“My death shall be my own.”
Desperation seems to cling onto everyone in this week’s slower, filler episode of True Blood. Many storylines halt to take a needed breather as we visit them all with a more focused and appropriately lethargical eye. True Blood isn’t known for its subtlety, but this episode might be as close as subtle as the series will ever get. It’s a lot to take on in one hour, after the death of a loved main character, sparkly fairy intercourse, vamp camp infiltration, and Hep-V infected Tru Blood. Still as messy and slow as the episode is, it holds surprising emotional resonation for multiple of its characters. And another one bites the dust. Death is all around and not just vampires which makes everyone desperate in one way or another. Actually, I don’t think I’d be wrong by insisting desperation and loss the theme of this week’s installment. “In the Evening” has quite a few stories up in the air right now and they’re staying suspended to highlight some important character developments; however, there is some trouble with the execution.
Eric, Nora and Willa move fast. With gathered new information concerning the ominous return of Tru Blood, the trio is set to destroy the vamp camp operation from the inside out. Eric successfully escapes vamp camp with a sick Nora in hand before the opening credits roll and his adventure turns into torturous desperation as he goes to Bill’s for some sort of healing session. You know when the arrogant Eric Northman finds himself proclaiming faith in God’s healing power, the circumstances have shifted. The desperation is palpable and weighs down on him throughout the entire time he is on screen with his slowly decomposing sister. This is the last piece of Godric’s bloodline that Eric has left. So really, Nora perishing would kind of be like Godric dying all over again. Even with Billith in Eric’s corner, this Hep-V overrides every single attempt at healing. Everyone grows noticeably more and more desperate as the hour transpires…
Sookie is on “I don’t give a f***” mode these days. She knows she’s a danger, she knows she makes bad decisions, she is embracing her “danger whore” ways and waving a middle finger to the world at the same time. You go, girl! But at the same time, one has to wonder about Warlow’s intentions with her. He is being portrayed a lot more benevolent than we all previously thought, but seems possessive of Sookie maybe to a fault. And maybe its just old habits. Sookie has to check him a few times before she leaves him in that sparkly fairy world to tend to her friend in mourning, Arlene. Glad to know Sookie’s priorities are still being there for her friends as opposed to having a second round of glowy fairy sex. Terry’s dead. He’s actually gone from the series. That fact kind of hurts, but it presents some story progression for the character of Arlene and for the rest of the Bellefleur family as well. Carrie Preston gets to stretch her acting chops a bit as Arlene struggles to grasp the reality of her loveable oddball husband, Terry Bellefleur’s passing.
After a few good hours with Terry, Arlene got a quick look of what a life with the man of her dreams would be like without all of the torturous personal demons eating at him. And then it all goes completely wrong, as per. Some could label Arlene a black widow at this point, but that may just be a little insensitive. Her history with men dictated a less than happy ending for her and Terry, but this is perhaps the worst. At least Hoyt got to live his life somewhere else, but Terry completely perishes, leaving Arlene in shambles and the Bellefleur family to pick up the pieces. Sookie and Lafayette uncover a supposed large sum of money from Terry’s life insurance, which he planned out meticulously before being wiped clean of his PTSD and knowledge of Patrick’s death and the war. At the moment, Arlene seems fated to a harsh time at least for the rest of the season, unless Holly’s vampire friend can glamour her into forgetting about Terry. Which might be a bit disrespectful in some ways, I guess…
The continued time of mourning turns even more complex when Bill comes through the Bellefleur home to recite his condolences to both a drunken Arlene and a conflicted Andy. For me it is the highlight of the entire episode, just because of how many character stories and dynamics come through just in that instance. Bill and Andy’s confrontation is a tense one, as Bill pretty much insists that if Andy hurts Jessica, his last fairy daughter will too find herself dead and gone. It’s a messy settlement between too rather desperate men at odds yet I doubt this feud is completely over. And I’m almost certain Andy’s daughter might get herself involved with Holly’s two sons. Sookie and Adeline’s brief meeting is a nice moment as well. Maybe Sookie will find the time to mentor the young fairy? But first there are other pressing matters to tend to. Bill needs Warlow, but is this new “I don’t give a f***” Sookie ready to oblige him?
