The Most Frustrating 'True Blood' Episode of the Season

Excess scenes, tired plotlines, inconsistent characters: What didn't go wrong this week?

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HBO


All the bad guys died! And yet this was one of the more frustrating True Blood episodes in quite a while, and not just when compared to last week's brilliant episode. It's possible that part of the anti-climax is intentional—to teach us a deep and abiding lesson about how killing doesn't solve everything—but I sincerely doubt it. The episode didn't feel as pulled-together as usual; there were a lot of excess scenes, and overly drawn-out excess scenes at that. Not only did almost every character make incredibly stupid decisions (often repeating the exact same stupid decision over and over, like joining hands with Marnie), but even the grand climax of the battle was wiped away at the end by Lafayette's unwilling possession. Is it possible that the season's planning took some last-minute hit, like the addition of an unexpected week, that required some quick plot rewriting? Or they realized they had to tone everything down to make next week's finale really stand out?

There were a lot of scenes that weren't bad in themselves, but that didn't really give us any fresh nuances to add to whatever we already knew about the situation. For instance, we already knew Antonia and Marnie were fighting; we already saw Marnie was keeping her Wiccan group captive and lying to them about the vampires' intent; we already knew Jesus could do strange demon-faced magic; we already could tell Alcide and Debbie were likely breaking up. While the Alcide-Debbie breakup had enough added features to make it interesting (fights to the death, oddly-phrased breakup language like "I share flesh with you no longer"—I'm assuming Alcide means eating, rather than, um, sexually), most of the other scenes felt like they were repeating previous plot points rather than growing off of them.

Other exasperating details: A girl is stabbed in the heart and there are not one but two enchanted vampires standing around like giant Purell bottles full of live-saving vampire blood, yet no one thinks to nick one of their wrists and save the girl. That has to be instinct in Bon Temps by now. Next: Eric and Bill both agree to die to save Sookie? I know they're both sappy enough to agree, but it just doesn't make sense as a strategy. They can't be dumb enough to believe it would actually work, but they certainly seemed to be going ahead with it.

The episode did give us a few fresh points: Andy's forest fairy, the long-awaited werewolf fight, and the utter relief of having the obnoxious sycophantic Wiccan's heart ripped out. Next week's episode is the final episode of the season, and it seems like we might get to see a fairy invasion. That or Andy is going to be controlled by a fairy and Lafayette is going to be possessed by evil spirit version of Marnie, both stalking around Bon Temps causing trouble. Based on the preview for next week, they'll fit right in.

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Clarissa Matthews contributes to TheAtlantic.com, mostly in the form of product management. She is a graduate of Swarthmore College and Columbia University's Publishing Institute and lives in Washington, D.C.

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