True Blood "In the Evening" Review: Ain't We Got Fun?
I am almost angry about how fun True Blood continues to be. Where is my chance to make
bitter hilarious jokes about terrible scripts and ruined characters? Believe me, I had some zingers. All sorts of double entendres about "toothless," "defanged," "no show lives forever" etc. etc. Well, True Blood is perhaps at its freshest, its campiest, its most compelling in this, its sixth season. The prison break tension, the lace-front wigs, the weird origin details that keep getting thrown in by showrunner Brian Buckner—remember last week, when Jessica mentioned to the totally gentlemanly vampire that it would feel like she was a virgin, but she wasn’t? So that’s still been going on? Oh Jess!
You can’t feel too terribly bad for Jess, as suddenly she’s paired with that hunky long-haired Vampire Messiah James (played by Luke Grimes), a hunky hippy who's just trying to make "another choice" to be good and live another way and yet is still toooootally DTF. The irony of Jason ultimately giving Jessica the chance to go on a conference room date with Edward was completely overshadowed by the super soft porn cheesy romance of the whole thing, but Jessica’s reason for seeking him out was so believable and compelling: Based on her own murder binge on Andy’s daughters, she had come to believe that vampires were, by their nature, doomed to be ruthless murderers, but the way James protected her showed Jessica that vampires didn’t "have" to be bad. She just had to be MADE LOVE TO ON A CONFERENCE ROOM TABLE.
Yeeeeeeeesssssss girl, yes. Another vampire who got a brownie gold star this week was Willa Burrell, who thanks to one severed hand has become the Smithers of vampires, happily anticipating Eric’s requests and staying behind to watch out for his progeny while he escaped with Nora. Nora... Nora. Where to start with Nora? Everything about how the show handled the Nora backstory was so incredibly jaw-dropping. Has True Blood ever done a flashback so lavish? We were whisked back to a painstakingly luxurious Restoration-age Europe, complete with those creepy chicken-head plague doctors wandering around just to provide thematic window-dressing, and what I do believe was a lace-front wig on Eric: all in service of a rather simple explanation of how Eric and Nora became bro and sis. (Eric liked how feisty Nora was, Nora wasn't into dying of plague "postules").
The high-production-values, incredibly silly costumes, and redonkulous melodrama of the flashback—a highlight of this season so far—was then completely blown away by Nora’s actual death scene. I love Lucy Griffiths and all, but to be fair, Nora no longer had a compelling reason for being onscreen, and her juicy, melty death was by easily the character's best moment. And Alexander Skarsgard just sat there holding a mannequin made out of jam and sobbing with a straight face. That was a series highlight for me. I’ve never seen anything so simultaneously gruesome and effective.
Speaking of effective grieving: If we’re to truly believe Arlene has been decimated by Terry’s death, she better let her roots grow in. I would have so much side eye for a widow who was touching up her roots every six weeks, and we all know Arlene’s hair color comes straight out of Kool-Aid packets. Arlene was sort of a nightmare this episode, n’est pas? Aside from tearing Sookie away from a much-needed post-orgasm cuddle sesh, she also hurled slurs at my beloved Lafayette for no damn reason. There is truly nothing more aggravating than when someone says something really hurtful when they’re angry and then tries to blame it on not being in their right minds. No, you just got so angry that your apparently tightly clenched leash on your tongue got loose, your right mind went into overdrive, and now we all know what you really think. Go jump in a pond and swallow some microscopic crayfish.
What I absolutely did love about Arlene’s grief session, though, was Sookie’s reaction to Bill strolling in through the door during daytime hours.
When Bill came in with the daylight gilding his features and proceeded to give a very wooden speech to Andy whilst stunning and terrifying all the humans in the room, Lafayette asked Sookie why multiple vampires were suddenly immune to daylight and she was all, "I don’t know but it ain’t about that today, it's about Arlene and her kids." I mean... it's lines like that that totally fulfill the promise of the premise of this show. Yes, the entire reality of their world just got shifted and all human security just went out the window, but by all means let’s prioritize Arlene getting drunk in her living room and sobbing. Sookie acted like Bill had walked into a funeral in a black sequin gown: "Don’t make this about you!" The ex-girlfriend-y shut-down vibe felt so real and perfect.
