After three episodes comprised of relative dullness and the kind of boredom that should never be on display in a show so typically entertaining as True Blood, the series regained a whole lot of momentum in last week’s Episode 4, which at long last made me excited about the fact that the show is back.
Did last night’s Episode 5, titled ‘Return to Oz,’ keep up that positive momentum? Well, not all that much really happened, at least not in terms of the overall story, but it kinda didn’t matter. Because we got a whole lot of solid character-heavy stuff, making for a nice ‘calm before the storm’ episode that was quite enjoyable to watch.
Picking up directly after the events of last week’s Fangtasia bloodbath, where all the angry H-Vamps were turned into puddles of CG blood, ‘Return to Oz’ began with the revelation that Sarah Newlin has a Hep V-infected vampire sister, news that Willa broke to Eric and Pam.
Also in that opening pre-credits sequence, Willa demanded that Eric release her as his progeny, an act that Pam so eloquently described as feeling like “being kicked in the cooch by a wallaby.” She’s got a way with words, that Pam.
Eric and Pam spent most of the episode looking for Sarah in Dallas, on a tip from her vamp sister, which led them to a Republican gala that her sister was pretty sure she was going to be showing up at. After getting all gussied up in an effort to look like your average Republican humans – or as Pam called herself, a “Republi-cunt” – the two infiltrated the gala, and it wasn’t long before the Yakuza came in, guns blazing.
After brutally wiping out nearly the entire party, including Sarah’s parents, the Yakuza cock-blocked Eric’s plans on killing Sarah, finding the two just as she was about to be dispatched. In true Eric fashion, he replied to their pointed guns and sharpened swords with a fury of vicious offense, removing one man’s entire jaw with his bare hands in a gory moment that would’ve made Victor Crowley proud.
Aside from the pursuit of Sarah, the bulk of the episode was centered on a party that Lafayette and James threw at Sookie’s house, as a way of celebrating life in the wake of Alcide’s passing. Though Sookie was initially against the idea, she eventually caved in and had some fun, and the party provided for a whole lot of character-heavy moments and revelations/realizations.
First up, Lafayette and James put aside all the playful teasing and got it on, as James finally found himself fed up with Jessica’s lack of love and affection. Jessica caught the two doing the dirty in the backseat of her car, which naturally required a whole lot of explanation. And boy did Lafayette provide it, in one of his most fierce moments to date.
After Lafayette explained to Jessica that she clearly just didn’t care for James as much as he did, he somehow managed to turn the whole cheating scandal around on her, making her feel like the one who was in the wrong. Meanwhile, James departed for some alone time, clearly confused about his true sexual orientation.
The Lafayette/James hookup allowed for Jessica and Jason to get some long-awaited alone time, as the baby vamp sought comfort in her ex-boyfriend. They too were caught in the throes of passion, with Violet hearing their lovemaking from behind a closed door. Doesn’t bode well for Jessica in future episodes, to say the very least.
As I’ve mentioned in previous recaps, I’ve never been a fan of the James/Jessica or Jason/Violet relationships, and so it was nice to see those mismatches corrected, and two other relationships finally form. Always felt like Jessica and Jason should be together, and I also was hoping things with Lafayette and James would work out, so it was definitely a satisfying episode in the love department.
Speaking of which, Andy proposed to Holly in one of the episode’s many emotional moments, using Sookie’s late grandmother’s ring to do so. Meanwhile, Sam’s girlfriend Nicole had an outburst at the party that echoed our sentiments as viewers, questioning why everyone was acting like everything was normal, while Lettie Mae stabbed Willa with a pretty large kitchen knife, eager to drink her blood and communicate with her dead daughter.
As for Sookie, she’s trying to make peace with the fact that Alcide is dead, and his loss was finally felt, after happening so quickly and then sort of being brushed under the rug in the last two episodes. For the first time, I actually found myself emotional about his death, particularly when Sookie put on his jacket and laid alone in their bed with it on. The character was never used all that well, but it’s still sad to see him gone.
And finally, Bill spent the majority of the episode having war flashbacks that felt like scenes from Django Unchained. Nothing much to speak of in terms of revelations in those flashbacks, but we did learn at the very end of the episode that Bill is infected with Hep V, which leads me to believe that nearly all major characters are going to die by series end.
Despite the aforementioned ‘calm before the storm’ nature of the episode, which made it light on action, ‘Return to Oz’ was nevertheless one of the best hours of True Blood we’ve seen this season, serving as further confirmation that the show it its best when it’s exploring the main characters and their relationships with one another. That’s the kind of stuff that I’m primarily interested in seeing in this final season, and I was glad to see a whole lot of it on display last night.
The episode also laid some nice groundwork for the remaining five episodes to come, which are sure to be a whole lot more action-packed. With the main threat wiped out, it seems that each character is now going to have to contend with their own individual villains, so to speak, which should wrap up all their stories nicely and bring things full circle once the series comes to a close.
With only five episodes remaining before meeting the true death, True Blood is finally starting to pick up and get good again, leaving me feeling quite hopeful that it’s going to go out on a high note, rather than fizzle out on a low one. Really happy to be able to type that, considering the fact that the first three episodes had me feeling quite the opposite.
Have you been enjoying True Blood‘s final season thus far? Comment below with your thoughts on the first half!
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