‘Karma’ was slightly better than last week’s True Blood episode ‘Lost Cause’, but not by much. The show’s last season is filled to the brim with cringeworthy subplots that fail to add anything of substance to the greater narrative or fail to develop in an interesting manner by themselves. In other words: you have to wade through a lot of schlock to find something that even remotely resembles anything good. Which is why, despite all its moving parts, the current True Blood season is quite boring most of the time. For every single intriguing element, like Bill’s unique case of Hep V, there’s a multitude of things that doesn’t work, like Sookie’s grieving, Jason’s half-baked relationship with Violet, Sam’s bare-bones plot, Andy’s engagement to Holly, or that couple’s kids’ forced fling. There’s a lot of uninspired soap opera material, but very little of the campy and often gory fun that used to make the show such a guilty pleasure.
When we get these moments nowadays, they seem to be hastily thrown in there, for no other apparent reason than to just… have it in. This week’s example would be Bill’s sudden fit of rage, during which he stabbed a lawyer in the neck and, after that, delivered the true death to a security guard. While isolated it maybe could have come off as a fun idea, this conclusion to the scene totally robbed Bill’s situation of its sadness, tension and of the feeling of frustration you were feeling because of empathizing with Stephen Moyer’s character. The episode’s final moment, in which Bill returned home to Jessica and Sookie who now knew that he was dying, also lost a lot of its impact because of it. You can’t play something serious one scene of a storyline and then for laughs the next without sacrificing earnestness through the loss of consistency. It just seems like there’s not much thought put into scene construction and progression, which makes True Blood‘s few bright moments feel isolated and more like strokes of luck than deliberate decisions.
While there seems to be more to the whole Tara plot than just her mom being high on vampire blood, for now it fails to be a storyline that pulls you in or makes much sense. What proves to be entertaining each week though, is Eric’s journey. Not because it’s written much better than the rest of the story strands (it’s not), but because Alexander Skarsgård’s acting elevates the sub-par material. He’s a very charismatic actor and, that combined with the likeable and sometimes ruthless scoundrel his character Eric Northman is, makes for entertaining segments, especially when compared to the what else is on offer. A similar case can be made for Sarah Newlin: she’s a character that has always been bonkers, even held up to the True Blood standards, but who is so much fun to watch thanks to the energy Anna Camp brings to the screen. Natalie Hall also did a fine job in her scenes with Camp portraying Sarah’s sister Amber, a character whose passive aggressiveness and tough girl attitude worked as a nice counterbalance to Sarah’s over-the-top excitement and obliviousness. The punchline to their scene unfortunately seemed like another easy fix for the binds some of the show’s characters find themselves in: Sarah told her sister that she had swallowed the cure for Hep V, meaning that her blood is now the only antidote to the disease that plagues many of the shows vampires, including Eric and Bill. It’s another Get Out of Jail Free card.
‘Karma’ was boring and messy, like many of the past episodes have been. Because of some entertaining scenes it managed to be slightly better than ‘Lost Cause’… but that’s not all that hard. 3/10