Saturday, 4 August 2012

TRUE BLOOD, 5.8 – "Somebody That I Used To Know"

Saturday, 4 August 2012

The previous episode was all-out appalling, this one was just very dull. I've reached the point where it's become hard to marshal my thoughts about each ludicrous episode, but rest assured "Somebody That I Used To Know" was another misfire in a season full of them. You know you're in trouble when True Blood finds a way for a male actor to act like a woman, and this year it was Sam's (Sam Trammell) turn after 'shifter girlfriend Luna (Janina Gavankar) transformed into his own doppelganger.

The sour love story between Hoyt (Jim Parrack) and Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) also curdled further, with Hoyt given the opportunity to stake his ex-girlfriend by the hate-group he's joined, and didn't even resolve with a satisfying breakthrough. Hoyt still hates her guts, but isn't a killer. Let's gloss over why Bill (Stephen Moyer) wasn't aware of Jessica's predicament, as her maker.

Sookie (Anna Paquin) was helped by her fairy pals to make a psychic connection with her mother, to figure out which vampire killed her parents, only to make a surprising connection to the bloodsucking murderer himself. For a second I thought the show was setting up the idea Sookie's real father was that vampire, meaning she's half-vampire/half-fairy, but who knows.

Does anyone care about the local wolf pack's search for a packmaster yet? I didn't think so. But Alcide (Joseph Manganiello) is proving to be a very disappointing contender against a rival twice his age and with half the muscles.

Like namesake Sam Beckett before him... oh, boy.
We can forget about whatever Lafayette's (Nelsan Ellis) been busying himself with recently, because now he's part of the silly storyline with Terry (Todd Lowe) and Patrick being chased by a fire demon. In helping them contact the Iraqi woman who cursed them, it's revealed she'll end the curse if one of them dies. Hey, kill Patrick—beyond his name, we barely know anything about him. Or kill Terry, who cares.

Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) pleased Tara (Rutina Wesley) by helping her get revenge on a racist classmate with a privileged lifestyle, by brainwashing her into becoming Tara's obedient blood slave in Fangtasia's dungeon. I'm not sure what the point of Tara's story is this year, really. That being a vampire isn't so bad, because you can make a mean cocktail with your super-shaking forearm, learn a supposedly sexy pole dance, and feed on school bullies you'd long forgotten about?

The only mildly interesting subplot was Eric (Alexander Skarsgård) being the only member of the Vampire Authority to suspect that Lilith wasn't a divine resurrection but a group hallucination. But nobody wants to believe him, particularly his sister Nora (Lucy Griffiths), who's come to believe the venerable Godric isn't a good enough reason to go against God's will. Interestingly, Bill has had a change of heart following the Lilith visitation, and has decided to get into bed with the Authority's plan—suggesting they cause global upset by destroying the five factories that produce Tru Blood, thus forcing vampires to feed on humans once again. Of course, knowing this was the case for thousands of years before the synthetic blood drink was created, takes the edge off that climactic moment. If you ask me, things ran a lot smoother when vampires were "in the coffin" socially.

I also quite liked the suggestion that Russell (Denis O'Hare) finds Steve Newlin (Michael McMillian) attractive, grooming him as the next Talbot, but there was precious little else to latch onto in this episode. We're heading for the finish, and True Blood's fifth season is still a muddle of ideas that lurch to a halt when a dead-end is reached. Half the cast are only around for contractual reasons, and a good 95% of every episode feels like lazy prattle. There are no clean lines, no plausible arcs, no fresh ideas. It's just an hour of stuff for you to watch, eyes glazed over and brain in neutral.

Oh, and actor Stephen Moyer directed this one; like you can tell, or it matters.

written by Mark Hudis / directed by Stephen Moyer / 29 July 2012 / HBO