At this point I'm not sure I could tell the difference between watching "True Blood" and banging my head against a wall. This season is drowning in a storm of terrible storylines and the repetitiveness of so much of it (especially what's happening with Terry, Lafayette, Sam and Alcide) is downright numbing. Isn't "True Blood" supposed to be a fun, sexy, spooky soap? Because right now it's none of those things.
But we did make some seemingly significant progress in two areas this week -- the Vampire Authority reached a whole new level of crazy, and the hate crime gang was (unfortunately) unmasked for their close-up -- so the episode wasn't running in place for the full hour. Just most of it.
Let's break it down:
The Good (What worked)
— Even by recent "True Blood" standards, "In the Beginning" was a massively disjointed mess. But once Salome shared the blood of Lilith with Bill, Eric, Russell and the surviving members of the Vampire Authority their scenes veered off in a weird and welcomely unpredictable direction. With Lilith's blood acting as some form of vampire Ecstasy, the vampire crew paraded through streets (Eric even gave Bill a piggyback ride!) and ultimately descended on a karaoke club for a feeding frenzy.
Somehow the bloodbath resulted in the resurrection of Lilith herself in the au natural form of model-actress Jessica Clark. The moment was half Anne Rice's "Queen of the Damned," half Dario Argento's "Mother of Tears" and altogether kind of awesome, especially after everything else we'd endured throughout the episode. "True Blood" is still good at creating these gonzo "WTF did I just see?" cliffhangers -- and then totally ruining them when the mundane machinations of the plot kick in the following week. But for now we'll classify this as "good," or at least "better than the rest."
— Jason's realization that he interrupted Jessica mid-feeding and she doesn't even know the guy's name led to this exchange:
Jessica: "I suppose you know every cow you've eaten?"
Jason: "I've never f---ed a cow!"
And then Jason shot her in the head. That's just a minor annoyance when you're a vampire, but they might need some couples therapy after this.
— There's nothing good about what's happening with Sam, but it was at least a little funny to see Sam Trammell sniffing around the floor of the hospital.
The Bad (What didn't work)
— Even though we didn't see Roman explode into a puddle of goo last week, this week opened on the puddle of goo that used to be Roman. So that's it for Chris Meloni, at least for now. Is it too soon to call that the worst use of a guest star ever on "True Blood"?
— Oh, Hoyt, you used to be so sweet. Apparently one reason he's still on the show is to function as our window into the world of the hate group going around killing shifters, vamps or anything else supernatural they can find. We now know the group is just a bungling bunch of bigoted idiots who spew thinly veiled Fox News talking points like "lamestream media" and "it's some sort of crime now being a regular old human!" Even though Hoyt always stood up to his equally prejudiced mom, he somehow falls right in step with these knuckleheads.
— "Suicide is for Muslims and you're better than that, you're a goddamn U.S. Marine!" No, Scott Foley, you're better than this.
— It's bad enough that they've completely isolated Lafayette from the rest of the show, but this week Jesus' crazy brujo grandfather tied him to a chair and sewed his mouth shut. Did Nelsan Ellis do something to piss off the writing staff?
— Some things you just can't unsee. Tara's pole dancing is one of those things.
— Are we supposed to be concerned Sookie is trying to blow through her fairy powers so she won't be magical anymore? Because after the repeated visits to Fairy Land this season it's a little too easy to hope she succeeds.
— Were you wondering where Sheriff Dearborne (William Sanderson) disappeared to after retiring in season three? No? Yeah, me either.
— Since Alcide and Sookie isn't going to happen anytime soon and we don't have enough characters on the show already, Alcide gets a potential love interest in foxy werewolf girl Rikki (Kelly Overton). She's been appearing on and off since the season premiere, but now that she's wrestling with Alcide we're officially supposed to care, or something.
— In other tedious werewolf news, aspiring pack leader JD tries to make Luna's daughter drink vampire blood. And there is now a hole in the wall the shape of my head. Thanks, "True Blood"!
Everything: True Blood
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