There's a new sheriff in town. And an old sheriff and one that doesn't think he's a very good sheriff. There's also an almost-packmaster and an angry den mother and a bunch of other leader-types being dethroned or backstabbing each other. And there are three episodes left to get this whole mess sorted out as the fifth season draws to a close.

Interestingly enough, two major story arcs were wrapped up this evening, so let's get those out of the way first.

iFrit.
The side-story involving Terry and Patrick was concluded tonight as Patrick tried to take Arlene hostage and ended up with bullets in his head, courtesy of an apprehensive Terry, who decided that "the right thing" was to kill Patrick on the orders of the deceased Middle Eastern woman he once killed on other orders. What did we learn about Terry tonight? He will kill probably someone if you tell him to.

On the bright side, we got to see Arlene assert herself when she managed to get a gun and point it to Patrick's head, stating in a voice that almost didn't sound like her, "Don't move motherfucker or I will blow your fucking brains out." Go Arlene! And aside from giving the floor of Merlotte's a good bleach-scrubbing, there isn't even much clean-up to do as smoke-monster Ifrit swooped in to claim Patrick's body, leaving behind a relatively small puddle of blood.

Dragon Lady.
I would have thought that the "Obamas" hate-group arc would be carried on to the finale. They could have built up some nice momentum with that, considering the way it tied into a number of different characters (Hoyt, Jessica, Jason, Sookie, Andy, Luna and Sam), but this too was resolved tonight. As it turned out, the former Sheriff Dearborne was among the Obama-mask-wearing Sup hate group, and he was taking orders from his girlfriend Sweetie, whose anti-Sup rage stemmed from her husband leaving her for a shifter. She was the dragon leading the Obamas to kill Sups and display it on the internet.

Upon learning that Sheriff Dearborne was the man to find her parents' bodies, Sookie went to talk to him about the situation to see what he knew. She didn't realize she was putting herself in danger at the time, though she might have suspected something was amiss the moment Bud tried to point blame on vampires (and Sookie's associations with them) for Gran's death. She did begin to realize he was keeping something from her when she read his mind, but by the time she was close to figuring out what, Sweetie emerged and knocked her out, throwing her in the pigpen with Hoyt.

Andy was feeling down on himself for being a crappy sheriff - and let's face it, beating up an incarcerated man doesn't exactly help create an argument against that - but he and Jason came through in the end, recognizing Bud's boots in one of the website videos and using it to track down the Obamas and rescue Hoyt (and Sookie). Andy was forced to put a bullet in Bud, who wasn't going to go down without a fight. RIP Bud Dearborne. If I recall correctly, his departure as Sheriff came from being frustrated over how bad things had gotten in Bon Temps, so his anger toward Sups didn't come out of nowhere. Still, his return seemed sudden and his death was just as fast. The Obamas thing felt like a story that could have been fleshed out a bit more. Instead, it was just another fast and violent thing that happened in Bon Temps and is presumably wrapped up.

On a related note, did Luna kill Sweetie? I thought I heard bones cracking when she was pummeling the woman in that field.

Authority.
The plan to destroy the True Blood factories is in full effect, and it seems Bill is fully on board with the Lilith worshippers. He still seemed on the fence earlier in the episode when Eric tried to talk to him about it, but after bedding Salome and having some weird hallucinations during their coupling, he seemed to come to a decision on the matter. Eric had plans to grab Nora and sneak out with Molly. Bill was supposed to go with them but instead, he double-crossed Eric and told the Authority of Eric's intentions. So either Bill has an even broader plan, or he really is on board with Lilith. At this point, I'm leaning toward the latter. Any time I try to consider the former, I feel certain I'm reading far too deeply into the situation. At present, I'm convinced Bill wants something to believe in and he thinks Lilith may be the way.

New sheriff.
Pam's trying to keep a cool head at Fangtasia in the face of what could be an all-out panic now that True Blood factories are being destroyed. She told Tara that they'd continue to serve there True Blood and vampires will continue to drink it until it runs out, after which they'll pretend they're still drinking True Blood while discreetly feeding off humans. It's a reasonable approach to take. Of course, now she has bigger problems. There's a new sheriff in town and not only is this guy eager to sit in Eric's old chair, but he's also ordering vampires in Fangtasia to grab a human and dig in. Not good.

Russell and Newlin sittin' in a tree?
Russell seems to have taken Newlin under his wing, bringing him with him when he went to visit JD and the rest of the wolf-pack. With Talbot long gone, Russell is on the market again and he and Newlin seem to be hitting it off. At the very least, they have a similar enthusiasm toward being evil vampires. Are these two on their way toward a romance? Russell did give Newlin his very own pet. That came in the form of young Emma, whom Russell snatched from Martha against her and JD's wishes. JD was all about lapping up Russell's blood, but the vampire put him in his place when he tried to stop him from taking Emma away. Poor little Emma keeps getting passed around. Something tells me this will be Alcide's fight to finish and if he does, perhaps he'll regain control of that pack.

Speaking of Alcide, we got our first look at his father tonight as he flashed back to a sort of anointing ceremony that took place in the woods. HIs father (played by Robert Patrick) was telling them about the importance of the pack and

Other tidbits
Jessica seems really upset over what happened to Hoyt. She was especially worried when he went missing. Granted, that may have just been guilt over her involvement in it, but I couldn't help but notice that she pushed Jason away when he tried to touch her. If this isn't about loving Hoyt then maybe this whole ordeal will cause her to reevaluate her love life and how her choices affect people. Who knows? What was confirmed tonight was that she doesn't "take dumps."

Also, Lafayette's hearing lots of ghostly voices. That came in handy when Gran directed Sookie toward the scrapbook items under her bed. Of course, telling Sookie outright to talk to Dearborne would have been too easy.

One minor complaint about the ending. While I liked the cover of "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," it felt really oddly placed following Eric's capture.

And that about wraps it up. With two side-stories wrapped up, that leaves a bit more room for the next three episodes to focus on what's going on with the Authority, this new sheriff, Sookie's parents' murders (and Warlow) and the wolf-drama.

Pam gets the line of the night with her positive attitude toward business-as-usual:

"Whatever comes up next, we keep our heads down and our tits up and the True Blood flowing."

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