There’s a point in every season of “True Blood” where the show goes from silly fun to something… bothersome. I’ve been an avid viewer since season 1, but haven’t enjoyed the show since about midway through season 3, when I realized the “fun” I thought I was having was more of a prolonged sense of awe. “True Blood” is a show where things happen and happen and happen, but nothing ever matters – for the characters or the viewers.
Take for instance my one-time favorite aspect of the series: Jessica and Hoyt. Their romance was truly riveting: a baby vampire with a wild side who was robbed her innocence before she could grow up falls in love with a sweet, nurturing and open young man willing to let her feed on him to prevent her from going hog-wild on human blood. While Sookie was bouncing around from Bill to Eric to Alcide, Jessica and Hoyt (despite some early ups and downs) were a life force on the side to remind us this show was capable of more than just lusty naked bodies and gore porn.
Oh, right, until Jessica cheated on Hoyt with his best friend and reinforced the idea that every happiness investment in this show is for naught. And then Hoyt basically disappeared and now Jessica is Bill's slave.
It’s different here than in shows like “Game of Thrones,” another program that revels in violence and doesn’t have time for your favorite anything. While “Thrones” has always been a high-stakes race for the good of the realm, “True Blood” isn’t really about anything, and so the causalities – of both character and plot – are weightless. Sure, there’s this thinly veiled Vampire Rights Amendment and the fight for civil equality, but that’s always been a pretty stupid metaphor. Its obvious ploy to serve as a fill-in for the real world gay rights movement is weak, since undead demons who feast on human blood are radically different from people who love other members of the same sex. There was that werewolf thing for a while, which I guess had some conflict. There was Franklin, the vampire rapist who literally never served any purpose but to make Tara more angry and depressed. (Then Tara died. Now she’s a vampire.) Bill is some sort of lady demon reborn from blood and ash or whatever. Vampires are still struggling to be heard. Jason’s still a dumbass.
I waited until viewing the first three episodes before writing anything about them because “True Blood” does have a knack for working in mysterious ways. It’s typical that I’ll often love the first few episodes of the season then hate it once the new and boring theme is established. And hey, lucky me, because that’s exactly what happened here. I was mildly interested in this whole Bill-as-Lilith thing, but that’s been a bummer extraordinaire, especially after episode two’s foray into Bill’s subconscious, which looks alarmingly like Sookie’s fairy subconscious and is equally boring (even with his ~visions of the future~). Now he’s trying to patent a new version of TruBlood with Sookie’s sun-resistant fairy blood so everyone can stay out the vamp apocalypse and wreak havoc on the vamp Nazis. And he thinks he’s a vamp Jesus. OK BILL, SURE.
I’ve always hated the characterization of Sookie, and she continues to be nothing more than a cipher in this world. Season 1 Sookie was self-authoritive, independent and unafraid. I loved her. The Sookie that exists now is so buried in exposition, biceps and dumb fairy crap that I find scenes with her a total chore. Her subplot with this new Halfling fairy guy Ben is yawn dot com.
Once upon a time, Eric was the best thing about this show. Objectively. Now Eric is as pedantic as Sookie. I liked his scenes with the evil governor last week (what is it with evil governors on TV these days?), but his being rude to Pam shtick is poorly done. Remember back in the day when Pam was pretty much his everything? Now he treats her like a cloying child he can’t get rid of and it’s sad and hopeless for another one of the few good relationships on the show. The show's current incarnation of Eric is one just as vial as the people he hates. In last night’s episode, he kidnaps the governor’s daughter to get information about a secret vampire prison camp. He only spares her life because she can offer an inside look at all the bad crap her dad is doing. That desire to kill her comes from an ugly place that is, once again, outside the logical bounds of what he know of past Eric. It’s like each of these characters exists season to season without a linear thread to keep them in line.
Let’s not even talk about Sam because who cares.
Oh, and Jessica, my once favorite character and the light in this land of dumb vampire vanity shadows, tarts around in a school girl uniform so the creator of TruBlood will do all that she says. Or, rather, to do what Bill says because he’s her master and she must obey. UGH EXTREME.
Pam and Tara are the only two people (or vamps, I guess?) that I care about anymore, but even they don’t have any real motivation for anything.They're middling about, scoffing at Eric and doing things he doesn't want them to just to drag out this Eric vs. Pam dilemma that I doubt anyone on earth cares about.
The thing that makes me the most uneasy about this season is that it seems to be riffing on a World War II Holocaust theme, which is just awful. This show is already morally reprehensible, which isn’t an immediate criticism if that lack of morality was played for an extreme denouement. But that it’s played semi-seriously, that it thinks it’s so smart, that it shreds all that was once lovable in the process of making an extreme point is what makes this show a garbage pile on top of an even larger garbage pile that is the modern day vampire genre.
But hey, magic quadruplet fairy baby blood!