Tuesday, 22 July 2014

TRUE BLOOD, 7.5 – 'Lost Cause' – party animals

Tuesday, 22 July 2014
PAM: Oh. My. God. I'm a Republicunt.
It helps when a show references its own ridiculousness, but it doesn't always remove the stench of a bad idea. In the aptly-named "Lost Cause", Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) organised a party round Sookie's (Anna Paquin) house, days after her best-friend and boyfriend were murdered? The writing did its utmost to make you swallow this preposterous notion, with various characters commenting on how weird it was, but I couldn't go along with it. I remain baffled True Blood is doing such a terrible job with its final season, because even season 4-6 has a sense of conviction that just about kept them watchable.

Sookie's sorry-your-lover's-dead soirée did offer the chance for character-based storytelling, but True Blood has few characters and relationships I'm still interested in. Are we supposed to care that Lafayette has found love with smouldering vampire James (Nathan Parsons), considering he makes the moves on at least one hunk every season? Can we seriously expected to feel anything when Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) found James having sex with Lafayette in their car, considering her relationship is so new and we have no investment in it? This season may be taking place "six months later", but for viewers this pair have only been together very briefly. It's hardly a big romantic pairing.

I wasn't even moved when Sheriff Andy (Chris Bauer) proposed to girlfriend Holly (Lauren Bowles) during the party, and those characters have been together for a good few seasons. That's how poorly this show operates. I don't think it's actually had a truly emotive coupling since the days of Sookie and Bill (Stephen Moyer), unless you're counting Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) and Eric (Alexander Skarsgård).
SOOKIE: How can I miss someone who I can't even believe is dead?
While the folks of Bon Temps were "embracing life" at Chez Stackhouse—which made her feel better because everyone was thinking positive thoughts about her (for once)—the main sub-plot had Eric and Pam travelling to Dallas in search of Sarah Newlin (Anna Camp), because killing her's on infected Eric's bucket list. Turns out hypocritical Sarah has a secret vampire sister, who's happy to facilitate her sibling's murder, meaning Pam and Eric had to go undercover to a Ted Cruz rally where Sarah's likely headed to seek help from her rich politico parents. This resulted in mild fun with Pam and Eric dressed like they're into Dallas cosplay, and a sequence that ripped off Terminator 2: Judgment Day—with Sarah Connor Newlin running away from some trigger happy Yakuza assasins, in slo-mo, only to come face-to-face with cyborg-like Eric in a ten gallon hat.

The second sub-plot was another tedious flashback for Bill, who was enjoying Sookie's house party so much he'd regularly "zone out" to reminisce about the time he was embroiled in the Civil War and made an enemy of Charles Dupont (Matthew Holmes). Ahhhh, memories. At the moment, it means absolutely nothing and just feels like a stupid time-filling tactic, but I'm assuming Bill's past is going to catch-up with him soon.

The episode ended on its best cliffhanger of the season—damning with faint praise, admittedly—with Bill noticing he's contracted Hepatitis-V after spotting a tell-tale vein in a mirror. The show is still nudging Sookie and Bill back together, no matter how awkward it feels given how raw Alcide's death should be, but my guess is their unavoidable reunion will have a sad, tragic ending. If that's true, at least it stands a chance of being emotional to behold, as I still give enough of a shit about the Bill-Sookie match-up. (Yeah, I know it's sentimental of me.)
SARAH: I'm not a monster, I'm a Buddhist!
Hate to say it, but I thought "Lost Cause" was the worst episode of a this seventh season (so far). I appreciate the writers trying to bolster the characters, but it was done in such a cack-handed way that I couldn't take it seriously. The inappropriate party felt ludicrous, and all the scenes there involved people doing very stupid things. Jason (Ryan Kwanten) and Jessica genuinely thought it would be okay to go upstairs and have sex, moments after Jessica had herself caught people having sex on the premises? So bad. Almost as bad as Crazy Lettie Mae (Adina Porter) stabbing Willa (Amelia Rose Blaire), as she believes vampire blood is the only way she can commune with dead daughter Tara's ghost. Y'know, they're making such a big deal of Lettie Mae looking insane for believing her Tara's still around that, yeah, she probably is.

Oh, and vampire Keith (Riley Smith), shoehorned into last week's episode, has the hots for waitress Arlene (Carrie Preston) after helping her back to health. It seems the season's doing its best to ensure most of the characters pair up before the big finale, but this particular union holds zero interest for me.

If you're enjoying this season, I don't even know what to say at this point. It's terrible, frankly, and this hour was the pits.

written by Craig Chester | directed by Howard Deutch | 20 July 2014 | HBO