Tuesday, 1 July 2014

TRUE BLOOD, 7.2 – 'I Found You' - mob mentality

Tuesday, 1 July 2014
Vince: This town is full of vampires, has a dog for a major, and is being preached at by a telepath!
After a dull start to True Blood's final season, things continue to plod along in "I Found You". I remain sorely disappointed the Hep-V's are going to be this last season's Big Bads, because they're a dull rabble I don't find very frightening or plausible. If TruBlood is now undrinkable and they have a terminal illness, why not try and appeal to everyone's sympathy and be cared for? Swarming across the country in hostile gangs, slaughtering humans and throwing drained corpses into pits isn't helping matters! And why are supposedly sick vampires still operating with the same strength and speed as the healthy vampires?

Oh well, nobody watches True Blood for logic. We just want FUN. Unfortunately, I think that's in short supply now. You know you're in for a bad season when the opening scene is a protracted dream sequence, entirely designed to allow Jason (Ryan Kwanten) and Eric (Alexander Skarsgård) the chance to have sex. It was completely unnecessary, and supposedly only there to provide 'shippers the chance to create naughty animated GIFs. And when you're serving the libidos of horny fans, with pathetically titillating sequences like this, you're on a slippery slope to nowhere. It was frankly an embarrassment—but, hey—I'm sure a few people "enjoyed it" (ahem).

Sookie (Anna Paquin), Jason, Sam (Sam Trammell) and Sheriff Andy (Chris Bauer) spent the episode investigating the body of a young woman Sookie found in the bushes last week, which took them to the neighbouring Saint Alice. It's become a ghost town in the most stereotypical way possible, with graffitti warnings sprayed across every flat surface. It certainly looked very post-apocalyptic, perhaps to entice The Walking Dead crowd, but I'm not sure what purpose it all served. There was also a hilariously bad attempt to make us remember the good ol' days of the show, too, when the writing of a girl's diary made Sookie reminisce about her love affair with Bill (Stephen Moyer). They even threw in a flashback to a scene from season 1, which only reminded you how far True Blood has fallen since... and how much "immortal" Bill has aged. Simplicity and a cool premise were once this show's key virtues, but now it's a mess of contrivances and badly-executed ideas.

The biggest frustration with True Blood all these years is how nothing develops naturally. The writers tend to push the story on in-between seasons, as they can't figure out how to make things work otherwise. Lest we forget dimwit Jason became a cop off-screen, and now we have all manner of weird short-cuts that have been taken—from Sam suddenly becoming mayor, to Sookie being in a relationship with werewolf Alcide (Joe Manganiello). At least this episode admitted its own silliness, when Maxine Fortenberry (Dale Raoul) suddenly thought to speak up about Andy's little girl Adilyn (Bailey) ageing 18 years in months. And that it's insane a dullard like Jason has a badge cop and gets preferential treatment over his fellow police officers. Still, this being the final season, the writers have just resigned themselves to letting various cats out of the bag: so now everyone realises Sam is a shape-shifter (and, uh, seem curiously okay with the existence of such creatures), and half-fairy Adilyn has blown her cover by accidentally using her "energy blast" in public.

The Hep-V's (I think it must actually stand for veiny) continue to be dull, as they spent this episode holed up in Fangtasia—probably because it's a standing set HBO have to get use from. Arlene (Carrie Preston), Holly (Lauren Bowles) and others you don't care about, are chained up in the basement below, ready to be eaten when hungry. Is it a bit sexist to have all the kidnapped Bon Temps townsfolk be women? Perhaps. Anyway, Arlene had a plan to appeal to the better nature of captor Betty Harris (Lily Knight), whom she knows once taught their children in her human life, but unfortunately Betty turns into a gooey mess after suckling on Arlene's inner thighs. There's a joke there somewhere...

Is Tara (Rutina Wesley) really dead? Most people don't think so, and there was evidence for this in her mother's visions of her daughter after drinking Willa's (Amelia Rose Blaire) vampire blood. Naturally, Tara was envisioned on a crucifix like Our Lord Jesus. Where's this all leading? Who knows. If Tara's genuinely dead, it looks like we have ghost-Tara to enjoy once Lettie Mae forces Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) to communicate with her using his brujo powers.

Oh, and Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) has located her maker Eric after only two episodes, which isn't bad going. I have no idea how Eric escaped being incinerated by daylight while sunbathing in the Arctic last season, but here he is! The only issue being he's apparently contracted Hep-V—but, y'know, has a sexier chest-only version of those nasty veins the other, uglier Hep-V's endure. Some men are born lucky.

written by Kate Barnow | directed by Howard Deutch | HBO | 29 June 2014