Published on August 5th, 2014 | by Bean0
True Blood Review – Season 7 Episode 5 – “Lost Cause”
WARNING! CONTAINS SPOILERS!
It cannot be denied that the people of Bon Temps have been through a lot at this stage, and some might say the fans of True Blood haven’t had the easiest time of late either. The final season of any long-running show faces definite challenges; how to satisfactorily resolve many years of story-lines, character arcs, themes and expectations. True Blood has suffered on and off from an inconsistent tone, but one thing it excels at is dialogue – fruity, balls-to-the-wall, scenery-mauling line-spittage delivered by A-grade actors. That’s one reason why “Lost Cause” works so well; it’s a very chatty episode, and everybody gets to weigh in.
After the significant narrative improvements seen last week, Episode 5 continues the up-swing and decides that in the aftermath of Alcide’s passing, rather than a wake, let’s throw a PARTY! And, as unlikely as it might seem, and as forced as it might have felt, it’s another good move. A party affords the show multiple opportunities to make interesting character alliances and then let them drunk-truth each other. Sookie’s understandable reluctance to get shit-faced and play hostess the day after her boyfriend’s murder is swiftly shunted aside by Lafayette’s exuberance and the opinions of Jackson Hervaux’s fancy-lady (whatsername?), who demand that life be celebrated not mourned.
Sure, this may be wafty True Blood-style logic, but it’s a relief to have our characters exhale a bit, even lift one another up in a troubled time. To give Sookie her dues, she puts on her game-face and sacks up like a lifer, but for once it’s not dead-eyed repression, but a genuine release of grief – something her perpetually traumatised soul is badly in need of. Letting the wall of solitude come down in a lovely scene with Arlene marks another honestly moving moment for these two, whose close bond has lately become a central source of emotional strength for the series.
Andy and Holly provide another love-up with their engagement and Keith throws down hard at Arlene with some ancient come-ons, whilst she handles his attentions with her special brand of charming drunken grace! All this bonhomie hangs on a knife’s edge of course, and of the recent hostages it’s Nicole that can’t handle the facade, primarily, it would seem, because as an expectant mother, she’s off the loose-juice that lets the others forget what they’ve been through. Lettie Mae shows up after drugging her long-suffering husband, the good Reverend Daniels, makes a heartfelt and poignant speech to Tara’s nearest and dearest, and then pulls a classic move by literally stabbing Willa in the back!
This is fairly small fry in the scheme of True Blood, so it falls to Eric and Pam to deliver our tuppence-worth of carnage. Before we get to the big finish, they continue their foray into humiliating fashion choices, this time exploring the style-wilderness that is the Republican Deep South. Whilst it is a newfound and unexpected joy to watch Eric endure the atrocities of a bry-nylon suit, bootlace tie and a stetson, as Pam dazzles in sequins, the running theme is a curiosity that nearly detracts from the ‘gravity’ of their mission to murder Sarah Newlin.
Naturally, things must continue to ramp up, so while Eric is ripping the face off his adversary, Sookie’s house goes all Hollyoaks, and ends up in sexual dominoes. I think I predicted James and Lafayette’s attraction would trigger the resumption of Jess and Jason’s affair, but then I’m not especially foresightful; it was just predictable. And sure, Jason is a total groin-thinker, but really? Cheating on your psycho-vamp-owner gonna work out for everyone is it?! Okaaaaaay then. Whether Violet turns out to be the homicidally vengeful woman spurned she looked like remains to be seen. Jason has been having his bootie-cake and eating it for seven seasons now; his comeuppance is by this point nearly assured. Silly old Jason. (sigh) Lafayette’s schooling of Jess is delicious though, and worth all the others’ histrionics.
On the outside looking in on all the daft soap-opera shenanigans is Bill. From standing Dad-style at the mantelpiece, nodding out of time to the Marvin Gaye (ironically, a tune about not being a wallflower any more) Bill has never been more isolated. The reminiscences that have distracted him of late play out in increasing detail; he was a conscientious objector in the War, but was violently coerced into fighting. It feels like another spade full of dirt on the dig out of Bill’s pit of self-loathing to acknowledge this, and I wonder ultimately where it’s heading. The reveal of Bill’s Hep V infection at the episode’s close echoes Eric’s, though this time we see Bill’s reaction to the revelation, reflecting our own.
Are these flashbacks, both Eric and Bill’s, more than simply the recollections of dying men? In a show perpetually dealing with mortality, grief and the legacy of a life (or afterlife) lived, and during an episode contemplating the loss of both Alcide and Tara, it is pertinent to allow our main vampire leads an opportunity to explore their histories in a languorous fashion. I still feel like they’re headed back to camp Stackhouse, in one way or another. The messy triangle between Sookie and her vampire-ex’s may be long past, but these are the undead after all, and some thing never die.
Review by Nina Clark
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