk that Kenya is giving Jess about Hoyt’s actions. Not shooting an ex in the head does not actually equal still loving her.
Joe: I appreciate that Kenya had more than one line this episode.
Tami: I hate when Kenya pops up–only because it reminds me that, if life and the Sookieverse were fair, she would be sheriff or at least Andy’s deputy. Instead, Andy bumbles about and Jason wins a sidekick spot by shooting a black man in the head.

Well…At Least She Got More Screen-time…
Latoya: You know I really had high hopes for this Sam/Luna subplot, but it is just not going anywhere.
Alea: I found their exchange a tiny bit endearing (even if the lit major in me got stuck on the fact that Sleeping Beauty would have been a way more apposite reference than The Princess and the Pea).
Carly: Honestly, are they just rewording the same paragraph for Luna? I can appreciate she’s taking charge and all, but she’s gotta have more to say. And how much time has passed since she’s seen her daughter now? I get lost in TB time, but you’d think she’d have some kind of check in with her daughter considering she was almost shot.
Joe: Just one on-screen phone call. And I understand you don’t have to pay the child actress if she’s in her husky wolf form, but, I mean, we’d like to see her at least a little bit… I mean, damn.

Sigh.

Alea: “So what?” That’s Arlene’s response to Terry saying that he shot an unarmed female civilian in the head? For the amount of moralizing she’s done about other characters’ foibles, her ethics get pretty lax when it’s convenient for her.
Tami: Yeah, I’m not sure how Terry and Arlene go back to being the cute, comic relief couple on the show after this. Terry is a war criminal, and Arlene is pretty indifferent to that information, as well as down with him killing again.
Latoya: Helll yeah, Arlene!!!!! Way to actually do something for once!
Joe: Some TV angel heard Carly’s wanting for strong female characters last week! With Arlene and Luna’s naked beatdown, I’m liking the go-get-’em attitude of the characters this week. That includes Andy as well, actually.
Alea: Ifrit body disposal. How convenient.

Tara and Pam Need To Leave Bon Temps
 


Latoya: Okay, I don’t like the outfits in lieu of characterization, but I will admit that shit is fresh, and I will be copying elements of both companies.
Alea: I am so thrilled with the improvement in Tara’s wardrobe that it possibly my favorite thing about this season.
Latoya: Oh wait–I just looked at the still and realized it’s like S & M chic with a twist of appropriation…and she’s dressing like Pam. Ignore last commen,t and carry on. Also, we finally we acknowledge Pam is in pain over Eric. Progress on episode 9!
Alea: “Just because we drank a bitch together does not make us Oprah and Gayle. Get the fuck back to work.” Priceless. And Tara had a comeback ready! Granted, “Suck me, vampire Barbie” is not the greatest, but it’s nice to see their relationship warming a skosh.
Alea: That poorly dressed emo kid is the new sheriff?
Tami: He’s like a Dollar Tree Russell Brand. No gravitas. Eric Northman he ain’t.

For The Record
Alea: Eric…is the voice of reason and empathy. The post-piggyback Beric dynamic is a rather strange one.

Latoya: I love the GRITS sticker on the laptop. Also nice to see a return to politics.

Alea: If, for some reason, Andy/Jason slash isn’t already out there, I hope “Bellefleur’s bitch boy” is the beginning of something wonderful. Is this instance of police brutality supposed to be bringing them closer together?

Gratuitous Aside #2
 


Latoya: Umm, who is playing Baby Alcide? Can they cast him in everything?
Alea: Yes, please.
Joe: He has a magical eyebrow situation.
Alea: Young Debbie looks like the country version of Topanga from Boy Meets World.

Call The Hogs On This Subplot!

