When a show changes show runners, it’s only natural for the storytelling to falter a little bit. I mean, look at the unholy mess that is Supernatural’s seventh season. Now, True Blood was far from thriving when show runner Brian Buckner took the reins, but now that the third episode is over, I can’t help but wonder, with such a short season, can a show like True Blood afford to falter?
After watching “You’re No Good,” part of me wants to say yes, but I’m not sure I know how to stop watching. In the immortal words of Brokeback Mountain, all I want to say to the HBO drama is, “I wish I knew how to quit you.” But even among the worst episodes, there’s always something that keeps me coming back for more. In the case of “You’re No Good,” it’s pretty much the same reason I gave y’all last week; Jessica. Amidst all the shit that True Blood has thrown at the wall, Deborah Ann Woll’s Jessica is one of the few things that stuck. While the show began with the impossible love between Sookie and Eric, the core relationship that has kept the show afloat for the past two seasons, at least in my opinion, is between Jessica and Bill. It’s an unconventional dynamic, similar to Claudia (Kirsten Dunst) in Interview with the Vampire but with less vitriol. There’s a connection there that escapes human perception, but something about it works. Jessica’s relationship with Bill, but more importantly, Jessica’s being of use in one of the sub-plots, is reason enough to watch this most recent episode of True Blood.
However, she isn’t the only reason. There were a couple of charming moments scattered amongst the mess of storytelling. Anna Camp’s Sarah Newlin made a welcome return, all slammed up like some sort of S&M Barbie. It was a promising return for the character with hopefully more to come. Her turn as Pentecostal turned politician is one of the highlights of “You’re No Good.” Honestly, even as a fan of the religious/political allegory of True Blood, the past few weeks have been pretty heavy with it, almost distractingly so. Sarah Newlin is the perfect character to deliver that metaphor. She doesn’t come on too strong, but her rise to power and position in the quest to eradicate the vampire race are- well, I don’t wanna say realistic, but it’s a more believable character development than this sudden all-out war between humans and vampires.
Sadly, even though I was able to turn those two brief side stories into roughly 350 words, they were fleeting moments in the episode. In the main plot, since the supernatural universe revolves around Sookie, the hunt for Warlow continues. It’s not that the Warlow plotline isn’t interesting, but considering it’s the driving force of season six, it’s unbelievably uncomplicated. They are trying to find Warlow. They still have not found Warlow. I mean, that’s pretty much the summary of the main plot for this episode. Oh yeah, and Warlow busted up that fairy joint, so Rutger Hauer got that Ben guy to help them look for Warlow. I- I mean, did I miss anything? Any subtleties that escaped my plot summary? I just feel like we should be able to expect more from the main story of a season, but that’s really all there was to it this episode.
Luckily, the other “big” storyline has a little more to it. Eric’s exodus from Fangtasia was a weirdly emotional moment for me… was that- I mean, that couldn’t have just been me, right? Still, he and his band of merry vamps are making their way from hideout to hideout as they try to take down the evil governor. I gotta say, I am a little confused about one thing. Well, not so much confused as- well, I’m desperately hoping this storyline isn’t gonna play out in the way that I’m afraid it is. After all, the episode begins with Eric telling Willa that he is going to kill her, just to stick it to her daddy. The whole episode goes by, she’s still not dead. She and Eric have a near moment, but, yup, she’s still breathing. If the only reason she’s being kept alive is to flesh out a romance between her and Northman? Yeah, that’s pretty pointless. Honestly, and maybe this is just a testament to how sick and twisted I am, I was hoping Eric was gonna turn her and leave her there, so her father would hafta kill her, instead of Eric. I mean, c’mon, that’s some Shakespearean tragedy shit. How messed up would that be?!? But nope, for the time being she’s still alive.
Oh yeah, and Sam finally got Emma back, but the wolves tore apart the peaceful protestors, cuz nobody saw that one coming… Nicole got away, but that’s it. I honestly keep forgetting the shifter thing and werewolves are still storylines. Maybe their focus will pick up, but in the meantime, there isn’t much to say about the, like, 7 minutes of screentime dedicated to both those storylines.
All in all, “You’re No Good,” takes its episode title to heart. It’s a fairly unremarkable episode when you think about the main plotline. Still, it’s those few minutes of charm, where Jessica commands the screen and Sarah Newlin stages a comeback, that make the episode worth watching. Truthfully, “You’re No Good” feels like the build-up to something, but it’s not entirely clear if new show runner Brian Buckner knows what he’s building up to. We can only hope there’s a solid pay-off.
What did you think of this week’s episode?