tv review – HBO’s True Blood, episode 7.2

While some would argue otherwise, ‘I Found You’ opened with a completely pointless scene: a sex dream featuring everyone’s favorite vampire Eric Northman and the hapless Jason Stackhouse. One could consider this moment True Blood‘s attempt at fan service, but for the story the sequence served no purpose whatsoever. It was an isolated moment that illustrated the show’s priorities perfectly: schlock over substance. To be fair: True Blood has never been a show that has pretended to be classy or sophisticated, that always was a guilty pleasure, but surely there are better ideas to dedicate precious screen time to. Pam’s search for Eric for example, or Jessica’s subplot. Instead these two storylines got underserved this week, while the a sex dream and a fun but unsurprising The Walking Dead pastiche got all the attention. It all didn’t quite work, but it wasn’t absolutely terrible either and made for a slightly better watch than last week’s ‘Jesus Gonna Be Here’.

To follow up on the find of the young woman’s corpse Sookie stumbled upon last week, Andy, Jason, Alcide, Sam and Sookie herself visited a neighboring town. When they arrived it was as if the gang had driven their vehicles onto the set of AMC’s popular post-apocalyptic zombie show The Walking Dead: empty streets, boarded-up windows, messages scrawled on the walls and roofs of its buildings. While these zombie genre tropes made for arresting imagery and it imbued True Blood with some change, in the end it didn’t make sense in the context of the show: these small towns aren’t far apart and there’s no communications blackout in the True Blood world, which would make it impossible for a whole town to be murdered or taken without anyone knowing about it. Additionally vampires can only hunt by night or in the shadows, which would’ve given the town’s inhabitants a fighting or running chance. Apparently True Blood viewers aren’t meant to question these things, but just go with it instead. Or the show just doesn’t think much of its audience, as a later scene certainly seemed to suggest: when Sookie read the deceased young woman’s diary out loud, the parallels between the owner of the book and Sookie herself were clear immediately, but the episode still felt it needed to implement a flashback, showing viewers how Bill and Sookie met. It was painfully on the nose and completely unnecessary because, a few scenes later, Alcide brought the parallels and distinctions up himself, while comforting Sookie and suggesting they’d run away together. They didn’t, by the way; Sookie showed up at Bill’s doorstep once again. Looking past how heavily True Blood borrowed from The Walking Dead and how little sense that actually made, it gave us some good moments; most notably the scene of a worried Sam and distraught Jason staring at a crib, imagining what had happened there when the vampires came barging in, or the moment the gang stumbled upon a mass grave. Changes are you saw everything coming from a mile away though; leaning this heavily on genre tropes comes with a lack of surprises.

The rest of the episode also developed as expected: while Sam was away Vince turned the townsfolk over to his side (it turns out Sookie’s speech from last week was indeed completely irrelevant) and then he and his mob continued to get guns at the police station, where they found out Andy’s daughter is also a supernatural being. She was there to warn the deputy when Vince and company came barging in and tried to fight them off. It didn’t work and now she’s held captive there, while Jessica and Andy are trying to come up with a plan to get her out. Over at Fangtasia the locked-up ladies tried to hatch a plan to escape after they learned they knew one of the vampires. While they did came close, this vampire didn’t last long enough and turned to a puddle of goo between Arlene’s legs, while she was feeding. It was a predictable but still chuckleworthy moment of True Blood pulp, even though, ultimately, nothing really changed for these women who are now still held captive. On a side note: it’s amazing how no one is looking for these women at the vampire bar Fangtasia. Wouldn’t it make for a sensible first stop? What fared less well was the plot strand regarding Tara’s mom: she saw her daughter because of vampire blood and, given her history with addiction, she’s now addicted to the high vampire blood grants her. Or, the show wants you to ask, are these visions real? Given Tara’s lame off-screen death they’d better be. Lastly the final scene of ‘I Found You’ saw Pam find Eric, who’s also a victim of Hep V. She found him in France though, so it’ll be interesting to see how soon they make it back to Bon Temps.

‘I Found You’ was slightly better than ‘Jesus Gonna Be Here’, but still solidly mediocre. Maybe, going forward, Eric and Pam can spice things up a bit. 5/10

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