Continuing Jessica’s search for redemption this season, the sulking redhead finds herself utilizing Jason’s benevolence to bring forth a significant new face in order get back in touch with her humanity. Nothing says humanity like consensual vampire-on-vampire copulation. But in all seriousness, in what is one of the more beautiful scenes of the episode, Jessica’s desperation for forgiveness has entrapped her. Either that or the fairy blood is still causing her to feel a bit sexually excited. Her conversation with James (the charming young vampire who refused to force himself upon her during last episode’s humiliating copulation-intended sequence) highlights a seeping desperation within the series as a whole right now.
On the side of Jason, he is left confused. He’s always insisting to do the right thing, but usually ends up shooting himself or someone else in the foot, causing his character to take a drastic turn. Whether his intentions to do right by Jessica are romantic or not, I doubt Jason fully understands that in doing so he has put Jessica in the path of another man. It’s not betrayal so much as fulfillment of one’s dying wish. Jessica is convinced she and her friends will soon be perishing in the light of the sun and instead of linking with Jason as death rears it ugly head, she links with a stranger–another vampire, who is seemingly the most human vamp we’ve met in a long time. Jason is thrown in the middle of new danger when raging war Sarah Newlin returns with a vengeance and a bloodlust, throwing him into female gen. pop with a lot of hungry she-vamps waiting for a bite to eat. Thankfully, Tara is there. However, queen bee prison vamp seems to have a hold on the situation. For her own satisfaction that is, claiming Jason as hers. I doubt Tara will let that go down…
I’m gonna wrap up the Sam and Alcide storylines quickly, because my patience with it is pretty much gone already. Sam hears word of Terry’s death and pledges to go back to Bon Temps even with Alcide’s threat lingering over his head. He sends Nicole back home with her mom while Alcide sends his father back to the trailer parks. But of course Rikki grabs ahold of Nicole and her mother before everything can execute smoothly. Get to the point or lose a lot of these characters, because seriously we’ve all been waiting for this werewolf-shifter storyline to have some sort of significance since the beginning of the season. Right now it’s a lot of wasted time and barely any tension. The problem is that the storyline does nothing to bring out development or interesting dynamics between its characters. It just seems like a storyline to keep these particular characters relevant, which is a little lame considering that time could have been given to more interesting characters that have pretty much fallen by the wayside like Lafayette and Tara. Seriously, they’ve barely had anything to do all season and it is frustrating, especially when this stagnant werewolf-shifter storyline is weighing the series down.
As desperation becomes inevitable loss we are presented with a pivotal flashback sequences highlighting Eric’s first meeting with Nora, which not surprisingly parallels the circumstance of their present day situation. This flashback is either the silliest or one of the best of the season. I can’t tell as of yet. Seeing Eric in the ridiculous wig and trying his best at a thick English accent is laughable and the underlining emotion the flashback attempts to penetrate falls a bit flat. It does tell the story and add a nice development to the story that is needed, but it feels a little too late. Maybe if we had previous character development for Nora we could emotionally connect with her death the same many have with Terry’s, but this two-in-two development and death comes off a bit contrived. That said, it does what it has to do, impacting Eric’s story as well as Bill’s and probably Warlow and Sookie’s by consequence. It also allows us to witness the gruesome effects of Hep-V, which again lets the series showoff its pretty great practical and visual effects.
The continued idea of humanity and who has it in this season makes its way to Eric. After the death of his sister will his humanity remain in tact? We’ve all come to know the Viking vampire as someone use to getting his way. He can also be rather vengeful. All of Eric’s efforts are alas failures and the final frame before the cut to black foreshadows a depressing vengefulness and desperation turned anger–possible rage towards humans and vampires–any living thing altogether. Mirroring Sarah Newlin’s own pledge and righteous dedication to finishing the late Truman Burrell’s devious work in eradicating the vampire race, Eric vengeance and dedication to finishing what these humans started has been raised to new levels.
One of the best things this episode does is continue to pull the storylines together. Some of them mesh better than others and hold some intriguing new dynamics that are, again left suspended in the air until the next episode, but one has to adore the fact that True Blood is trying to head towards a conflicting, bigger conclusion that brings our still surviving characters back together. One of my biggest wishes is to have one big scene involving all of our main characters. That would be interesting. We’ve got another season after this one, so we might see that in the future. Maybe. Everyone’s surmounting desperation results in inevitable loss this installment and they continue on the verge of disaster with each passing week. This is but a mere teaser and partially a filler–somewhat of a devastating breather, if you will before the next stage of death, blood, camp and destruction. “In the Evening” gets 3 out of 5 stars!
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© Patrick Broadnax 2013