Published on August 12th, 2014 | by Bean2
True Blood Review – Season 7 Episode 6 – “Karma”
“Karma”, an episode understandably caught up in the mechanics of retribution, opens with an exhausted martial-arts massacre. Eric, still carrying the jawbone of the man who killed his French soul-mate thirty years ago, battles the oncoming Yakuza like a man who’d really rather have a nice lie down. Its an appropriately dizzy display of how lethal a vampire like Eric can be, even at half mast. However, his true vulnerability lies not in being weakened by disease, but in caring for another, as the reveal of Pam in silver shows; he calls off his torturous demolition.
Bill is in a similar position, trying to protect his progeny, though with less swordplay and more tedious paperwork. Deborah Ann Woll does sterling work as ever, playing Jess’ conflicted reactions to overhearing Bill’s diagnosis with a graceful sorrow that combines deference and concern with heartbreak. Now the once-divine Compton must suffer the indignity of his lawyer’s crowded waiting room in a scene that plays like a normalised version of Beetlejuice’s afterlife agency, while his veins course the Hep V through his body at a frightening speed. The vampires seated around him are children, mothers, old men, all absorbed in their own experiences, most with the bleeds, pale and frail; but they are undeniably complex. The room shows that even at this stage in the game, True Blood is still determined to paint the board every colour of the undead rainbow.
Another example of this diversity is James, our liberal pacifist vampire, who comes to the aid of Lettie Mae and Lafayette. James’ relative innocence is the perfect antidote to the lifetime of suffering Lafayette has endured. That he should also understand or at least empathise with Lettie Mae, and see a solution where everybody else sees the problem, is a credit to his kind nature and intuition. The proof is in the blood-pudding, and their shared hallucination leads them to another clue on Tara’s distressing treasure hunt. The Reverend doesn’t approve of their methods though, despite Lafayette’s compelling religious argument, and like the boy that cried wolf, Lettie Mae loses the trust of her loved one.
Jason, meanwhile, undertakes a guilty homecoming made all the more disconcerting for the “he doesn’t know she knows” element. His karma looks like it will play out in a more horribly muddy fashion than first thought; starting with an entree of sexual mind games, Violet waits for solitude before letting loose her rage on the furniture. In a classic control-freak move, she redirects the psychosis, battening down to play faery godmother to hideously stupid horny teens, Adelyn and Wade.
What starts out as light relief, with Andy and Holly’s discovery of the young pair, quickly looks set for disaster. Of course neither set of lovebirds could be allowed joy for long, and somebody’s karma’s gonna getchya, star-crossed or not. Punishing others ruled by love and lust to best wreak her vengeance upon Jason marks Violet out as a true villain; as D’Hoffyrn would say “Never go for the kill when you can go for the pain”.
Yakonomo Corp aren’t scared of wielding pain for their own ends either, though their methods are perhaps less subtle, as those in desperate straights tend to be. Their Texas HQ shows a corporation on it’s knees, with it’s banner on the blink and nobody home. The CEO’s son isn’t used to being laid low, reduced to negotiating with angry vampires, and it takes Pam’s iron will to reign in both her maker and her torturer to get the job done. The wheel of fortune keeps turning, but it does appear to be the death throes of two powerful titans we are witnessing.
As the misdeeds of our antiheroes are slowly being brought to book, so the scales of justice swing like a scythe for the unrighteous. The only character ducking the chop so far is Sarah Newlin, who despite recently losing her lover, mother and father, seems characteristically unfazed by grief; on the contrary, she is a woman possessed of a messianic fervour. After a brilliantly bonkers treatise on Buddhism, Newlin reveals that before she achieved nirvana, her more calculating side made a canny move and ingested the Hep V antidote, quite literally making her the living cure to vampire AIDS.
This news can’t come soon enough, as it turns out that Sookie gave Bill Hep V, which perhaps explains his accelerated deterioration. As it dawns on Sookie that her actions have doomed her first love, she endures the quiet banalities and oppressive enclosure of the clinic, and the agony of awaiting the results with the same kind of courage we’ve come to expect from our heroine. It isn’t until she must relay to Jess her culpability, expecting blame and finding compassion, that she breaks down under the strain of another blow. Just wait til they find out Bill murdered his lawyer and her bodyguard. Well, as Arlene says; “Shit happens – you clean it up”; an adage worthy of Bon Temps.
Review by Nina Clark
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