It’s too easy to make jokes about an episode with a title like ‘Lost Cause’, but you’d be forgiven for doing so when the quality is this abysmal. The fifth outing of True Blood‘s seventh season had one plot line going for it, which was the one revolving around Eric and Pam’s search for Sarah Newlin, but other than that the episode was a dull, dumb and soapy mess. The premise itself was ludicrous to begin with: amidst chaos, after death and misery, Lafayette and friends had organized a party at Sookie’s in honor of Alcide and, to some extent, Tara. It was a silly concept, so much so that the whole idea was even called into question by Nicole near the end of the episode. Contrary to what the writers may have believed, such a meta remark doesn’t excuse lazy, contrived and boring material. It makes it even more annoying because you let viewers know you followed through with a half-baked concept, while knowing it wasn’t good.
Let’s start with the one decent element of the episode: Eric Northman. Alexander Skarsgård has always had fun with what his character gets to do and his enthusiasm and charisma keep elevating the goings-on he’s involved in. It’s something the show desperately needs too because, let’s be honest, there wasn’t all that much to his story during ‘Lost Cause’. Eric was still looking for Sarah Newlin while he’s sick and, ultimately, he found her (in a moment that for some reason payed homage to Terminator 2) and he got to kill some yakuza members in gruesome fashion. Both Skarsgård and Newlin actress Anna Camp revel in the True Blood camp and their tongue-in-cheek demeanor keeps their characters and scenes fresh. Their acting couldn’t quite save the subplot though: Sarah Newlin suddenly conveniently had a sister that could point Eric and Pam in a certain direction and then Sarah also conveniently popped up at the exact same time and place as Eric. It all felt forced and ill-conceived and the ridiculous entrance and actions of the yakuza didn’t help matters either; their portrayal here was so over-the-top that it has become very hard to take this threat seriously.
The party itself was a full-blown disaster, though. Sookie mostly wandered around drunk while cozying up to Bill who was experiencing dull flashbacks that only seemed to have the purpose to introduce a potential new villain. Then James cheated on Jessica with Lafayette and was caught by her, after which Jason cheated on Violet with that same Jessica, leading to two new couples and a crazy vampire “woman scorned”. Furthermore Andy proposed to Holly, and Tara’s mom stabbed Willa because she wanted more blood. It was all either extremely predictable or extremely uninteresting, which made the episode drag on and on. The characters also acted like complete idiots, because the writers had to bring about a certain outcome as soon as possible which, once again, was achieved in the most unimaginative and trite way possible. But, other than it being incredibly lazy to move some characters around via having them cheat on their partners, it also made these characters unsympathetic and hollow, which will make it even harder to care about what happens to these characters going forward. That’s a problem: it’s difficult enough to care about True Blood‘s storylines and characters as it is. The final scene did manage to peak the interest of viewers, though: Bill has apparently caught Hep V too, and it will be interesting to find out how exactly that happened.
‘Lost Cause’ lived up to its title: it was a boring mess that managed to be even worse than last week’s ‘Death Is Not The End’. 2/10