Here's something different: an unusually focused hour of "True Blood" that connected the dots between (almost) all of its various storylines.

No Ifrit. No hate group. No wolf pack. While the result was still of a piece with the disappointing season overall, it was less of a headache than usual. So let's get this over with, quick...

The Good (What worked)

— Is this the last we'll see of Jim Parrack as Hoyt Fortenberry, at least as part of the full time cast? I hope so. Not only because the character long ago stopped being useful, but because the episode (written by longtime series scribe Alexander Woo) somehow managed to send Hoyt off with some dignity. Hoyt's demand that Jessica glamour away all of his memories of her and best friend Jason to help him move past their affair and find a future in Alaska provided juicier material for Deborah Ann Woll and Ryan Kwanten than Parrack, but it was still a reminder it's possible for this show to succeed at quiet, emotional moments. It's too bad Hoyt had become such dead weight in the ensemble that the audience can't be sad to see him go, but the anguish Jessica and Jason felt at losing an ex-love and a lifelong best friend, respectively, was still entirely believable and even moving. Woll and Kwanten remain two of the finest actors in the cast, and both Woo's script and Scott Winant's direction served them well tonight.

— It was a big episode for Jason Stackhouse overall. Not only did Kwanten share significant screen time with Woll and Parrack, he continued his terrific pairing with Anna Paquin as the Stackhouse siblings dug further into the mystery of their parents' death. The episode's final revelation -- that one of Sookie's ancestors essentially promised her to some kind of evil entity so far known only as "M. Warlo" -- was a pretty lame cliffhanger. Between whatever/whoever Warlo is and the Ifrit, what's taking these things so long to cash in their blood debts? That, like every question raised by the episode, will have to wait until next week.

— Pam and Tara are still isolated from the overall action in Fangtasia, but as usual their couple of scenes were fun and it was especially nice to see Tara flex her vampire powers a bit and behead the annoying new sheriff. Plus, perpetually terrified Fangtasia waitress Ginger (Tara Buck) got to scream again, which is one of the cute little recurring gags "True Blood" can trot out when it wants to remind us of the good old days.

The Bad (What didn't work)

— Among the ridiculous shenanigans at the Vampire Authority this week: Molly became a victim of her own iStake app (poor Tina Majorino), Bill and Nora force fed Eric the blood of Lilith and he had a vision of Lilith slitting Godric's throat which convinced Eric that Lilith is the true god, Bill also summoned Jessica to join him so he could share the good news of the almighty Lilith with her, and Russell threw a temper tantrum when Salome rejected his idea to study fairy blood to find a way for vampires to walk freely in daylight. Of all of these things, Eric's vision of Godric was the lamest (poor Allan Hyde, brought back as a guest star for this!) and Russell's break from the Authority the most promising (at least we'll get a change of scenery, maybe?). At any rate, I don't see how they can wrap up this plodding storyline in the season's two remaining episodes, but I certainly hope Bill, Eric and the rest of us are free of it soon.

— Between the Vampire Authority, the Stackhouse siblings and Hoyt's goodbye, there wasn't much time devoted to other characters. We didn't have a single sighting of Alcide, Terry or Arlene (and I'm not complaining), but we did have a couple of perfunctory scenes with Andy including a reminder that he's in a relationship with Holly. Meanwhile, his one night stand Maurella is now very pregnant in Fairy Land (she's also 500 years old, and the fairy who translated the scroll for Sookie and Jason). Anyone interested in the possibility of an Andy/Holly/Maurella love triangle? Yeah, I didn't think so.


— Luna always has a reason to whine about something. Now it's Steve and Russell's abduction of little Emma (still adorable in puppy form). Seizing their opportunity at a TV taping, Sam and Luna chased after Steve and made their way (in the form of mice) into the Vampire Authority. Those are two unlikely characters to pull into the VA mess, but maybe they'll somehow help speed things along.

The Nasty (The week in sex and violence)

— If you love vampire guts, this was your episode. Between Molly's iStaking, Eric's vision of Lilith slicing up Godric, Tara beheading the wannabe sheriff and Sookie staking creepy coroner Mike (a short-lived newborn vamp), there was plenty of blood and viscera to go around.

— Do you think Jessica Clark's contract for the role of Lilith specifies she'll never wear a single article of clothing? A few more episodes and she'll rival Sam Trammell (also naked again tonight) as Nakedest "True Blood" Cast Member of All Time.

— Russell and Steve slow dancing to "Teenage Dream" after a frat house massacre wasn't all that sexy and featured only the aftermath of violence, but it was definitely nasty. Katy Perry, Russell? Really?

What did you think of this week's episode? Did you miss any of the MIA characters? Will you be sad if Hoyt's gone for good? And how do you think they'll wrap up the Vampire Authority?