If there's one thing haters love to do (aside from bringing both hateration and holleration to danceries), it's talk about how True Blood is supposedly terrible now. Or at least more terrible now than it used to be. But, uh, and I'm saying this as a True Blood fan: It's always been kind of terrible? In a "this is terrible and I love it" sort of way, but still.
It's always been all over the place tonally, with mismatched plotlines and more than a few worthless characters. These elements have been present from the get-go and have never wavered. Pretty much the only thing setting apart the current season from earlier ones is that rapidly waning thrill of discovery. In season one, we got to meet new people and creatures, and then see all of their clothes fall off for the first time. But six years later, we've pretty much seen it all, so some people (all of the strawmen) have started to believe there's somehow been a drop in quality. I'm not trying to troll anybody, but listen: So far season six is as solid as this show has ever been, and this week's episode, "You're No Good," kept that trend going.
All that being said, last season definitely had its fair share of terrible shit, and so far season six has been as much about dismantling bad creative decisions of the past as it has been about moving the story forward. In this episode alone, we saw the werewolves suddenly become interesting (slightly); most of the faeries were straight-up massacred (finally); and best of all? Human villains are scary again! For years, the human element of this show has bordered on laughable, as the outside world seemed pretty impotent when it came to the vampires' frequent (and occasionally on-air) mass murders. But now humans suddenly have a backbone and they've elected a fierce leader in Governor Burrell. Guys, it might be too early to tell, but is anybody else getting the sense we're headed toward a straight-up vampire holocaust? It's sure looking that way.
In a rare display of coherence, all of this episode's plotlines were at least tangentially related to a brewing Humans vs. Monsters showdown. Without knowing it, both Bill and Eric independently worked to stop whatever it is the Governor's up to. Eric did his part by invading the Governor's daughter Amelia's bedroom and stopped just short of committing a sex crime/murder when he realized she'd be more valuable as a hostage. Eric's scenes with Amelia took on added intrigue when it became clear she was primed to go full Patty Hearst by siding with the vampires. In a truly electric scene in which Amelia cozied up beside Eric in an underground cubbyhole, she told him that her father had been capturing vampires and experimenting upon them, Goebbels-style. She then attempted to lick the blood leaking from Eric's ear, which is similar to something I once saw happen on a city bus. Anyway, because hostage situations tend to be poignantly ephemeral, pretty soon the Governor had triangulated Eric's cell phone and was on the way. But Eric's escape plan hit a snag when he realized Tara had kidnapped Amelia! Oh, Tara.
For his part, Bill found himself sufficiently rattled by the vision he'd had of all of his former friends burning alive in a chamber, so he set out to prevent that reality. Unfortunately he was a little bit more of an idiot about it, which was very satisfying to watch! First he attempted to walk in the sunlight and immediately turned into a flaming, screaming fireball, and that was the best. Later, he weirdly decided that what vampires needed to survive the coming storm was mass amounts of synthetic faerie blood. Or maybe just HE needed it. I'm honestly not sure at this point. All I know is he barged into Sookie's house, she didn't want to help him, he was a mean jerk to her yet again, and she broke a plate against his face. Then he told her she was "dead to me" and stormed out. Classic Bill! Whoops, so much for a romantic-hero redemption.
Speaking of Sookie, once again the faerie elements weren't awful? It helps a lot that both Niall and Ben are much more interesting characters, faerie-wise, than the failed supermodel-gypsy-poser trash that hung out in that truly stupid faerie night club. In fact, as Niall discovered upon entering that checkerboarded monstrosity, Warlow had apparently massacred them all! (I'm starting to like Warlow.) Anyway, then Niall ran into Ben — the injured faerie hunk — and recruited him to come romance Sookie. Well, Niall used the phrase "join the cause," but I'm pretty sure the "cause" is to get naked with Sookie soon. So how does this plotline tie into the impending Vampire Holocaust thing? Well, first off, Warlow is Lilith's son, so he must have larger motives related to hers, right? Also, as Bill pointed out, faerie blood may become a big factor in the vampires' resistance to human weapons (which are UV-based). So yeah, call it wishful thinking, but I think this plotline will tie in pretty soon.
Another excellent turn of events: Reverend Newlin is alive! And even better, so is his wife! Under the Governor's orders, Reverend Newlin had been spirited away to a secret facility only to come face to face with his ex-wife Sarah, looking especially big-haired and hypocritical. (Jason Stackhouse bathtub hand job NEVER FORGET.) The former Mrs. Newlin had apparently risen through the ranks of the anti-vampire underground after becoming a best-selling author. Seems like they're positioning her as sort of an Ann Coulter figure in this world, which works for me. The scene was brief but fun, and again, I appreciate learning more and more about the righteousness and simmering rage beneath the anti-vampire forces. They're getting scarier by the episode, for sure.
As for that gang of angry, glowing-eyed dogs, it turns out werewolves are awful! I mean, we knew they were awful storytelling-wise, but they are also awful people! Personally, I think it's really inspired that this season is sorrrrta ret-conning Alcide and the werewolves into villains. See, after Nicole and her band of activists witnessed the werewolves assault Sam and Lafayette before absconding with Emma, they got all activist-y and confronted the werewolves with video cameras in order to "out" them to a public who may not be aware that werewolves exist. Unfortunately this ENRAGED the werewolves, and all of the activists but Nicole had their throats torn out. But this whole weird massacre DID result in Sam turning into an owl and rescuing Emma, so you know. Win some, lose some, transmogrify into owls some. But again, the activist element is the key here: These humans attempting to out supernatural creatures in order to bolster sympathy for vampires? It's hard to imagine a bloodthirsty general public won't want to eradicate those populations as well. Perhaps banding together will be inevitable.
Unfortunately, many of our favorite characters were sidelined as mere accomplices this week. Lafayette nursed his wounds while Sam paced around; Pam actively disapproved of Eric's sexy hostage; Nora lurked around the Stackhouse property looking for Warlow; Jessica gave herself a hubba-hubba makeover to seduce a local college professor into helping Bill; Jason fully admitted that he'd been acting crazy lately, but then worryingly began exhibiting symptoms of head trauma. And in a truly "who cares" cliff-hanger, Bill discovered that he can get faerie blood without Sookie's help because Andy Bellefleur has FOUR faerie children. Who, by the way, are now tweens. Anyway, in maybe the most shocking element of the entire show, I'm starting to enjoy an Andy Bellefleur plotline for the first time ever? Not only were his scenes with Holly borderline touching, I'm kind of loving how insanely fast his children are growing up. They seem terrible!
See what I'm saying? Season six is doing a lot right so far. [Mass haterade spit-take!]