Entertainment Magazine

Review #3650: True Blood 5.11: “Sunset”

Posted on the 21 August 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: John Keegan

Written by Angela Robinson
Directed by Lesli Linka Glatter

It’s never a good sign when you need to write an enormously powerful character as a complete space cadet to justify why she would be easily defeated. It’s even worse when the actress can’t pull off the wackiness without it looking like someone from dinner theater trying to act like someone flighty, rather than actually being someone flighty. And that’s only the beginning of the illogical character choices on display in this episode.

Review #3650: True Blood 5.11: “Sunset”

This was an odd example of plot threads that were, perhaps, a bit too subtle for their own good, married to plot threads that couldn’t be more blunt and forced if the writers actually tried. The subtle moments involved Bill, Eric, the Authority, and the nesting effect. The idea that the vision of Lilith is a shared hallucination, an effect of vampires being attuned to one another that deeply, is mentioned by Pam but never quite linked to what is happening with Bill and the others.

However, it does make sense of certain things. Eric has always been devoted to Godric, so it makes sense that he wouldn’t commune with the others as quickly or completely. Nora is connected to Eric (either that, or he is just that amazing in bed!), so she eventually followed his lead. Russell is the oldest of the gang, and clearly had his own agenda that superseded the Lilith bond. The others, however, were all adrift after Roman’s death, and the result is a shared desire for dominion. It’s going to be a bloody mess in the Authority, and it should be interesting to see how Bill gets out “alive”.

But knowing all of this, and how powerful the Authority is, I found it insane that Pam was willing to stick around at Fangtasia. Tara (and Jessica) may be too young to understand how things work and that hiding there is a fool’s errand, but why wouldn’t Pam exert authority and get them out? One might assume that she’s trying to find a way to get to Eric, but that’s a bit facile.

Meanwhile, Eric’s plan seems pretty obvious. Killing the general was a way to force the hand of the Authority, which in turn gives the human government all the justification they need to unleash Hell. (One presumes that Russell’s side venture is a convenient way to allow him to survive the slaughter.) And of course, who better to turn on former allies than Eric and Nora? I foresee Eric cutting a deal with the government, getting his hands on those new weapons, and Nora meeting the True Death in the midst of the fighting. (And, of course, this would leave Eric as the perfect candidate for running and rebuilding the Authority, wouldn’t it?)

After skipping Alcide’s plot entirely in the previous episode, his appearance here boils down to a bonding moment between father and son. That part, at least, was telegraphed to the hilt. Was that the only point, though? I get the feeling that it was also meant as a turning point of sorts for Alcide, but there’s not a lot of time for anything to happen for him between now and the end of the season. If he does go back to take control of the pack, it’s going to feel rushed and abrupt.

Sookie’s plot thread with the faeries is now connected with the vampire civil war in terms of Russell’s bid for ultimate power, but other than that, it’s dragging along with little sense of direction. How many times are they going to tease the reveal of Warlow’s identity? It would be too obvious for it to be Russell at this point, so I’m leaning towards Bill. I’m not sure how that would align with the original books or even his characterization in earlier seasons, but Alan Ball loves to ignore his own continuity when it’s inconvenient.

There’s also that problem I mentioned at the very start; the Elder was ridiculously lame, stepping far beyond camp into can’t-act-to-save-her-life territory. Those were some of the most awkward scenes I’ve seen in any show since the pilot episode of “Ringer”. And how in the world is an Elder faerie beaten so easily? That made no sense at all, and it felt like the writers were just tossing together whatever lame explanation for her defeat they could cobble together in five minutes. (And does anyone else think that Jason’s injuries might lead to Jessica turning him for real?)

And then, of course, there’s the whole business with Andy. I haven’t cared about his relationship with Holly one bit since it arrived on the scene, so why would I care about Morella’s return and how that baby is going to hurt things? It just felt like something the writers realized they forgot they did, and tried to cram into the end of the season.

There’s enough here to maintain my interest, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the show needs a massive overhaul after three seasons of spinning its wheels. The upheaval at the Authority has been a good arc, but it has been surrounded by meandering nonsense. Ball’s departure will hopefully allow someone to step in and give this series much needed direction.

Writing: 1/2
Acting: 2/2
Direction: 2/2
Style: 1/4

Final Score: 6/10

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