By John Keegan
Some might think that having Alan Ball, the current showrunner for the series, write an episode would be a positive development. Unfortunately, this is "True Blood", and all it does is reinforce the notion that Ball has lost sight of what made the series good in the first place. As others have said time and again, "True Blood" has descended into "fang opera", not unlike "Dark Shadows" and "Twilight" before it.
The episode all but ignores the one strong plot thread of the season, the vampiric civil war, in favor of the plethora of mind-numbing side stories that still do little to engage interest. And even then, the drama at the Authority is somewhat less than compelling. The writers seem to be marking time before the reveal that Salome is the true Sanguinista within the Authority. Of course, if Russell is to be believed, it won't matter very much, because he sees both sides of the conflict as useless.
Terry's ridiculous subplot is a perfect example. The seemingly endless courtship between Terry and Arlene was bad enough, but at least it seemed to have a point when they finally found peace together. Driving them apart over this business with the Ifrit makes everything that came before seem pointless. This is largely because the characters are incredibly annoying when they bemoan their problems to the world, and that's pretty much where they are headed again.
Because this show can never kill anyone off for long, it appears that Luna survived along with Sam (who was never going to be killed so abruptly anyway). Not that I mind the character, but it seems to have been designed to push Luna into accepting the werewolf pack's protection for Emma, just as Alcide makes his bid for control. (Though if Alcide can manage to bed Rikki, it would add some much-needed spice to the story again.)
And there's still that other lingering plot thread that just won't go away: the enclave of fairies hanging out in the middle of nowhere. I'm sure that this is all going to tie into Russell's return somehow, since we're reminded constantly of Russell's interest in Sookie's blood. (In fact, who doesn't expect that Russell will be the vampire that killed Sookie's parents?) The repeated comment about how the enclave is meant to be a safe haven all but foreshadows some attack by Russell in the near future. Or will it tie into the other plot threads instead?
After all, the confrontation at the weapons shop, along with the assassins' encounter with Hoyt, would seem to indicate that this anti-"super" movement is meant to be something that drives all the non-vampiric plot threads together. It might even factor into the vampiric side of things, depending on what happens with Roman and Russell. That's all well and good, but considering that the season is already half over, and this is only starting to gel, it doesn't bode well for the second half of the season.John Keegan is Editor-in-Chief for Critical Myth, a partner site of SciFi Vision.