Goodness, gracious, great fizzling balls of Sookie-fist-lightning tonight's True Blood episode was lacking. And that's disappointing to admit, especially because the ending was pretty solid. Just not quite great enough to redeem the rest of the oddly paced episode, which actually included a wedding video and karaoke singing.
What I came to realize throughout tonight's episode - when I wasn't staring at the clock wondering how long we'd have to wait for something to happen - was that most of the moments that transpired might have been interesting and entertaining had things been moving a bit quicker. Or maybe it was that there were simply too many things trying to happen at once that nothing really gelled the way it could have. We got a little bit of everything and it all added up to not that much in the end.
Roman is dead. Either I missed his official splat moment or it happened at some point between the very end of last Sunday's episode and the very beginning of tonight's, but he was a pile of goo in front of Russell when "In the Beginning" began. Solame admitted to being the one to dig up Russell. She and Nora are all about Lilith and there was obviously no room for Roman in that equation. Enter Russell to make a speedy departure of Christopher Meloni's character. He did the same to Dieter Braun, the only remaining Authority member foolish enough to protest Solame's plans to drink Lilith's blood. RIP The Swede.
Bill and Eric went along with Solame and Nora's plans to drink Lilith's blood and the group of them spent the rest of the episode tripping out in New Orleans and eventually feeding off the patrons of a karaoke bar. The episode ended with Lilith seeming to appear out of the blood. Whether that was real or a hallucination, I'm not sure. The bigger point seemed to be Eric's vision of glowy-white Godric, who reminded him that he knows better and to save his sister. Godric died a pacifist so his return here seemed fitting enough. If there was a voice of reason in Eric's head, it'd be his. Eric was left staring and drooling, but I'm assuming Godric's orders will be a thing that keeps him (and Bill) tied to the Authority for at least a few more episodes. Whether or not Nora can be saved remains to be seen.
Hoyt's gone from being vampire bait to a vampire hater. He seems to have joined up with the Obama-mask-wearing hate group that's killing sups. This may put him up against Jessica, whom he claims to hate now. And against Sam, who's sniffing out these murderers when he isn't visiting with Luna at the hospital or having heart-to-heart chats with Sookie in the waiting room.
Sookie's fairy-folk tested her "luminescence" and told her that her powers might disappear if she overuses them. She seems uncertain as to whether or not that's a good thing. I'm sure there's some appeal to normalcy. Mind reading might seem like a perk, but we all know she finds it to be a burden when it isn't saving her (or someone else's) life. And the lightning bolts come in handy. Pardon the pun.
Jason and Jessica had a fight when he stopped by while she was feeding. He was put off by her kissing him with some other guy's blood on her breath. Given everything else that's going on, I find it hard to understand why he feels angry or betrayed that she's feeding, but him shooting her in the head was kind of funny in a completely-out-of-nowhere sort of way. Just one more bit of drama to add to the pile.
We were treated to a few minutes too many of Arlene's wedding video. I suppose the point of the video - which had many of the main characters (sans Sookie, who was off in fairy-land at the time) - wishing Terry and Arlene well at their Merlottes-set wedding - was to show that Arlene still loves Terry and is trying to make sense of everything, but that came through in her talk with Holly. The whole segment seemed to run on a bit longer than it needed to. In an otherwise better-paced episode, a little look-back at how things were during the year-long gap between Seasons 3 and 4 might have been cute and amusing, especially when noting the things that have changed (Hoyt and Jessica all coupled and happy, Sookie's absence).
Speaking of Terry, he's still off with Patrick dealing with the smoke monster. His and Patrick's scene seemed so rushed, it almost didn't need to be in there. Another example of the episode trying to do much more than it needed to.
Alcide and his pretty brunette second (anyone catch her name?) are training for the big showdown. This involves rolling around together and a fair amount of obvious sexual tension. Their training session was cut short by the arrival of Marcus' mother Martha, who's still looking out for puppy-Emma. Martha was all Team J.D. until she caught him trying to give Emma vampire blood later in the episode. Does this mean she now has to choose allegiance between a V-addict and the man who killed her son?
Lafayette visited Jesus' grandfather, who sewed up Lafayette's mouth and was about to cut into his brain to take back his family's powers and put them into his unborn child. But the pregnant mother stabbed him and possibly killed him, so I'm not sure where that leaves Lafayette at this point. This story arc seems so detached from everything else that I'm not sure what to make of it. Like Terry's arc, it might have been better off saved for another episode when there was more time to deal with it.
Moving on, Pam has Tara working the pole, which she seems to prefer to bar tending. Tara's mother stopped by looking dressed for church and declared Tara dead to her. Guess what, Lettie Mae? She's dead to everyone else too. Tara's always had a strained relationship with her mother, but given everything she's been through, her mother's formal dismissal of her can't have helped her mindset as a new vampire. But Pam swooped in and used the moment to bond with Tara, telling her that in a hundred years, she wouldn't even remember her mother. Then she sent her back to the pole.
Sheriff Dearborn made a quick return when Andy went to visit him for advice, but he gave Andy the brush-off in favor of spending time in the hot tub with his mistress and some "experimental male enhancement ointment" he's looking forward to trying out. Retirement seems to agree with him.
And that's about it. I hate to be a complainer, but for a season that took a while to get going, I was hoping we'd see some real momentum building by now. Despite all the bloodshed during tonight's episode, "In the Beginning" was just a bit too all over the map to really grab me. We'll see where things go next week.