tv review – HBO’s True Blood, episode 7.8

‘Almost Home’ made quick work of some of this season’s drawn-out storylines. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing since these plot strands failed to register with audiences or capture their imagination, but it was also frustrating. True Blood’s decision to invest this much time in side characters’ stories to eventually just toss these overboard came off as quite pointless and aimless, two words that adequately describe the series’ last run. Regardless: even after the show put an end to some its dull and superfluous story strands, it failed to become any more interesting. Viewers were treated to a lot of “meaningful” (read: uninspired and repetitive) conversations, matchmaking from hell and a very stubborn and annoying Sookie. With only two episodes left, it seems impossible that True Blood will redeem itself and go out in style, which also makes watching the show rather pointless at this stage.

After having speechified like a true dumb villain and having threatened to torture and kill Jessica, Jason and the two teens, Violet was shot by Hoyt, which led to a surprisingly swift and uneventful ending to one of the show’s craziest characters. Ultimately True Blood didn’t have much fun with her demise, but instead just got it over with to put the pieces in place for a genuine partner swap. I’m not kidding: because Hoyt saved everyone, he met Jessica again and, despite the fact she glamored him a couple of seasons back, these two fell in love each other all over again. Fortunately Jason was all A-ok with that: he has fallen for Hoyt’s soon-to-be ex-girlfriend now, which will leave everyone happy in the end. It’s really baffling how flippant True Blood has made his characters. The fact the show knows it, had Hoyt deny it, and then went ahead with it anyway was truly cringe-inducing. It also really lowers the stakes: everyone here is more than fine with people dying around them and these people swap loved ones whenever it’s convenient like it’s a card game.

The other plot strand the show got rid off was the incredibly strange Tara story. Lafayette, Tara’s mom and her husband were somehow transported back to a childhood memory of Tara’s, which led to the fact that Tara and her mom forgave each other. The problem is that True Blood had already had that happen, and that it never explained how exactly Tara stuck around in spirit form. Given how this storyline was wrapped up, nothing about it made any sense, and because of it this plot strand lacked the emotion the writers had intended for it. Its final moments also couldn’t have been more cheesy: Tara faded away, disappeared into the wind, with the trio standing by and smiling. We never saw these characters again this episode, which was probably for the best since the only tantalizing question that remained after their scenes was this one: how is that family doing whose yard is now a complete mess? How are they going to make sense of this?

Lastly there was the “the cure” storyline, which is definitely the best of the bunch, even though that really isn’t saying all that much. Eric, Pam and Yokonomo corp captured Sarah Newlin and when Eric drank from her he was cured. After Noomi’s capture the Japanese tried to dilute the cure in order to keep their customers coming back for new product Nu Blood, a drink that will battle Hep V over a long period of time, earning Yokonomo lots of money in the process. It was a nice little moment of evil corporate action, but other than that the storyline failed to bring anything interesting to the table. When Eric visited Sookie to let her know he was cured and she told him Bill was sick, Eric told her to wait so that he could get some of Noomi’s blood to Bill. Sookie being Sookie of course threw a fit and went in on her own, almost getting Eric and Pam in trouble. Eric talked his way out of this awkward and potentially dangerous situation and later still tried to fulfill his promise to Sookie, but, once again, she took matters into her own hands and broke into Fangtasia’s basement with Bill and Jessica in tow.

While it’s certainly understandable that Sookie is worried for Bill, the way her actions are handled and the manner in which Anna Paquin performs the part makes the character come off as a spoiled child who needs to have her way no matter what. Because of this it gets harder and harder to sympathize with her. Jessica’s action to threaten Sarah Newlin despite how little time Bill had left was also incredibly stupid: it didn’t gel with the character, didn’t add anything to the story and was even a do-over of the episode’s first scene with Noomi and Eric. The cliffhanger didn’t fare much better either: Bill decided not to drink Sarah’s blood, which left us to wonder why the hell he went along with Sookie anyway.

With ‘Almost Home’ True Blood trudged forward toward its finale. Fortunately there are only two episodes left. 3/10

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4 thoughts on “tv review – HBO’s True Blood, episode 7.8

  1. Pretty much this! It’s like they’re scrambling to get everything they mixed up into order before they send off their characters for the life after True Blood. I hoped Hoyt being back meant him and Jason would make up or become friends again. Now this storyline’s only purpose seems to be a partner swap… which, why does Hollywood have such an obsession with having characters in a relationship even when that relationship doesn’t have any basis whatsoever. I would’ve preferred to see Jason and Hoyt bond again and become friends over them “getting with the girls.”

    • Same here! Unfortunately the Hoyt I used to like is long gone. The charming, sweet and amiable guy from the show’s glory days (if you can refer to True Blood’s best period that way) was turned into an angrier and douchier version of the character until Jess glamored him and he left. Sadly that unlikeable Hoyt is pretty much the guy we’re now once again dealing with (apparently you can’t glamor that away).

  2. Hey,

    I don’t really see anyone mentioning what I’m about to write about here, but I just had to get this off my chest. Watching this episode with Jessica reconnecting with Hoyt got me so disgusted, because I think that the writers with their bizarre obsession with pairing old flames back together, as well as their obsession with hastily pairing unattached characters, had really messed up a couple that I believe had a lot of potential.

    There was not much to be excited about with True Blood in the later seasons, but I was very excited about Jessica and James. I thought that Luke Grimes and Deborah Ann Woll had great chemistry, and Mr. Grimes had a dangerous sexuality that really lent itself to his role. I also thought that the pairing showed a real growth of character for Jessica, who seemed to be on the path of accepting her own darkness as a vampire.

    People seem to enjoy harping over Mr. Grimes’ “homophobia” on his decision to leave the show over the new gay storyline his character was written into. From what I’ve read, Mr. Grimes and Ms. Woll had worked together on a movie called Forever prior to his True Blood stint, and he had really enjoyed working with Ms. Woll and was looking forward to working with her again. When he found out that this was not going to happen after all, he left. If I’m to add my own speculation on the matter, I would suspect that Mr. Grimes found the abrupt story change to have a ‘we’re-writing-as-we-go-along’-vibe. And for what? So that Lafayette can have a romantic wrap-up and that Jessica can take a retrograde step back in the arms of first Jason, and then Hoyt. Frankly, the writers didn’t seem to know which of these humans she’d end of with, it felt so hasty and indecisive.

    If I was Mr. Grimes I would have jumped off the sinking ship of untalented, desperate writers too!

    If these writers were so desperate to give Lafayette a romantic wrap-up, why not pair him with Vampire Keith? Carrie Preston, the actress who plays Arlene, had said in an interview back in 2013 that she didn’t want her character to be romantically paired with anyone after the death of Terry. She felt that Arlene was always tied to a man, and always with one of dubious character. She really wanted Arlene to be a strong, independent woman who was both running her business without a partner and raising her children on her own. I agree with Ms. Preston, as this would have shown a lot of character growth for Arlene.

    The writers seem to be very anti-growth when it comes to their characters.

    Yet another example of a potentially strong story ruined by the True Blood writers.

    Also, what’s with this obsession with pairing vampires with humans? Yyyyyyaaaaaarrrrrnnnnn!!!!!!!!!

  3. Thanks for the reply, ProvidenceMine! I agree with you that the whole “happy ending through pairing” thing (regardless of the species involved) is ill-advised, trite and overly sentimental. The way True Blood chose to end all the story arcs is unimaginative, forced and undercooked.

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