Latoya: So Sookie is on the same hog farm with Hoyt? Are they attempting to tie this plot up? And yeah Sook–you miss those fairy powers about now, don’t ya?
Joe: I wonder if they recharge.
Alea: She looks rather unharmed for having been clocked in the head with a cast iron skillet.
Latoya: That villain speech from “Sweetie” was so unsatisfying.
Joe: The reason she’s a supernatural-ist is kind of lacking, too.
Alea: The entire hate group subplot felt unnecessary. There was some solid detective work done by Andy, Jason, Sam, and Luna, and both of the pairs got closer together, but if I wanted to see good sleuthing, I’d just watch Marple.
Latoya: That SWAT storm of Bud’s house looked just like a scene from Reno 911.
Joe: I mean, Bon Temps PD and Reno 911’s squad are pretty interchangable.
Carly: Speaking of the other police officers, how much is that one cop like the brother from In & Out ? And also, way to completely distract us from the fact we learned absolutely nothing new about Warlow. Anyone think that’ll be the cliffhanger for the season?
Alea: I hope not, but the ridiculous number of storylines this season makes it seem distinctly possible.
Tami: I need these shifters to quit changing into human form to fight. Why give Sweetie a naked beat down when you can just rip her throat out with her fangs? Ditto for naked Sam.

Gratuitous Aside #3
Alea: Where can I buy whatever it is that Valentina Cervi is [barely] wearing? Also, Salome…is Lilith? Or has she just ingested so much of whatever’s in the alleged Lilith blood that she’s perma-tripping?

Just Wondering…
Latoya: Will the writing get better if we ban the use of the words “bitch” and “fuck” next season? Because I swear like a sailor, but this is getting repetitive.
Carly: Amen to that.

Vampire Baby Snatchers
Latoya: Oh, they snatched Emma. Why didn’t Martha get her wolf on? I am trying to care about this plot, but it ain’t working. Also, Joe, looks like your theory from last week is right. Russell + Steve it is.
Alea: That could be the best buddy comedy spin-off ever. I totally had visions of magic carpet rides and Russell singing “A Whole New World.”

Carly: I always find storylines like this bizarre, when something horrific is happening and no one stands up or acts against it. It’s a weird commentary on the group…I know about groupthink and all, but are all these vampire-addled V addicts that would give up one of their pack already?
Joe: I feel like they all knew that Russell could snap every one of them in half if he wanted to. I hope we get more Luna badassery leading to the demise of Russell (and Steve, too, probably) likely at the very very end of the season.
Carly: Hmmm, Luna v. Russell….That would be awesome but now that you say it, I’ll wager a Luna v. Steve showdown.
Alea: Steve’s definitely going to get it, but I’m not so sure about Russell. I mean, it makes sense for him to die, but the who and how are unclear at this point. As for the pack, it’s been heavily populated by shady, self-interested people since Marcus was packmaster. With V addiction and Russell’s strength added to the equation, there’s no way they’d defend Emma, JD, or any single individual.
Tami: That moment when Russell dropped his Mississippi gentleman facade and accent was exquisite–the best of the episode. I seriously want Denis O’Hare to appear in every show ever.
Latoya: What’s Alcide doing? Oh, wait, a wallow in pity subplot is rising. I really prefer the lone wolves in the Otherworld series. Why isn’t that a show yet? Kelley Armstrong just wrapped the series–now is totally the time.

Weird
Alea: Those faeries just….popped over to bring soup and watch the telly? I don’t know if I’d be so comfortable with letting such an unreliable bunch hang in my home.

And…Scene!
Latoya: What was that awkward musical intro to Bill’s betrayal?
Carly: I kinda loved that! I mean… yes it was definitely awkward, but it just brings back some of the first season TB that didn’t seem so serious all the time. An example from the books and the first season or so–Eric’s outfits. Eric’s tracksuits and that music are the kind of things I hope we keep seeing just because TB is just too prone to being mawkish without any depth.
Joe: I love the resignation in Eric’s face. It was kind of like “… Huh. This sucks.” ::Cue awkward cover of one of my favorite songs ever::