No, Bill was not trying to grab the spotlight on Arlene's bizarro birthday party, he was just looking for Sookie, who apparently either does not own a cell phone or doesn't answer it. Bill hauled Sookie off onto the Bellefleurs’ deck and repeated all the information he had given her previously, about their mutual friends needing fairy blood to get through this next
season couple days. Instead of shrilly shrieking and throwing plates at him, Sookie reasonably heard him out and responded in a rational matter. What could have effected this change? From whence did this relaxed attitude come from? Might it have to do with the thorough boning she had just received in a graveyard? Carpe dickem, I guess.
Two things 'bout Fairy Royalty Cuddle-Sesh 2k13:
1. Who does Sookie think she’s fooling when she acts like it's an IMPOSITION for Warlow to propose to her? All Sookie does all year is not eat and not work at Merlotte’s, it's not like she’s off doing important shit like, I don’t know, organizing volunteer hospitals in Mongolia or something. Stop acting like you have anything better to do, Sookie.
2. When Sookie heard Arlene sobbing at Terry’s grave plot, she threw her clothes on before rushing off to console her widowed friend. And according to this still frame, she put her boots on before putting her skirt on. What a maniac!
Speaking of maniacs... Sarah Newlin sort of annoys the hell out of me, but what a fantastic turn her character took this episode. Her weird spoken-opera-aria, complete with atmospheric string music and the full kiss on the lips of the severed head and ruminations on God and purity and monsters... what other show, in the history of humankind, would have such a decadently campy scene? Complete with a swelling angel chorus? Her graduation to Vampire Death Camp Mastermind was elegant and complete—she won over the L.A. Senator with a couple veiled threats and then thrust Jason into the female vampire general population holding cell once she was back on the ranch. (For a minute I thought the Senator was played by the same actor as Governor Burrell—didn’t the character look like Burrell in a bald cap? Maybe I’m just Brad Pitt face-blind). Sarah as a big bad is sort of inspired, there’s something about wealthy blonde women who want their lives to be perfect that is truly terrifying, and Sarah captures that blind sense of entitlement beautifully (see any season of Real Housewives to back up that statement.) It's another instance of the series grounding an over-the-top moment in characters that ring incredibly true.
Scene that rang incredibly false: the agonizingly perfect Nicole stripping off her clothes and stepping into the shower to seduce... Sam? Are you kidding me? What? Her mom could not get there fast enough to deliver her away from that depth of Stockholm Syndrome.
Unfortunately the wolves kidnapped Nicole AND her mom, guaranteeing that they will pop up next week and the week after. Seriously, can’t Sookie befriend Nicole soon? Can’t they pull Jurnee Smollett into the "real" storylines of the show? Getting a storyline connected to the werewolves or shifters on True Blood is like, I don’t even know, working at Disneyland but having to clean the bathrooms and not being allowed to step foot in the rest of the park. Just infuriating. So close, yet so far away.
So Jason is about to be the subject of a thorough mampire prison fight. Nora’s storyline has been, probably for the best, cauterized. Bill and Warlow (a.k.a. Sookie’s ex-boyfriend and Sookie's boyfriend) will have to work together, creating another little love triangle. "In the Evening" was a proud addition to the string of fantastic episodes that has been Season 6. I anticipate next Sunday as highly as ever, and I’ll be thinking about it all night long. And probably In the Morning, too.
– Sarah Newlin: Love her? Love to hate her? Tell me your tales.
– Willa Burrell: Will she freak out when she learns about her dad?
– Will Warlow make it to Season 7?
– James: Best vampire romantic hero ever or whut?
– Are you secretly hoping the weres and shifters (cough Sam cough) will just kill each other off in next week's episode and be done?
– Did the Pam seduction sequence make you sort of uneasy because it's like watching your sister seduce someone or something?
– Does Lafayette need more to do this season besides assist people with their boring-ass storylines? Hint, the answer is YES.
– Nora: Best True Blood death EVER?!?
– What did you think of this episode?
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