Well that sure slowed things down a lot.
Under the tutelage of a new showrunner and a compelling story-arc, this season of True Blood has been focused in a way the show hasn’t been in a long time. Sadly, it was only natural that we’d get a clunker of an episode, and In The Evening proved to be a lackluster affair in the grand scheme of things. But that’s what transitional hours are for right?
The episode’s most pivotal moment was obviously Nora’s death, and while the scene was admittedly well-executed, she was never fully-developed as a character. In fact, she existed purely to service the plot. Last season, she was quite suddenly introduced as Eric’s sister, and didn’t really get much to do besides rattle on about politics and Lilith. Yes the flashback to Nora’s original meeting with Eric was impressive (the production design was impeccable and grand), but it was shoehorned in five minutes before her death. Imagine how impactful her death would have been had we experienced further flashbacks leading up to this episode. Instead, it ended up feeling like a manufactured way to up the stakes and solidify Hepatitis V as a looming threat.
Still, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge Alexander Skarsgard for his downright stunning performance. His portrayal of a desperate, shattered Eric singlehandedly elevated the material and imbued it with a true sense of pathos and heartbreak. It was undeniably Skarsgard’s best moment on the show so far, made all the more impressive seeing as how he was acting with a pile of red goo. Plus, there’s a nice symmetry with Nora dying from a disease, as Eric had found her centuries before in a plague-ridden state.
For the first time in a while, I wasn’t totally enamored by the shenanigans at Vamp Camp. Jessica’s story started out well enough with a reunion with Jason, but her asking the honorable vampire James to make love to her was all sorts of terrible (particularly with Jason right outside). It just felt extremely out-of-character, and too much like convenient ammunition for Jason to further hate vampires down the line. It’s the kind of plotting this year has avoided, and I do hope such contrivances don’t happen again.
On the bright side, Sarah Newlin is pretty much the show’s sole Big Bad at the moment, and she continues to be a marvelous delight. Her stumbling onto the Governor’s body and kissing his decapitated head was very fitting of the show’s campy tone, as was her dumping a wounded Jason into the female vampire population. Now who is this Queen B lady vamp, and will Tara be enough to keep her away from sir Stackhouse? Color me intrigued.
While I don’t really care about Terry’s death, the aftermath with Arlene has finally given the lovable character something to do. It was great to see her Sookie and bond for the first time in a long time, and it was especially amusing to see her react to Bill dropping by in the daytime. Hopefully this means the season’s remaining subplots will be reeled in and allowed to intersect with the main arc. All that’s left is Alcide, and I’m hopeful the animosity with his wolf pack will drive him away from that atrocious storyline. The less said about Sam and Nicole’s useless romance, the better.
– Fantastic opening escape by Eric. I especially loved him hiding under the truck and making short work of the cop who spots him with the mirror.
– Sarah hatching the coverup plot with the senator was genius. “I hear acid is effective.” Indeed it is Sarah.
– Arlene snapping and calling Lafayette a “Voodoo Queer” was pretty harsh.
– Is Nicole the most pointless character of all time? The shower sex scene was really unnecessary.
– Pam didn’t have nearly as much screen-time as I would have liked this week, but I did love watching her seduce the shrink. But have some standards Pam please!
Sarah: When God’s message is this clear, I am a truly unstoppable woman.
Therapist: How high would you rate your sexual activity?
Pam: High. I was a whore in my human life. It wasn’t a coincidence.
Therapist: And how would you say that manifested in your vampire life?
Pam: For one, I fuck a lot.
Slow and lazily-plotted, In The Evening is definitely the weakest episode of the season thus far. Here’s hoping all hell breaks loose in the second half of the year and the show doesn’t fizzle out on its potential.
Also posted on Critical Myth.