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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

True Blood: “Lost Cause”

Illustration for article titled True Blood: “Lost Cause”
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Here’s the thing about this episode of True Blood: it was terrible. Truly—and somewhat remarkably—awful. After last week’s surprisingly fun installment, the return to stagnant plotting, nonsensical sidebars, superfluous characters, and useless flashbacks makes it even more obvious that True Blood is a show limping to its finish, rather than racing. If not for a few fun moments sprinkled throughout the hour, this episode would have been a complete and total loss.

The imminent finish line actually seems to be what’s impeding this season more than anything else. True Blood is so desperate to contort its characters into the stories it needs them to be in at the end that the show seems to have completely forgotten to have the actual journey to get there make any sense. Jessica needs to end up with Jason, so she sees James having sex with Lafayette so Jason can comfort her. Arlene needs to move on from Terry so some random vampire (named Keith, because sure) has decided to immediately fall in love with her. Tara needs to appear again so Rutina Wesley doesn’t sue for emotional damages over being dispatched off screen, so Lettie Mae has to go around drugging her husband and stabbing vampires. Sara Newlin has to… something, so the Yakuza are there. (Listen, I can’t explain every cockamamie idea this insane show has.)

Ostensibly, “Lost Cause” is about grieving, but aside from Sookie there’s very little grieving happening. True Blood’s world is steeped in death, basically created from death, and it’s nice every once in a while for the show to recognize that when people die, it kind of sucks. The show did a nice job of this last season with Terry’s funeral, but seem to have run out of fucks to give about anyone else, because the goodbye Tara and Alcide get here is pretty pathetic; it’s basically 30 seconds of mourning and a toast to their legacy. This wouldn’t be so terrible if the episode was so jam-packed full of events that there is no time for reflection, but that isn’t the case: This was an entire episode of people hanging around and doing nothing. The Hep V vampire nest is vanquished, which made for a fun episode last week but left the show with absolutely no forward momentum, plot-wise, and this is a show that needs forward momentum to survive. What’s the forward momentum now, Eric’s quest to kill Sara? Bill’s discovery he is Hep V infected? Violet’s horrible revenge against Jason and Jessica? I really, really hope it’s not the last one.

This was, quite simply, one of those episodes of True Blood where I spent the entire time wondering what the hell the writers are doing. This wasn’t an actual, identifiable episode of television by any normal standards of the word; it was a chapter in this universe’s story, yes, but the episode contained no structure, no beginning, middle, or end. It was just a bunch of events jumbled together in the typical length of an episode. An episode imposter.

And yet, there are momentary pleasures to be had here. Lafayette and James’ connection is more natural than most relationships the show has featured. Because of Carrie Preston’s considerable acting chops, her scene with Sookie where she explains how she’s moving on from Terry’s death is reasonably affecting. Eric and Pam doing anything together is fun, especially if it culminates in him ripping off some guy’s jaw. But moments do not an episode of television make, and this was not an episode of television.

But hey, there’s always next week.

Stray observations:

  • What are the point of these Bill flashbacks we are forced to watch each week? What an epic waste of time.
  • I can’t figure out of True Blood is actually clever for having the Yakuza shoot up a Ted Cruz rally at the George W. Bush Presidential Library, or if it just thinks it’s clever. I admit I snorted when they stormed the doors.
  • Poor Ginger. Poor, sexually frustrated Ginger.
  • “This shit doesn’t happen in other towns!” Nicole is the only one here who speaks the truth.
  • Pam: “Oh. My. God. I’m a Republicunt.”