After last week’s shaky start, I was hoping that this week’s episode of True Blood, ‘Authority Always Wins,’ would see the show attempt to get, if not better, at least a little more focused. While not a complete turnaround, it was a step in the right direction.
One of the things True Blood has consistently done well is its character flashbacks, and this week’s Pam flashback was no different. If I recall correctly, it was the audience’s first glimpse of Pam pre-vamp. She’s seen running a bordello and taking care of her girls, or at least attempting to amidst someone grizzly murdering them. Pam is almost attacked herself but is saved by a dapper Eric Northman. This meeting obviously makes an impact on both of them, and begins what will be an incredibly long friendship.
Pam is looking to be the saving grace of this season. Her character has always been brash, strong and funny as hell; making her immensely more likable than most of the other cast. Last season added some more layers to her character and she was all the better for it. Marnie’s curse causing Pam’s face to rot and Eric basically turning his back on her caused Pam to gain this vulnerability that had never been on display before; adding an entirely new dynamic to her character. Kristin Bauer Van Straten has been knocking it out of the park as Pam, and I look forward to what seems to be a more predominant role this season.
The other high point was finally meeting The Authority. After some unique vampire torture, including prison cells with UV Lamps and silver laced IV’s, Bill and Eric finally come face to face with the true Vampire Authority and their leader, Roman (Christopher Meloni). Roman and The Authority still cling tightly to their rituals and heritage, but have “mainstreaming,” vampires and humans coexisting, set as their primary concern and goal. That and making Bill and Eric pay for the crimes they’ve committed.
The Authority is quite displeased with Bill and Eric’s constant selfish decisions that are throwing their balance of human/vampire coexistence in the toilet. Citing numerous public displays of vampire violence directly related to the pair, as well as murdering Nan who was an Authority member, Roman sees no other option than the “true death.” Bill comes through in a pinch by playing the only card he had left, the fact that Russell Edgington is still very much alive.
As cautiously optimistic as I was about Tara’s potential vampire story, so far it looks like it’s going to go nowhere. She spends nearly the entire episode destroying Sookie’s house (at this point, who hasn’t?) and just being completely wasted. It did afford Lafayette a good moment where he realizes he and Sookie made the wrong decision turning Tara as he debates staking her while she sleeps. Unfortunately, he caves in to Sookie just like everyone else does and we get left with Tara simply saying she’ll never forgive them and running off into the night. Good job, writers. Way to really develop that narrative!
The rest of the cast isn’t much better off. Alcide politely declines running the pack, who are still feasting upon Marcus’ rotting body. Sam and Luna get in an argument over Emma, who turns out to be a wolf just like her dad. Terry is still dealing with his PTSD or whatever is going on. It’s fire related and making Arlene a wreck. Rev. Steve attempts to pay off Jessica for some under the covers time with Jason, but Jessica isn’t interested. Jason is left without Jessica, without Hoyt and is now apparently going to suffer for his past loverboy ways.
Other notable moments:
– Andy turning down the V was not only a good character move, but damn refreshing that there is at least one character on this entire show that has a semblance of happiness going on.
– Meloni brings a great level of gravitas to his role as Roman. I’m very excited for his involvement this season.
– Maxine Thortenberry is a magnificent bitch.
– The grossness that is Russell Edgington’s current state.
– The teasing of Russell Edgington’s return feels properly paced in a show that isn’t known for such restraint.
– Can someone just burn down Sookie’s (well, Eric’s now) house? That place is a death trap that’s just constantly destroyed and littered with bodies.
All in all, ‘Authority Always Wins’ was a much better episode of True Blood than the Season 5 opener. Despite adding even more cast to the show, it did have a better sense of pacing with most of the storylines. I’m honestly excited about The Authority and what they’re going to bring to the table in terms of overall narrative. I just wish that the writers gave us some stories worth caring about.
– Matt Hardeman