Open Mic
Latoya: The whole “human trash” thing is irritating me. I always liked TB’s references to gay rights and civil rights, because they seemed very smart and apt–even when presenting the opposition. Steve and Nan’s conversations were pretty great, and watching them betray their morals and values kept things fresh. But this season’s spin-out plot with the hate group epitomizes why I am bored with TB–everything is a surface skim.
Carly: Playing devil’s advocate, I think maybe they’ve dug themselves in a hole. The surface treatment with all these issues may be a symptom of the larger problem–too many story lines. They’ve so divided the characters, no one gets more than lip service. I’ve really felt the show moving to take a stronger focus on the fanaticism issue. We already had the Fellowship of the Sun storyline, but here we are again discussing religion. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good debate on religion. Adding in the hate group may be their attempt to tie in the feeling from the first season or two where they really had such strong commentary on civil and gay rights.
Joe: That makes sense to me as well. They do indeed have entirely too many storylines. There’s a fine line between making your audience want more and making your audience want a reduction of storylines (Arlene and Terry; Some aspects of the Authority; anyone feel free to chime in)…
Alea: Is there any way out of said hole, though? Let’s be real, it’s more of a Mariana Trench. The show is collapsing under its own weight, but I don’t see The Powers That Be choosing to make the radical and unpopular cuts that would enable the show to become consistently sharp again. I would be totally fine with Alcide disappearing into the aether next season, but I’m sure a fair amount of other viewers feel quite differently. Fans want service and long-time cast members probably don’t want to see reductions in screentime and paychecks.
Tami: From The AV Club’s review of this week’s epi:

Although all of this was entertaining, it also took on an extremely uncomfortable tone tonight as well. Before, the group using Obama masks felt like a nod to the numerous movies about criminals that did the same. But by revealing the group’s desire to emulate the Klan—even going so far to call their leader Dragon—well, those are just waters True Blood shouldn’t be diving into. Not because there isn’t potential for something to be said there; there is, in the right hands. It’s because True Blood has absolutely no idea how to say a damn thing (nor the desire to, really). Terry’s story of soldier abuses in Iraq is the same way: True Blood has this weird notion that mentioning things is the same as commenting on them, and it’s just completely false. A hate group that emulates the Klan but wears the first African-American President’s face while committing their crimes is something that cannot simply be thrown out there without comment, even on a show that’s mostly trivial fun like this one.

This. I think the problem is more than just too many plot lines (although that is a problem). I was on board with the allusions to social justice movements in the beginning, too, but that was when I thought True Blood had something to say. But the show’s treatment of race and gender and sexuality has been way too sloppy. And any point they had is cast aside when convenient.

(Thank the Tumblrites for the images. iamfollowingmyfishie, him-eTrueBloodNerd, legilimens)

  • LM

    I agree with Joe. I’m indifferent to whether most of the characters live or die, but I do want Molly (Tina Majorino’s character) to come out of this “alive.” I don’t even know why, but I just care about her safety.

    I’m glad this Sam/Luna/hate group storyline has been wrapped up. I was getting tired of all the speeches. It seemed like every episode someone (usually Sam) had to point out that shifters are BORN THIS WAY, AND THEY JUST WANNA LIVE and yeah we get it. I’m not expecting a tour de force of modern television, but would it have killed the writers to finesse it a bit? Or if they weren’t going to be subtle just cut down on the preaching? The constant bluntness got annoying and it always took me right out of the scene.

    I can’t shake the feeling that Steve Newlin knows Russell is the strongest vampire in the Authority, so he’s cozying up to him in case Russell decides to stop behaving and revert to the madman everyone knows he is. That’s not to say he feels nothing for the man, but Steve seems slimy enough that he would attempt to protect himself, and maybe even try to secure a position of power in the Authority, by starting something up with Russell.

  • Anonymous

    What I think is wrong with TB these days– too damn much fanservice. I used to like it– as a fan, it was nice to watch a show that was trying to please me rather than rip my heart out and stomp on it, but it’s too much. You can’t please everyone and this mess is what happens when you try! For example, I also think they should get rid of Alcide next season, seriously– but no, “people love him! He’s so hot! We have to find somehting for him to do!” And so on and so forth for every damn stupid character! Eh.